When two men and a dog, this isn’t a joke, happened upon £500,000 worth of ambergris last month on a beach in North Wales, they probably couldn’t believe their luck. The majority of people would have walked on by, not knowing what they were looking at.
Ambergris or whale vomit, is a very expensive ingredient in the manufacture of perfume. Known as "floating gold", because of its high value, it comes out almost clear and turns darker over time. It is rarely found on British beaches, usually being washed up in America and Australia.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, ambergris was used in quantity in scent and food, for its smell. However, as the 20th century progressed, it was used a lot less – mainly for structure in a fragrance to add depth and richness. In the 1950's, Ambroxane was created to replace the need for the real thing – this is a very expensive man-made molecule that is listed in the ingredients of a lot of great scents.
Left - Thom Browne's SS 13 Whale Print
The 110lbs, the two men found, is currently being analysed for its quality and value. No doubt the top perfume manufacturers will be lining up if it’s to the standard they require.
To celebrate this amazing find, we thought we’d share our favourite male scents that contain ambergris;
Aventus - Perfumer Olivier Creed still uses ambergris in small quantities for its ability to add depth to a scent. But, it has to be the best ambergris for Olivier to use it and ethically sourced. He likens ambergris to truffles “You would not put truffles in everything or use too much of them either.”
Aventus by Creed features top notes of blackcurrant blends, with bergamot from Italy, whilst Calville Blanc apples mingle expertly with fruity pineapple.The middle notes burst with roses, blooming amid dense birch. Jasmine blossom and patchouli combine to add to this woody but heady centre. At the base is oak moss and ambergris and a light touch of vanilla.
Creed – Aventus – 75ml - £152
Eight & Bob - This fragrance has a great story - Click here
A citrus and ginger top morphs into cedar and gualacum wood on a base of patchouli, ambergris and vanilla. The special ingredient is "Andrea", an aromatic plant from the Andes that can only be picked during the months of December and January.
100ml - £125
Juniper Sling - This deco unisex fragrance is an homage to the Bright Young Things of the Roaring Twenties.
The juniper berry puts the gin into the sling, on a base of brown sugar, black cherry and ambroxane - synthetic ambergris.
Penhaligon's - 50ml Juniper Sling - £78
APOM Pour Homme - Ambergris gives orange blossom, cedar wood and amber the rich depth in this fragrance that was inspired by Kurdjian's journey to Lebanon. It quickly becomes 'A Piece of Me' - APOM.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian - APOM Pour Homme 70ml - £105