English Leather 1949Cologne

English Leather (Cologne) by Dana
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English Leather (Cologne) is a perfume by Dana for men and was released in 1949. The scent is leathery-woody. It is still in production.
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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesItalian bergamot, Kaffir lime
Heart Notes Heart NotesLeather, Oakmoss, Vetiver
Base Notes Base NotesSandalwood, Cedarwood, Musk

Ratings

Scent

6.9 (37 Ratings)

Longevity

6.8 (28 Ratings)

Sillage

6.2 (31 Ratings)

Bottle

6.7 (35 Ratings)
Submitted by Sani, last update on 10.09.2020.
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Reviews

8
Scent
4
Longevity
6
Sillage
6
Bottle
FvSpee
Translated Show originalShow translation
FvSpee
FvSpee
Top Review    25  
Colonial goods VIII: Habsburg entanglements
In 1916, the perfume company Myrurgia was founded in Barcelona (which is now part of the Spanish Puig Group). Javier Serra, a lawyer employed there, had been planning to set up his own fragrance house since 1921 and put this plan into practice in 1932, also in Barcelona. The first perfume launched in 1932 by the new fragrance company Dana, TABU, created by the great Jean Carles, the "Beethoven of perfumery" (he was anosmic in his old age and yet created new fragrances) and later also the inventor of "Miss Dior", was possibly also the most successful.

Why it took Serra 11 years to put his plan into action cannot be deduced from the (numerous) internet sources on which I based this report, but a part will have been used to come up with the name Dana. After all, the business-minded lawyer is said to have proceeded in the same way as major brand invention specialists do when a new drink or car model is launched today: He was looking for a name that is short and beautiful sounding, that doesn't have a "sackface" or "flea bite" in any language in the world and that has positive connotations in as many languages as possible. Since "Danae" (in Spanish "Dana") is a very positively (and erotically) occupied figure from the Greek etymology (as fans of Wold von Nieblschütz know), in Basque "success" means, to all Buddhists of this world about the appropriate Sanskrit term as the first of the Buddhist cardinal virtues (namely generosity, mercy) and also still in Afghanistan, in old Egypt and in many places otherwise positive meanings showed or has, the matter was finally scratched with Dana.

Still in the course of the 1930s (possibly in the context of the Spanish Civil War), Dana's headquarters moved to the rue de la Paix in Paris. As with many a political refugee of the time, disaster struck the new headquarters, and so the headquarters were moved again in 1940: To New York. In 1995, the troubled company and brand was bought by Renaissance Cosmetics, and after a rapid turnover of more and more sales, almost went under. Since 1999, the rights to the Dana brand and many of its individual fragrances have been held by Dana Classic Fragrances Inc., which is part of the Lynn Tilton empire, a manager whose concept is to stabilize failing American companies and is celebrated as a savior of American jobs.

As the official website of Dana reveals, English Leather is not originally a fragrance of Dana. It was originally, according to this site, "released in the 1930s as Russian Leather by the Viennese fragrance company MEM and renamed English Leather in 1949 because the name would not have been promoted in America during the Cold War".

About MEM, various sources, including the Parfumo database, tell us that the company was founded in 1883 in Vienna as "M.E. Meyer" and became famous for razor blades (the classic blades for razors) and simple colognes and shaving lotions such as the then probably legendary "Viennese cologne". Also M.E. Meyer, later MEM, is said to have been relocated to the USA, but not in 1940, but only "at the end of the 1940s" and was bought up (not in 1995, but in 1996) by Renaissance Cosmetics. Then the traces are lost. It is assumed that Renaissance merged its two daughters "MEM" and "Dana" and transferred recipe and trademark rights from "Russian Leather / English Leather" to Dana.

The Parfumo database does not know a "Russian Leather" by M.E. Meyer, but a "Juchtenleder Eau de Cologne" by this company (with the addition: "is no longer produced" and without comment). Since "Russian Leather" and "Juchtenleder" are used synonymously in perfumery, I strongly assume that the original English leather named "Russian Leather" mentioned on the Dana internet site is no other than "Juchtenleder EdC" - probably reformulated several times by now.

In view of this Austro-Spanish mixed history, it is not surprising that this fragrance fits excellently into what I call the "Habsburg-brown" world of fragrances, with its leathery, soapy, woody notes, warm, soft, a bit sweetish at times, as is typical for Spanish and Austrian men's fragrances. At the same time, the very close to aftershave fragrance (it is also offered as an after-shave version) but in my opinion also fits very well to the USA with its often somewhat own sweetish barbershop taste at Colognes.

I will never be able to analyse the scent in as much detail as Murder Bee, who has filigreely traced the entire leather cycle. I limit myself to the hint that a soft, full, slightly sweet brown spice citric welcomes me, very classically masculine, at the same time barbershop and lemonate/orangeate/cake spices. I also think I can feel a woody, kitchen herb green side note. Later leathery, warm and soft notes are added, after about 45 minutes the sweetness recedes and it becomes dirtier and tarter. Around 60 to 90 minutes I like the fragrance the least, it is now woody and herbaceous, again slightly sweet and slightly spicy, but somehow I'm not sure if it really runs round here. But it is not bad, and it is already so weak that it does not bother me. After two hours it is very weak, more pleasing again, I mean to perceive something like a peach note, after three hours it is scythe.

The scent pyramid reproduced here on Parfumo corresponds to the official information on the Dana homepage, so it's probably correct. But I have to tell you that "Basenotes" indicates another pyramid, which fits very (!) much more to my subjective scent impression (and is closer to the classic Farina-Cologne!): K: Bergamot, Lemon, Petitgrain, Lavender, Rosemary. H: rose, violet root, honey, fern [it says "ferm", but that might be a typo], B: cedar, leather, tonka, vetiver, musk.

* *

And here again I added a fragrance that I can't comment on in this series, which is a pity because it would fit very well here - but I discussed it before starting the series. It is

Colonial goods VIIIa: Varon Dandy

After I had kindly received a sample from Konsalik, I ordered here the liter bottle (!!!) from the Spanish manufacturer, for one appel and one egg (the liter costs as much as 100 ml, and 100 ml cost almost nothing). A great smell, and also Habsburg brown. Konsalik has described him as the little brother of Knize Ten, and he is right. About 2 weeks ago I posted a photo of the liter bottle here.
21 Replies
6.5
Scent
8
Longevity
4
Sillage
8
Bottle
Drseid

745 Reviews
Drseid
Drseid
   1  
Nostalgia vs. Reality...
*This is a review of the vintage English Leather Cologne by MEM.

English Leather opens with an aromatic lavender and bergamot tandem before transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the aromatic lavender remains, joining natural smelling lemon, and orange, woody-green petitgrain early, then gradually adding a play doh-like accord with musky green oakmoss and hard leather late that as time passes eventually takes the fore. During the late dry-down, the play-doh accord and aromatic lavender vacate, as the remnants of the hard leather join significant sharp woody vetiver in the base that becomes co-star, with the musky-woody oakmoss accord now once again in support. Projection is below average, but longevity is quite tenacious at an excellent 12 hours on skin.

I have fond, vivid memories from my childhood where one could browse the grocery store personal care aisle and find many "drugstore" aftershaves and colognes like British Sterling, Jovan Musk for Men, Aqua Velva, Chaps... and of course, English Leather. There were testers galore, and while I had little money to buy just about anything, I always looked forward to sampling every one - again, and again. Fast forward to present day, with not having worn English Leather (aftershave or cologne) for at least 35 years and only my nostalgic memories to lean on, I decided to buy a vintage English Leather Cologne to see how the real thing measures up. Well, the top notes definitely are missing the nose piercing bergamot I remember from my youth (almost certainly burned off due to age), instead the bergamot, while present, is quite diminished in comparison to the aromatic lavender. I also don't remember the play doh-like accord in the heart, that when combined with the relatively hard leather gives off an overall smell not so unlike the current formula of Or Black. About two and a half hours in, the composition returns back to what I remember, as it morphs into its final sharp woody, leathery focus through the finish, with the vetiver giving the woods a piercing quality. Like most things it is almost impossible to live up to nostalgic long since past memories, and it holds true here too. That said, I don't regret the "cheapie" purchase, and still enjoy the stuff. The bottom line is the under $15 per 55 ml bottle English Leather Cologne (MEM version) may not live up to its impossible nostalgic heights, but the "good" to "very good" 3 to 3.5 stars out of 5 rated composition shows it holds up well nostalgia withstanding even after many decades, earning a solid recommendation to classic "old school" composition lovers who value getting excellent "bang-for-your-buck."
9
Scent
7.5
Longevity
10
Sillage
7.5
Bottle
GothicHeart

87 Reviews
GothicHeart
GothicHeart
   3  
English tether, not...
The way this early postwar villain left me after first encountering it sometime around the mid 80's, could be summarised in just one (mostly british) word. Flabbergasted!

It was a Christmas gift for my father, by someone who kept ignoring that the only scent my father ever used was a lavender-lemon dirt cheap cologne that was sold not only in pharmacies but even in grocery stores. My father, being the exact opposite of my mother who was a zealot of the perfume cults, passed it to me, without bothering to give it a second sniff. If he had done so, maybe he would have realised that it was not exactly the kind of fragrance a teenager could handle. But apparently, being used to smell archetypical powerhouses like Macassar and Yatagan all around him, he probably didn't think this one could do any harm. He was wrong. For what it should be actually called was English Lewdness.

Before slapping it on my face for the first time, it raised its leatherclad hand and crowned me majestically. As if challenging me in a duel which proved nearly impossible to win. Not at least before I managed to wear the sucker instead of him wearing me. And that really took some time.

The commander of Her Majesty's shock troops came in a wooden box with a wooden stopper, bearing a wonderful embossed label in crimson and gold on its thick glass bottle. I guess it was some kind of a special edition which, as is the case with so many natural things nowadays, is nowhere to be found anymore. Being the first time I saw a fragrance not being in a carton box, I immediately jumped to the conclusion that this one had to be something extraordinary. And it was...
All the more that I love wood more than any other natural material, with the possible exception of emeralds.
In hindsight, I believe that even if someone failed to read the name on the doric bottle, this amount of wood was definitely not a harbinger of vanilla or cotton candy.

Until then it was hands down the dirtiest star ever to shine in my olfactory universe, and it still remains amongst the most prominent paragons of salaciousness. For some reason it turned otherwise cheerful and soothing notes like citruses, lavender and honey into guilty pleasures of which the world should never be aware of. It was as these notes had a dark and secret side that would take an arcane perfumer to expose. Unfortunately it seems that we'll never know who the conjurer behind its creation was, since even Dana doesn't bother to mention anything about him(?).

It seemed like it was enhanced with some shady age-boosting ingredient, for I felt like my years had doubled long before its top notes subsided.
First poured on one of my 16th year afternoons, evening found me flirting with 30 year olds, in places I was not supposed to enter. You know, just because of being 16. And I swear that I got some really funny looks overnight. And they were not of the miffed kind. It was like these ladies were weighing up the odds of making out with a splashy barefaced teen and get away with it. And not because of me being a male jailbait, since the claptrap called politically correctness was still a hazy dream in the minds of some self-righteous, self-appointed, self-centred pricks. You know, like the ones who would banish scents like English Leather if they had the power to do it. No, the ladies' only concern seemed to be how they would succeed in cornering me and being spared the excruciating details and the envious glances to an by their friends. God, how I miss those years!...

After blaring my silly cockiness for what I thought was enough, I went to sleep smiling with what I thought was a huge victory in the battle of sexes. And I dreamt of the leather chesterfield sofas in the House of Lords, where a slightly drunk young crossbencher had accidentally spilled a dram of rare Ardbeg, before escaping the boring meeting and driving with the sun on his back in his Triumph TR3, hastening to meet his concubine in Mayfair. In the morning I pledged to myself that I was going to be this man one day.

I never became a crossbencher or any kind of representative and I never came even close to having such a curvesome beaut (the wheels, not the girl). The successful part of fulfilling my dream was just tasting rare Ardbegs many times and spending some time in London. But I still remain a barefaced teen (although a little less splashy now) even though some 30 years have passed since that night. Especially when English Leather of yore joins me for a ride. Perhaps not in a TR3 but in an equally fascinating vehicle. The time machine that I have built in my mind, permanently programmed to the days of my youth.
6
Scent
5
Longevity
5
Sillage
7.5
Bottle
Avoirdupois

79 Reviews
Avoirdupois
Avoirdupois
   1  
The original was an earthy leather that called out for attention.
Haven't seen this around for many years, used it a few decades back and enjoyed its feel and edge.

The leather aspect is obvious, but the support is strong with a woody, earthy presence and citrus for balance. The cedarwood and sandalwood oils form a strong base.

I recall it was very popular, low-priced, and I thought the bottle definitely classy, very masculine.
4
Scent
7.5
Longevity
5
Sillage
2.5
Bottle
Gmmcnair

40 Reviews
Gmmcnair
Gmmcnair
   2  
Suffered in Reformulation But Still a Contender
Unlike Scentemental, I have tried and used the old MEM version (many bottles over the years). It had a bit more potentcy and swagger, along with a nicer leather note to it, along with what my nose picked up as a bit of floral. It was a bit of a "rough tough cream puff" fragrance, and I loved wearing it as a teen.

Today's version is more subdued, but still acceptable. The leather is muted, and the Dana version is sweeter because of it. I still like it for casual wear, and I still get okay sillage and very good longevity with it. Not bad for a drugstore fragrance. I don't use it nearly as much as I once did, but I still pull it out.
7
Scent
Scentemental

29 Reviews
Scentemental
Scentemental
Helpful Review    3  
Cheap and classy
This is one of those fragrances that many people claim has suffered as a result of reformulation. Well I never tried the older MEM version, so I can only go on what I smell in the newer version. I bought a huge 240ml bottle for $19.90 ( about 13 Euros) and it can be found even cheaper. I only have the aftershave version, but it is still worthwhile. It has a soapy, leatheriness that I find very 'comfortable' and attractive. It reminds me of a soap called 'Imperial Leather' available in Australia. It also reminds me, of Guerlain vetiver (2000's version) minus the vetiver.

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English Leather (Cologne) von Dana
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