Sunday, January 21, 2007
Ambergris by any other name is still whale puke
Well, actually ambergris is Sperm whale puke. It's this fatty substance that upchucked from a Sperm whale's intestine when they are trying to get rid of an irritant they've ingested. Squid beaks are apparently the most common irritant found in Sperm whale puke (I'd suggest going easy on the calamari at parties if you are a Sperm whale).
For some inexplicable reason, ambergris has been used as a fixative in expensive perfumes. It helps keep scents from fading quickly. And even more inexplicably was a fad during the Renaissance to craft jewellery out of ambergris.
Did I mention that this is Sperm whale puke we are talking about? Who was the first person to think up the possible uses for Sperm whale puke? More importantly, why?
The weird thing is that abergris is worth a small fortune. If you find a chunk of it while you are beachcombing you are talking major bucks if you recognize it as ambergris and not just a chunk of gunk with squid beaks sticking out. Depending on the quality of the ambergis you find, is worth about $20 a gram. That's premium puke.
This proves to me that people will buy anything (which is why eBay is so successful). I'm seriously thinking of going out an find me a Sperm whale and sticking my finger down its throat.