Rare Ambergris Was Found by a Fisherman, Worth up to 2.4 Million Pounds


On November 30, The Sun reported that a Thai fisherman found a piece of "whale vomit" - Ambergris washed ashore on the beach, which weighs 220 pounds (100kg), worth approximately 2.4 million pounds (RMB 21 million).

Ambergris, musk, civet, and castoreum are called the four fauna fragrances. Ambergris is considered as a “marine treasure” and “floating gold”. It is also called dragon belly fragrance (also known as "grey amber" in the West). Ambergris is gray or black, solid, and combustible waxy substance with unique sweet earthy fragrance (similar to isopropanol’s smell). Ambergris is sperm whales’ dry intestinal secretions. Some sperm whales vomit or excrete it out, and only a small quantity of sperm whales keep it in their bodies. Ambergris discharged into the sea is light black at first. Due to the sea water’s action, it gradually turns to gray, light gray, and finally white. Since the beginning of this century, ambergris has been made into tincture for perfumes.

Ambergris was first discovered in ancient China. In the Han Dynasty, fishermen caught some off-white and fragrant waxy drifts in the sea. This is the finished ambergris that has undergone natural denaturation over years, ranging from a few kilograms to dozens of kilograms with strong fishy smell, but long-lasting fragrance after drying. It is even more scented than musk when lit. Some local officials contributed it to the emperor as a treasure, which was used as fragrance or medicine in the palace.

In 1985, the International Whaling Commission signed a memorandum prohibiting commercial whaling to protect this species, leading to increasingly rare ambergris source. Ambergris’ main components and the corresponding structure-activity relationship were researched, and it was found that the ambroxide, a substitute of natural ambergris, could be obtained from sclareol extracted from clary sage after sclareol’s oxidation, reduction, and cyclization.


China has rich clary sage plant resources, and clary sage can be artificially cultivated. App-Chem possesses resource advantages and technical reserves in the industry chain of clary sage - sclareol - sclareolide - ambroxide, and its products are used in perfume and tobacco industries.