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Thread: Ambergris

  1. #1

    bbobkc's Avatar
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    Question Ambergris

    Hi all, I am really interested in ambergris. What would be the best way to experience it and how would I get it? Any info would really be nice. Thanks in advance.
    I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.'' --Saint Augustine

    “Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.”--Alexander Solzhenitsyn

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ambergris

    There's a great explanatory page on Profumo.it and you can buy a sample - the guy who runs it is a Basenoter too!
    http://www.profumo.it/perfume/aromat...mbergris_1.htm
    Last edited by Wordbird; 1st August 2008 at 02:40 PM. Reason: better url
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Ambergris

    I love using ambergris. There is just something about it. It is sublime. It's not like anything i have ever smelled and at the same time the first time I smelled it I felt as though it was familiar. I felt as though I had smelled it as a child. I can't compare it to anything and say it's like this or that because as I said it's not like anything. When added to a blend it imparts a fine glow that is impossible for me to describe.
    Arctander describes it thus: "Ambra [also called ambergris] is a pale grayish or creamy-yello to brown or dark brown waxy solid mass which melts in boiling water. It's odor is rather subtle, reminiscent of seaweed, wood, moss, with a peculiar sweet, yet very dry undertone of unequalled tenacity." P.58 Steffen Arctanders Perfume and Flavor Materials of natural Origin.
    The ambregris tincture I have I bought from the above named source and I can vouch for its quality.

    Ruth

  4. #4

    Exclamation Re: Ambergris

    The use of these names is now confusing to me.
    Ambra = Ambergris?
    I thought ambra meant amber (as in vegetal; fossilized tree sap, etc.).
    This question came up for me when I saw LuckyScent list ambergris as a note in Fiore d'Ambra (Profumum). I also see Le Labo does the same in their "Olfactionary."
    However, I had seen the opposite before (e.g., Ambra del Nepal by iPdF).
    Does the word mean different things in various languages? Then again, both above scents are Italian.
    Please help!
    Thanks
    RM

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Renaissance_Man View Post
    The use of these names is now confusing to me.
    Ambra = Ambergris?
    I thought ambra meant amber (as in vegetal; fossilized tree sap, etc.).
    This question came up for me when I saw LuckyScent list ambergris as a note in Fiore d'Ambra (Profumum). I also see Le Labo does the same in their "Olfactionary."
    However, I had seen the opposite before (e.g., Ambra del Nepal by iPdF).
    Does the word mean different things in various languages? Then again, both above scents are Italian.
    Please help!
    Thanks
    RM
    You are right Ambra is Italian for amber, but the fossil amber and the scent amber are not really related (except for the fact that both wash ashore on beaches after storms). Amber is a fantasy scent that each perfumer makes to their own secret recipe. Ambra Grigia is Italian for ambergris (or grey amber, so called because it reminded people of a grey version of the fossilized vegetal amber).

    Dimitri has a blog that has a really interesting post concerning amber..
    Last edited by surreality; 2nd August 2008 at 06:36 PM.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Hi RM,
    It is confusing.

    According to Steffen Arctander yes, Ambra = Ambergris

    Amber oil crude: He defines as the essential oil produced by dry distillation of amber at atmospheric pressure. Amber in this case refers to the fossilized resin. It is also called Siccinol. The smell is described as smoky, tar like and resinous. He says it is like 'tanned leather'.


    There is also such thing as an amber base which is a compound a perfumer makes from materials such as laudanum, benzoin, vanilla, patchouli, olibanum resinoid and the like. Apparently these are also called Ambrienes.

    He also says (and this is where it gets confusing again)
    "The term Ambre refers to Ambra from the sperm whale." P333

    HTH

  7. #7

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by bbobkc View Post
    Hi all, I am really interested in ambergris. What would be the best way to experience it and how would I get it? Any info would really be nice. Thanks in advance.
    Molecule 02 by Escentric molecules is a perfume using ambroxan, one of the main aroma molecules in ambergris. Getting a sample of this from somewhere would be easier and more cost efficient than trying to source a chunk or tincture of real ambergris.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Thanks for the response everybody.
    I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.'' --Saint Augustine

    “Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century, and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press.”--Alexander Solzhenitsyn

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by surreality View Post
    Molecule 02 by Escentric molecules is a perfume using ambroxan, one of the main aroma molecules in ambergris. Getting a sample of this from somewhere would be easier and more cost efficient than trying to source a chunk or tincture of real ambergris.
    I have pure ambroxan and also cetalox as samples from Firmenish, I can assure you that it comes nowhere near a well seasoned piece of ambergris.

    AbdusSalaam Attar
    www.profumo.it

  10. #10
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    Default Ambergris

    AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo Ambergris Tincture:

    After the alcohol dries, I get a very strong smell of mothballs. I am very surprised because I also smell a similar mothball quality in civet. To my nose, civet is like a combination of mothballs, feces and florals. Ambergris is like mothballs, brine and bile. I can't disagree with other observations on the bile aspect, only my first inclination was to say it smelled of very bad breath (human). Another surprise for me--this is the first animalic that I have not found to be pleasant. Apparently I prefer feces to vomit Joking aside, I can tell that ambergris could be transformed by blending. I am sure its bitter edge could round out a fragrance, giving it some definition in the same way that bitter herbs and salt make a bland stew come to life. The deep drydown is sweet, not like what is typically considered an amber accord (labdanum, benzoin, vanilla), and it smells quite lovely, a bit like fresh air (but NOT ozonic).

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Compiled from the Note Identification Project Thread:

    Ambergris tincture 1%: musky civet animal stinky

    Ambergris - Salty, dry, bitter, very diffusive, gradually sweetens. I didn't get much on myself, and it didn't last as long as I thought it would.

    Ambergris tincture, natural, profumo.it - Strange, complex, off-putting and attractive at the same time. Ambergris smells a little like stomach bile. It is the bitter, medicinal aroma in one's mouth after a long illness. It is strong, very strong. After purging and no eating for many days, the body is empty, the system has reached the point where it must survive. There is nothing left. The digestion is cleansed of all outside substances and ready to resume its work. There is a taste in the mouth, and this is it. Also, it smells like old perfume. (Conversely, old perfume smells like ambergris.) Most women who wore perfume at the turn of the century, in the 1900s, had access to ambergris. As a child, I wrinkled my nose and thought it was extremely odd and slightly unpleasant--an unclean, musty odor. And yet, I could not stop trying to smell it. I looked for it. I looked forward to smelling it again. You can smell it in the bottom of the dried-up bottle of ancient perfume still, after all these years. that is how pervasive--and unforgettable--an odor it is.

    Ambergris - 1% tincture in ethanol : after all the wonders I read about real ambergris, I was quite excited to eventually experience it. Its smell is weirdly appealing....strange and fascinating. Droppings of seagulls or small critters dried out by the sun. Warm and dry, like bleached bones and pieces of wood washed ashore. There's definitely something marine in it. It is alien but familiar at the same time.

    Ambergris - Flashback! I have smelled this in old perfumes before! Some of them that I thought had "turned" were merely smelling like the ambergris had permeated the formula!What does it smell like, you ask? Bitter, slightly rank, like stomach bile. You know how the exhalation of a person smells who has been ill and not eaten for days? Like that. Maybe a bit musty, too. Ambergris is distinctive, dark, and unrelenting. Its bitterness would lend weight to a perfume the same way that oud does. It has the same type of medicinal aroma, something that one cannot describe as "good" but that nevertheless is fascinating. And fixative. Decidedly fixative.
    Last edited by Asha; 3rd July 2009 at 03:34 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Madini offers an extraordinary Ambergris oil

    http://www.tigerflag.com/madini_ambergris.html

    Their sources claim it is the real mccoy. Hard to say but it sure is intense and animalic.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Ambergris

    i am positive that madini's is not real. they may be usung a small amount but in reality it has no resemblence to a raw ambergris stone. The ambergris stone is slight and oceanic incensy with animal undertones. over time the animalic note gets more subtle and makes way for a very complex soft musky, ocean, incense note. if its scent notes were to be a color it would the colors from a crystal cut bottles that reflects an amazingly rich amount of colors.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Ambergris

    WoW! Ambergis and Civet intrigue me so much!
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    Post Re: Ambergris

    Ambergris is rarely found in modern fragrances--many synthetics have now replaced it. Frankly, it's a shame. It is a great component that adds much depth and warmth to a fragrance not to mention being an excellent fixative. Applying some to my skin, it will last 12-24 hours.


    I have a 1% solution of ambergris (source is Nice, France) in 200 proof ethanol. I actually tinctured this myself--ambergris dissolves quite easily in alcohol. I cut up my bulk chunk of the gray, crystalline material (the stuff actually sparkles!) with a razor blade and weighed it out proper. It was a difficult task because the material is like a crumbling greasy-wax. That solution is about 20 mL in volume and contains just under 2 grams, making it ~1% w/v. It leaves a noticeable yellow stain upon clothes and skin, but is easily buffed out.

    I'm not sure how consistent ambergris quality is--I've only ever had this one piece, but the smell is phenomenal and quite permeating. I have a connection who can get me some, but he always wants to trade! To describe it: it has a vanillic, sweet, slight baby powder note that is first noticed in the nose. What follows is a warm, piercing, faintly spicy odour that has, for lack of a better description "that strange human smell". It's unlike civet and musk, and is much less offensive. I think one could roll around in it and not really upset anyone.

    I have some sandalwood oil (also quite dear to me) that goes very well with ambergris...

    I wish I could attach images to this board, I have a picture of my vial in my hand :/

  16. #16

    Default Re: Ambergris

    try this blend: ambergris 3% or 6%, kanartaka or mysore sandalwood, rose isparta or taifi otto, omani frankincense (very small amount). if you use all natural products and the highest quality you can get, I promise it is amazing. I use it as a base for my best blends.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Wow I would love to smell a dilution as I did not smell anything soft or vanillic in the slightest. My only experience with it was at Blenda in West Hollywood. It looked really weird, little gray blocks with darker and lighter striation, highly diffusive. It was definitely amazing and unlike anything else. Very marine and kind of astringent, with a special spacial quality I had never smelled in anything else. As if a 3D space had opened up in my nose, which was pretty much empty. I assume that's the space that anything mixed with it occupies.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Griff View Post
    Madini offers an extraordinary Ambergris oil

    http://www.tigerflag.com/madini_ambergris.html

    Their sources claim it is the real mccoy. Hard to say but it sure is intense and animalic.
    Update: 6-03-11 they are out of business.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintpaulia View Post
    Update: 6-03-11 they are out of business.

    To clarify, Madini Oils is still in business: http://madini.com/
    Tigerflag.com, who used to be one of Madini's distributors, is out of business.
    Currently wearing: Eau de Cologne by Chanel

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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by socalwoman View Post
    To clarify, Madini Oils is still in business: http://madini.com/
    Tigerflag.com, who used to be one of Madini's distributors, is out of business.
    Hmmm...the url you provided does not take me to anything except error message....I have even gone to Google and googled "madini" found the website listed as the number one listing, clicked on it, and error message. Their website cannot be obtained on my browser (Internet Explorer)_

    Below the listing on Google for madini is a listing for Tigerflag and I can get to that website. And indeed it does say it is out of business. But I cannot get anywhere with any links to madini.
    Last edited by Saintpaulia; 9th June 2011 at 05:05 AM.
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    Saintpaulia's Avatar
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    Angry Madini

    I also tried madini.com on Firefox, and again same problem.
    But I did find this: http://madini.com/essenceinfo.htm
    and it does take me to a page with some madini information on it.
    Strange.
    In fact it looks like their main site via the Talisman company of Seattle.
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

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    Default Re: Ambergris

    This company appears legitimate.
    http://www.ambergris.co.nz/buy.htm

    So does this one, although they are selling a tincture of it not solid.
    http://www.profumo.it/perfume/prodotto.asp?pid=163
    Last edited by Saintpaulia; 9th June 2011 at 05:32 AM.
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

  23. #23

    Default Re: Ambergris

    both those places sell the real deal ive bought from them many times as im an ambergris addict. heres the sister site to the nz websites that sells tinctures of all colors of ambergris.http://www.ambergristincture.com/all-products.php
    "Strive for perfection in everything, take the best that exists and make it better, if it doesn't exist create it, accept nothing nearly right or good enough." Sir Henry Royce

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemistwithanose View Post
    I have a 1% solution of ambergris (source is Nice, France) in 200 proof ethanol. I actually tinctured this myself--ambergris dissolves quite easily in alcohol. I cut up my bulk chunk of the gray, crystalline material (the stuff actually sparkles!) with a razor blade and weighed it out proper. It was a difficult task because the material is like a crumbling greasy-wax. That solution is about 20 mL in volume and contains just under 2 grams, making it ~1% w/v. It leaves a noticeable yellow stain upon clothes and skin, but is easily buffed out.
    Sounds fascinating.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Although it's asserted that very little ambergris is used in perfume these days, no two ways about it : there is still an active market for the stuff. That being said, it also seems clear that the quality can vary greatly. This stuff get's vomited up by whales (generally containing imbedded pieces of squid beaks) and and is originally sort of soft "like damp clay", then floats around the ocean surface, slowly drying out for 20-30 years , before being beaten and eroded into round chunks by rocks on whatever shoreline it happens to wash up on. I guess the good stuff is more like pieces of amber-like resin, while lesser grades can be evaporated down to about nothing. They talk about sticking a hot needle into chunk, and smelling the odor of the smoke that melts out, as a means of telling if this is what you have really found.

    As was mentioned above, these folks down under buy and sell : www.ambergris.co.nz/buy.htm

    But I suspect if you should find a really high quality chunk, this fellow in Grasse France would offer the best price :http://www.ambergris.fr/index.html

    Well worth checking out his site for information on how it can come raw. His location in Grasse would seem to indicate that some perfumers are still using the real stuff.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Adrienne at ambergris.co.nz is a real nice person and i enjoy her lenghty/informative emails! heres a pic of my current ambergris collection. i started with diff coloors(white,black,brown,ect...) and now i seek diff scent profiles and have, fresh dirt,dry earth,leather, cigar,musty basement,old books,marine,seaweed. there is a squid beak that was in my brown ambergris at the bottom right.
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  27. #27
    Basenotes Member nascia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemistwithanose View Post
    Ambergris is rarely found in modern fragrances--many synthetics have now replaced it.
    What I wonder is if it is listed as ambergris on the ingredients, does that mean it is genuine or can they get away with using a synthetic while calling it simply ambergris?
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Ambergris

    you can list the aroma/note as ambergris but the chem. name is ambroxan (crystals). it does smell like raw ambergris. i have been dabbling in synthetics and have them both to compare.
    "Strive for perfection in everything, take the best that exists and make it better, if it doesn't exist create it, accept nothing nearly right or good enough." Sir Henry Royce

  29. #29

    Default The Notorious "Ambergris Base" What does it actually smell like?

    besides "ambergris," because apparently I don't know what that smells like

    I know what "amber" smells like

    But that can't be the same as "ambergris," because I detect little, if any, "amber" in the base of these Creeds that supposedly all contain the notorious "ambergris base."

    I've heard it runs in GIT, MI, SMW, Aventus, and others. But what is it, exactly? And how does it smell?

  30. #30

    Default Re: The Notorious "Ambergris Base" What does it actually smell like?

    Amber and ambergris are nothing alike

    Amber is tree resin, ambergris is a whale secretion

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