Ambergris comes from the Sperm whale. Sperm whales are the largest toothed whales, and perhaps the most abundant of the great whales, but we rarely get to study them because they spend 90% of their lives down deep where they can't be seen. Squid is a staple part of the Sperm whale diet.

It is thought that Ambergris is formed as a result of squid beaks irritating the lining of the whales stomach. As a reaction to the irritation of the squid beaks, the whale produces in its intestines a cholesterol derivative which has come to be called Ambergris. First discovered in ancient times as a substance of unknown origin which would wash ashore, it wasn't until the whaling era that the true source of the material was found.

These days Ambergris is used in perfumes as a fixative, for medicinal purposes, as an aphrodisiac and to enhance the flavours of food and wine. It is also used in incense. It comes in many shapes and colours, but is most often white, grey, black or brown in colour or a mixture of these. When black, the texture may be soft and sticky but most often it is hard, and sometimes has a powdery white coating.