Do you smell a whale?

Whale, you’ll never believe what makes certain perfumes and colognes smell so good. A rare, waxy material called ambergris known as “floating gold,” it’s something of a treasure in the fragrance industry. Ambergris can elevate the scents and notes of a perfume or cologne. “It’s an extremely valuable substance that’s known for its unique scent and fixative qualities,” November Nichols, perfumer and owner of Chémin. “It enhances the longevity and depth of the fragrances that it’s added to.” Ambergris is produced in the digestive system of sperm whales, the largest toothed predator which have long been listed as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. In other words, ambergris is whale vomit or other excretia.

“Ambergris is produced to protect the whale’s gut from sharp objects and, over time, is expelled and can be found floating in the ocean or washed ashore,” Nichols explained. The coveted material is credited with making a perfume’s scent last longer, and its rarity makes it so expensive that it’s typically only found in higher-end, luxurious fragrances. Harvesting ambergris is generally considered an ethical practice since it’s collected after it has naturally exited the whale’s body, with no contact or harm to the living animal. However, due to the endangered status of the sperm whale, there are regulations around the trade of ambergris.

Harvesting ambergris is typically considered an ethical practice since it’s only collected after it has naturally exited the whale’s body. A lump believed to be worth over $250,000 was found inside a sperm whale after it became stranded on Nogales Beach in La Palma, Canary Islands, in May 2023. The nearly 20-pound chunk of ambergris caused chronic obstructive inflammation in the animal’s colon, according to experts. A few months later, a fisherman’s dog discovered a “disgusting” blob on a beach in Scotland — which might have been a highly valuable chunk of whale vomit. Ambergris is a waxy, solid, and flammable substance. According to the Natural History Museum, ambergris is among the strangest natural occurrences and it has been used for centuries. Fossilized evidence of the ambergris dates back 1.75 million years. It is theorized humans have been using this substance for over 1000 years. When freshly released, ambergris doesn’t have a nice scent. It has a fecal odor. Later, the substance develops a pleasantly sweet, musky, earthy scent when it dries out. Dogs are fond of the smell of this substance, which is why ambergris hunters tend to use canines when looking for it. Perfumes with ambergris have a rich and unique scent.

“In some countries, it is illegal to trade or possess ambergris,” Nichols said. It is illegal to kill sperm whales almost anywhere on the planet — and some countries have made the possession and trade of ambergris illegal to reduce potential harm to the population. Before the whaling industry took off, there were about 1.1 million sperm whales. Now, there are just about 300,000 left. All colors of ambergris are produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. Scientists are still unsure of the exact origin of ambergris, but it is commonly believed that it is formed when the whales eat irritants, such as a beak, and produce a slippery substance to protect their digestive organs from the offending particles, according to National Geographic. Due to the scarcity of the whale vomit, a gram (the weight of a mosquito) is worth around $27 — and a pound could be worth over $10,000.

Perfumed puns

A teenage girl shopped at the mall and stopped at the perfume counter. She sees, “My Sin”, “Desire”, and “Ecstasy”. She says to the salesperson, “I just want to smell nice.”  “I don’t want to get emotionally involved.”  

A guy asked a beautiful lady sitting next to him, “Nice perfume, which one is it? I want to give it to my wife!”
Lady: “Don’t give her. Some idiot will find an excuse to talk to her!”

I heard researchers developed a mind control perfume….
It makes a lot of scents when you think about it.

I hope you like the new perfume I am wearing tonight. It is called “tester.” 

January 30th Birthdays

1995 – Danielle Campbell, 1998 – Jordana Beatty, 1990 – Elza Gonzalez, 1937 – Vanessa Redgrave

1882 – Franklin Roosevelt, 1951 – Phil Collins, 1930 – Gene Hackman, 1974 – Christian Bail

Morning Motivator: