Imaginary Authors Bull’s Blood ~ fragrance review


Here's the blurb about Bull's Blood* by indie perfume house Imaginary Authors (yes, the "authors" are from the world of make-believe, no need to google them or search on Amazon for their works!):

Devante Valéreo was raised in a dusty Spanish village on the Balearic Sea. He fondly recalled going to the bullfights with his father, an ex-picador, and credited those early experiences with inspiring his most popular novella, Bull’s Blood. The book’s lurid tale of seduction garnered obscenity charges against the author. Though the charges were rejected by the court, a ban on the sale of his works persisted for a number of years.

A fixture in Barcelona, smoking cigarillos and writing in the cafés and bars into the night, Valéreo disappeared as a fugitive in 1967 after a highly publicized bar scuffle with American sailors, one of whom later died from his injuries. 'A man who has killed,' he wrote in Bull’s Blood, 'is a man who knows passion.'

Really? I'm pretty sure I know passion, and I've never killed anyone — yet (Valéreo, I assume, "wrote" pulp fiction). And the bullfighting connection with Bull's Blood? I could do without it. I spent weeks traveling through Spain hearing an almost non-stop debate between a friend who thought bullfighting was barbaric and our guide who loved it ("Glorious bulls will disappear if we stop breeding for bullfighting!")  In the midst of one of these on-the-road arguments, we stopped for refreshments. The market-bar was next to a field, and a huge bull took notice as I sipped my lemonade and stared in his direction; he slowly walked towards me, not getting too close. It was one of the most exciting moments of my trip. This bull inserted a living face and body into the debate I was hearing (he was glorious and I could not imagine killing him for "sport"); I wondered if he was destined for the bullfighting ring or if he was safely "retired."

I've never attended a bullfight. If a bullfight is really a fair battle between man and beast, I wonder why matadors never get killed or maimed as often as the bulls — and horses — involved in the spectacle. In the rigged bullfight (DO read how bulls are prepped for fighting, days in advance), men "triumph"...bulls die. Since Robin here at Now Smell This allows me one controversial topic a year, I'll simply say that when I think of the glories of Spain, bullfighting does not make the cut; give me Velázquez, Don Quixote, olives, Goya, Seville Cathedral, sherry, Joaquín Rodrigo, Victoria de los Ángeles, flamenco, Carmen Maura, Lorca...even Picasso (though he was a big fan of bullfighting).

Imaginary Authors Bull's Blood

Bull's Blood, the perfume, smells good (and interesting). It goes on smoky-floral, with sweet resin-y notes blending with a dark rose scent. Bull's Blood smells rather "dressy" and formal at first, but as it begins to develop, I detect hints of sweat, sweaty scalp to be precise, and a slightly fecal musk seeping through the sweet resins and flowers. Bull's Blood never turns completely dirty but it does get rough in the base: I smell patchouli, residual rose and maybe some tobacco smoke combined with an "oily" (petrol-like/exhaust-fume) leather note (decidedly unclean). In the extreme dry down, patchouli and rose return, joined by a wood note and leather (now softer). Bull's Blood has good lasting power and sillage; if you dislike dirty fragrances, give it a pass. I blended two parts Bull's Blood with six parts rose Eau de Cologne and the result smelled great, even pretty.

There's nothing pretty about the prelude, "fugue" or aftermath of a bullfight...or bull's blood; to me, a bullfight is a sordid affair. But who am I to judge? I'd be perfectly happy if Bull's Blood were called "Matador's Blood" — I'd cheer the bull's victory (and hope, against hope?, he'd be allowed to live to "enjoy" it).

Imaginary Authors Bull's Blood is $85 for 60 ml Eau de Parfum. For buying information, see the listing for Imaginary Authors under Perfume Houses.

*Fragrance notes include patchouli, rose, costus root, tobacco, black musk and “bull’s blood”.

Note: top image is detail from Bulls (Dead Horses) by Ramon Casas i Carbó [cropped and altered], via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. jonr951 says:

    Great read Kevin, really. But yeah, want nothing to do with this one. I’m not into dirties, although “smoky-floral, with sweet resin-y notes blending with a dark rose scent” sounds fantastic in my book. : )

    • Kevin says:

      jonr: yeah…there is a dirty patch between the non-dirty phases.

  2. Merlin says:

    I was wondering if this, in any way, compare to ELDO’s Vierges et Toreros. Perhaps along with florals, orientals and chypres we need a perfume genre called ‘visceral’.

    No controversy: bull fighting is merely another barbaric way for man to torment his fellow creatures. Whether it is worse than what goes on with a battery chicken is another question: everything has its place on the diabolical spectrum.

    • Kevin says:

      Merlin: DARN! that could have made a great review duo! It’s been too long since I tried VeT to comment…I think this one is not as “smooth.”

  3. james1051 says:

    Early nominee for dumb ad copy of the week?

    • annemarie says:

      Aw … all the Imaginary Authors fragrances have little stories like these and they are lots of fun. Check out their website.

      • Merlin says:

        Well now the imaginary authors have imaginary critics:)

      • Kevin says:

        annemarie: I especially like L’Orchidée Terrible and Falling into the Sea “excerpts”! They are fun…and like the authors’ photos.

    • Kevin says:

      James: ha! agree…”imaginary (third-rate) authors”

      • james1051 says:

        Written by The Most Interesting Man in the World?

  4. kindcrow says:

    I would never choose to smell like feces, so I’ll pass.

    • Kevin says:

      kindcrow: ha! but so many flowers have that fecal element in them! I don’t mind that element…but sweaty scalp…that is upsetting! But these aspects of Bull’s Blood fade fast…overall it’s a handsome perfume.

  5. stinker_kit says:

    All I can think about when bullfights are mentioned is Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Perhaps a perfumer will be inspired to create a scent in honor of a bull who would not fight and just wanted to sit under his cork tree and when forced into the ring just sat down to enjoy the smell of flowers in the the women’s hair! It might make for interesting copy….

    • Kevin says:

      Stinker-kit: much nicer!

  6. stinker_kit says:

    Sorry about the double the! I was excited!

  7. Aparatchick says:

    The name is such a complete turn-off to me that I would never consider even sampling it.

    • Kevin says:

      Aparatchick: well, you can think of it, as I do, as the “novel’s” name. If I wore it I don’t know what I’d say if someone asked what I was wearing? I’d lie: “Oh, I picked this up in Madrid…a gypsy was selling it near the Prado!”

  8. poodle says:

    I hate bullfighting so I’m another one who won’t even try this just because of that. Normally I don’t get so opinionated and what not but just the thought of it sickens me. I do like some of the other perfumes in this line but wish they had picked a different name for this one.

    • Kevin says:

      poodle: I’ve had good luck with the line…need to try more.

  9. solanace says:

    I eat (free range) meat and will probably never quit, because in my book killing to eat is natural. But killing for sport? With all due respect to the beautiful Spanish culture, I think toradas epitomize everything that scares and depresses me about humanity.

    • Omega says:

      I buy free range eggs:).

      • Kevin says:

        Solanace/Omega: I think even my BUTTER is free range! HA!

  10. Omega says:

    When I was taking Spanish in high school, the teacher decides to put on a bull fighting video..was horrified, that was the saddest thing I had ever seen…and cruelest as far as animal torture. Never forgot that video. The bull has no’s a slow death, painful..cruel.

    Not interested in the perfume, btw.

    • Kevin says:

      Omega: same thing happened to me…the entire class got silent…even the bullies. It was the strangest thing to include in a film for children.

  11. donanicola says:

    The unequal nature of the “sport” sickens me and it’s often portrayed in such an eye-rollingly boring macho way that I can’t be bothered with the debate. Now to the perfume – my ears pricked up when you mentioned the smell of scalp and sure enough, one of my favourite notes crops up in the list – costus. I’m a huge fan of Nina Ricci’s Fille d’Eve and love MKK. So I’ll look out for this but not with any degree of urgency ;)

    • Kevin says:

      donanicola: hmmm…I’ll have to try Fille d’Eve. Can’t even wrap my brain around Nina and oily scalp. HA!

  12. Dilana says:

    I guess I’m a little late to the game, but I am guessing that Keven is a fan of my favorite “fighting” bull, Ferdinand, who loved to smell beautiful smells and whose career as a show bull ended when he preffered to sit and smell the flowers in the ladies hair to the fighting the matador. (wow, that story was a lot more complicated that I thought as akid).
    By the way, Goya’s paintings include some ofthe most violent images ever created. Maybe they could have been a better name for thefragrance.

    • Kevin says:

      Dilana: agree on the “Goya” for sure. And ordered the Ferdinand book last night. HA!

  13. olenska says:

    There’s a wonderful wine from Hungary called Bull’s Blood (Egri Bikavér). I would not mind a perfume predicated on that subject– rich red fruit with a peppery, sweet-salty edge. Anything but bullfighting.

    • Kevin says:

      olenska: patchouli, rose and a ROBUST red wine would make a lovely accord

  14. RusticDove says:

    Count me among the critics of bull fighting, and I also dislike the name of this fragrance – however, I won a sample set of the Imaginary Authors fragrances and they’re quite good. And I do think the concept for the line is original and clever. I gave the sample of Bull’s Blood to my husband and he is wearing it today – and wow. It smells amazing on him! I keep snuffling him and plan to order a bottle for him, but I dread someone asking him what he’s wearing! Ha!

  15. Oakland Fresca says:

    Seriously I am getting to this review late. I am intrigued by the fragrance and would love to sample it–although I really doubt it would be something I’d want to own… but I LOVE the copy. I think it is just camp…. Someone had fun with the macho concept, with a much better sense of humor than Paco Rabanne’s team putting together Invictus.

    Less Hemingway’s The Dangerous Summer– more like Gru’s description of El Macho: “He died in the most macho way possible: riding a shark with 250 pounds of dynamite strapped to his chest into the mouth of an active volcano! It was glorious!” Bull’s Blood!

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