Up to R$7 million: Why is ‘vomiting’ of sperm whales worth so much?

A Thai fisherman hit the jackpot this week. He didn’t win the lottery, but it’s like he did: he found a piece of the so-called “whale vomit” weighing around 30 kg, which could be worth up to R$7 million. The news spread around the world and aroused curiosity: why is this material so valuable?

Remember: Fisherman finds 30 kg of ‘whale vomit’ and can earn up to R$7.5 million

His technical name is ambergris, or ambergris. This fatty material found in whale intestines is considered a rare and very valuable raw material in the world of perfumery. It is a luxury item, which has been used throughout history as a medicine and aphrodisiac.

This substance, which when dry gains a peculiar sweet and earthy odor, is formed in the intestine of the sperm whale, the only species that produces the material in relevant quantity.

Ambergris was also known as “floating gold” since ancient peoples who inhabited coastal areas, but ignored its origin. It was considered a mysterious product and therefore it was believed to have healing, aphrodisiac and even magical properties.

In recent times, the item has been used as a spice and also as a potent fixative by industrial perfumery. One of the perfumes that uses ambergris in its composition is the French Chanel Nº 5.

Currently, high-quality ambergris sells for up to US$25 per gram (the equivalent of R$140).