Some new books on ambergris and incense.

If you are at all interested in ambergris you should check out the newly published book “Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris” by Christopher Kemp. Not only does it contain lots of solid information on the subject but it also comes with a great story and lots of humor. It mentions some suppliers, among them the people I buy from “”. They are very helpful and as much as possible will attempt to send you the colors or scent profiles you ask for. Buying ambergris can be a real gamble, if you look up on EBay there are always people selling ambergris and musk, most of which is fake ( there is a great picture up there lately featuring a “sack” covered in what looks to be perfect designer styled animal hair, blond no less. The “grains” that are shown as musk look a lot like charcoal and the seller is asking hundreds of dollars for this. The same thing happens with ambergris so buyers beware.

Also Carl Neal has a new book out called “Incense Magick”. Carl is probably more responsible for the upsurge in home made and hand made incense then any other person I can think of. His first book, “Incense” was a real eye opener for many of us. These are great books to get one into blending and using incenses. It will also give you a greater appreciation for incense and the materials that go into it. Carl’s approach to incense is firmly based in using natural ingredients and in making scents that appeal to you and does this in a very straight forward manner, he is a very good writer. There is also a wealth of incense burning ideas and techniques in the new book.

As in any craft or art form the quality of the materials you use plays a big part in the finished product. I will be setting up a section in the left margin of this blog for suppliers, both incense and perfume materials (because they really do go hand in hand). Stay tuned.

Happy reading -Ross



  1. Carl Neal said,

    July 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I might be a little late to the party, but I would like to echo Chris’s comments – thank you so much for the kind words about my work. I would also be very happy to contribute to your webiste or readers in any way possible.

    Chris, I haven’t read your new book yet, but it is moving to the top of my list!


    • July 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      Hey Carl
      You are always welcome to the party no matter when you show up 🙂

  2. gayle said,

    May 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Thanks so much Ross for being so kind as to give those of us who are still learning a heads up with these new great books and a hand up with a list of suppliers who you deem are worthy of the pricey scent treasures they have for sale. xxxooo, gayle

  3. greggking said,

    May 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Since purchasing the real thing of both the above mentioned items, along with my usual monthy alotment of agarwood, etc. has left my wallet empty, I will have to wait a few weeks to purchase this Ross, but if you say it’s worthy, then I’ll have to forgo something, maybe the Ramen noodles 🙂

    • May 12, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Since I am also at that point this month already I am thinking of it as “fasting for incense”

      • glennjf said,

        May 13, 2012 at 1:24 am

        *adjusts priorities* Eating is overrated I reckon 😉

      • greggking said,

        May 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm

        Well, hopefully that J A Pan company purchase of the sandalwood is still a go, if not, I’ll “waste” the money on some more musk instead.

  4. Chris Kemp said,

    May 8, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Hey Ross,

    Your comments about my book are so kind. I really appreciate the mention. Let me know if you still have questions about ambergris and we could do a Q and A for your readers or something.

    All best,


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