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  1. #1

    Default Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Recently we recreated a very old formula from the Arab-Islamic tradition, the formula dates back some 1400 centuries. We share some of the steps on the Ouddict forum and thought due to the interest in Ambergris on this forum that it would be of benefit here as well. Moderators please move to the relevant section if this is not the right place for it.

    The world around us, the amazing creation, the perfect balance and the whale poop. People tend to think that Ambergris is the whale vomit, that isn't entirely accurate. It is the whale vomit that comes out of its rectum and therefore it has many of the characteristics of all the other 'things' that come out of the rectum. What an amazing world we live in, that we the most intelligent of the beings on earth find immense pleasure and joy smelling Ambergris...

    There are all sorts of Ambergris around, and when you have been playing around with this stuff as long as I have, it takes something exceptional to surprise you. That's exactly what I thought when I first received this;


    From La Maison Khenata . The experience was so exceptional and very unorthodox that I took it to our lab and spent a week testing it. Yes it is Ambergris, and yes it is exceptionally beautiful.

    I'll share in this thread, what I did with these beauties. You will be blown away with the final results.
    Al Shareef Oudh the name associated with artisan perfumery and quality Oudh Oils, Woods and Incenses.

  2. #2
    Dependent mattmeleg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Very nice,
    I think the DIY forum would love this!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    thanks @matt, do you know how to link it to the DIY?


    So the gentle grinding begins...

    Ambergris is the result of indigestion (only if our own could be this valuable)whales can't seem to handle the beaks on the squid to well. The beaks cause irritation in the digestive system and in an effort to protect the intestinal tract, the whales digestive system excrete a fatty substance that in its essence is a steroid. This gathers around the beaks and becomes a blooby substance that is then exited from the rectum of the whale. Coming through that system bestows some inherent fecal character to the lump. The lump being a fatty substance floats the oceans, gets bleached, absorbs the oceanic salty attribute and it continues to float around the ocean until it is cast on a beach. For centuries ambergris was a mythical substance until whale hunters made the link. The sperm whale being the only whale type that produces this amazing substance, it is most valuable as an ingredient. As the ancient Chinese incense makers would say "Musk projects the fragrance of a scent and ambergris binds everything in harmony".

    When grinding ambergris little pieces of squid beak is usually found in it, and the ambrein which is the main fragrant ingredient in Ambergris doesn't really flare up until it becomes ambrein oxide. In blends in primary form it works as a kind of blanket over the other scents, but once applied to the skin, and warms up that is when it becomes alive...

    According to tradition the temperature of the ambergris during grinding should not rise above body temperature as this could introduce negative notes into the final product. This makes the hand task very time consuming and requires a great deal of patience. However the result is well worth the effort


    - - - Updated - - -

    There were a couple of lumps of whale poo


    and some musk pods...


    lots of creative love and labour


    lots of stirring, folding and smelling, more folding, stirring and smelling... then there was a paste...


    The most beautiful things around us are simple. Yet we get so carried away with the complex world we have created around us that we look into complexity for beauty.

    Teeb is one of the most beautiful fragrances known to man, crafted from the most rare of natural ingredients: Beach cast ambergris and government quota harvested Siberian musk, prepared in accordance to Alchemy methods dating back 1439 years.

    A most wonderful of scents that celebrates the beauty of Ambergris and Musk, not as an oil but akin to a balm.

    In the old world these two ingredients played a pivotal role in the best of scents, unlike oils, balms last much longer on the skin and the beautiful musky wafts of oceanic breeze with sprinkles of leather, tobacco and garnishes of basil flower engulf you for hours.

    Al Shareef Oudh the name associated with artisan perfumery and quality Oudh Oils, Woods and Incenses.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    I introduce myself, my name is Claudine, I am a hunter of ambergris for several years on the beaches of Europe, I also help identify coastal finds.
    I regularly browse the forum to document myself.
    But I made the decision to register after reading this very interesting post.

    What worries me are the pictures of the material presented as the sperm whale ambergris.
    to my great regret, it is not ambergris, but a very common fat on all the beaches of the world, which I know very well, it comes from discharges of used water, it is a pollution human.
    It is not recommended to use it for obvious health reasons
    For some time some people, convinced to have found true ambergris, sells at very attractive prices (10 € / Gr) on Facebook or Ebay.

    It should be very careful if you buy ambergris...



    I enclose a photo of the interior of a piece of real gray sperm whale, the texture is dense and characteristic, as its very special smell

    ambar-gris-espectaculo-calamar-pico-pieza-interior-ballena-vomito-olor.jpg

  5. #5

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Can’t ambergris have many textures / colors / consistencies based on the age of the specimen, the location in a chunk, etc? I’ve seen black, brown, gray, white... the black stuff can be tar-like and glossy. What is it about those pieces that makes them look off?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    I agree, ambergris can be of different colors gray / brown / white, when it is solid, but the texture is still very similar
    When young, it can be black, soft and sticky.
    Here we can see a greasy texture and very friable, that I often meet on the beaches.
    It is very different from ambergris, I invite you to visit for website for more information

    Here is this greasy stuff on the beach

    P_20180303_163525_HDR.jpg

  7. #7

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambergris Europe View Post
    I introduce myself, my name is Claudine, I am a hunter of ambergris for several years on the beaches of Europe, I also help identify coastal finds.
    I regularly browse the forum to document myself.
    But I made the decision to register after reading this very interesting post.

    What worries me are the pictures of the material presented as the sperm whale ambergris.
    to my great regret, it is not ambergris, but a very common fat on all the beaches of the world, which I know very well, it comes from discharges of used water, it is a pollution human.
    It is not recommended to use it for obvious health reasons
    For some time some people, convinced to have found true ambergris, sells at very attractive prices (10 € / Gr) on Facebook or Ebay.

    It should be very careful if you buy ambergris...



    I enclose a photo of the interior of a piece of real gray sperm whale, the texture is dense and characteristic, as its very special smell

    ambar-gris-espectaculo-calamar-pico-pieza-interior-ballena-vomito-olor.jpg
    Hi Claudine,

    Thank you for your contribution.

    We aren't ambergris hunters but rather perfumers and as perfumers we test our ingredients with the relevant tests to ensure they satisfy our quality requirements. We have provided the source of where we got these pieces from, and we also had them tested by a lab against known ambergris GCMS foot prints and they passed.

    I do not believe we have dealt with yourself either as a customer or supplier, so i find it somewhat unusual that you as a representative of your company/network would come along and make some assertions purely based on a couple of photos, and you have carried out no tests. At a quick comparison the 'greasy stuff' photos you provide is nothing like our photos and neither does your description match what we witnessed with the pieces we had. If it wasnt for the extra zoom on our photos they looked very similar to a couple of the pieces in this photo you posted.



    If you would like to become a supplier of ours, please drop us an email.
    Al Shareef Oudh the name associated with artisan perfumery and quality Oudh Oils, Woods and Incenses.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambergris Europe View Post
    I agree, ambergris can be of different colors gray / brown / white, when it is solid, but the texture is still very similar
    When young, it can be black, soft and sticky.
    Here we can see a greasy texture and very friable, that I often meet on the beaches.
    It is very different from ambergris, I invite you to visit for website for more information

    Here is this greasy stuff on the beach

    P_20180303_163525_HDR.jpg
    Thanks a lot.

    The piece of information about storage is more than beneficial:

    "Storage:
    It is important to never store ambergris in a plastic bag or an airtight container, amber needs aeration so that it can evacuate the moisture it contains and avoid mold and contamination that could 'to damage.
    It is advisable to store it in a canvas bag or fabric (cotton), if possible suspended to put it out of reach of animals (dog, rodent) who are fond of it."

  9. #9

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Oh why am I not surprised to see a small company dealing with tradition (read:bullshit) of ambergris and other rare materials immediately gets hostile the instant anyone questions authenticity. I am not going to have the gall to claim outright your ambergris is fake, but your hostility makes obvious there is something going on with your company that is not legitimate.

    I am just repeating myself with this paragraph, but your response is so utterly inane. He man simply asks a question because your piece of biological waste looks different than what he knows it to look like; biological waste that comes in a spectrum of monocolor and can vary vastly depending on the weathering done to said biological waste. You immediately response with a snarky "Why don't you become our new supplier, since your ambergris is so much better". Obviously that is not what he is suggesting or that he even sells the stuff, just that a piece he found on a beach looks different and is looking to someone who you would hope is more educated to tell him why. And instead you reply the way you did. You've just ensured that at least one member of this forum would never purchase product from you. Learn how to conduct yourself on the internet when representing your company.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    That escalated quickly...

  11. #11

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Things do get lost in translation on the internet so I would like to clarify some points in order that you and others who read this thread have the whole picture:

    We visited Claudine's website and facebook- they are ambergris suppliers. Our offer to their network members to become a supplier was genuine, it is common in all industries to seek out and connect with new suppliers on different platforms and we are happy to do so. Since our last post we have already been approached via email from someone offering to supply us ambergris.

    Apart from what I have clarified I am uncertain if there were any other points that you felt were hostile, we are not hostile towards questions regarding our products and we respond to all enquiries with the same level of detail and professionalism.

    As with regards to the legitimacy of our company it is a shame that you would make such comments without ever having dealt with us.
    Al Shareef Oudh the name associated with artisan perfumery and quality Oudh Oils, Woods and Incenses.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    My dealings with al shareef have all been excellent. I have sampled roughly a dozen of their products (oud oil). 100% of them were exactly as advertised.
    Last edited by Mr.P; 2nd May 2019 at 03:21 AM.

  13. #13
    Basenotes Member rivieraduece's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P View Post
    My dealings with al shareef have all been excellent. I have sampled roughly a dozen of their products. 100% of them were exactly as advertised.
    My dealings has been the same and his musk ambergris blend is one of the best ive tried

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    AlshareefOudh is a company, and as such you should be able to withstand a bit of criticism and scrutiny. CutSmut is a personal member and has the right to ask questions and
    express opinions as long as he stays within the code of conduct. He reacted to the tone of your posts and that's allowed, though I personally wish he was less abrupt about it.
    "The cure for boredom is curiosity.
    There is no cure for curiosity."
    - Dorothy Parker

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Respected Ambergris Europe: " I invite you to visit for website for more information."

    Shop is "In Construction" yet. Hope it will be functional soon.

    "• Color
    Unlike some beliefs ambergris is not always gray.
    As for its fragrance, its color is evolutionary, and depends on its origin and its age (maturation).
    The most common colors are black, gray, brown, beige and white.
    A very deep amber of intense black color will lighten over time to become dark gray, then light gray / silver, to become white.
    A dark brown piece will also evolve over time to become light brown, then beige / cream, and finally white.
    It very often forms a fine white crystallization on the surface of the piece (ambrein).
    Yellowish / golden amber is sometimes found in the Pacific or reddish / burgundy, as on the Indian Ocean coast of Madagascar."

    I am looking for guidance regarding the quality.
    Generally it is said that white Ambergris is superior; is it so? How much the colour contributes in determining the quality of chunks? If colour is not the only factor, what are the other factors that are to be considered? Needle test is suggested by all to measure the purity of chunks, is it the only way that leads to the findings? Of course, GCMS is not my priority as I don't send each sample of Oud, Musk, Santal, etc. to a lab for GCMS.

    My personal leanings is towards black and brown, not white. I found white ambergris sweet, sweet and just sweet. Black or grey ambergris infuses very refine animalic and soily aquatic tone into oil.

    Thank you very much.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    I've been around agarwood, oud, and oud oil related fragrant material social platforms and forums for quite some time now and I don't agree with the practice of assessing, grading, authenticating, stating fake or real, etc. of fragrant material based on a picture or video alone, regardless of one's real or claimed expertise in the field. We have other tools beyond our vision to confirm particular parameters of fragrant material and the only thing our vision can allow us to say is, "it looks ....", not make authoritative proclamations that, "it is....". Despite my objection to the practice of "picture assessing", I've witnessed many instances of the common practice on these type social platforms and forums, which makes it something I have to accept as a norm and something the vendors have to accept as one's right to criticise and scrutinize on this open platform.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlshareefOudh View Post
    I do not believe we have dealt with yourself either as a customer or supplier, so i find it somewhat unusual that you as a representative of your company/network would come along and make some assertions purely based on a couple of photos, and you have carried out no tests.
    Jawad, I find it ironic that you as a representative of your company/network, would find the common practice of someone coming along and making assertions on photos without carrying out any further tests unsual, when Al Shareef Oud did so itself when they made the assertion that agarwood used by another vendor was cultivated when the other vendor stated it was wild, and you did so based on picture; no touching, no heating, no smelling, no GCMS, no form of testing.

    In addition to not agreeing with "picture assessing", whether the 'guess' is right or wrong, I do not agree with seemingly duplicitous content that tends to measure things using two differently calibrated rulers. I would link the incident's/conversation's URL, .pdf and/or screenshots but unsure if that violates forum rules and like @CutSmut, I'd never buy a product from you.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    More focus on ambergris, less on past disagreements and character assessment would be good.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Well said, respected Mr. P. Golden rule: Let bygone, be bygone. And we have to keep it in mind too that we ought not to say, write or post that someone has to say: Let bygone, be bygone. After all tone does matter.

    My queries about ambergris

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Rai Munir View Post
    Well said, respected Mr. P. Golden rule: Let bygone, be bygone. And we have to keep it in mind too that we ought not to say, write or post that someone has to say: Let bygone, be bygone. After all tone does matter.

    My queries about ambergris
    I agree. If the discussion does not move forward I am afraid I will have to close the thread.
    "The cure for boredom is curiosity.
    There is no cure for curiosity."
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by furrypine View Post
    I agree. If the discussion does not move forward I am afraid I will have to close the thread.
    I often see demonstrations of laboriously grinding ambergris before tincturing it.
    I just plop a chunk (I once started out with a chunk about the size of an egg) in ethanol (measured in relation to the weight of the sample, of course) and watch it dissolve. I've never had any chunk take longer than overnight. This is all carried out at room temperature.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by James Peterson View Post
    I often see demonstrations of laboriously grinding ambergris before tincturing it.
    I just plop a chunk (I once started out with a chunk about the size of an egg) in ethanol (measured in relation to the weight of the sample, of course) and watch it dissolve. I've never had any chunk take longer than overnight. This is all carried out at room temperature.
    The answer is simple, ethanol is not used in traditional Arabian perfumery

  22. #22

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    My apologies for the delay of my response, my son dropped motorcycle, I did not have much time to myself...
    I will get back to you as soon as possible
    Thanks for your understanding

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by powdernose View Post
    The answer is simple, ethanol is not used in traditional Arabian perfumery
    Not even in the Subcontinental perfumery that is actually attar making. Tincture and perfume don't belong to both the regions

    .

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambergris Europe View Post
    My apologies for the delay of my response, my son dropped motorcycle, I did not have much time to myself...
    I will get back to you as soon as possible
    Thanks for your understanding
    No, no! Please take time. May he be fine and fit!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    I believe the whiter chunks lack the fecal notes and are generally preferable if a mild ambergris effect is desired. The darker stuff is more pungent and more fecal. This is from a few personal observations and mainly reading of texts and articles.

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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Thank you, Mr. P.

    In fact, I never found black and grey ambergris fecal in maceration oils, but aquatic salty. Nor did I found it pungent. While white has always been candy sweet in oils. Though I haven't vast experience regarding white ambergris. I think Mr Tyson used white ambergris, either a hundred years or a thousand years old, in his itr 'Holy'.

    If you have information about 'colour and quality', and about the reasons behind different colours, please share.

    Thank you very much.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    I’ve only smelled a few - some dark gray, one paler. For all I know the specimens I have were atypical. The older whiter one was just pleasant - mild, earthy, mossy, marine. The darker ones have a strange note, kind of like bad breath or fecal but not strong. This note has faded over the last couple of years. I hope to experience more ambergris so I can learn what is really typical for the different shades / grades.

    - - - Updated - - -

    http://lajamjournal.org/index.php/la...wnload/231/183

    This has some good information...

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.P View Post
    I’ve only smelled a few - some dark gray, one paler. For all I know the specimens I have were atypical. The older whiter one was just pleasant - mild, earthy, mossy, marine. The darker ones have a strange note, kind of like bad breath or fecal but not strong. This note has faded over the last couple of years. I hope to experience more ambergris so I can learn what is really typical for the different shades / grades.

    - - - Updated - - -

    http://lajamjournal.org/index.php/la...wnload/231/183

    This has some good information...
    Thank you very much.

    Interesting information about the odours, and then about the colours.
    Last edited by Rai Munir; 4th May 2019 at 10:21 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Ambergris dissolves in oil in the same way it dissolves in ethanol--just stir a chunk around and let it sit for 24 hours or so and the chunk will dissolve in the oil
    Maturing it is a different matter. I normally leave my tinctures in the sun to mature and refine them, but leaving the oil in the sun for too long can cause it to turn rancid. The ambergris, though, after 6 months or so comes right through the oil, rancid or not.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Working with Ambergris and Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by James Peterson View Post
    Ambergris dissolves in oil in the same way it dissolves in ethanol--just stir a chunk around and let it sit for 24 hours or so and the chunk will dissolve in the oil
    Maturing it is a different matter. I normally leave my tinctures in the sun to mature and refine them, but leaving the oil in the sun for too long can cause it to turn rancid. The ambergris, though, after 6 months or so comes right through the oil, rancid or not.
    Not all middle eastern formulas are maceration in oils, some are pastes as is the case with the above. It is for this reason that the ambergris is ground in room temperature than filtered using fine mesh, traditionally silk was used. Then this fine powder is mixed with musk, which is similarly grounded and filtered. Then drops of oil are added to make the compositing into a balm/paste. I hope that answers your query as to why it is grounded.
    Al Shareef Oudh the name associated with artisan perfumery and quality Oudh Oils, Woods and Incenses.




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