Dragon blood elixir is a powerful magic potion, but how is it distinguished from the myriad of impostors, counterfeits, and frauds? The answer is as shrouded in mystery as the elixir itself. Claims that the elixir will make one invisible are probably false, so any potion with this ability, although useful, is not dragon blood elixir. Because of the scarcity of reliable information, and the fact that the last known sample vanished centuries ago, its physical properties are not well known. Several texts describe the elixir as a deep blood-colored fluid, although the Chinese philosopher and naturalist Hongwu, writing during the late Ming dynasty described the sample in the imperial treasury as “a small quantity of a pale rose-colored liquid, stored in a crystal vial that reflected continually the light of the moon and stars, although placed in a darkened room.” His accounts are generally reliable, so it is possible the Emperor had a diluted sample. Some accounts, noticeably that of Jabir Ibn Hayyan, describe the elixir as glowing, either all the time or under certain conditions, which conditions vary wildly between accounts.
Because the main ingredient of dragon blood elixir is necessarily dragon blood, an authentic elixir would come from the slaying of a dragon. Since the last dragon sighting was in 1938, by a small group of Greek fishermen who may have been drunk at the time, the elixir, if genuine, must be several centuries old. In fact since no dragon slaying have been reported since the time of St. George, with the exception of an unverified report on the island of Crete dating to 1790, it is safe to say that any elixir should show definite signs of age. Of more interest is a partial Norse account that describes dragon blood in general, and the elixir in particular, as a strong acid, dissolving all substances it came in contact with. It is unclear how the elixir could be stored, if this were the case.
Be extremely skeptical of any person attempting to sell dragon blood elixir, its extreme value makes it highly probable that the owner would never sell it, and a salesman is almost invariably a fraud. Some attempts have been made over the years to make the elixir from powdered dragon's blood, some small samples of which are available. This has as yet met with no success, either because the blood must be fresh, or because the other ingredients where not correct. A brief but much publicised claim that the English alchemist Bryan Allen had successfully brewed a batch using dried blood scraped from the sword and shield of St. George, carefully removed from his tomb in Lydda has been definitively proven false, the substance so obtained was in fact rust, and the potion had no magical properties of any kind. It is unlikely that dragon blood would remain on St. George's weapons since any good soldier cleans his arms at the first opportunity. Most versions of his battle furthermore recount him killing the dragon with a spear, rather than a sword. It is in fact more probable that the sword in the tomb was never used by St. George at all, but placed there several centuries after his death by monks to replace the original which was stolen by the necromancer Saven.
The supposed source of dragon blood elixir frauds are mainly the lost Chinese sample, or various “secret” or “hidden” batched made by heretofore unknown mages, alchemists, and sorcerers. The Chinese sample, if genuine, should be contained in a diamond vial. Many imposters, not willing to spend the money for an imatation diamond vial, use cheaper substitutes such as rock crystal or glass. These are easily recognized and denote a fake. A convincing fraud circulated briefly in a real diamond flask but was later discovered to be tiger blood. This flask is now in the collection of the British Museum, incorrectly labeled as of Classical Greek origin. Several attempts have been made to steal the flask, either for its intrinsic value or to attempt to swindle a willing purchaser that the elixir it contains is genuine.
Sources of the elixir from lesser known places, such as Indonesia or Africa are more difficult to determine if they a genuine or not. There is no evidence that it was not made in these places, but a real sample would have to have been created around the time a dragon was slain. True dragon slaying are both rare and significant, so local historians invariably record their occurrences.