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  1. #1

    Default Ambergris sources/legality?

    I've seen a number of websites and ebay sellers selling ambergris EO and the actual stuff (as in, pieces of it). I heard it's illegal in the US though. Are these real, synthetic, ripoffs, sting operations by the cops, something else? I'm mainly curious, but I'd like to see what it smells like.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I've seen a number of websites and ebay sellers selling ambergris EO and the actual stuff (as in, pieces of it).
    I have only found one web site selling pieces of ambergris - www.profumo.it. What are some of the others?
    Actually, dissolved in alcohol it would be a tincture not an essential oil. Anything called "ambergris essential oil" is likely an immitation.

    I heard it's illegal in the US though.
    That is common wisdom though I have never been able to verify or disprove this.

    Are these real, synthetic, ripoffs, sting operations by the cops, something else? I'm mainly curious, but I'd like to see what it smells like.
    I sincerely doubt that any of the offers are stings by law enforcement. Many are probably imitations. Profumo seems to have the real stuff.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I have only seen ambergris available through profumo.it as well, although I saw a huge chunk once on ebay.

    I checked the FDA web site, and Ambergris tincture seems to be approved as a food additive. It is also listed on the HTS code list (section 0510.00.20.00), which means that it is legal to import it, however there is a 5.1% to 20% tariff added. This means that your order from Profumo would likely be held by US Customs, you would need to hire a customs broker (unless your carrier has a broker, I think Fedex can do this otherwise about $200), pay the tariff, FDA inspection etc. The harmonized tariff code also said that it is used in pharmaceutical products, so use for perfume is unclear.
    You may want to consult a customs attorney before importing any large quanities.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    It is also listed on the HTS code list (section 0510.00.20.00),
    What is this?

    You can get around duties for small things if the sender will list on the customs form as "gift" or "sample".
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    The number is the harmonized tariff schedule number ( aka HTS number). This is US custom's master list of everything that can be imported, it lists duties for items that are taxable. It is used by importers to prepare their customs entries. Ambergris is under chapter 5 - Products of animal origin, which also includes musk, castoreum, and civit.

    The website is www.usitc.gov, but you can spend an enormous amount of time researching if you aren't familiar with the govt. regulations. I have to look up stuff for work sometimes because some of my co-workers are unable to search themselves (due to stupidity I think).

    It also lists nuclear reactors and canabis sativa, but unless you are an electical plant in need of a replacement reactor, or a rope manufacturer you can't really bring those items in. I don't know the status of ambergris for personal use. My work experience in imports deals with food, packaging and fibers. It is possible that you need some kind of paperwork to import it legally (like FDA clearance, or import licence/visa for example). That is why I suggested speaking to an attorney if you are planning on bringing in any quantity. I am not an attorney or customs broker, so I only know what is on the govt. website, since I haven't done that thorough of a search.

    I would like to point out that it is illegal to list an item as a gift or sample, although I am aware that it is done frequently. You can take the risk, but customs can seize an illegal item (and sometimes even legal items with bad paperwork).


  6. #6

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I seem to remember a post from not too long ago. I would use the "quote function" but I don't know how to change quotes from a different thread so we'll just have to make do:

    Quote from dcampen on February 3, 2005:

    "You think that there is some prohibition against the import of whale vomit? Where did you get this information? I think that this belief that ambergris is a prohibited substance is a, not uncommon, misperception."


    Yes, I do think there is some prohibition against the import of whale vomit in the USA.


    Quote from Cat on February 3, 2005:

    "From http://www.csc.noaa.gov/opis/html/summary/wca.htm:

    Whaling Convention Act of 1949 (16 U.S.C. 916-9161)
    "Under this Act, it is illegal for any person under U.S. jurisdiction to engage in any act prohibited or not do any act required by the Convention, this Act, or any regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Commerce pursuant to this Act. It is also illegal to ship, transport, purchase, sell, offer for sale, import, export, or have in possession any whale or whale products taken in violation of the Convention, this Act, or any regulation promulgated by the Secretary of Commerce pursuant to this Act. The prohibitions of this Act do not preclude the taking of whales for scientific investigation, with the approval of the Secretary."

    Unfortunately, certifying whether ambergris is humanely harvested from the sea or the by-product of slaughter is difficult, especially since the end product has changed many hands in the process." *


    Be sure to check other threads regarding musk, castoreum and civet, how those products are obtained and legal status in USA!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I was under the impression that ambergris taken from a whale or found shortly after being expelled from the whale isn't usable, and that it must float in the ocean for several years to be converted into a usable form... Wouldn't this make it easy to tell if it's legal or not? (or at least, if it's in the form that has been floating in the sea, it should be easy to know that it was found on a beach)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    No. It can also be obtained by killing sperm whale and cutting open its stomach/intestines. The whale produces ambergris to protect its stomach from sharp squids' beaks. (Sperm whales have teeth.)

    It doesn't have to float for years. It can float for years before currents wash it up on a beach.

    Interesting Q & A site: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/support/l...s.html#number2

    Some countries still hunt whale. There is no reliable provenance - no way to trace how the ambergris was gotten. (If ambergris is obtained by killing, why would a 'factory ship' let the ambergris float?) It has to be heavily diluted to be usable.

    True fact: We still live in an age of pirates. Every week at least one ocean-going tanker or container ship is 'missing'. In spite of GPS and everything else. There were articles last year in I believe The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. With those kind of problems, law enforcement can't concentrate on ambergris.

    True fact: There is a circular current in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and square miles upon miles of plastic and tennis shoe soles are slowly revolving, year after year. And it is getting bigger. USNews and World Report, The Atlantic Monthly.

    By using ambergris, a person is supporting the killing of sperm whales - regardless of 'puke' or 'murder' methods. (Yes you are - take responsibility for your actions.) Some people wanting ambergris may not care about 'humane harvesting' of ambergris found washed up on the beach. They will pay for any ambergris and the killing cycle continues. Using any whale products supports the whaling industry in countries that permit hunting. Check the internet for recent hunting statistics - birth rate down, size down, population down, etc.

    The www.profumo.it website is in Italy - different country, different laws. That website was actually 'found' by Bottoni - he quotes prices from it before dcampen mentions it. Tony stopped that facet of his project when he learned about provenance from Cat. (He is engaged in making a smoky, incense-y, low-amber oriental that is fantastic - I'm glad he shares! Spent most of the summer not posting because I wore Old Cat for weeks. He started by wanting to make 'real' Old Spice - he produces it in gallon batches. The last time I talked to him, he was experimenting with 'dryer sheets' to perfume dark clothes and starting a candle project. Shampoo, bath gel, hair conditioner, after shave balm, laundry detergent, talc, sachets, scented witch hazel, car and room freshener... * Basenotes? - it has bassnotes!)

    A person wanting ambergris badly enough to kill could always move to a country that still hunts...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    First I would like to point out that I am against the killing of whales for perfume...

    but

    I read the whaling convention, here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/ht...6----000-.html

    I didn't see the word "ambergris" mentioned in the act. It only mentions "whale products" as follows:

    "Whale products: The words “whale products” mean any unprocessed part of a whale and blubber, meat, bones, whale oil, sperm oil, spermaceti, meal, and baleen. "

    I would assume that killing a whale and removing the ambergris would be included under this act, but ambergris vomited by a whale and found on a beach might be a different situation. It may be allowable, but if not, then any perfume with ambergris in it (and there are still several) would also be illegal under this act. I haven't heard of any basenoters being arrested for possesion of perfume, so possibly ambergris in aged vomited form is legal.

    I would think that research would need to be done.

  10. #10

    Default Legal in New Zealand

    New Zealand exported 100+ kg in 2003:
    http://www.boatpoint.co.nz/portal/al...6/Default.aspx

    "legality of collecting and selling ambergris, as conservationists were concerned that trade in the product would lead to whale killing.

    That uncertainty ended last year, however, when New Zealand adopted the view of most other countries that that ambergris is not a whale derivative. "We have adopted the view that ambergris is a waste product that's excreted naturally," says Jane Denton, the Department of Conservation's CITES officer."
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    More on ambergris:
    http://www.cropwatch.org/amber.htm

    Note that ambroxan can be purchased from:
    http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/rawmoffr.html
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  12. #12

    Default Illegal in USA

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    You can get around duties for small things if the sender will list on the customs form as "gift" or "sample".
    That would be considered knowingly committing a felony. From the US Treasury Dept.:

    "The Section 592 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1592), generally provides that any person who by fraud, gross negligence, or negligence, enters, introduces, or attempts to introduce merchandise into the commerce of the United States by means of any material and false electronically transmitted data, written or oral statement, document or act, or by any omission which is material, will be subject to a monetary penalty. In limited circumstances, the person’s merchandise may be seized to insure payment of the penalty, and forfeited if the penalty is not paid.

    Civil fraud statute has been applied by the Customs Service in cases involving individuals and companies in the United States and abroad that have negligently or intentionally provided false information concerning importations into the United States.

    A criminal fraud statute also provides for sanctions to those presenting false information to Customs officers. Title 18, United States Code, Section 542, provides a maximum of two years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both, for each violation involving an importation or attempted importation. Both the civil and criminal fraud statutes were enacted by Congress to discourage persons from evading the payment of lawful duties owed to the United States, although these laws apply today whether or not the United States is deprived of lawful duties."

    You may also want to check these USA laws: Whaling Convention Act of 1949 (16 U.S.C. 916-9161) which Cat provided earlier, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and its Ammendment in, I believe, 1994.

    If it is legal in USA, why are you importing from Italy?

    Ambroxen is a synthetic substitute for ambergris. It was discussed in the link I provided, the part about Swiss chemists. Thank you for making my point. The Good Scents Company - about five miles from my house. Nice people.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    That would be considered knowingly committing a felony.
    My, you are an uptight person aren't you. Why don't you relax a bit.

    Thank you for making my point.
    There is a point to your long winded rants?

    Goodness, you are making me hungry for some whale meat sashimi.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    That would be considered knowingly committing a felony.
    My, you are an uptight person aren't you. Why don't you relax a bit.

    Thank you for making my point.
    There is a point to your long winded rants?

    Goodness, you are making me hungry for some whale meat sashimi.

    It appears as if the opposition has conceded.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    That would be considered knowingly committing a felony.
    My, you are an uptight person aren't you. Why don't you relax a bit.

    Thank you for making my point.
    There is a point to your long winded rants?

    Goodness, you are making me hungry for some whale meat sashimi.
    If this is supposed to be funny, I fail to see the humourus aspect. I don't find it even the tiniest bit amusing, to think that there actualy are people out there, who knowingly defend the usage of fragrance materials that come from endagered species - either they are animals or plants.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I don't find it even the tiniest bit amusing, to think that there actualy are people out there, who knowingly defend the usage of fragrance materials that come from endagered species
    Ambergris is found washed up on beaches.

    Besides, the inexorable growth of the human population means that soon there will be nothing left but humans and perhaps some rats and cockroaches. I find it sad but why rail against the inevitable.

    Also, as far as Veronica is concerned, it doesn't matter whether the whale species is endangered or not, killing a whale is "murder". I wonder, since some pods of Orca whales hunt and kill Sperm whales should these Orcas be put on trial for murder? If an Orca is found guilty of murder what should be done - the death penalty perhaps?
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Wow, I seem to have started quite a discussion.

    The point I was trying to make earlier in this thread is that, while "black" ambergris could have been either taken directly from a killed whale, or found on the beach, the gray/white variety got that way by floating in the ocean for a number of years, and therefore couldn't have been taken from a whale directly.

    By the way, I originally asked about this for curiousity, not becaue I would actually have a use for ambergris.

  19. #19
    Ladylonestar
    Guest

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Of all places on Basenotes that occasionally call for moderating, the DIY forum is the last place I would think things should get heated. There are some people getting their feelings hurt -- let's be very careful what we say to each other here, please. If apologies are in order, please step up and make them. Grant has been alerted to this thread now.

    Thanks.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I apologize for hurting your feelings.

    If I was walking along the beach, I would much rather find a lump of dcampen that a lump of ambergris.

    Veronica.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I'm looking to buy a few grams of real ambergris for personal use but it's hard to know if a source is trustworthy.

    I trust profumo.it but he only sells tinctured ambergris and it would be fun to tincture it myself. Also his price seems very high considering it's only something like 6% in ethanol. Ambergris.co.nz had a good reputation and used to sell whole beach cast ambergris for $35/gram but they've closed "until further notice."

    The only source I've found online searching now is ambergrisconnect.com -- they look decent online but is there anyone on here who can vouch for them (or any other source)?

    I realize this thread is ancient, not sure what protocol is here when there's an old thread on the same topic...

  22. #22
    Basenotes Plus
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    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Quote Originally Posted by adammaba View Post
    I'm looking to buy a few grams of real ambergris for personal use but it's hard to know if a source is trustworthy.

    I trust profumo.it but he only sells tinctured ambergris and it would be fun to tincture it myself. Also his price seems very high considering it's only something like 6% in ethanol. Ambergris.co.nz had a good reputation and used to sell whole beach cast ambergris for $35/gram but they've closed "until further notice."

    The only source I've found online searching now is ambergrisconnect.com -- they look decent online but is there anyone on here who can vouch for them (or any other source)?

    I realize this thread is ancient, not sure what protocol is here when there's an old thread on the same topic...
    Hi everybody,
    I'm a newbie who's been lurking for a while (about a year) trying to absorb/learn everything I can w/o repeating the same old questions over and over. I've been researching the sourcing of ambergris for tincturing as I want t get that experience under my belt (etc.). I came across this thread despite it being an older thread as I have some questions about ambergris.connect as well, actually my question is about ambergris resinoid? Has anybody heard of this?

    I am in contact w/ ambergris.connect as we speak. Upon learning that I am in the US, they will not sell ambergris to me because it's illegal to import. That's fine with me, not going to push the issue even though my impression is that the US doesn't prosecute for this (probably because they understand that it's emancipated- a legally understood term). BUT... they told me that they can sell me a "ambergris resinoid" legally (Quote "What we can offer you here instead is our PURE AMBERGRIS RESINOID. This product has been purified (removing all waste) via a 24 hour heating/separating process. The resinoid transforms to oil when heated/warmed."

    In all my research I have never come across this, they say its new (and of coarse marketing 'all the rage'). So my question is: Has anybody else here (with far more experience than I) heard of this? Does this sound legit? (I did actually want to tincture it myself)

    Thanks for the help in advance.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I have never heard of an ambergris resin, not sure what it is. If you are in the US, TPA sells Ambergris you can get and tincture

    https://shop.perfumersapprentice.com...e-natural.aspx

  25. #25

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Just use Ambroxan. It's chemically the exact same thing as the primary chemical responsible for the smell in natural Ambergris.

    There are some situations where it doesn't make sense to use the natural, when the synthetic is virtually the same and far cheaper. This is one of them.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I've seen ambergris absolute, but not a "resinoid" , but maybe they are pretty much the same.
    If you want to learn and experience ambergris, and can afford it, and trust this supplier, why not try it with a small purchase?

    Personally, I've never smelled a purified version, only a 10% tincture, and my reaction is, "What's the point, but to empty your wallet?"
    I'll use synth amber molecules instead, everytime, if I want am amber profile, and many other things, if I want fixation.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    http://www.PKPERFUMES.com
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Thanks PK for getting back to me,

    Unless I have forgotten (likely), I don't recall coming across the Ambergris Abs. either. It does sound the same-ish. Neither is on TGSC which I use a lot and feel a bit at a loss when I don't find things there. Ambergris.connect looks to be out of UK and I believe the laws allow for the sale there. I wouldn't mind giving it a try if I felt I had a little bit more experience to evaluate and compare it, like with like first. I do like to get my hands dirty. However, just out of the gate myself I look for guidance from those more accomplished on this. I am intrigued though. I'd bet a little would go a very long way. I'll place the idea on my dance card for later. Will followup with an update after. I do have the synthetic, but really want to know the intricate detail/ differences of real vs. synthetic. (expand my palette/knowledge)

    Initially, I was looking for a better price option than what I have found here in the US. Ambergris .connect seemed to do this, less the mark up at about half. So those in UK, EU or other legal places might want to look into this further as a supply option for white (brown/grey and black) ambergris.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Thanks needaname,

    For the feedback on the resin. Yes, wanted to try and go a bit cheaper then TPA. Make a larger amount. Ambroxan I think I have that on my list to get, so I 'll bump that up and compare.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    Thanks parker25mv,

    I'll check it out.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Ambergris sources/legality?

    I know someone making ambergris resinoid in small batches. The process is to soak in alcohol, filter through microporous filter, evaporate alcohol. The result is a solid caramel mass that dissolves easily in other oils like sandalwood or in alcohol, but has to be heated. Usually around $35-$45 per gram. Different batches have had vert different scents - one was very mature and refined, smelled like old white ambergris. the other a bit rougher around the edges with more obvious animal notes and a sort of vanilla like sweetness that surprised me a bit.... I trust that he is honest about his products But recommend sampling as it seems to me like the quality of the extracts will vary depending on what material he started with.

    https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TysonLeeMortensen




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