By Anupum Pant
It is yellow/gray, smells really bad and can make you rich [image]. Ambergris, or commonly known as whale vomit is a waxy, hard, flammable substance that sells for several thousand dollars a pound. Although it is known as whale vomit, it is usually excreted (not vomited) by the sperm whale. It is formed by the lumping of Bilary Secretions in a whale. They can’t be digested and are often excreted by whales. These lumps can float for years and might get washed to the beach or are found in whale abdomen.
A fresh lump would be black and slowly a lighter colored coating forms on it with age. Generally, lighter colored pieces have a sweeter smell because they have cured in the ocean for a longer time.
What makes it so costly?
Firstly, it is rare to find a lump of Ambergris. Secondly, as this substance ages, it leaves the stink and starts emitting a sweet, musky odor. Not all people like this smell. Other than its unique scent, the perfumes made of this substance last much longer than other scents that tend to evaporate. Both these reasons make it a substance in high demand.
Although the scent can be mimicked by using chemicals, there is nothing like using the real substance. Thus, whale vomit will always carry a premium price.
This year, Ken Wilman, while walking his dog on the beach, spotted a 6 lb lump of whale vomit that turned out to be worth £100,000.
Note to self: So, the next time you are going out for a walk on the beach, take your dog with you. And go on walks more often.