Ambergris – a digestive by-product in sperm whales used in early modern perfumery and medicine – was one of the most precious and desired substances in early modern Europe. At the same time, however, it was considered deeply disgusting. This article discusses the multiple layers of the emotional culture of ambergris and its smellscapes. It argues that desire and disgust were not incompatible opposites, but need to be considered together in order to unscramble the enormous success of the commodity and its history. On a more general level, the contribution also reflects on how to fruitfully connect the history of emotions with the history of smells and material culture.