Rumors said the old "Tiffany for Men" (not the modern one), a luxury perfume created by Jacques Polge, contained real ambergris.
Until someone confirms it, it's only a rumor.
(Anyway, vintage TfM is a great ambery scent)
This was in Perfumer & Flavorist mag the other day: 183 lbs of ambergris for lucky Ecomare of the Netherlands....
The problem with this ambergris will be the youth of it. It presumably will be minging and very black and soft if it has even got far enough down the intestine to get that way. That sort of very young ambergris is not quite the same thing as the highly valued perfumery ingredient. It is the older kind that has been floating around for years maturing in the sea and the sun that is the really wonderful stuff.
I have a TON of Full Bottles/Decants/Samples for trade/sale. Montale, Oud Oils, Amouage, Mancera, Penhaligon's
I have a weird question but one that has always eaten at me. Does anyone experience ambergris as a top note? When I use it, even as 1% of a 3% concentration, I get a whiff of what smells a little like isopropanol except that it's isopropanol seen through some kind of gorgeous lens. The top not soon dries down and leaves a gentle animalic residue which is harder to detect. I'd love to use ambergris in this way but I'm afraid that people will be put off by the alcohol smell. I adore it and can't get enough. Every morning I'm compelled to smell my collection of 3-year old ambergris tinctures. Might I perhaps use some volatile aromatic substance that would work well with this smell?
I'd be delighted if you'd sample my amber (made from fossilized amber) from Brooklyn Perfume Company. They're available at the Twisted Lily in Brooklyn NY.
One more thing. I find ambergris on line (including sources from New Zealand and Ireland) and find it surprisingly inexpensive. Of course it isn't cheap seeming when you buy a chunk of it, but by the time it is tinctured to 3% (what seems to be the standard dilutions) it isn't as dear as that especially considering that most formulas have you use the tincture at 1% of the formula. I'm looking forward to using it in some kind of perfume (as yet to be determined) for Brooklyn Perfume Company.
Basenoters: Be careful. I was just the victim of a scam on ebay. I ordered $999 worth of ambergris and when "it" arrived, it was nothing but 3 rocks. When I sent a note to the sender, he insisted it was ambergris etc. I know better. It neither passed the hot pin test, the sinking test, and the alcohol test. Definitely a fraud. The email address is email@example.com. This is a case in which I would like to cross post to warn everyone but I know that's taboo.
What were the pics like on the listing and what did the 'stones' look like? If they are the wrong thing then you can get your money back. Ebay do not allow scammers.
I am very sorry that happened. I tried to find this seller but couldn't because eBay won't give member's names out when you only have an email address unless you've had a recent transaction with that seller.
My experience with eBay is limited to their US site but I've found eBay's money back guarantee to be very fair. It costs nothing to request they help you. The worst thing that can happen is they side with the seller and you'll be back to the situation you are in now. To use it, only communicate with the seller through eBay - not through email. The people who review cases don't usually read emails, only your eBay messages. If you've been using email, restate everything through eBay by going to the original listing and selecting "ask a question". You can say "I'd like eBay help us resolve this so I'm restating what we've already discussed by email here so eBay may more easily understand." When prompted, select "Item not as described" or something to that effect as the reason you are contacting the seller. This will start a case. Once he's refused to make things right again, or he's ignored you long enough (eBay will guide you through this) escalate the case so eBay can get more involved. Don't get goaded into communicating with him in anything but a polite, professional and factual way (be hard on the issue but easy on the person). Explain how you know it isn't actually ambergris and point out everything else (like color) that doesn't match the description you were given. Don't agree to close the case until you have all your money back, including shipping. EBay will make a decision quickly and they are very buyer-friendly. Good luck!
Last edited by socalwoman; 6th March 2015 at 02:24 AM.
Dear Social Woman,
Thanks for your thorough email. I will investigate all possibilities to get this issue resolved.
Dear basenoters ambergris authority needed,
Fortunately I made this payment with PayPal. I contacted the PayPal credit card company and they are putting payment on hold. The seller has restated that these rocks are real ambergris. It looks like I'll need an outside authority--preferably someone with some kind of degree in something like oceanology--to clarify what is what. But seriously, I've worked with a lot of ambergris, and I've never heard of any that sinks in fresh water, fails to smoke when touched with a red hot knife tip, and fails to dissolve to the slightest degree in alcohol. If anyone has encountered ambergris with these qualities, I'll reconsider my claim. They sure look and feel like rocks.
Can you show us....
Make a video and we, who know ambergris well, can comment on it for you. Do all the normal stuff with it, one by one and close up with a simple talk through script. Worth it for that sort of money. I hate daylight robbery.
Weigh the rocks too with their dimensions. I have some bits untinctured and I know a chap who has oodles. The weight to size ratio would also be wildly out with rocks.
A simple list with all the errors should be enough for paypal. They vendor needs to prove it is, not the other way around.
Water = sink or swim
Needle = melt and whiff
Breaks up when cut or crumbled. Old crumbles, new cuts like stiff plasticine.
Dissolves in ethanol readily to make a colour.
Weight to size ratio fairly standard depending on how dry it is. Certainly incomparable to a rock.
Consistency of the centre. Good centre kidneys with cuttle beaks and gritty pattern indicate a good piece and a rolled around pattern of the strata. Not always so but especially the old whites. New blacks are soft and not rockish at all. More like rabbit poo.
Does it break at all?
Last edited by mumsy; 13th March 2015 at 07:25 AM.
Thank you for your support. That's a fabulous idea. Just as a preliminary, the "ambergris" does not create smoke when touched with a red hot skewer. I've done this before with real ambergris and know what it looks like. The stuff sinks immediately. It does not crumble. It does not dissolve in ethanol (again I have experience making tinctures). It is not at all friable and does not break. It feels heavy. Determining the volume would be somewhat difficult to perform since I don't have an accurate vessel with which I could measure water displacement (although I may try with one of my beakers). Where should I send the video? As concerns the consistency of the center, I can't see it anyway because the "ambergris" does not break.
Another fact. The "ambergris" doesn't look at all like the pictures on their ad.
By the sounds of it, you don't even have a slight problem to get your money back.
If the pictures aren't even the same as the product, then the matter is a straightforward dispute of not getting what you paid for.
Then before going to any trouble yourself, try a straight list to paypal dispute centre outlining briefly why it is not ambergris, and then ask them what other proof do they need. There must have been other complaints about the same vendor if you can't even break the stuff.
Ask them also how long a dispute takes to resolve because you are out of pocket by a huge amount here.
Surely a rock is a rock is a rock. Does it make a rocklike 'ting' when you hit it. Try a boulder in the garden too....
.....It's almost funny.....
Last edited by mumsy; 13th March 2015 at 02:38 PM.
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What's really absurd is that the guy won't accept a return because he's afraid I'll substitute rocks for the "real deal" that he sent. This patently ridiculous as it would impossible to chip a rock to make it look exactly like another (assuming I have no neolithic experience). I have clear pictures of what the stuff looks like. Would you be willing to look at them?
One more quick thing. I tried the sinking test in heavily salted water just incase the increased buoyancy would make a difference. But when I added the rocks to the beaker filled with the salt water, they fill right to the bottom (I was afraid they were going to break the beaker). Ebay is now saying that they want an expert to sign off on the rocks which I think is ridiculous since all I want is a return. Does anyone out there know of some with "credentials" who could provide me with a definitive answer based on information I give him/her.
As I read these posts, I see that only one mentions the aroma of "rubbing alcohol." I have tinctured a number of pieces (separately) in different concentrations and find that they all have this top note of isopropanol. Now, I must say that this note of isopropyl alcohol is extremely delightful in itself (when compared to isopropyl alcohol out of a bottle it's like the difference between generic brandy and old armagnac). However, it puts people off. The dry down, which follows quickly, has the aroma commonly described--animalic, a bit like seaweed, perhaps a bit like old sweat. While none of this sounds particularly appealing, ambergris is compelling like a '53 Margaux or a truffle, with that mysterious undefinable quality of something from a past life. What I'm leading to is the creation of an ambergris perfume. I must disguise the top note (a pity really) which lasts only until the tincture dries, i.e. very quickly. I've thought of rosewood, but can't really come up with something volatile enough and with a strong enough odor profile to do the trick. When I think of an ambergris composition, I think oakmoss, seaweed absolute, ambroxan, calone, helional, and perhaps green tea. I'd love to hear people's thoughts and to what degree (if any) basenoters, detect the isopropanol aroma.
I would be more than happy to look at pictures. If they need a document signed then surely that person you obtain the documents from could be accused of receiving subs from you as well. If you prepare a decent document outlining the tests for ambergris and outlining the results you obtain. That should be proof enough for ebay. It isn't up to the purchaser to prove authenticity here. Ask the escrow lot to obtain some for themselves from this vendor and test it. Then if they get sent the right stuff, you can obtain it from them and at least you would have half your value back as the real deal.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean about the rubbing alcohol. Mine are pretty old tinctures so I don't think they do. I need to go and smell them again now.
I think I got this thing resolved. E-bay says the guy not only has to refund my money but has to send me a mailing label!
Too bloody right he should. I'm surprised he even wants his rocks back. Be prepared for the counter charge then. Take pics of everything. I hate rip off artists especially ones who fight back. You would just expect them to throw the hands up and keep the fuss to a minimum. A straightforward crook is almost ok.
Hi James, just a quick comment. What you have can't be Ambergris if it does not melt to a red hot needle!! Occasionally the needle test only provides a rather anaemic (light tan pool of oil instead of the more usual glossy black pool.Fresh ambergris(whether black or white... yes there is such a thing as fresh white Ambergris!!) can rise and fall in a column of freshwater(rainwater) in a most interesting(if very slow) to watch phenomenon..rising as the temperature rises and falling too as the temperature drops, I was tempted to check the critical temperatures, but I suppose the temperature is as variable as fresh pieces can be... Here is another interesting phenomenon... black ambergris quickly goes very superficially white on the surface when left in freshwater for a few days.. though this quickly reverses(again over a couple of days) when you remove it from the water.. fresh white Ambergris goes greyish black and presumably turns white again as it ages over the years and maybe decades, I don't know how, or even if fresh black Ambergris can ever go white except through maybe very, very long exposure to freshwater or at sea(the most likely). RSSL in Reading UK can confirm definitively whether or not is Ambergris for you, however it can be a bit pricey(about £250) but at least you will have a very experienced laboratory behind you!!!
Last edited by Ambercelt; 23rd March 2015 at 11:44 AM. Reason: added information
Several days ago I found these pieces near a rotten sperm whale. Can someone help me to identify what this is?Ambergris, whale wax or something else.