Friday, October 19, 2012

Whale Barf, Perfume, and Biotechnology

4 comments:

Unknown said...

Brilliant work! Thank you for the video describing the technology involved in creating fragrance materials. It's truly amazing & I applaud you!!!!

Chris Bartlett said...

Good stuff - I think I saw you present on this in another forum too. I like the straightforward descriptions of the way things work very much and I'm excited about the technology you are working on.

I need to take issue with a couple of points though:

First and most important, natural ambergris isn't produced by whales vomiting: Sperm whales (the only kind that produce ambergris) certainly do vomit, but there isn't any ambergris in it. Ambergris only forms when some of those sharp cuttlebones and beaks get into the lower part of the digestive system: so it gets out either when the whale dies or, more often, when it defecates: ambergris is part of the whales poo.

Second very little natural ambergris is now use by the big perfume houses: for reasons of consistency all mass-produced fragrances are made using the synthetic substitute -(-)Ambroxide or a mixed isomer version, though as you say that is almost as expensive.

Wishing you the very best with your project.

Kathleen Hamilton said...

Ambergris is pronounced "amber-gree."

The word "gris" is French for "gray."

Kathleen Hamilton said...

Ambergris is pronounced "amber-gree."

The word "gris" is French for "gray."