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Hello my name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you
Plumbers putty is a Playdoe type material which sounds like what you've described, however it is mineral oil based and should not smell like tar.
This is why I recommend hiring a plumber to do plumbing rather than a handyman. Id appreciate a positive rating for answering your question.
Well if it's not something a plumber would use I'm afraid you should ask your friend you were helping out.