This might sound pretty bizarre to you (as it did for us), but whale vomit can in fact turn you into an overnight millionaire. And this is all due to the fact that whale vomit, or also known as Ambergris, is a highly prized ingredient that is coveted in the perfume industry to create musk. Formed from a secretion from the bile duct of a sperm whale, it acquires a sweet, almost earthen scent as it ages over time.
M’sian woman encounters a lump of ‘whale vomit’ while fishing
Historically, Ambergris has been used since the time of the Egyptians as a form of incense according to the Scientific American, and continues to be used as a fragrance compound to extend the longevity of scents. And due to demand and scarcity of supply, whale vomit commands a very high premium, which has known to turn any lucky treasure hunter into a literal overnight millionaire.
And in the case of 41-year-old Aida Zurina Long, she may just in fact be one of those very few lucky people to have stumbled on a cluster of what she believes to be whale vomit. According to NST, Aida had come across the waxy lump when she had been fishing around the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board jetty near Marang with her family.
The sizeable lump, which appears to be in varying shades of brown and amber, had been floating on the surface of the water before she fished it out by using a stick. Not realising its potential value, Aida had in fact left the lump ashore and only proceeded to collect it the day after when she found that it was still there.
Upon bringing it home to show her father, who worked as a fisherman, she was told that the substance could very well in fact be whale vomit and that such a find was considerably rare in the country.
A similar find was reported in Thailand in September of this year, when fisherman Narong Phetcharaj found a lump of Ambergris that weighed a whopping 30kg. According to SCMP, his find could be worth more than USD $1 million (RM 4,232,500.00).
Until it has been tested, its true value remains unknown
However, it is important to note that before any valuation can be made, the authenticity of the Ambergris needs to first be ascertained. Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Centre of Research Field Service (PPPL) director Associate Professor Dr Hasrizal Shaari told BERNAMA that contrary to popular belief, not all Ambergris finds will make one an instant millionaire. In fact, no Malaysians have ever been reported to have become rich after making a discover of Ambergris.
“In line with its very high price in the market, the purity of Ambergris has to go through a complex laboratory analysis and has to be referred to a specific standard.” he said.
In order for a lump of Ambergris to have any value at all, it needs to first contain three active components, namely amber (25% to 45% percent), epicoprosterol (30% to 40%), and coprostanone (3% to 4%). Otherwise, the Ambergris could in fact just contain fat and be worthless.
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