Monday, April 9, 2012

The Conference Elevator, Stinky Women and Ambergris

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Today’s Blog Post
The Conference Elevator, Stinky Women and Ambergris

Now that the title of this posting has your attention, I need to explain.

I am not a perfume person. Most of it makes me sneeze almost immediately when I smell it. Walking through the main entrance of most Sears stores (or other large chain Department stores) chokes me up. Within a few minutes I can hardly breathe! YEP there are allergies in me and reactions to things like perfume are big!

Now to the elevator at Conferences…
Throughout my working career I have attended conferences everywhere. In the church work and in the volunteer sector of the community there have been many opportunities to do “conferencing”.

At every conference there is a ‘dress up’ time. Usually it is a banquet or a special collecting of all conference attendees. At this connecting place men and women bring along their spouse. The spouse and the conference will get all dressed up and “stunk up” to impress – someone… but I have no idea who!

Ladies, and sometimes men, at a conference are usually perfumed up – covering their own smell for some reason… or likely trying to impress someone with the expensive perfume they bought… even though it smells like a rotting flower to a bug nearby.

But this week I found out one of the reasons that I hate perfume and so should everyone else. It makes perfect sense to me.

A desirable and expensive part of perfume is made up of Whale Vomit and or Whale Sh*t. No kidding! Here is my proof.

A key ingredient of expensive perfumes is made up of Ambergris. And natural Ambergris is made in only one place, the guts of a Sperm Whale.

When a Sperm Whale eats something that is sharp, hard, and not easily passed through his intestinal tract, a slime called Ambergris is produced and it encases the solid and indigestible hard stuff he swallowed.

If the whale swallowed chunks of clam shells the shells are encased with Ambergris and then pooped out. If the hard stuff is too big – like the beaks of a giant squid and cannot be expelled by way of the rear orifice, it is expelled from the stomach as vomit… and fired out to waiting ocean… where both the poop and vomit bob away until it lands on a breach somewhere. On the beach or in the water it is retrieved by Ambergris collectors that sell it to companies that want this “crap” – to make “crap” that women (and men) will wear.

Eweeeee! That is gross!!! Yep. If that is your reaction to what I have written maybe you will stop using so much of this “crap” and choking the rest of us up.

In the last two churches that I was the pastor of, we set up sections where people with allergies to perfume could sit in without discomfort. A place where they could breathe and stay safe. There would be no stuff with whale vomit or whale crap in that area.

Now to be accurate and not bring down the wrath of the brilliant and know more that anyone else kind of people – this whale stuff doesn’t really smell when it is rendered down.

The contributors to Wikipedia state – quote…
"Ambergris /ˈæmbəɡriːs/, Latin: Ambra grisea, Ambre gris, ambergrease or grey amber) is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of and regurgitated or secreted by sperm whales.

Freshly produced ambergris has a marine, fecal odor. However, as it ages, it acquires a sweet, earthy scent commonly likened to the fragrance of rubbing alcohol without the vaporous chemical astringency. The principal historical use of ambergris was as a fixative in perfumery, though it has now been largely displaced by synthetics.” End quote.

So we learn of what it kind of smells like at different stages… oh boy! And we learn that it helps hold the smell of whatever else is added to it to your body.

It makes perfume last longer on you so you can stink going one on the elevator and also the on the return trip.

As I study more about the history of perfume most of it was made to cover the smell of bodies that only bathed once a year.

Now here some really good stuff to collect in that part of your mind that needs something to talk about in the coffee shop this week.

For a really good description you need to look at

Not only is the vomit/crap of whale used in perfume the following is true as well… tidbits for talk…
Heston Blumenthal used ambergris as an ingredient in cucumber jelly created for the Channel 4 television programme Heston's Christmas Feast in December 2009.

Eggs and ambergris was reportedly Charles II's favourite dish.

In Chapter 91 of Moby Dick, Stubb, one of the mates of the Pequod (captained by Ahab), cons the captain of a French whaler (Rose-bud) into abandoning the corpse of a sperm whale found floating in the sea. His plan is to recover the corpse himself in hopes that it contains ambergris. His hope proves well-founded, and the Pequod's crew recovers a valuable quantity of the substance. Melville devotes the following chapter to a discussion of ambergris, with special attention to the irony that "fine ladies and gentlemen should regale themselves with an essence found in the inglorious bowels of a sick whale."

In the movie Hannibal, the presence of Ambergris in a perfume Hannibal Lecter has used on a letter to Clarice Starling, is detected by perfume engineers consulted by the FBI. This evidence helps narrow the search for Hannibal down, eventually to Florence.

Finally – the story that I read that and that led me to knowing more about Ambergris came from the fact that Scientists have discovered that something from a Balsam Fir Tree can replace the vomit of whales. Some how they found out that this something special from a Fir Tree can do the same job.

Duh! It took a Scientist all this time to figure that out!!! Every boy knows that if you climb a Fir Tree – stuff sticks to your clothes and your mamma will be upset big time!

What has this world come to!??? Now go for coffee and tell them what you learned new today!

~ Murray Lincoln ~ 


1 comment:

AbdesSalaam Attar said...

Dear mr Murray, the ambergris picture that you have published is mine,
If you want to keep it on your blog, please put a link to our page where the photo belongs.
Dominique Dubrana