Fragrance Notes

Ambergris Scent in Perfumery

What Is Ambergris?

Ambergris is a grayish, waxy, sticky material that is the by-product of sperm whales. It floats to the surface of beaches that have a high sperm whale population. It is extremely valuable as natural supplies are erratic by nature and because it cannot be cultivated. As you can imagine, trade has been restricted by most countries in order to deter the exploitation of sperm whales.  Along with other modern, sustainable brands, Phlur has chosen to use a synthetic variation of ambergris in any fragrance oils we develop.  The synthetic Ambroxan is now commonly used to provide the same musky-marine, sweet, and earthy aroma.


Ambergris is rarely used in modern day perfumery due to both its scarcity and regulations supporting the protection of the sperm whale population. It is now developed synthetically, most frequently in the form of Ambroxan.  It was first introduced into perfumery because of its unique animal notes and since it is a strong fixative in fragrances. Modern day variations are a bit more earthy and sweet.


Ambergris was commonly used as a fixative in perfumery. Fixatives increase the tenacity of fragrances. In the past, Ambergris was generally used as a base note in fragrances and could elevate other olfactory notes that it was paired with. 

Ingredient Type:

Ambergris itself is a natural raw material derived from whale sperm, but Phlur and other modern day perfumeries now use Ambroxan as a synthetically produced replacement. Ambroxan is a sustainable substitute for ambergris that emits a similar woody-ambery odor with a delicate animal tonality.

What Does Ambergris Smell Like?

Ambergris has a woody, ambery, sweet-earthy, and musky-marine scent profile. It has similar scent qualities to sandalwood and tobacco.

What Fragrance Family is Ambergris in?

Both Ambergris and Ambroxan belong to the Amber Fragrance Family.

Phlur Perfumes Containing Ambergris:

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