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  1. #1

    Default Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Hi all fellow istas, I need your advice or comments here please.

    I have a lengthy and unwise obsession with this substance, so I finally caved in and ordered some at vast expense from singapore. It came today. I opened the package up thismorning with quivering anticipation.....

    I have the real thing here, it does all the right things with a hot needle, it smells absolutely lovely.... BUT.... what a tiny, gentle smell......

    I was expecting to be blasted out of my kitchen with the ponk. I warmed it a bit and it did smell slightly stronger, I burned a bit, I rubbed it on me, we all had another smell.

    It's what I always wanted, but I have to admit to a little tiny bit of disappointment. I was rather hoping for a smellier smell with the real thing. Is there something i'm missing? Can it only be smelled properly once ground into a tincture or oil? Are my expectations totally unrealistic?

    Any suggestions welcome.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    it's probably a genuine ambergris.
    the scent of mature ambergris is faint, but long lasting unless concentrated.
    humidity and heat helps to bring out the aroma.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Thank you for the reassurance. The smell is absolutely divine but just very small. I know this is the real white/grey mature ambergris and I do realise they will all smell slightly different. I have quite a few types of ambergris oils but have never been absolutely sure which were genuine or not. I have been very busy making a plant based equivalent and needed a piece of the real thing to compare it with. I'm not too far away with my version but need to smell it right through to drydown alongside the real thing to make absolutely sure.

    Do you know how to make the concentrate? Do you tincture it and then let the alcohol evaporate?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Making a tincture takes a long time, I personally wouldn't bother.
    I would advise getting a small sample from a trusted seller like ajmal. I think il profumo has genuine ambergris tinctures as well.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Thank you. I have bought it now and I am in no hurry. I have perfumers alcohol and many base oils to make tinctures with, but I shall look at these suppliers and see how much theirs cost too. Knowing my obsession I shall eventually have to smell them all, as and when I can afford it. This little sample already broke my piggy bank for a bit so it won't be yet.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    You need to tincture it to bring it to strength. Try searching Anya Mcoy's web site or one of the natural perfumery groups for info on how to do it. Alternatively you could ask Dominique Dubrana (profumo is his basenotes i.d.) or check out his website for info http://www.profumo.it/perfume/home_english.htm
    You have a very valuable resource there - I strongly recommend that you get it into alcohol so you can preserve it for use for many years. A small quantity (literally a drop or two) can transform a perfume.
    "Donít try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. Ē - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  7. #7

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Thank you. I have looked there and in the other places suggested. I'm not sure I dare ask him directly, but I know Anya has a question time somewhere. I seem to be discovering it needs to be tinctured for 3-6 months, and needs an abrasive ground with it like pumice, glass sand, or in very old fashioned recipes, loaf sugar, so that it is very finely ground before being tinctured. I need to check these don't alter the smell. I also haven't found out how much alcohol to put 3g with. I think I saw I should make it to a 10% dilution, but need to double check.

    I am in no hurry to do this until I know for sure, as I do not have enough of the raw material to get it wrong. One recipe kit I found said I needed 15g, and I only have 3g. I cannot possibly afford to get any more, this busted me as it was.

    Interestingly, the very old fashioned ambergris tincture recipe I found had in it civet and musk too. This may have boosted the strength rather.... I'm not intending to pollute mine with anything. I would rather have separate tinctures.

    I will report back if I find out elsewhere, and am open to suggestions.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I'm sure you can tincture any amount - just change the proportions.
    Profumo is very approachable and interested in perfume education - drop him a basenotes message. If he sees you are genuinely interested I think he may well help.
    "Donít try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. Ē - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  9. #9

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Ambergris is almost odorless by itself, so expecting it to be like civet or musk will be a disappointment. Ambergis' use in perfumery is mainly used as a fixative, and will also impart velvety, richness to your perfume without really altering it. That is it's real value; most every other fixative alters the scent. Have fun!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I think the reason I expected it to be powerful was because I had bought a previous oil from Al Haramain and it was humungously strong and dungy, whiffy. I have a previous posting relating to that. I have been a completely hooked Ambergris addict for the last 25 years, so this tiny sample I finally managed to get is the holy grail for me. I feel naughty, like I've bought a bag of hooch.

    I have been developing a perfume for ages that emulates the feeling of Ambergris without using it. I am so very nearly there, so I needed the genuine article for comparison. I had used various bought oils for previous comparison and have never been totally positive which are the real things or not.
    I have oils, ambrette seeds, angelica roots. etc etc..... I probably will never rest until I have smelt every variation possible. Cost makes sure this is a slow process.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    i remember reading some experiment from dr turin. he did put some lavender on one wrist, and the same mixed with a bit of ambergris on the other. the outcome: first wrist, lavender. second wrist, lavender in 3D. the value of ambergris, is said, goes far beyond it's actual odor.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    the bad news of this story is, of course, that you can mimic it's odor, but it won't have the same effect.
    the aromachemical industry has failed to come up with a proper replacement so far.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    got my real ambergris yesterday. i put it in glass jars and sealed it up. after a few minutes i could easily smell the difference in the diff colors/samples i have(5 total) when i would just crack the lid and sniff. this should help you get a better idea of the raw ambergris smell. ive been told to NOT store it in the dark or sunlight(it will melt). and that a container that breathes would be best but, regular office/house lights will not degrade your sample. another member in the 'i own real ambergris' club, woohoo.


    the smaller the jar the less sniffs you'll get till you cap it and let it permiate the air again, takes 5 minutes of sitting and you can start sniffing again. i am now adicted,lol.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Addicted isn't the word. slave to it. I keep my samples on my desk and am forever sniffing them... just to make sure. I have black, brown and white samples.
    I have ambergris envy looking at your pic....

  15. #15

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    lol, mine are right in front of me as well. i did poke some holes in the jars cause they need to breath(per seller). wich i dont mind at all. if you like ambergris then get some of thier oil!!!!!!!!! she said its not suppossed to go right on the skin but i touched the smallest amount you could imagine on my wrist(kinda sticky) and held my other wrist against the dab till the oil was warm enough to smear. its such a wonderful scent with my skin and i just keep waving my hands to catch that wiff of fragrance. seller says the 1 gram of oil takes 2.5grams of raw. i cant seem to decide wich sample is my fav scent, its been changing. i should get my animal scents today(civet beaver,ect...)cant wait to see how they smell together. ill post the results,j

  16. #16

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by GLTASN View Post
    lol, mine are right in front of me as well. i did poke some holes in the jars cause they need to breath(per seller). wich i dont mind at all. if you like ambergris then get some of thier oil!!!!!!!!! she said its not suppossed to go right on the skin but i touched the smallest amount you could imagine on my wrist(kinda sticky) and held my other wrist against the dab till the oil was warm enough to smear. its such a wonderful scent with my skin and i just keep waving my hands to catch that wiff of fragrance.
    i vaguely remember reading, i think it was somewhere on a pacific island, that the locals used to put ambergris in the building material of their homes. to makes their houses smell good. not sure if this is true and can't remember the exact details.

    however, what i do know, is that perfumers used to test ambergris by rubbing a piece between their hands. and then smell their hands. there's a story in chandler burr's book about guy robert, who did evaluate a large block of ambergris in london for a client, then washed his hands with a miss dior knockoff soap, and thus (smelling his hands in the plane: miss dior + ambergris) got the basic idea for dioressence.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I find it funny that you were told not to put it in the sun in case it melted? How come it lasted so long on the beach? I would have thought the sun dried it.... Perhaps the seller meant in the jars in the sun in case of condensation.... even so it is still water and that's where it came from? odd

    Mine are still in their baggies with the tops open. I don't know what to put them in. I'm not ready to tincture these yet. I like them as they are.

    Do post about the other animal scents...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Mine has been tincturing since Sept. 2008 and is only just starting to smell good, so patience is needed here. Also, if you are a smoker, try putting a very small amount of it in powdered form in a cigarette (you can purchase roll your own supplies at a tobacconist). I read that this is sold in Egypt traditionally and just had to try it! It is very nice!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I shall smoke one especially just as an experiment. Smoker or not! I found some ambergris incense sticks the other day and they are wonderful although I actually like the smell before they are burnt. I may lay them in my linen drawers to fragrance them.
    I am such an ambergris addict....

  20. #20

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Well, let me know what you think. I don't anyone else who has done it except me and hubby.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    There is a report of some mighty perfumista who ate some on his scrambled eggs..... I'm just not that rich to try that .... yet

  22. #22

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    There is a report of some mighty perfumista who ate some on his scrambled eggs..... I'm just not that rich to try that .... yet
    mumsy, check this link out: http://1000fragrances.blogspot.com/2...for-marie.html
    btw. octavian's site is really an excellent read.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    OMG.... Look at the size of that lump of ambergris..... and the casual way in which it is used. I love the French for their cuisine..... such perfection sought.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Hi All,

    I've posted on here before from time to time. I'm nearing completion of a book about ambergris for HarperCollins, which will be published sometime either late in 2011 or in 2012. I'm really enjoying reading about the interest in the subject. And I hope perhaps you'll all be readers!!!

    I've handled a lot of ambergris over the past few years and so I wanted to answer a few of the comments. First, sunshine will not melt your ambergris, but depending on its quality and age, high heat will melt it and so that's probably where that misinformation came from. If it's fairly fresh and black it will melt on a hot summer day and make a pretty gross mess.

    Secondly, ambergris most definitely DOES smell. It's a most unusual thing in that it stabilizes fragrance but adds something subtle and indefinable to it too. Anyone who says it doesn't alter fragrance hasn't smelled it.

    Thirdly, the higher the quality, the more refined and the less immediately present the smell ... so don't worry. Maybe you have some really good stuff! As the ambergris ages, it loses its water content, shrinks, and develops a waxy outer rind and so the odor is more difficult to get to and much less of an assault on the nostrils. If you smell fresher, darker ambergris it's like burying your face in a cowpat. I have some white ambergris and I remember having almost the same response to it as you did, mumsy. I'd read that some people are anosmic to ambergris (can't smell it) and I instantly panicked and thought that perhaps I was one of those people. I had a book contract to write about it and thought I couldn't smell the stuff! But give it a chance and the subtleties of that high-quality ambergris will start to appear.

    Oh, and I also have to eat it for my book. Um.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I put some in cheesecloth hung it in an English teapot and drank the tea that went through it, also I was curious what it would do to the steam smell. Its smell can't compete with tea, not in the short term anyway. The flavor also was very subtle, but discernible.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    cjkemp... Please invite us to dinner that evening..... we can watch, and if you don't like it, we will eat it for you....

    As far as I know, it is traditionally stuck inside the lid of an earthenware teapot. It is meant to be intermingled with the steam. The aroma enhances the tea drinking. It stays with the teapot for the next brew.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Yes, I tried that first but the results were unimpressive.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I don't think mine would be sticky enough. One of them is just dust. The black might be, but that's the pooier of all of them. I think it would be the grey I would prefer with tea. Maybe it would have to be a more delicate tea like a green gunpowder leaf tea, Pingshui Zhucha or Honey bush tea from South Africa. OOOh yummy, I shall go and try some, but I haven't done the smoking yet.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I just received a sample of Ambergris tincture by il profumo (AbdesSalaam Attar), and it smells like bad breath, and lasts a short amount of time before disappearing into an extremely subtle (nonexistant?) skin scent. I'm baffled by all these people waxing poetic about the "sweet" smell of ambergris, when the tincture smells literally like rot. Can someone please explain the discrepancy? I'd appreciate it.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    try spraying some on a card or sample smelling strip. allow for the alcohol to dry and then try it again. its not a strong smell but you would be the first to say it smells like rot. i dont think it smells sweet at all but more like earth,tabaco,leather scent. when combined with other ingridients it tends to lose its smell and amplifies the host scent.
    "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

  31. #31

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    try to mix it with something else, on one strip the mixture and the other just that something else. maybe some delicate 'soft floral' accord (including a little aldehyde and just a little musk). wait just a minute, and start smelling. keep smelling over the next hours, days, even weeks. it should perform as a bouquetting agent, it will take some sharpness off the aldehydes, act as a very good fixative, and leave you with a nice and lasting final note.
    Last edited by gido; 23rd February 2011 at 11:43 PM.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Thanks GLTASN and Gido for the responses. I wrote a review of it here on Basenotes. I noticed that another review below mine also spoke of the ambergris tincture as smelling like bad breath, which is what it smells like to me. I am thinking that the ambergris tincture probably smells different and less appealing than an actual piece of ambergris that is heated up or burned. And perhaps the particular ambergris that was tinctured by AbdesSalaam Attar had not aged very long or was 'fresher' than some, and that is why it smells rather nasty. I do not regret trying it; it's certainly a fascinating substance.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Watch out.... you've been bitten by the bug...... This is an expensive addiction....

  34. #34

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    There is such variation in the quality of ambergris available on the market today. Some of the newer ones are very fecal and very animalic. The most refined ones are the lightest, faintest beige that has a powder, vanililc, sea-foam, something-human-warmth to it. I quite like the smell of all of them, but they're not all created equal. Not even close. I'd wager that they're different from whale to whale and from how long and how intense the irradiation was.

    The more putrid the ambergris, the longer it must be tinctured. Storing it in the dark is unnecessary (actually, light will mature the more pungent compositions).

  35. #35

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I wonder if an artificial lamp with a daylight bulb would mature a stinky oil.... left on day and night.....

  36. #36

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Your comments do not surprise me, having first hand experience with customers reactions to ambergris smell. Strong reactions often, as this is the only product that customers sometimes return to us. They do that for one of 2 reasons. The first one is that they find the smell apalling (mostly French women) or they cannot smell it at all (French men).
    Ambergris is not a strong smell, even in high concentration, and many are disappointed who expected a smell like the perfumery amber notes. A perfumer should smell things as they are, while normal people smell things as their feel. In a way a perfumer smells with his nos4e why othe4rs smell with their guts.
    I shall tell you how should a good ambergris smell to me. It should be of middle aged quality, light brown golden or sprinkeld with grey sparkling spots. The smell may be at first sight look slightly fecal but only to give way to a leatheary and sea smell. However what makes the quality of the smell to me is the full rich milky feeling that produces the comfort of a motherly presence.
    Ambergris like all other animal smells has to be smelled again and again before understanding it. Our nose must be educated to it. Certainly for our nose there is nothing farther to the present commercial perfumery than these pheromonal smells. Much farther than botanical perfumery.
    I take the opportunity of this post to invite my fellow basenoters who wish to educate their nose, to experiment new things and to participate in a democratic research project to join us on the profumo friends club as we are about to start "playing with pheromones".
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Howdy.. I'm from New Zealand and I find/look for Ambergris professionally.. GLTASN : you dont really want to store you amber gris in a sealed container - its good if it can breathe and continue to age / oxidise... you do have some nice pieces there form the looks of it tho!

  38. #38

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    mattybaba, thx ive now have it all in plastic containers that have loose fitting screwtops. heres a current pic of all my ambergris.
    "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

  39. #39

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Howdy Mattybaba, how many bits do you find.... and how often...and do you look every day.... and all day... and where? Many burning questions. Please tell us all about it if it isn't giving your trade secrets away... I dream of finding a bit, but only Wales has shown a glimmer of hope just the once with a huge bit that two dogwalkers found.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...s-500-000.html

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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Hey nice one, thats a really nice looking collection you've got with some beautiful pieces for sure, quite a diverse range with them all well aged ..and the sperm whale oil is a real relic from the past as well!...
    Last edited by mattybaba; 2nd December 2011 at 08:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Hey mumsy.. *How many bits you find depends on how good you are at looking for it + putting yourself in an area with a higher probability of it washing up...until recently it was thought that only male sperm whales made ambergris but a female was found to produce it if they get large enough..for all intents and purposes you can almost say that only large mature sperm whales make it tho. its still a needle in a haystack & rarer than rocking horse sh*t so to speak....I wish i could look every day but i live in the Nelson Bays and its next to impossible for the wind and currents to push it in here...not sure about Wales as an ambergris destination but its all one big soup so can therefore wash up anywhere technically.. hope that helps you on your journey.. some people look for years and never find it here in NZ...I've found over a dozen pieces on my last 2 expeditions.
    Last edited by mattybaba; 2nd December 2011 at 08:28 AM.

  42. #42

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    More likely to be sticking a hot pin in many a lump of fossilised doggy doo before I found anything in Wales. I'm surprised that many of you ambergris hunters haven't found us DIY lot before actually. I'm sure you will find many a willing buyer of small amounts here if your stuff is good but you will need to break off a micro amount for us to smell. I know GLTASN and I will willingly volunteer for the job as we are Ambergris fiends. I use tinypic for posting photos on forums, but there are many.

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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    haha... yes it can look very similar to a barkers nest to the amatuer unfortunately!...that sounds really encouraging that there will be some interest out there from the DIY crew, and rest assured i have (and have access to more thru other hunters) some absolutely stunning pieces available .. . I hear a lot of poeple saying that the best stuff floats around in the ocean for years but its my experience that the best pieces are those that have lodged on terra firma for decades and had a good chance to oxidise and dry out slowly... water bourne gris is not necessarily good gris at all... I'll try and get some photos up for ya's.
    Last edited by mattybaba; 2nd December 2011 at 08:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    PS: mumsy.. you need to clear some space for my private message apparently:

    "mumsy has exceeded their stored private messages quota and cannot accept further messages until they clear some space."

  45. #45

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Oops cleared.

    'barkers nest' - that's really funny.

  46. #46

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattybaba View Post
    haha... yes it can look very similar to a barkers nest to the amatuer unfortunately!...that sounds really encouraging that there will be some interest out there from the DIY crew, and rest assured i have (and have access to more thru other hunters) some absolutely stunning pieces available .. NZ ambergris, and especially Stewart Island ambergris is known to be some of the best in the world duw to its remote unspoiled coastline and proximity to sperm whales... I hear a lot of poeple saying that the best stuff floats around in the ocean for years but its my (and every other ambergriser) experience that the best pieces are those that have lodged on terra firma for decades and had a good chance to oxidise and dry out slowly... water bourne gris is not necessarily good gris at all... I'll try and get some photos up for ya's.

    You may rest assured that there will indeed be interest . . .
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

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

  47. #47

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Do you have to wait for a storm for it to be thrown ashore? I know when I am sharks tooth hunting that we have to wait for one and get there early before all the other hunters.
    Last edited by mumsy; 18th November 2011 at 03:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Storms are great for ambergrising - but not just beacause the gris can get thrown ashore from the ocean...storms eat away at the coastline and this is when very old pieces can get dislodged from banks / sand dunes etc after being hidden there for decades... so yeah, grissing has a huge storm chasing component involved.
    Last edited by mattybaba; 2nd December 2011 at 08:29 AM.

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    This (revived) discussion is fascinating. Thank you for shedding a little light on this mysterious subject. Thank you mattybaba, for sharing your experience. Here where I live (Burma) there is supposed to be ambergris, and it is "available" in the markets, but always seems to be either fake or so badly stored it is moldy. It is said there is "good quality" ambergris here, but I have not seen it. Probably exported directly if there is indeed any. The question is, in a tropical country like this how would it age in the way it does in NZ? Seems like it would just melt or go rancid before it would age and oxidize. Any thoughts?

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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Howdy Gecko.. Hey I wouldn't know anything about the quality of the ambergris in Burma myself but its interesting to hear your experiences with it, cheers...(last time i heard of Burma the government was cracking monk's heads.. I hope things are peaced out there for you and everyone now)
    It definitely shouldn't be moldy thats fa sure.. its important to let gris settle and age unmolested from other influences & odours (crucial if you want to use it for perfumes/oils/tinctures, etc) just like in the wild... handling ambergris directly is a big no no if you wish to keep it pristine and free from even the oils from your skin for example...gris also has a low melting point, so with old dry gris its very obvious to a trained eye if its been handled significantly...personally i store gris in unbleached and unscented tissue which is then placed in a cardboard tube with end caps so it can breathe and be protected from external influences at the same time - i do this as soon as i can out in the field, as long as its not too wet / water bourne of course... I also weigh it immediately so i can start to get an idea over time how its settling/drying/lightening up compared to the actual piece and enviroment i found it in (I'm sure clients prefer to have some stats as well, i certainly do anyway)... I'm also sure other poeple have different ways of storing it handling it tho... Basically I cant see why a tropical enviroment should be a problem tho if the gris can breathe properly...after all it can handle salt water, rain, ice, etc under natural conditions, but hey, who really knows what it takes to make the perfect gris?....its a science with many unique variables thankfully - otherwise every piece would be the same!...every gris lover has their own ideas and methods from the source to the lotions and potions...
    Last edited by mattybaba; 2nd December 2011 at 08:30 AM.

  51. #51

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I started reading this thread and immediately went and grabbed my 3 year old tincture of grey/white from NZ. It is one of my most prized posessions.....LOVE IT!! BTW grissing in NZ is on the bucket list...lol
    Zanshin

  52. #52

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I quite agree, I've been wearing all my tinctures all at once. I shall come with you when I'm doing my bucket list.

  53. #53

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Very well then, its a bucket date...hehe.
    Zanshin

  54. #54

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Bring your avon with you. I've got the Treselle.....

  55. #55

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Wonderful thread - I hope you'll allow a complete newbie to wade into these ambergris waters...
    I also share a great interest in ambergris, and part of it is for historic reasons. When I was much younger I was fortunate enough to handle raw ambergris and aged ambergris at the Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut (USA), as part of an exhibit of whaling in the 18th and 19th centuries. I recall that one of the aged samples was well over 100 years old. Oh, how I wish my brain could recall the scents of these ambergris's... what I do know is that, for my young age's ability to recall, the scents were incredibly complex; at one turn rather raw and strange, and at another turn, deeply sweet and pleasantly oily.

    What is particularly fascinating is that whaling culture was so deeply rooted to where I grew up and currently live (seaside New England, US.) Herman Melville describes these coasts and particularly Nantucket with such detail (and humor) in Moby Dick... so many museums here hold beautiful artifacts from early Hawaii and other Pacific islands that were brought back as souvenirs by whalers who lived in New England. I think it is with mixed emotions of fascination and perhaps some sadness to see so many remnants of whales that were used to create everything from high art to everyday objects (corset bones, knitting needles, sewing needles, lamps, pipes, pin boxes, pill boxes... an endless variety...) I think this may be why ambergris is rather beautiful, since it comes from a whale but is in no way invasive to obtain it. Perhaps the whales get the last laugh for our fascination :-)

    I would love to experience the scent of ambergris again; this thread more or less proves that we (as humans) have a deep reverence for the whales of the world - an almost poetic mutual respect. It's like the wonder you feel when you are whale watching off the costs of Cape Cod; a truly breath-taking experience.

    I love to vicariously hear about your experiences with ambergris. It may be the closest I get to ambergris for quite a while, but it certainly stokes the fire of fascination.
    Painting: www.johnbiebel.com | Music: www.ichigatsu.com | Recent Writing: Serge Lutens

  56. #56

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    There's more discussion about ambergris here: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/231143-Ambergris

  57. #57

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Hi I am from NZ and have been interested in buying a piece of Ambergris for some time - I just want to see it, smell it, feel it you know learn about it. Then I thought I would attempt to make a tincture with alcohol to use it in some experimenting I have been doing with perfume, just playing around having fun nothing serious. Can I buy some directly from you? Have you thought about trying to sell it through Trade Me? I have looked on there several times thinking people finding it on the beach might list it but have never seen anyone selling it on there. I think I would like a well aged piece but still salty/marine/sea smelling. I live within sight of the beach and love the salty sea air, I smell it all day long, never tire of it. Next weekend I am staying at KareKare beach on the west coast thought I would do some beachcombing and see if I can find anything resembling ambergris- I understand west caost beaches north of Auckland are good places to search?? Can you give me some good advice with regards to tincturing it? When do you think you might have your website online there seems to be a lot of interest in ambergris. Zoe

  58. #58
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    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Howdy Zoe, sorry about the delay - I'm actually still out of town / away from my office for another 10 days, i just happen to be checkin my emails.. I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to actually sell / advertise as such thru the forums.. so send me a private message with your email address and we'll take it from there..sweet runner, Matt
    http://s1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa325/mattybaba/?action=view&current=SAM_1076.jpg

  59. #59

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    I've been playing around with ambergris for a year now, making tinctures and oils with different colored pieces. I've made extracts in hot alcohol and cold alcohol and reduced these downs to make "absolutes." It's the most tenacious stuff I've ever encountered--one application easily survived a shower--but the smell is disappointing. The absolutes smelled divine but once re-tinctured, they lost their aroma and smell only of dirty hair. I have no idea of how long I'm supposed to keep the tinctures--I have one tincture from profumo and it has the same aroma as mine.
    However, I've ordered "Indian Ocean Ambergris" and "White Ambergris" from Agarscents Bazaar and have found them magnificent with a delicate balsamic aroma that stays on the skin for many hours. Other than musk, I find these oils to be the most persistent of any of my naturals. Mixing them with other ingredients is magnificent. I can't figure out what they've done at Agarscents to come up with these oils. If only my tinctures smelled the same.
    So, all this being said, I don't know how to use my ambergris. (And I do have about 100 ml of 25% solution.) It has so little aroma, but I guess it is used as a fixative, but I suspect it would take a fair amount to work and in my reading I get the impression that the stuff is so strong and pervasive (like the Agarscents oils) that very little is needed to produce an effect.
    Any thoughts?

  60. #60

    Default Re: Real Ambergris - how powerful is the smell meant to be?

    Quote Originally Posted by James Peterson View Post
    I've been playing around with ambergris for a year now, making tinctures and oils with different colored pieces. I've made extracts in hot alcohol and cold alcohol and reduced these downs to make "absolutes." It's the most tenacious stuff I've ever encountered--one application easily survived a shower--but the smell is disappointing. The absolutes smelled divine but once re-tinctured, they lost their aroma and smell only of dirty hair. I have no idea of how long I'm supposed to keep the tinctures--I have one tincture from profumo and it has the same aroma as mine.
    However, I've ordered "Indian Ocean Ambergris" and "White Ambergris" from Agarscents Bazaar and have found them magnificent with a delicate balsamic aroma that stays on the skin for many hours. Other than musk, I find these oils to be the most persistent of any of my naturals. Mixing them with other ingredients is magnificent. I can't figure out what they've done at Agarscents to come up with these oils. If only my tinctures smelled the same.
    So, all this being said, I don't know how to use my ambergris. (And I do have about 100 ml of 25% solution.) It has so little aroma, but I guess it is used as a fixative, but I suspect it would take a fair amount to work and in my reading I get the impression that the stuff is so strong and pervasive (like the Agarscents oils) that very little is needed to produce an effect.
    Any thoughts?
    Perhaps, because Agarscents are know for their Ouds, they have blended a bit of oud into the ambergris, to give it depth and nuance. Can't imagine a better combination for simbiatic fixation.

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