Know that wonderful fragrance you smell in the spa, your candles, and perfumes…guess what? It could quite possibly be made from whale vomit!
Better known as “ambergris”, this waxy substance formed in the stomach of a sperm whale. It protects the lining of the stomach from sharp “foods,” like seashells and large squids, and when indigestion hits, the whale vomits it up.
Even though it probably smells rank when excreted it turns into a sweet-smelling rock that washes up on the beach, slowly over time and as such is used as a key ingredient in some of the best-smelling, high-end perfumes that are sold in department stores, spa products, beauty products, etc.
Because it is very hard to come by, however, ambergris is expensive stuff (roughly about $20 per gram)!
The good news is that a new natural substitute has become available. According to Joerg Bohlmann, a professor at the University of British Columbia, “We’ve now discovered that a gene from balsam fir is much more efficient at producing such natural compounds, which could make production of this bio-product less expensive and more sustainable.”
…And honestly, I don’t know about you, but I’d much more prefer a plant extract over something secreeted from the bowls of a whale any day!;)