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Thread: About ambergris

  1. #1

    Default About ambergris

    My work colleague has a real passion for animals, and is vegetarian to the extent that she watches everything that she wears, eats, drinks etc. She told me yesterday about ambergris and where it comes from (I never knew!) so I thought I would ask you splendid experts if any harm comes to the sperm whales in order to harvest it. What I've been able to find on the web suggests that the ambergris is washed up on beaches, as it's a deposit from their intestines - so I'm hoping whales aren't harmed to obtain it, but my colleague implied that they were.

    My colleague said she has to be careful what perfumes she buys, because she only wants to use the ones that use synthetic ambergris, and this is cheaper and easier to produce now anyway.

    I'm not the animal freak she is, but I do like to be informed, so I thought I'd ask those of you in the know, what actually happens to the whales in order to get the ambergris (hopefully, nothing), and is it true that almost all the French perfume houses use the whale produced stuff rather than the synthetic? My colleague told me American perfumiers use the synthetic ambergris - and that the men's fragrance, Dunhill (yay, my husband uses that) is OK too.

    Cheers,
    Clemmie
    Last edited by Clemmie; 28th March 2007 at 07:45 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Ambergris is naturally secreted by whales and is usually found washed up on beaches or floating in the sea (it is not a bi-product of the whaling industry). Obviously, it's not easy to find and this makes it one of the most expensive substances in the world, so most perfumes contain synthetic ambergris, which is usually derived from clary sage.

    However, whales are not harmed in the collection of the real thing, so your friend can rest easy.

  3. #3

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiscreet View Post
    Ambergris is naturally secreted by whales and is usually found washed up on beaches or floating in the sea (it is not a bi-product of the whaling industry). Obviously, it's not easy to find and this makes it one of the most expensive substances in the world, so most perfumes contain synthetic ambergris, which is usually derived from clary sage.

    However, whales are not harmed in the collection of the real thing, so your friend can rest easy.
    I'm so pleased! I think she will probably still avoid it, because it comes from an animal (she's really hot on that kind of thing...each to his/her own eh?), but at least I won't feel the need to justify my latest perfume purchases to her any more! :-)

    Thanks for the info,
    Clemmie

  4. #4

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: About ambergris

    Hey Clemmie! And welcome!! :wave:

    I'm a newie like you and scuttling through "all there is to know about perfume". Other sites - like Bois de Jasmine and Perfume of Life (check back issues of BN too) have lots of info on what's going on in the industry right now with regard to ingredients in frags. There's a movement afoot to ban hundreds because they are reputed to cause allergic reactions.

    Film at eleven!! :bounce:
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  5. #5

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Taolady View Post
    Hey Clemmie! And welcome!! :wave:

    I'm a newie like you and scuttling through "all there is to know about perfume". Other sites - like Bois de Jasmine and Perfume of Life (check back issues of BN too) have lots of info on what's going on in the industry right now with regard to ingredients in frags. There's a movement afoot to ban hundreds because they are reputed to cause allergic reactions.

    Film at eleven!! :bounce:
    Thanks for the welcome Taolady! Isn't it lovely here? And it smells great! :-)

    I have much to learn (and there I was thinking I had this great nose and I knew so much about perfume - pah! I'm a total beginner - which is SO exciting!!). I'll take a look at those sites. I am currently fighting with myself to go and EAT at lunchtime rather than browse perfumes, which is what I'm now drawn to doing having read so much this morning about people's preferences etc.

    Clemmie

  6. #6

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Oh be careful, Clemmie - I discovered this site in January and have managed to spend hundreds of quid on perfume since then! Informative and friendly - yes - good for your wallet - no!

    Thank goodness there are no perfume places in lunchtime walking distance of where I work!

  7. #7

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Welcome Clemmie - and I agree, browsing perfume shops at luchtime may be good for the waistline, but not so much for the pocketbook. I'm also a newbie and have managed to spend $$$$ since I've been here. Very easy to do, although I've become a little more discerning of late. Sure is fun though, and lots of very helpful and knowledgeable members here to guide you through it all!
    "Woe to the one who's love of elixirs, grows into madness"
    :bounce:

  8. #8

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiscreet View Post
    Oh be careful, Clemmie - I discovered this site in January and have managed to spend hundreds of quid on perfume since then! Informative and friendly - yes - good for your wallet - no!

    Thank goodness there are no perfume places in lunchtime walking distance of where I work!
    Yes, I got the impression that fortunes had been spent as a result of being here. I'll be careful, but I'm a bit of an impulse buyer, so lord knows what'll happen in the long run!

    Clemmie
    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by spicegirl View Post
    Welcome Clemmie - and I agree, browsing perfume shops at luchtime may be good for the waistline, but not so much for the pocketbook. I'm also a newbie and have managed to spend $$$$ since I've been here. Very easy to do, although I've become a little more discerning of late. Sure is fun though, and lots of very helpful and knowledgeable members here to guide you through it all!
    Thank you spicegirl (love the name! <g>). Yes, I must say, I've found fewer flame type messages here than I have on a yoga site I visit frequently (you wouldn't think yoga folk would be rotten with each other would you? You live and learn!).

    I think I'll be popping into Debenhams to search for some kind of substitute for my Un Amour de Patou. I'm so distressed that all my favourites get discontinued. Just because I like fragrances that other people aren't wearing...

    :-(
    Clemmie
    Last edited by Clemmie; 28th March 2007 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  9. #9

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Hello and welcome Clemmie!!!

    Tell your friend to relax -

    1. like the others said, real ambergris is not harming the whale at all. To speak correctly: when the whale is eating all the little prawns and crabses etc, their hard parts are irritating his stomach which results in a secretion that will so to speak embed the stinging rests of the food. Then the whale will very poeticly vomit the whole thing out. It is incredibly stinky then and the fine aroma will only come if the ambergris has been floating on the sea for years. So no chance at all to kill a whale and pull out some heavenly scented stuff.

    2. Ambergris is only very rarely found and thus incredibly expensive - no perfume on the regular shelves will ever contain the tiniest bit of it, neither American, nor French! One problematic animal product is being used often though - the real civet.

  10. #10

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Welcome Clemmie :bounce: :wave:

    This subject seems to have been well covered, I just wanted to welcome you Clemmie, and oh how I love Ambergris.

  11. #11

    Default Re: About ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by TDDanae View Post
    Welcome Clemmie :bounce: :wave:

    This subject seems to have been well covered, I just wanted to welcome you Clemmie, and oh how I love Ambergris.
    Thank you for the welcome. This really is a friendly place, it's so rare in cyber-world. It's now my favourite forum of all.

    Clemmie

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