5/2/12

English Leather (Dana)



English Leather is yet another critically neglected masculine fragrance that deserves far more attention than it has ever gotten, and I'm happy to give it a fresh look. I used to have a bottle of vintage MEM Company English Leather, but it's either been misplaced, or disposed of - I haven't seen it in months. The biggest problem with the MEM version was its intensity. When I was a teenager, I came up with a little math joke about it: two dabs + ten minutes = Tylenol squared. It was nice stuff, but just too much for me, and I rarely wore it.

Fast forward to today, and Dana's reformulation. I bought an eight ounce bottle a few hours ago, and it's terrific stuff. No headache material here. It basically smells the same as the original, but with some interesting tweaks. English Leather always smelled more like leather treatment oil than actual leather to me. MEM's juice was very smooth, with a rich citrus opening full of sparkling orange, lemon, and lime. Dana's opens with a sharper lemon and lime, and the orange is completely gone. This makes for a brighter citrus accord, reminiscent of terpenes, maybe even tannins, which transitions nicely into a lab-balanced, lemon-concentrated Jeffrey Pine scent.

The wood note deepens within twenty minutes, becoming redolent of seasoned riding tack. It's stable leather, but unbrushed stable leather, its dry hide smeared with evergreen resins after a trot through the woods. Eventually, English Leather fades away, leaving a hint of dry wood in its wake. The overall effect is very staid, clean, masculine. There's nothing complicated about English Leather, but it doesn't smell like another hackneyed chemical composition. It only boasts four notes, but they're very nicely rendered, and truly evocative of the English countryside. It's a fox hunt in a bottle.

It's easy to dismiss a simple woody fragrance from the '50s as being dated and cheap, especially when it's only $4 an ounce, but English Leather smells of expensive leather, and leather is timeless. Like Pino Silvestre, English Leather is the definition of truth in advertising, and getting what you paid for. In this case, the name and the scent say it all, and you get much, much more than you paid for.













7 comments:

  1. It has been fun to follow your reviews of the men's colognes that were ubiquitous during my childhood - English Leather, Old Spice, and Brut. Old Spice was always my favorite (my first boyfriend wore it), and my idea of what a man should smell like. My uncle wore Canoe, another oldie but goodie that I loved; I wore its feminine counterpart, Ambush. And then there was Hai Karate, which had the funniest TV commercials!

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    1. Glad you've been enjoying them Patty! The classics are amazing because they still smell good, all these years later. They've survived reformulations, cutbacks, and loss of popularity. I doubt today's popular scents will survive thirty years, let alone fifty or eighty.

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  2. I love English Leather! Even the current stuff is great, and I prefer it to the MEM stuff now. It's woody and elegant, and it smells plenty leathery to me. It's a lot different than the old MEM stuff, but I consider it to be an excellent reformulation.

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    1. Yeah definitely a lot different from the old stuff. MEM's version was awfully "perfumey" in comparison. This is a nice light EDC with a leathery drydown. Good stuff!

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  3. What kind of longevity are you getting from the 8 oz. bottle? I don't put on much (just turn the bottle over with my palm blocking the spout and put a little on the face, neck and arms. I get about 2 hours as a skin scent. Perhaps I'm not putting enough on? I have a 1 oz. bottle from a gift set and it could be my imagination but it seems a bit stronger.

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    1. It's been quite a while since I pulled out my 8 oz bottle and wore it. Tell you what: I will wear it tomorrow to work. Then tomorrow evening I will come back and report to you what I get out of the reformulated EL.

      What I can tell you tonight is that the color of the fragrance has darkened by a shade or two since I purchased it. It was definitely almost 100% clear and colorless when I purchased it a couple years ago. My bottle is still 90% full and yet the juice has become more orange/ambery.

      Shot in the dark rough guess is that if the fragrance has mellowed and concentrated a bit over the last few months, I might get six or seven hours of decent projection out of it. We'll see.

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    2. So I was surprised to only get about four hours out of this, before it faded to a musky skin scent with a pleasant woody hue. Very nice and strong enough to warrant wearing, but decidedly closer to "cologne" concentration, although I did not apply very much, just a few dabs here and there.

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