Perfume Directory

Black Suede (1980)
by Avon

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Black Suede information

Year of Launch1980
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 70 votes)

People and companies

HouseAvon

About Black Suede

A woody, oriental fragrance.

Black Suede fragrance notes

Reviews of Black Suede

One reason I think that someone would not like Black Suede by Avon is because it's a smooth blend...it has no veriable 'edge' to label it.Cedarwood,amber,lemon,nutmeg,lavender,and musk...that's it among the notes.

Strangely when I spray this it fools me for a second because I initially detect lemon with the amber and nutmeg.The lemon 'ghost note' dissapears as the cedarwood surfaces right out though.The amber in this isn't heavy and seems to be scrubbed by the lavender rendering the cedar lightly soapy and the sharp edges smoothened on the amber keeping it calm.The nutmeg is branched to the smooth/clean amber granting a little sweetness to it's spice without being cloying.The nutmeg branches out and also latches on to the returning lemon note creating a 'spiced lemon'.I'm going to quote this similarity to Aramis per a thumb-down reviewer and say it reminds me of something older that Aramis copied... Dunhill for Men(1934).Light hints of musk accent the fragrance a little.

It's a 3 spray enjoyment for me but fair projection and 6 hours of enjoyment.For an amber and spice fragrance this is only mildly warm so I'll give it props for being able to work all 4 seasons of the year.As a conservative scent it's not the most interesting thing I have.But it is comfortable to wear in anything casual or formal because it's smoothly blended.
11th March, 2018
Avon seldom had qualms about their place in the fragrance market, and it was an entire value-priced tier previously non-existent that they carved out for themselves in the late 19th century, a time when only the most wealthy among us afforded perfumes more sophisticated than the local chemist's eau de cologne. Avon sought to change that, and in so doing, facilitated the rise of all the tiers in between bespoke and drugstore perfumery, including what would become designer, prestige, and niche perfumes. I doubt David H McConnell had the foresight to know in 1886 that his marketing of simple ready-made perfumes door to door in America would help majorly contribute to a stratified perfume market over a century later, but Avon's seminal work, alongside other early juggernauts of the industry such as Coty and Pinaud, is the only reason we can sit here today and scoff at modern Avon compositions whilst sipping our artisinal coffee from ethically-sourced mugs. In regards to Avon Black Suede (1980), all this slow and eventual buildup of product lines over the 20th century, including proper men's fragrance starting in 1949, lead to a crest in market saturation right around the time Black Suede hit, so it was the apex of male fragrance craft from the house for better or worse. Black Suede is by no measure entirely original, but neither is any Avon fragrance really, as the house interspersed wacky wild ahead-of-their-time oddballs with totally-staid exercises in emulating what "the other guys" were doing stylistically, and the latter is what we have here. Yves Saint Laurent had just dragged orientals out of the graveyard with their controversial perfume called Opium (1977), and were soon copied by a dozen other houses the following year, including Lagerfeld, which chose to base their eponymous Lagerfeld/lagerfeld Classic (1978) on a woodsy oriental leather palette definitely influenced by YSL. Avon followed suit two years later with the richer, smoother, warmer Black Suede, which was admittedly more oriental amber than virile leather, but it was this conservative quality that made it the perfect comfortable scent to bridge the divide between full-tilt spicy oriental sweetness and pungent leathery animalic musk.

Black Suede is at it's heart, a hybrid oriental leather chypre touched by a heavy "Avon amber" accord in the base and lots of creamy, swirling spice capped with sweet citrus and aldehydes in the top. Much like Avon Wild Country (1967), this is one of the few immortal masculine classics that even the staunchest niche snob will have a hard time denying of it's praise, so it gets everything it does just so incredibly right, I doubt even the anonymous in-house Avon perfumers on hand composing it back in the day realized just what they had cooked up. The scent opens with mandarin, bergamot and aldehydes, pretty easy peasy and too different from the aforementioned Lagerfeld. There's clove, cardamom, and nutmeg to bring in the cheapo Americanized fast-food equivalent of an oriental accord, but it's honestly just perfect despite being so humble in it's common spice rack origins. This smooth, creamy aldehydic citrus to spice transition is just what the scent needs to separate it from the much-hairier Lagerfeld which is most closely resembles, and it further transitions into ambery territory similar to the later Coty Stetson (1981) but without the florals to dandy it up. The base of Black Suede is unsurprisingly rich with musk, amber, cedar, labdanum, oakmoss, vetiver, and just a speck of that petrol leather note which connects the "Suede" of the title to the scent itself. Most of the time spent wearing Black Suede will be spent observing the interplay between the amber, moss, cistus, leather, and vetiver, which comes across sharp at times, and smoothly mulled at others, creating a soft but potent aura on skin. Black Suede performs much like an eau de parfum with moderate projection but with compact, long-lasting sillage despite being labelled a "men's cologne" by Avon, further proof that concentrations meant nothing to the house after a point, and that the word cologne was tossed about indiscriminately by the house for anything they didn't consider a "perfume".
Wear time for Black Suede is considerable, and this will most certainly last a work day, although it's too warm for use outside fall and winter months.

The quality of blending and composition totally trumps what are mid-shelf ingredients at best, but at least real oakmoss and unrestricted clove is in the thing if you're wearing vintage, but any production after they changed the formula (and bottle design) is suspect, since this saw a major unpublished re-orchestration in the 2000's much like Wild Country did in the 90's. Black Suede also spawned tons of flankers, continuing to do so even today, at least in the European market, which is the only one Avon seems to care about since being relocated their by the Cerberus Group in 2014. This is plenty work-safe, but I think it's best as a comfy at-home scent, bundled up alone or with a significant other, after the work day is done. Getting the matching after shave and body wash for this, and just coating yourself in it after a shower and shave is just phenomenal, creating a relaxing leathery ambery glow that really does sit "just perfect" between the two chypre styles. Black Suede is a mature "neat and groomed" kind of scent, so fellas under 30 probably won't know what it's about, as it's not loud or sweet enough for clubs, and not fresh nor light enough for a daily generalist signature scent. But putting this into perspective, when stuff like Black Suede was first hitting the market, we also had uber-masculine powerhouses like Bogart One Man Show (1980), Jacomo de Jacomo (1980), and Patou Pour Homme (1980) hitting the higher end segment. Black Suede caps the end of a really good 2 decade run of humble but well-constructed masculines, as the company soon dipped into very gimmicky territory with cross-merchandising and hair-brained concepts in a desperate grab to stop market loss at the hands of emerging mid-tier designers. Black Suede is the only other masculine from Avon the name of which is spoken in the same reverent tones as Wild Country, so take a sniff and see why. A bonafide classic.
05th September, 2017 (last edited: 22nd October, 2018)
Ok, here goes... I have long avoided any fragrance produced by Avon. I am a younger fragrance enthusiast in my 30s, and always felt Avon fragrances were cheap and old-fashioned. However, I have been experimenting with a number of “old school fragrances”, and have loved them. The key with older fragrances is very light application, lighter than I would normally use with more modern scents. For example with most modern fragrances (although the strength of each varies) my standard application for my skin is a MAX of 3 sprays...

1 chest/upper neck
1 stomach,
.5 sprays on each wrist.

This gives me a subtle aroma bubble for most modern frags.

I may nix “the stomach spray” (bringing it down to 2) for stronger modern frags. But I rarely find a fragrance that needs 4 sprays. At 4 sprays I hate to tell you, but you DO SMELL like “THAT COLOGNE GUY”, at least with my skin. If I have a weaker fragrance, my stomach spray will be on the back off my head instead, for projection. Now with an older fragrance, especially a so-called “powerhouse” fragrances I’ll generally use 1 full spray to the center of my chest, and the scent is perfect all day. This is how I wear Van Cleef and Arpels, Quorum, etc. When I do this it smells amazing. Complex, but not overpowering. Especially, because I normally wear a full suits. But I digress...

I finally decided I would try a few Avon fragrances. I tried Wild Country and hated it. It had that weird Avon smell, that’s cheap and old-fashioned. The epitome of “OLD MAN smell.” It smelled like the chemical they use to scent old "Baby Wipes". My girl agreed. And then I tried the current iteration of Black Suede Leather. Just boring and linear, and still had this odd Avon vibe I didn’t like, which translates to me as cheap.

Then just recently someone gave me 2 bottles of the original, and new version of Black Suede. I actually prefer the new version the best. Some people will say any time a fragrance is reformulated it’s watered-down. And for fans of the original it may feel that way. However I think in many instances the company is merely tweaking the formulation for a more modern aesthetic that will resonate with a new generation of consumers (as well as the need to eliminate ingredients that may cause allergic reactions...aka Oakmoss) I for one having smelled both back to back prefer the newer. It’s less aggressive and even more subtle and cozy.

And for the record: I DO love Black Suede. Actually, for me this is mildly embarrassing. But it’s a very, very nice scent! It would have to be because for me to go out and buy two more bottles just to have as the safety when I openly admit I hate Avon fragrances is very telling. Now to be clear I’m not a fan of the top they still have that cheap Avon smell like old baby powder. But on my skin, right out of the shower... with the NEW formulation of Black Suede this “opening” only lasts the first five minutes. Once I get into the mid and basenotes it’s fantastic. And on my skin it lasts 6 to 7 hours. I have no idea what the note breakdown would be, it’s not really about breaking down individual notes with Black Suede it’s more the overall feel, or “aura”. And this is the “aura” when lightly applied (3 sprays, as mentioned above as this is not a powerhouse)-

WARM, INVITING, SAFE, SUBTLE. COZY, SEXY – Think curling up in front of a fire on a cold night, with a snifter of cognac (or glass of whiskey), a warm blanket and a good book (or old movie), with your girl at your side. All the while the aroma of some delicious, warm baked goods (cookies perhaps) is wafting through from a nearby oven.

This is definitely a fall/winter scent. It screams autumn in New York. The image of a sharp dressed, casual man, with a scarf and Peacoat, strolling through central park with his girl.

I have no previous associations with this fragrance, as I’m too young to remember it in its heyday, if it ever had one. It’s not modern. But it’s also not dated. It’s unique. And my girl who is in her late 20’s loves it! She’s not a fragrance enthusiast, but this is one she always snuggles up to sniff ...when I wear it. Well played Avon, well played.
01st March, 2017
I could try describing this scent, but I feel Bigsly pretty much nailed it. I believe I have the current formulation, and it is not a strong performer. The dry down is where this becomes fairly powdery on me, and that aspect lasts a good while longer on my skin. I would definitely consider this to be an "old school masculine" type scent. The main reason I am keeping this is because it was a gift from my Dad, and it will remind me of him when I wear it.
27th December, 2016
Bigsly Show all reviews
United States
My review is for a vintage bottle. I don't understand comparisons to Aramis, as it lacks the leathery and floral qualities (and also lacks the aldehydes of Aramis). Nor does it have any herbal qualities. Other than perhaps in the fleeting top notes, this is mostly spicy and ambery, and it gets a bit powdery as time goes on (but not outrageously so). There is mild wood but not major leathery aspect at all; overall it's natural smelling. I don't get any fougere element and it's not too sweet. There's just a bit of musk but I certainly wouldn't call this a "musk scent." It's simple but effective, though since it could get boring I'd rather wear this on days when I'm not going to pay much attention to the scent I apply, and I'd also suggest wearing this in cooler weather.
08th December, 2013
man114 Show all reviews
United States
Wouldn't really call this a woodsy knockoff of Aramis, Aramis is a more green foresty type fragrance. Here is what I think of this stuff....

Barbershop/anamalic, that is the best you could desxribe this stuff as. How it plays in a given situation? Well exactly that.

Up front this stuff is almost interolerable. Smells like poorly blended crap.

If you get past the opener its an anamalic barbershop fragrnace.

This stuff is really highly subective. Really. Really. Can't stress that too much.

Make it past 15 minutes you're fine, its a strong weird barbershop. Do not apply and immediately do something. This is not spritz in the bathroom at the prom stuff.

My personal advice, a couple of spritzes, wait 20 minutes, you've got a tolerable barbershop. Outside this timeframe its rather like an overly strong clubman or along those lighns. Inside the 20 minutes forget it.

Outside initial elements it breaks down into a warm barbershop type scent. Outside that overly anamalic, harsh and weird. My advice? Wait 20 minutes after applying and you'll be fine.
05th November, 2012

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AVON*VINTAGE BLACK SUEDE MEN'S FESTIVE MINI COLOGNE* .5 FL.OZ*NIB*OLD STOCK

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6 AVON BLACK SUEDE ROLL-ON ANTIPERSPIRANT DEODORANT 2.5 FL OZ EACH USA

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❤️Avon Lot Of 4 Men’s Black Suede Cologne Spray 3.4 Fl Oz

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