Quick Reference

Is a grey, light waxy, rather malodorous substance occasionally found floating in tropical seas in blackish lumps varying in weight from a few grams to a hundred kilograms. Each lump consists of concentric opaque waxy layers with colours ranging from grey to brownish yellow. Ambergris is probably regurgitated by sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus); in the days of whaling it was found in the guts of slaughtered whales. It commands a high price, being used in perfumes and also dissolved in hot alcohol, in expensive cocktails. See also marine pharmaceuticals.


M. V. Angel

Subjects: Maritime History.

Reference entries