This is ambergris. It is a waxlike substance originating as a morbid concretion
in the intestine of the sperm whale. Lighter than water, it is found floating on
tropical seas or cast up on the shore in yellow, gray, black, or variegated masses,
usually a few ounces in weight, though pieces weighing several hundred pounds
have been found. Ambergris has been greatly valued from earliest times.
It is now used as a fixative in perfumes. It has the unique ability
to absorb and “set” certain odors which makes it of particular value
in the perfume industry.
Ambergris has a very typical scent, animally but of great sweetness
that seduces particularly feminine noses, who instinctively recognize
the odour that will attract males. In fact, Ambergris,
like all aromatic substances of animal origin, is a pheromone and
acts directly on the hormonal system through the sense of smell,
without physical contact.
In the past Ambergris was eaten and burnt like incense and strangely,
being of origin animal, Ambergris burns making a pleasant smell.
Through inhalation, the body absorbs the aromatic molecule of Ambergris
carried by the smoke, and they penetrate in the blood circuit reaching
all the organs. In fumigations as well as by ingestion, the medical effect
of these Ambergris pheromones is comparable to a modern estrogen cure.
Courtesy of http://www.profumo.it