Code of Conduct
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 60 of 96

Thread: Ambergris

  1. #1

    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

    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
    "A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." Coco Chanel

    I'm streamlining my collection http://community.basenotes.net/showt...29#post1219729

  3. #3

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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!
    - I Want To Appreciate You With My Eyes Closed-

    - Anonymous

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Chanel Antaeus Equipped With A Double Whipping Of A Black Leather Jacket

  15. #15

    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
    Dependent
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    3,639

    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
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Spiritually Texas, Ancestrally Scotland
    Posts
    674
    Blog Entries
    10

    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.
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

  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.

  20. #20
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Spiritually Texas, Ancestrally Scotland
    Posts
    674
    Blog Entries
    10

    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.
    "Classics aren't classics because they seem old but because they seem always new". Tania Sanchez

  21. #21
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Spiritually Texas, Ancestrally Scotland
    Posts
    674
    Blog Entries
    10

    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

  22. #22
    Saintpaulia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Spiritually Texas, Ancestrally Scotland
    Posts
    674
    Blog Entries
    10

    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
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    McLean, NYC, & Búzios
    Posts
    80,872

    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
    Dependent Birdboy48's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bend Oregon USA
    Posts
    1,104

    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.
    "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

  27. #27

    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?
    ~~~~ www.nascio.com.au ~~~~

  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

  31. #31

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

    It's waxy fermented whale bile!

    It smells warm and animalic, but also slightly chemical. Vaguely like sweet rubbing alcohol without the sting. Hard to describe without smelling it(like oakmoss!).

  32. #32

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

    There is more to the obscure 'Amber' used in perfumery... do yourself a service and do a thread search, there are some real good reads.

    Here's one: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/206...ber-smell-like
    there are others as well.

    Here's a good one on Ambergris: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/231143-Ambergris
    Last edited by DuNezDeBuzier; 7th February 2012 at 02:54 PM.
    Simplex Sigillum Veri

  33. #33

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

    Amergris is a sweet musky earthy smell.

  34. #34
    hednic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    McLean, NYC, & Búzios
    Posts
    80,872

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik_Safari View Post
    Amber and ambergris are nothing alike
    For sure.

  35. #35
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    District of Columbia
    Posts
    267

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kron View Post
    Amergris is a sweet musky earthy smell.
    well put.

  36. #36

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

    I am fortunate enough to have some real ambergris , it is very salty sweet and really does smell like the sea . I don't find it at all faecal just a little musty

  37. #37

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lovingthealien View Post
    It's waxy fermented whale bile!

    It smells warm and animalic, but also slightly chemical. Vaguely like sweet rubbing alcohol without the sting. Hard to describe without smelling it(like oakmoss!).

    Thanks! That's a great description. That's exactly the similarity that I can detect running through these Creeds. I just wasn't sure if that's what everybody is referring to when they mention the ambergris base.

    Query solved.

  38. #38

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

    I personally don't like ambergris. To me, if comes off as animalic, sour, and a bit "dirty". It's my biggest turnoff in the older, more traditional Creeds. I really prefer a "cleaner", more modern, white musk type base myself. I guess that's why the only Creeds I really love are the latest, more modern releases that avoid their ambergris base (VIW, O Santal, & Aventus).

    I know some really like that old school, animalic vibe, but it just doesn't smell "clean" to me, and I avoid anything with ambergris and especially civet (which is horrid to me). I don't really even like most leather scents either.

  39. #39
    Dependent
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    3,639

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Kron View Post
    Amergris is a sweet musky earthy smell.
    I didn't find ambergris to be sweet at all. I found it oceanic, salty, musky/musty, and diffusive to the extent that it filled my nostrils in a "3D glowing" way different from any other material I've sampled.

  40. #40

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik_Safari View Post
    Amber and ambergris are nothing alike

    Amber is tree resin, ambergris is a whale secretion
    the three resin is hardly ever (read:never) used in perfumery. amber in perfumery refers to the combination of labdanum and vanillin. the accord can contain other ingredients, benzoin is commonly used.

    and for the record: creed doesn't really use ambergris.

    most ambergris notes today are based on a synthetic material called ambroxan.

  41. #41

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

    The fascinating thing about ambergris is that no two pieces really smell the same. Its odor is a reflection of a long, molecular process of maturation, oxidation, loss of water content, etc. And of course, olfaction is such a personal thing that what an individual smells in ambergris is simply what he or she smells.

    In fresh black ambergris, the indolic and scatolic characteristics are very noticeable. It smells a lot like sheep dung to me. And I've smelled (and own) some really fresh stuff. Ambergris is expelled rectally ... it's a coprolite, or what one chemist once called preternaturally hardened whale dung. I know ... people think it's bile, vomit, phlegm, or something like that. But, no.

    As it ages, it begins to smell differently. I explain why this is the case in my book, but it's a process of the chemical degradation and reactions taking place. The oldest white ambergris (I also own some of this) smells refined and not as sharp-edged as fresh ambergris. There's a hint of sweetness, almost of vanilla or almonds in there, along with the animalic, musty, musky, old wood, tobacco tones to the odor profile that people usually mention.

  42. #42
    Dependent
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    3,639

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

    Quote Originally Posted by cjkemp View Post
    In fresh black ambergris, the indolic and scatolic characteristics are very noticeable. It smells a lot like sheep dung to me. And I've smelled (and own) some really fresh stuff. Ambergris is expelled rectally ... it's a coprolite, or what one chemist once called preternaturally hardened whale dung. I know ... people think it's bile, vomit, phlegm, or something like that. But, no.
    I was under the impression that, while it is expelled rectally, ambergris itself is not feces, but a byproduct of the digestion of bony fish.

    The type of ambergris I smelled was light grey with white striation.

  43. #43

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

    Yeah ... you're mostly correct. It's a fatty concretion of squid beaks. It's a pathologic secretion, produced by an estimated 1% of sperm whales.

  44. #44
    Banned
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,306
    Blog Entries
    7

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

    Smells very sweet and musky with a slight metallic edge, at least to my nose.

  45. #45

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

    Me too. That's a good description, although I've also smelled pieces of ambergris that smell very marine, and full of ozone. There's a lot of variety. I just love it.

  46. #46

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

    The term ‘amber’ in perfumery is used to refer to one of four different things:

    Ambergris - the whale secretion suitably diluted and processed by time, tide, sun and perfumer.
    Synthetic ambergris - usually a combination of chemicals, including but not limited to ambroxan (others include ambrarome, ambroxide, sclareolide and so on)
    Pyrolised Fossil Amber - waste material from the jewellery trade, made into a distinctive, smoky, deep smelling oil.
    Amber Oil - a mixture of other oils, usually including labdanum in combination with various other things such as vanilla, vanillin, benzoin resinoid and sometimes oakmoss - the mixture varies with the house producing it.

    Synthetics such as cedryl methyl ether are sometimes described in scent notes as ‘amber’ to mean either ambergris or a labdanum mix since they have elements of both scents.

    Real ambergris and real pyrolised fossil amber are virtually unused in modern commercial perfumes both because they are so expensive, but also because they are so variable.

    Most high-end perfumes (including Creed) will be using a combination of synthetics to replace ambergris and may use labdanum as part of that, or as all or part of an ‘amber’ note intended to evoke the fossil amber pyrolite, though usually without the smoky element.
    A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.”
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation I’m happy to quote: if you want free advice, that’s what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  47. #47

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

    Have you smelled Not a Perfume, by Juliette Has a Gun? It's Romano Ricci's fragrance made entirely of different synthetic ambergris compounds like Ambroxan. It smells great, but, I think, lacks the depth of real ambergris.

    Anyway, the claim that perfumers aren't using ambergris is an interesting one. I have something to say about it in my book. I won't ruin it here, except to say this: enormous boulders of ambergris wash ashore all the time. I have a photo of one in my book that weighed 200-pounds. These boulders are bought and sold and traded and moved all over the world. Who do you think is buying them?

  48. #48

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

    Quote Originally Posted by cjkemp View Post
    Anyway, the claim that perfumers aren't using ambergris is an interesting one. I have something to say about it in my book. I won't ruin it here, except to say this: enormous boulders of ambergris wash ashore all the time. I have a photo of one in my book that weighed 200-pounds. These boulders are bought and sold and traded and moved all over the world. Who do you think is buying them?
    I didn’t and don’t claim that ambergris isn’t used by perfumers. I did and do claim that it is virtually unused in modern commercial perfumes . Synthetic ambergris (of various sorts) is used by the perfume industry by the thousands of tonnes every year. Millions of litres of commercial perfume are produced. Even in my little perfumery I use synthetic ambergris by the kilo and practically no-one has ever even heard of me!

    Nothing you can buy in a department store will contain real ambergris and even very high-end exclusive perfumes will only ever have a tiny amount.

    Also note that quite a lot of ambergris is bought by collectors who don’t use it to make anything at all - but I don’t dispute that the majority goes into perfumes, it’s just that the quantity of it on the shelves is negligible compared to perfumes produced without it.
    Last edited by Chris Bartlett; 8th February 2012 at 12:06 PM. Reason: minor corrections
    A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.”
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation I’m happy to quote: if you want free advice, that’s what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  49. #49

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

    Quote Originally Posted by cjkemp View Post
    Have you smelled Not a Perfume, by Juliette Has a Gun? It's Romano Ricci's fragrance made entirely of different synthetic ambergris compounds like Ambroxan. It smells great, but, I think, lacks the depth of real ambergris.

    Anyway, the claim that perfumers aren't using ambergris is an interesting one. I have something to say about it in my book. I won't ruin it here, except to say this: enormous boulders of ambergris wash ashore all the time. I have a photo of one in my book that weighed 200-pounds. These boulders are bought and sold and traded and moved all over the world. Who do you think is buying them?
    Book? Link?

  50. #50

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Yes, a link! The book comes out in May: http://www.amazon.com/Floating-Gold-.../dp/0226430367

    I think, Chris, the truth is that large commercial perfumers do use ambergris, but try to get one to talk on the record with you about it! And, as you almost certainly know, synthetic ambergris compounds have almost nothing in common with real ambergris, and don't even smell much like it ... they really just share its non-volatile fixative qualities,

    Anyway, this is all in the book!

  51. #51

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Personally I think synthetic ambroxan does smell very much like real ambergris. Also, I've read that ambroxan has been found naturally occurring in ambergris tinctures. It was on the Natural Perfumery group on Yahoo, if anyone's interested.

    Does anyone here actually have experience of using real ambergris in a perfume? And does it really live up to all the legends about it either "exalting" ingredients or acting as a fixative? I sometimes wonder if that's just romance. I've actually tried mixing it with vetiver and sandalwood (seperately) and haven't really noticed anything special. Maybe it needs time.

    I got a tiny sample of vintage Guerlain Djedi perfume that I think could have real ambergris in it. It's actually really beautiful, but this one might also have civet and musk. Anyone know of more vintage perfumes that would likely contain real ambergris?

  52. #52

    Default Re: Ambergris

    The chemical fixative properties of ambergris are pretty well accepted. And explained by its chemical structure. Real ambergris contains an entire range of degradation products in different amounts and this cannot easily be recreated in the lab.

    The obvious contender is Chanel 5.

  53. #53

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Just came across this recent article; very interesting towards the end:


    "Tilar Mazzeo, the author of The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume, says that “historically Chanel No. 5 certainly did use ambergris.” The original formula leaked in the 1930s, she says, and “the copies I have seen include ambergris or ambrein—the essential scent element of ambergris—as an ingredient.” Not so, says Philip Kraft, a German chemist who creates scents for Givaudan, a Swiss manufacturer of fragrances. “There never was any ambergris in Chanel No. 5,” he says. “Not in the formula from 1921, nor in the one of today.” A representative from Chanel declined to comment for this story."

    Could the ambrein alleged to be in Chanel No 5 perhaps be extracted from labdanum?

  54. #54

    Default Re: Ambergris

    You'll notice I'm quoted several times in that article ... and the answer to the question is no.

  55. #55

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by cjkemp View Post
    You'll notice I'm quoted several times in that article ... and the answer to the question is no.
    Yep, noticed that. I'll pry no more then. Maybe I'll just have to buy your book.

  56. #56

    Default Re: Ambergris

    No, that's cool. I was just putting my babies to bed.

    I think the question is a difficult one. Certainly Chanel would never be quoted on the record about it. I'd love to do some mass spectroscopy on fragrances to see if they contain a synthetic or real ambergris. Chanel Five was released in 1921 and lots of people believe it contained ambergris. So, who knows? It's impossible to say.

  57. #57

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    Does anyone here actually have experience of using real ambergris in a perfume? And does it really live up to all the legends about it either "exalting" ingredients or acting as a fixative? I sometimes wonder if that's just romance. I've actually tried mixing it with vetiver and sandalwood (seperately) and haven't really noticed anything special. Maybe it needs time.

    I got a tiny sample of vintage Guerlain Djedi perfume that I think could have real ambergris in it. It's actually really beautiful, but this one might also have civet and musk. Anyone know of more vintage perfumes that would likely contain real ambergris?
    I have had a fixation with the stuff for donkeys years, and have tinctures of each kind from black through to white. Each one smelling totally different to the others. That is what makes it so fascinating. It certainly does have magical qualities when in a perfume but then again I love it on it's own anyway. Try a tiny drop on one wrist and not on the other with another oil (diluted) on both and see what happens to the one with.

    I hunted for years before I found another vintage Houbigant Ambergris because I used to wear it in the 70's and 80's. I would love to find someone who actually was involved in making those perfumes. I bet something like My Sin had it in. There is a vintage video clip on one of the other ambergris threads and the lump shown in it is huge.

  58. #58

    Default Re: Ambergris

    This is one of the photos from my book!Enormous.jpg

  59. #59

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Quote Originally Posted by cjkemp View Post
    This is one of the photos from my book!Enormous.jpg
    Heavens to Murgatroyd! One lump or two; I'll take two!!
    Wonderful...thanks for sharing that!

  60. #60

    Default Re: Ambergris

    Good grief. That's one big whale if that didn't hurt......

Similar Threads

  1. Which scents contain real Ambergris?
    By Lizzie in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 21st October 2014, 08:09 PM
  2. Where to buy NATURAL ambergris (and etc) tincture
    By moon_fish in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 6th June 2012, 03:09 PM
  3. Ambergris Question
    By Renato in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 22nd April 2008, 05:36 PM
  4. Creed and ambergris
    By Waldemar in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 3rd May 2007, 12:09 PM
  5. Ambergris: a bit fishy?
    By alpine in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 22nd March 2007, 03:53 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  



Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000