Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
A Rose by any other name....
To some people, it's just whale puke, to others, it's known as the rare and valuable substance called ambergris.

An 82 year old woman received a Xmas gift from her 80 year old sister in Iowa.
"I called my sister and asked her, 'What the heck did you send me?'" recalled Ms. Ferreira, 67, who has lived here on the eastern tip of Long Island since 1982. "She said: 'I don’t know, but I found it on the beach in Montauk 50 years ago and just kept it around. You're the one who lives by the ocean; ask someone out there what it is.'"
If it is indeed ambergris - it could be worth $18,000.
Ambergris has been a valued commodity for centuries, used in perfume because of its strangely alluring aroma as well as its ability to retain other fine-fragrance ingredients and "fix" a scent so it does not evaporate quickly. Its name is derived from the French "ambre gris," or gray amber. During the Renaissance, ambergris was molded, dried, decorated and worn as jewelry. It has been an aphrodisiac, a restorative balm, and a spice for food and wine. Arabs used it as heart and brain medicine. The Chinese called it lung sien hiang, or "dragon's spittle fragrance." It has been the object of high-seas treachery and caused countries to enact maritime possession laws and laws banning whale hunting. Madame du Barry supposedly washed herself with it to make herself irresistible to Louis XV.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:46 AM  
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