Ambergris again and again

In an earlier entry, I made a mistake. I described the Medicine Flower “ambergris” as being ambergris when in fact, I think it’s civet. I emailed them and said that perhaps it had been mislabeled since it seemed to be civet. They denied selling civet (which is true) and reminded me that I had ordered the “ambergris” before with no problem. They’re right about that. It took me being away for a while and getting a little objectivity before I realized the civet thing. In any case, whatever it is, I tinctured it and have it maturing in the refrigerator. Whether it’s civet or not, I don’t know, but it does tincture nicely and I would use it as civet. It may, in fact, end up being a good source. It is, however, expensive.

            My obsession with ambergris has inspired me to make an ambergris perfume that contains real ambergris and not just a token amount—an amount that will make a real difference.

            Since each ball of ambergris seems to have a different character, I like to blend them. Brown ambergris creates a funkier (and I think more persistent) aroma than white. White ambergris has that classic isopropanol thing going on. It’s beautiful and opens the perfume with this rubbing alcohol note—but this rubbing alcohol is to rubbing alcohol in a bottle what dried cod is to beluga.

            Phase one of the ambergris perfume is to gather every ingredient, synthetic or natural, that reminds me of the sea in some way. White and brown ambergris tinctures will both be used to create the right balance. Other things such as seaweed absolute, helional, ambroxan, mushroom absolute, and dozens of weird ocean things.

            My morning subway ride is my daily reminder of what people are wearing out there and I smell a lot of ambroxan. People want the smell of ambergris and that slightly off animal smell.