Last week, a pair of Italian entrepreneurs, Antonio Zuddas and Giovanni Castelli, debuted Blood Concept, a provocative fragrance line based on the four major human blood types: A, B, AB and O.
While the line forgoes incorporating actual blood, the Italian duo nonetheless claim that each scent is evocative of the blood type it represents.
In keeping with the hematic theme, the four scents come in 1.35-ounce vials with red droppers, and the website includes background images of swirling blood.
While the Milan-based designers concede that Blood Concept may make some squeamish, they maintain that their perfumes have nothing to do with blood lust.
"No splatter, no vampires ..." Zuddas said.
Not so fast.
Merticus, a 32-year-old Atlanta man who self-identifies as a vampire, intends to sample the fragrance line.
A founding member of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and Vampire Community News, Merticus favors O-positive as his drink of choice. As for which scent he'd prefer to wear -- or detect on a donor -- he's keeping an open mind.
"I find the black cherry, pomegranate and patchouli infusions of B and the raspberry, rose hips, and birch infusions of O equally intriguing," Merticus said via e-mail. "Hopefully I'll be able to sample them in the flesh soon."
An antique dealer by daylight, he plans to travel to Italy in September, where, he told AOL News, he may drop by the Blood Concept offices and pick up a few vials.
Meredith Woerner, a New York City vampirist and author of "Vampire Taxonomy," is less sanguine. She has a hard time believing that vampires would go for such a gimmick.
"It's cheesy. It's chintzy," she said in a phone interview. "It's not their style. I can't imagine a real vampire would be that enticed by fake blood. In fact, if they detected the scent of it, it might make you more of a target for a mercy killing."
Woerner admitted, though, that Blood Concept was a "brilliant" idea, adding that, according to the mythology of the HBO vampire series "True Blood," vampires turn to synthetic blood when there's none of the real stuff.
"True Blood," of course, is fiction, and Merticus chaffs at the way vampires are portrayed in the media.
"The difficulty we encounter from these mass-marketed books and films occurs when individuals unwittingly stumble across the real vampire community," said Merticus, who organizes an Atlanta vampire meet-up. "They wrongly assume we consider ourselves immortal vampires who must sleep in coffins and avoid sunlight at all costs."
Fragrance O, Zuddas said, hearkens back to the beginnings of humankind, when we were all "lonely hunters" and had blood type O. It has a leathery base note to match.
Fragrance AB, meanwhile, represents the newest of the blood types and is redolent of -- according to the Blood Concept website -- aluminum, slate and pebbles.
Whether or not the blood-inspired perfume meets Merticus' expectations, he can at least take comfort that the fragrances eschew one particular ingredient: garlic.
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