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.