American Oceans

What is Ambergris?

The digestive system of sperm whales produces ambergris, a waxy material. Usually, it can be found on the shore or floating in the water.


It is employed in perfumery as a fixative to extend the freshness of other smells. Additionally thought to possess therapeutic qualities, ambergris is a substance used in conventional Chinese medicine.

It is regarded as a precious substance and is occasionally referred to as “floating gold” or “whale vomit.

Is ambergris whale poop?

Ambergris is a result of sperm whales’ digestive process, not whale dung. In the form of a waxy material, it is expelled after being created in the whale’s intestines.

large sperm whale

According to popular belief, ambergris forms around objects that whale stomach acid cannot digest, such as squid beaks.

Ambergris can be rough and flaky or smooth and waxy, and it is often seen floating in the ocean or washing up on the shore. Its distinctive, earthy, musky scent is highly prized in the perfume industry.

Whale excrement, commonly referred to as whale scat, is dark brown to black in appearance and is typically discovered in the water.

Whale excrement, unlike ambergris, have little commercial value and are not used to make perfumes or other items.

Why is ambergris so valuable?

Because it is valuable and in high demand in the perfume industry, ambergris is scarce. It serves as a fixative, enhancing and preserving the aroma of other perfumes.


Ambergris is used in perfumes to give them a distinctive scent that adds complexity and depth. It also commands a high price because it is seen as a luxury item.

Since it is a sperm whale byproduct and is banned to collect in the majority of nations due to the need to hunt endangered sperm whales, it is precious as well.

Ambergris may be highly pricey due to its scarcity and great demand, with prices occasionally reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars per pound.

Can you eat ambergris?

Ambergris is formed in the sperm whale’s digestive system and is said to include pollutants and dangerous microorganisms, hence it is not thought to be safe for human ingestion.

do not eat ambergris

The chemical is frequently discovered floating in the water as well, where it may have been exposed to contaminants or other dangerous elements.

There have been some stories of people using it as a food seasoning, but it is not advised because there is not enough data to say whether eating it is safe and because it is unlawful to harvest in the majority of nations.

Ambergris should normally be handled with caution and kept out of the mouth. To accurately identify ambergris, it is best to speak with a local authority or a marine biologist.

Why ambergris is prohibited?

Due to the fact that sperm whales, an endangered species covered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, create ambergris, it is forbidden in many nations (CITES).

dead sperm whale

Many nations forbid the killing of sperm whales for food or other purposes, as well as the trading in goods derived from them.

A lot of nations also forbid the trading in goods made from endangered animals, which would include ambergris.

It is vital to remember that, unless you are a researcher or a marine biologist with the necessary permits, it is unlawful to import, export, or sell ambergris. Possession of the substance may also be prohibited.

Is ambergris worth more than gold?

Ambergris can be quite expensive, with prices per pound occasionally reaching the hundreds or even the tens of thousands of dollars. It isn’t often thought to be more valuable than gold, though. Age, quality, and rarity are a few variables that affect ambergris’ value.

Gold bullion

The global gold market sets the price of gold and is impacted by variables like supply and demand, the state of the economy, and political unrest.

The value of ambergris can vary significantly depending on the availability of high-quality specimens, whereas gold is a frequently traded commodity and its price is generally consistent.

The consensus is that gold is a more secure and reliable investment than ambergris.

Ambergris, on the other hand, can be regarded as a priceless and sought-after substance for those in the perfume industry or those interested in unusual and distinctive things.

Do perfume companies still use ambergris?

Although ambergris has been used in perfumery for millennia, recent years have seen a decline in its use. It is regarded as a valuable and rare element, however due to its scarcity and expensive price, many perfumers are searching for substitutes.

Perfume factory

Additionally, it is challenging for businesses to obtain the legal ambergris because sperm whale hunting and harvesting are prohibited in many nations, and the trade in products made from them is subject to strict regulations.

The majority of fragrance companies now utilize synthetic or plant-based ambergris substitutes because they can mimic its distinctive aroma profile without posing any moral or legal risks.

It is significant to note that not all scents contain ambergris, and that perfumeries rarely employ it.

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