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Thai man holding large chunk of ambergris.
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Lucky fisherman finds blob of whale poop worth $3.2 million

PortandTerminal.com, December 1, 2020

BANGKOK –  A lucky Thai fisherman has found what is believed to be the world’s biggest blob of Ambergris, a fancy word for whale poop, worth an estimated $3.2 million. The chunk he found weighed almost 220 lbs, conceivably making it one of the greatest deposits of the whale secretion that has ever been discovered.


Bottle of perfume.
Some high-end perfumes such as Channel No. 5 still use ambergris as part of their ingredients

Natural ambergris, which is one of the most valuable raw materials in the perfume, comes from sperm whale poo. And while the smell of it has been described as “a cross between squid and farmyard manure”, it does make some of the world’s most expensive perfumes smell great which is why it is so highly prized.

While not many, some high-end perfumes still use ambergris for the active chemical it contains called ambrien, which suspends smells in the air, and for its own unique scent. Instead of using real ambergris there is now a synthetic substitute called ambroxan that is used instead in most of the less-expensive perfumes. For the connoisseurs with deep pockets though, only real sperm whale poo will do.

How do whales form Ambergris?

Hands holding piece of ambergris
In this small piece of ambergris, you can see a piece of squid beak underneath the thumb of the person holding it.

Scientists think a waxy substance is secreted in the whale’s stomach to help them bind together objects like squid beaks and other food items that they can’t digest. Once the sharp bits are covered in the waxy substance the whales are then able to pass those objects through their intestines without causing damage.

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