Whale-free perfume

Tree gene trick is good news for people who like perfume made without sperm whale waste

By Stephen Ornes, 15:17 PM July 9, 2012

Expensive perfumes come in tiny bottles, but many hide a whale-sized secret.

To perfect a particular smell, perfume makers often use an ingredient that comes from sperm whales with upset tummies. The whale waste, called ambergris, is solid and greasy on its own. But in perfume, ambergris holds all the smelly ingredients together for a long time. People describe its smell as “earthy” and “sweet.”

When a sperm whale eats something sharp, like a cuttlefish beak or fish bones, ambergris coat...

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