2/11/18

An Update On English Leather



A picture is worth a thousand words, so I took a screenshot of an exchange I had with another member of Badger & Blade. The member wrote to Dana and asked what their plan was for English Leather, and they said they were no longer making the cologne, but were selling aftershave through their website and Walmart only.

Upon visiting Dana's site, I found that the 8 ounce bottles were once again available for $30. What gives? Apparently they are dumping the remaining stock into the large bottles only, which actually makes sense if they're looking to end cologne sales ASAP. From now on the aftershave will be the only thing available. This also explains why they're not selling EL in regular 3.4 oz bottles. Those aren't being made anymore.

This is a sad day for EL fans, but I still wonder if Dana will sell the brand to another concern. At this point Dana has all but destroyed English Leather. Its packaging has gone downhill (they didn't even bother with a new logo for it), its formula has been reduced to bare bones, and they aren't even attempting to advertise for it. With any luck, a conscientious bidder will snatch it up and reformulate it back to its former glory, and give it a proper package. It would be nice to see a return to the vintage sticker, with its hand-drawn saddle and riding cap imagery.


12 comments:

  1. Ding dong another American icon gone....
    I wonder if English Leather has any relation to the classic British soap by the name Cusson's Imperial Leather?

    IL has a great tagline:
    "Loyal followers of Imperial Leather soap rave about the British import's abundant and creamy lather, its moisturizing properties, and distinctive, aristocratic scent. Why aristocratic? In 1768, the fragrance Eau de Cologne Imperiale Russe was presented to Russian Empress Catherine the Great. The signature black and red "badge" at the center of each bar lasts down to the last sliver of soap."

    I buy the Indian version for the boys & it smells great. Not quite like EL but in the same ballpark.

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    1. Don't know, but good question. I've used Imperial Leather soap and see the similarity. To be honest, I prefer the scent of IL over EL, and wish they would reissue the cologne!

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  2. Another classic almost gone. I'm still hoping to see the same being dons for the Chaps from Ralph Lauren.

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  3. I'm grateful that Dana never got hold of Brut or they probably would have driven it to extinction as well. I hope their sales of Canoe are holding up.

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    1. Or the weaker facsimile of Canoe that they've reformulated. Canoe gift sets (2 oz. bottles) were selling in my local houseware/clothing discount store for $5. I picked that up along with the 240 ml/8 oz. bottle of aftershave which went for $7.

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    2. Bron, I'm relieved they didn't get their hands on the others. Brut would have been history years ago.

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  4. I also received a reply from a Dana rep at the beginning of February. They said the cologne hasn't been discontinued, but they're not currently making it. They did find an overrun of the 8 oz. bottles at the factory and are currently selling them for $30 on their site. I replied by telling them I purchased the 8 oz. bottle about 2 years ago for $12! I explained to the rep that years ago in the music industry, if an item was deleted from the catalogue either permanently or temporarily, the LP would be sold for $1 to $2 in cut out bins with corner cuts. I further stated that instead, Dana is "temporarily" discontinuing an item and selling it for a premium!

    If English Leather is sold and the old formula is re-introduced, bringing back the wooden box packaging would be very nice, too.

    Now I know why I saw English Leather gift sets with the 3.4 oz bottle, aftershave balm and body wash for $5 in my local discount store in 2016. I should have bought a few. I bought the half ounce pack of comfrey bottles for $4 that included English Leather, English Leather Black, British Sterling, Canoe, and Navy.

    At least Dana still sells the aftershave version of the classics (English Leather, Canoe, British Sterling) in glass bottles!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that info! I would be aggressively skeptical about their claim regarding the discontinuation issue - this is an internationally recognized brand. If they've completely ceased production of English Leather, it means they've made more than they can sell, which means sales are abysmal. Therefore I wouldn't count on them spending the money (presumably taking a loss) to resume manufacture of EL in the future. They're trying to cast off what's left, but unless they can shed the brand, I don't think they'll be making it anymore. If they're "vaulting" EL in the hopes that this will boost demand, I think they'll be disappointed. I have noticed that consistent with the response screenshot above, EL aftershave suddenly has shelf presence at Walmart, which I hadn't noticed before. I totally agree that the wooden box would be a nice touch, and one of the things about EL that I'll never understand is why there are no surviving vintages from the 1950s, which is when it hit the open market.

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  5. If you look at the boxes of English Leather, Monsieur Musk and Canoe, you'll note that they state the fragrance oils are made in the USA and the bottles are packaged in China. Now this could also mean that the mix with the water and alcohol is added in China and then bottled.
    This can only hurt the performance of those fragrances. Who knows under what environmental conditions they are being shipped back and forth, especially if they're freight ships.

    Has anyone ever discussed that as a factor in the scent of the fragance?

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    1. That's a good question. I don't recall ever seeing this topic raised on the boards. My thoughts are a little less nuanced than you might expect. Although the ingredients are assembled in China, I doubt that this significantly impacts the quality of these fragrances. Although freight may take many days, and conditions may vary wildly (extreme heat and cold), unless there is very extreme heat and prolonged exposure to sunlight, the shipments probably don't have enough time (or extreme enough conditions) to spoil or degrade over the course of the shipping duration. Leaving stock in a crate on a docked ship for six months would definitely wipe out the wares. But heaving on a sweaty deck for a couple weeks is probably no big deal. Most perfumers formulate fragrances with allowances for preservatives (which may not always be present in the list printed on the back of the box). Brut, Old Spice, and other inexpensive classics may use BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene) to maintain the freshness beyond immediate transport. EL probably has BHT or some similar preservative blended into the formula to buffer it against temporary environmental adversities. If shipping conditions are consistently bad enough for the manufacturer to take notice, and they're not interested in relocating the packaging plants, they may actually go so far as to make formulas a little stronger, knowing they'll weaken (perhaps via in-bottle maceration) by the time they reach their destinations. I doubt it, but you never know.

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  6. I just don't know what to believe. Part of me wants to hoard. I have one vintage bottle of the cologne, and I bought a new cologne + aftershave. Since the a/s appears not be on the chopping block, I opened that, but the cologne will remain unopened. I feel at this point it would be more worth my time to hit up a few more vintage auctions since the prices are still reasonable for the old stuff. Still hard to imagine they would actually discontinue it.

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    1. If you truly love English Leather, then yes, hoard. Hoard a LOT. I have no faith in Dana. In the age of niche leathers and oud scents, EL should be an easy frag to revive into a semi-popular scent. That a company could allow it to perish like this is inexcusable. As for what to believe, I believe the guy on B&B. Now, whether or not the rep who answered his email knew what they were talking about is another story, but from what I've seen (and smelled), it makes sense. Have you smelled the latest EL aftershave? Not downright awful, but not all that great, either. They've made it a bit harsher in the days since they've dispensed with the saddle-and-cap logo. I used it last week and nearly died from the headache it gave me.

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