What does ambergris look like?

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16 Responses to “What does ambergris look like?”

  1. splinttrepidation says:

    The Museum of Natural History in Cleveland recently had a whale exhibit come through and they had a big chunk of ambergris in a box on display. On top of the box was a lid you could lift to reveal some holes drilled allowing you to smell the ambergris. To me, it smelled just like a cigar! It was really cool. 

    Here’s the exhibit, it’s in NY now: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/exhibitions/whales/

  2. jpgsawyer says:

    Yes its odd stuff indeed. Never quite figured out why various 17th Century high status types liked it grated on their eggs though. Reactions I have seen from trying this recipe range from meh to projectile spitting of the said eggs across the kitchen!

    My guess is it was a conspicuous consumption thing.

  3. anon0mouse says:

    Google Image Search has a what? …???… Oh, yes.  It has a plethora.

  4. Jamie Kelly says:

    Precious hamburgers?

  5. edgore says:

    Just imagine the Muse you could enslave with a bezoar like that!

  6. From that story on the dead whale:  “…experts from France have examined the ambergris for Ecomare and based upon the quality, have estimated its value to be a few tons.”

    Value in “tons”? Is that like 2,240 GBP?

    BTW, not sure BoingBoing should be linking to that awful site. CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com has a horrible anti-sharing popup when you attempt to copy any text.

  7. crankbunny says:

    Weird – I was looking up the meaning of this word just yesterday because it is found in the lyrics for Rush’s “The Fountain of Lamneth”. 

  8. Michael Polo says:

    I was just reading a Patrick O’Brian book, and it makes mention of ambergris, thanks for the info Maggie! 

  9. Marzi Pecen says:

    I have smelled chunks of genuine ambergris on a couple of occasions.  When you look at it, that last thing you want to do is take a good sniff of it.  The aroma, however, is indescribably beautiful & a little goes a long way. While it was originally used in perfumery as a fixative, it evolved into a component to add depth to fragrances.  Many fragrance companies will not use it or any other animal products (civit, musk) so synthetic substitutes have been formulated to varying degrees of success. 

  10. chris kemp says:

    There’s a lot of misinformation in this short article. It pains me to read it. I suggest that anyone who reads it and still has questions should read my book on the natural history of ambergris, which was published last year: http://www.amazon.com/Floating-Gold-Natural-Unnatural-Ambergris/dp/0226430367/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334155547&sr=8-1

  11. wjcarpenter says:

    Obligatory mention of chapters from “Moby Dick”, specifically, Chapter xci,
    THE PEQUOD MEETS THE ROSE-BUD, and Chapter xcii, AMBERGRIS.

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