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"Praise is like ambergris; a little whiff of it, by snatches, is very agreeable; but when a man holds a whole lump of it to his nose, it is a stink and strikes you down." [Pope, c.1720]
A yellow, gray, or black waxy material formed in the intestines of sperm whales that consists of a mixture of steroid derivatives. It is often found floating at sea or washed ashore, has a pleasant odor, and is added to perfumes as a fixative to slow down the rate of evaporation.