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Bull’s Blood – Scent as art and art as provocation – November 1, 2013 New Fragrance Listing









Imaginary Authors. A great name for a perfume line, don’t  you think? I mean, just to be an author definitely elevates a  person’s profile way beyond the realm of the mundane normal world most of us inhabit, but to be an imaginary author? That opens up all sorts of fascinating possibilities. And then to pair Imaginary Authors with perfumes? Now you have my full attention.

Josh Meyer, the self-taught perfumer from Portland, Oregon who launched this niche line in 2012, has created a range of seven uniquely wonderful scents, each named after a non-book written by seven different non-authors – all pure fantasy!! The concept is really fun and well-executed – there’s a bio for each author, and the colourful retro-style labels on the bottles are like mini paperback romance novels. And the scents? Let’s start with Bull’s Blood.

The author of Bull’s Blood is Devante Valéreo… “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.” www.imaginary

And Bull’s Blood is most definitely evocative of passion. It opens with what smells like alcohol mixed with blood – sharp, metallic, bitter.  A very slight fruity sweetness develops, edged with faint cinnamon and sour patchouli - ­it all smells wet and sort of dank. I don’t think I have ever smelled an accord like this before. The note list includes costus root, an animalic note which has a peculiar soft odor that smells like a mix of dirty human hair, goats and wet dogs. Mmmm… no wonder it is so strange and compellingly familiar at the same time. (In small concentrations, Costus adds warm, woody and natural notes to a perfume, intriguing top-notes, and provides diffusive power. It is also a tenacious fixative – from Sun Rose Aromatics).

As Bull’s Blood dries into the heart, aromatic rose and smoky tobacco notes alternate with pungent musk and earthy patchouli, and the costus note floats around, keeping this scent balanced on a knife edge – fall to one side and it is beautiful, fall to the other and it is repellant. The rose becomes sweeter in the drydown, the musk loses much of its dirty edge, and tobacco resins warm up, so that Bull’s Blood starts to tell a more polite story.

This is a perfume of dramatic contrasts, and I find it difficult to put into words. It has many twists, turns, smells -  blood, dirt, herbs, spice, flowers, animals, warm skin, amber, woods – which evoke unexpected images and emotions as I follow its long and complex but beautiful dry-down. Bull’s Blood has been described as challenging for some, but I find it totally engaging – there is an artistic weirdness at the margins of this scent that fascinates me.

That’s what art is supposed to do – engage your intellect as well as your emotions. Josh Myer says on his website:

“Imaginary Authors is born from the concept of scent as art and art as provocation. Like a good book, these scents are meant to inspire you. In these bottles are layered narratives that are sure to generate stirring conversation, fragrances that might be capable of changing the course of your own personal story. The hope is that they not only invigorate and intoxicate, but also take you to new places.”

I went to a new place after experiencing Bull’s Blood. It has an incredibly unique WOW! factor that has re-ignited my perfume passions, and I have to say, I feel passionate when I wear it. I now want to try more Imaginary Authors, starting with Memoirs of a Trespasser, The Cobra and the Canary, and The Soft Lawn. Each of his scents, says Josh, “are wearable, but each has a dose of weirdness in it” to lift it out of the mainstream, into the realm of art.

I think Josh Myer is a real talent, as are his Imaginary Authors. I hope they all keep writing, and that they’re prolific.

Bull’s Blood is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Image of Bull's Blood bottle -