5 Essential Tips to Becoming a Successful Vitaephile [Vampire: The Masquerade]

Vampire: The Masquerade

Ventrue-La Vitaephile

Think you’ve got a handle on choosing the best-tasting sources of blood? Believe the taste of vitae can only be described as “coppery” or “intoxicating”?

Guess again.

In an exclusive with Sanguinary Magazine, Ventrue antitribu and renowned vitaephile Blair Montgomery-Worthington offers us her top five tips for finding, selling, and properly storing vitae for future enjoyment.

Take it away, Blair!

5. Find the Best Thaumaturgist Money Can Buy

Perhaps you might not expect that my first piece of advice would be about the proper storage of vitae, but it is the most crucial. Should you choose to upgrade your feedings from the average “club-goer” to a “nouveau riche technophile who feeds on Saint-Maure de Touraine goat chevre and rarely-cooked steaks from grass-fed Anatolian Black cattle”, you will need to know how to preserve your concocted vintages.

Unfortunately, the delicate nature of the Blood is such that its taste could be ruined by a variety of environmental and physical factors within mere seconds of exposure to the elements. Even weather conditions, such as fog, sleet, or extreme humidity, will increase the risk that your subject’s blood will taste differently after you sample it to when you extract it fully for bottling. Thus, to overcome the risks of spoilage, you will need to enlist the help of a thaumaturgist. This individual will not only tailor a unique storage system to fit your budget, but will also ensure that the taste is preserved.

Though there have been advances in phlebotomy (as many neonates are so eager to point out), keep in mind medically-based storage methods are not ideal for long-term storage, transportation, or experimentation. Thus, if you want to develop a deeper, more robust palate for the Blood, you’d best prepare by focusing on how you’ll store it given its physical limitations. This does require an investment on your part, but without the proper tools you would not be able to cater your business to the unique and many needs of your clientele.

It should also be noted, however, that there are a number of fake thaumaturgists attempting to con vitaephiles out of their hard-earned coin by mimicking the storage methods of scientists, alchemists, and so-called “foodies”. For this reason, I strongly recommend avoiding payment until you fully vet your candidate to assess their knowledge, experience, and skill level. While every vitaephile might know, for example, that storing the Blood in a stainless steel or whiskey-infused cask is not ideal, some would be thaumaturgists might propose experimenting with such materials after centrification to mix plasma from one source and erythrocytes from another. This is, by far, one of the most preposterous suggestions I’ve heard–and yet, there are budding vitaephiles who feed off of this nonsense because they trust their thaumaturgist more than their ghouls.

Should you encounter such charlatans, think carefully about how to handle them. Though it is uncommon, there is always the possibility that a faux thaumaturgist is actually a spy or a hunter. In the past few years, there have been are a few vitaephiles who make inane attempts to sabotage their rival’s business by recommending outlandish methods as well. Regardless, all vitaephiles should remember that we don’t always get what we pay for. It’s up to us to ensure that we work and find the best thaumaturgists money can buy.

4. Price Your Vitae Intelligently

Many vitaephiles make the mistake of leaping from proper storage of vitae to tasting and experimenting with varying sources. The primary reason why budding vitaephiles should not jump from storing to sampling, is the issue of being paid fairly. There are only so many hours in a night, after all, and so many blocks within the confines of a city. If you want to be successful selling the Blood to other vampires, you’ll need to do your homework to find out what pricing your bottled vitae entails—and for that you’ll need to spend some coin sampling your competitors’ offerings and discussing their methods with them.

Luckily, most vitaephiles pride themselves on being able to describe, in exquisite detail, the source of the Blood they’re selling and, additionally, they will gladly share their methodology in order to please potential buyers. This means that most vitaephiles personally target each and every subject to track their habits for weeks, if not months, to ensure that our methods of extraction and containment are controlled at each and every step in the process to satisfy our clients. Occasionally, we might even employ the use of ghouls to help shape the intended subject’s decisions for eating, drinking, and performing basic health and hygiene practices to avoid tainting or spoilage, too. Though this becomes increasingly difficult should the subject travel, many vitaephiles check on their subjects a minimum of three or four days a week, if not more–and these efforts tend to add up. In general, the more time a vitaephile spends time priming that human for peak extraction, the more expensive the Blood should be.

Some vitaephiles do focus exclusively on exquisite, high-priced vintages resulting from humans who have been nurtured and hand-raised for several years, but I do not recommend this approach. Though it might be fascinating to track twins from birth to teenaged years, such a project would exponentially increase the likelihood of spoilage or accidents, which could bankrupt you. I often recommend sticking to standardized vintages before exploring blends or rare subjects, to build a list of paying clients before experimenting further. Usually, a full-time vitaephile might target subjects for a minimum of three-to-six months in order to classify their vitae as an above average vintage, or one-to-three years for a fine label. Any subject who’s been guided three years or more tends to fetch in upwards of four-to-five figures, provided the vitaephile can prove the vintage’s purity. Hobbyists, on the other hand, might play around with extending or shortening standardized periods to satisfy their own tastes, and focus less on the standards I helped to establish. Most vitaephiles will know the difference between a hobbyist and a professional, but when you’re first starting out you should focus on quality and reasonable pricing as opposed to experimentation.

Unfortunately, there are some aspiring vitaephiles who will attempt to con their clientele by making claims that simply aren’t true, or by mixing various types of blood (animal, synthetic, opiate-rich, or oxygenated) to dilute the vintage as a means of cutting costs. These individuals should take note that the community of vitaephiles is tightly knit, and we have a tendency to police ourselves to avoid further scrutiny by our clients. When one vitaephile cons a client, all of us suffer given the lengths we go to to procure our inventory.

3. Remember the Taste of Vitae is Affected by Innumerable Factors

One feeding does not fit every vampire, and most vitaephiles understand there are a number of quality assurances that must be made in order to earn a five star rating. Amateurs might profess their understanding that commonly held beliefs feed into the costs and difficulties associated with the ability to prime, capture, and extract vitae from a human, but they may not understand the hows, whys, or wherefores which will hurt them in the long run.

On a simple level, beliefs tend to impact taste. They range from the idea that a human’s blood will spoil through the overuse of chemical substances to the notion that an unexpected release of fear-based adrenaline will sour the blood and give it a bitter aftertaste. While these suppositions may sound mythical in nature to the untrained amateur, more experienced vitaephiles fully understand that a host of factors including the subject’s age, gender, race, profession, health, diet, income level, domicile, and stress levels affect the taste of the Blood in innumerable ways. Thus, the more tightly a vitaephile wishes to exert control over a subject, the more money they’ll have to spend in order to guarantee a desirable outcome. Occasionally, the tools you use for storage and extraction can also impact the taste of vitae, which is why it’s necessary to address storage first, so that you might control that aspect as a foundation for your flavors.

In most cases, however, aspiring vitaephiles should research widely-held beliefs and develop their own palate before sampling the Blood from potential subjects. Simply, it is a commonly held understanding among professional vitaephiles that some clients cannot taste the difference between a fine vintage procured from a thirty-four year old red-headed advertising executive from Cleveland and an above average blend extracted from a sixty-two year old cancer patient who has been suffering in a London hospital. This, however, should not matter to you, for the secret to being a successful vitaephile does not lie in what your paying client tastes, but in your process and ability to discern the differences between various vintages and how they are stored. The better you are at understanding vitae’s complex and many flavors, the more successful you’ll be.

2. Feed Yourself First

In order to assess how vitae from different sources tastes, you must feed yourself first. This tip is, by far, the most crucial piece of advice I can give an aspiring vitaephile.

Whether you have become enamored with the idea that the vitae procured from a pair of young lovers will taste fresh and fruity or you’ve been obsessed with the notion that a police officer’s blood has acquired an aftertaste of gunpowder and nicotine, the only way you can accurately taste a subject’s blood is after your Beast is satisfied.

Many vitaephiles make the mistake of miscalculating their Hunger and wind up in ruin because they did not give into their cravings first. All it takes is one tragic frenzy to permanently mar a vitaephile’s reputation—just one. So, before you attempt to target a subject with the intent of experimenting and selling their vitae, take my advice.

1. Experiment, Delegate, and Describe

Though it’s often said that vampires don’t like change, vitaephiles must embrace it when it comes to their work due to the unconscionable number of factors at play in producing the best vintage. For this reason, I strongly recommend that you consider employing a ghoul or revenant you can delegate responsibilities to. A Bound subject could also help alleviate your limitations of moving about during the daylight hours, but can also reduce your stress by eliminating unwanted candidates, which allows you to focus your efforts on procuring purer sources of the Blood.

Additionally, I advise that aspiring vitaephiles should begin by focusing on a vintage’s clarity and brightness as opposed to a convoluted or complex undertaking. Blends should only be attempted by experienced vitaephiles, as their vitae can become clouded when environmental factors are not as well controlled as they are with one human. Once you master a classic vintage, such as the Catholic school girl or the seedy politician, then I recommend choosing rarer candidates to procure a robust vintage, as such a product will help establish your reputation. For this reason, some vitaephiles extract a single bottle of blood from a subject and test market it before draining that human fully to complete a line.

After you have a budding reputation and an inventory to sell, you may entertain requests and satisfy your curiosity to produce blends based on blood type or some other discerning quality. The biggest factor that will impact your ability to experiment with your subjects, however, is your own palate. To develop a broader range of tastes, you’ll want to extract samples using thaumaturgical tools and medical equipment, as opposed to your own fangs. This will ensure the blood you taste will be similar to how your clients will sample it, thereby reducing any descriptive errors you might devise. For example, you might decide that the blood of a marathon runner tastes salty. If you are sampling that human’s blood following extreme amounts of physical exertion, then the salty aftertaste is easily explained by an extenuating factor. Similarly, drinking a socialite’s blood may result in a false description that it is touched with hints of jasmine, when in fact you were simply smelling perfume.

Lastly, be advised that the words you use to describe your art will impact your ability to sell your product and stay in business. This, too, comes out of experimentation, for there is no shortage of neonates who continue to overuse words such as “rusty”, “intoxicating”, “addictive”, and “life-giving” after drinking the Blood for the first time. That which is overused, is often taken for granted—so don’t be afraid to be extraordinary! To appropriately describe the Blood you are offering to your clients, focus on adjectives that accurately depict the source of the vitae and any additional factors or methods you devised to store it. Use words that denote the age, gender, or marital status of the subject, such as “fine vintage from a twenty-year old male college student studying psychology” and, even more importantly, the process of extraction. You might say that “this peach-tinged vintage was tapped from the aorta after I cleverly injected hallucinogenic mushrooms into the subject’s dinner” or that “this dreamy vintage was procured just before dawn from the host’s wrist”.

For more about becoming a vitaephile, please call me for a free consultation and I’ll be happy to discuss your training options. I’d like to close my article by thanking the editors of Sanguinary Magazine, for the opportunity to describe the nature of my profession and my love of teaching.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my fascinating—and tantalizing—world of bottling, selling, and developing blood vintages. At the very least, if I’ve so much as piqued your curiosity, don’t be shy! You might also inquire about my next public tasting, which will be held by invitation only at a Bulgarian manse in conjunction with a Tzimisce Lord named Jakub Hynek who’s eager to show off his creations during our unique exhibition. Join us!

  18 comments for “5 Essential Tips to Becoming a Successful Vitaephile [Vampire: The Masquerade]

  1. Sam
    April 1, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Why would a Ventrue be a blood-sommelier? They would be unable to drink most of their stock. Sure, they may drink the finest virgin blood sourced from Hymalayan orphans, but that is ALL they can drink. This is a Toreador pursuit, surely?

    • mlvalentine
      April 1, 2016 at 10:24 am

      The inspiration for this article originated from page 92 in Clanbook: Ventrue, which was published in 2000.

  2. Brian
    April 1, 2016 at 10:18 am

    >uses human and vampire rather than kindred and kine
    >ventrue antitribu
    >associates with Tzimisce

    Peasant article from a peasant neonate

    • WraithKingPrime
      April 1, 2016 at 11:36 am

      WE CAN HAVE NO FUN, NOT NOW, NOT EVER.

      • Morsong
        April 1, 2016 at 12:17 pm

        Ten Thousand years and a thousand languages but the English lexicon couldn’t possible involve any nuance amongst the Draugr. Surely.

      • richt
        April 1, 2016 at 2:01 pm

        Wait! Are you having fun? We must be doing something wrong.

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      April 1, 2016 at 11:52 am

      It’s a good thing vampire culture is monolithic and uniform with no variation in common terminology from place to place.

  3. Bel
    April 1, 2016 at 11:15 am

    If you beg my pardon, How long do you think such Thaumaturgical Workings can preserve blood? I have heard tales of parties of the Primogen supping on blood from famous individuals. Does the fame necessarily help enhance the flavour or is it merely a way to help sell the vintage?

    • mlvalentine
      April 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Hrmmm… Blair says that the length of time to preserve blood depends upon the thaumturgist’s generation and ability. The lower the thaumturgist’s generation, the longer the vitae would last. There’s a rumor that an ancient vial of vitae was found in a Setite temple, and it’s over 1,000 years old. In general, however, ten years is the recommended shelf life before it becomes tainted.

      As far as celebrities are concerned, Blair feels it’s a chicken/egg scenario. Since celebrities take care of themselves better than the rank-and-file, according to her experiences, their blood will taste better because they tend to be healthier and in better shape. The added prestige can impact the price and enthusiasm, but there is something to be said for a mortal who soaks himself in seaweed extracts and sups on tender veal and porcini mushrooms fresh from the forest night after night.

  4. ThomasM
    April 1, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Monica,
    Thank you for this gift. It made my day!

    • mlvalentine
      April 1, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Thank you! YOU ROCK, THOMAS! 😀

  5. BigDamnHero
    April 1, 2016 at 11:40 am

    As a Requiem fan who has never talked to a Sommelier beyond watching an episode of Parks and Recreation, I found this article as hilarious as it was macabre (and more than a little stomach-wrenching when I stopped to think about it).

    If all of your writing is this good, I’m looking forward to Hunter 2E and Cortex Plus Action.

    • mlvalentine
      April 1, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Thank you for the support!

  6. Marc
    April 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Good fluff. ? I’ll definitely use this in my games. Thanks for the treat!

  7. Yossarian
    April 1, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Ah jeez, I really need to renew my subscription to Sanguinary Magazine… I mean, I read it for the articles!

  8. Seulja
    April 1, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Now I have to make a character based on this idea. This is splendid.

  9. Capussa
    April 1, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    A wonderful article that has probably just inspired a collection of vitaephiles

  10. Herbert_West
    April 5, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I know I’m late for the party, but thanks very much! One of my LARP players came up with the idea of a vampire cook/cocktail-maker, and she enjoyed this article quite a lot 🙂

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