Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Black Suede by Avon

Total Reviews: 28
First things first: Black Suede gets entirely too much hate here in reviews despite it's obvious popularity. Moreover, Avon as a house gets an undue amount of hate here despite so many folks having owned their products. It's like everyone thinks they do everything by accident, and are just terrible at making fragrances but somehow have managed to stay in business since 1886 out of sheer luck alone. Well let me tell you, they may make cheap fragrances (and a lot of clones), but they've erected an empire in the process, so they must be doing something right, with Black Suede being a time-honored example of it. This scent arrived in 1980, at what I call the first big high point in men's fragrances for the mega-corp, with the second one being not until the early/mid 2000's, and it sort of climaxes all the efforts the house had been putting into forwarding themselves in the craft up until that point. It's a woodsy oriental chypre with some undertones normally found in barbershop fougeres, which itself is an unconventional mix of two very conventional tropes at the time, explaining why it was such a huge hit.

Earlier stuff from Avon was a mixed bag of formal chypres with citrus or woody notes in their openings, barbershop fougeres with marine, far east, or odd country western themes explaining their middle and top notes, and the confusing Old Spice clone here or there (which was far too cheap a cologne even then to try imitating but this is the Cult of Avon so no logic needed). Wild Country fit into the fougere salvo but nobody had done one with a western theme so it was quite a resounding success, which Avon would not duplicate on that same level again until this little number came along. Black Suede didn't play it as safe as the other male fragrances that came before it, and like Wild Country, offered a dynamic that couldn't be had anywhere else, by any other designer. It's a scent that opens one way and drys down unexpectedly in another, which is probably why so many younger folks get initial wrong impressions about it: fragrances aren't usually this complex anymore and what you see is what you get from start to finish.

The opening blast of shimmery powder is undoubtedly a heliotrope note, even if it's not listed, that if left alone would turn the fragrance into a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby powder, but mixed down into the musks and ambers going on here. The powder makes it zing just enough to make you notice and from there, the dry-down into those basenotes is accompanied by woodsy accords with spices like nutmeg. I can't discern them quite as much as the top and bottom notes, but I can feel them weave through the cracks on this. It touches on the kind of sweet vibe that Old Spice takes, but doesn't try to cool it down with counter-balancing notes, and instead keeps the sweetness rather warm and shiny even until the very end, when sharp pangs of both top and base notes come through after a long day wearing it. Black Suede is certainly not a sensual bouquet, but for office and casual use in colder months, I can see this being a winner. It might even work as a romantic stay-at-home scent, but definitely not something to attract somebody you never met, as this screams comfort and not virility.

Black Suede has tons of flankers, and all but maybe two of them actually try to inform of the original in their compositions, which makes it funny to me that they are even flankers and not unique fragrances in the Avon line-up. Maybe it's a testament to the uniqueness found here, making an unconventional fragrance from conventional stock parts, or maybe it's just impossible to make anything smell similar enough to this and not just be recreating it? Woe be to Avon if they start imitating their -own- successful past fragrances, so they instead just use the name like a sub-label. As an aside, a lot of people seem to think this is a "me-too" of Aramis, but the only thing they share is a similar nostril-tinge in the opening, and that's not enough for me to cry plagiarism. It is at once familiar, but also strange, which will make many try to liken this to something else they've smelled, but not with any accuracy. If there were only one Avon fragrance still in production that I was allowed to buy, this one takes the prize. Very original.
05th September, 2017
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
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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
This is the epitome of cheap cologne.

It is a cheap woodsy knockoff of Aramis and Egoiste. You are better off saving your money and getting the real deal. Also, it is very powdery. There is a strong note that is similar to talcum powder. It smells like a dirty diaper.

Sure, some people will like it. But most people won't. This has strong projection, which is not good for the people around you who will not like it.

If you are starting out, there is a chance you may like this, but if you are a serious collector or have tried many woodsy fragrances, you should pass on this because there are just so many other options.

3/10

Verdict: Go buy yourself Aramis or Egoiste instead.
20th May, 2012 (last edited: 22nd June, 2012)
bFlay Show all reviews
United States
This is one of those things grandmothers give as gifts to young boys because it is a lighter version (and certainly cheap) of the stuff grandpa wears. Synthetic wood, musk, and leather in a powder cloud of rose
dusting talcum. Breaks down and disipates quickly. Might well be suitable to an adolescent just starting out, but otherwise an unredeeming fragrance all around.
06th December, 2011
I have been a tiny bit of a perfume snob, so I've often pushed aside many Avon fragrances thinking they were cheap and nasty. However, after receiving an Avon catalogue on my doorstep with some Avon perfume samples, I retract my previous comments.

Black Suede could easily be unisex in my opinion. It has a beautiful powdery-like quality that is rather classic in a sense and soothing.

For some reason I feel leather in this fragrance, but only a very slight hint of it. This fragrance is mostly musk, woodsy notes, sweet nutmeg and clove.

The scent reminds me of crisp, white pressed shirts that my Father wore to work each day. It has a very clean and fresh feel that is lovely on both sexes.

On me, this fragrance is soft, powdery nutmeg and leather, however on a man's skin Black Suede is far more masculine and warmer. I agree that this does have an almost baby powder type smell, however I'm a big fan of scents like that and sometimes wished more men smelt like this.

A man wearing Black Suede would be a man that I could trust and feel comfortable around. It's not a scent meant to drive women wild, it's a comforting fragrance designed make a lady feel safe and secure around her man. I highly recommend.

30th June, 2011
Not bad but nothing special cause many following fragrances smell similar to this one. Everything has already been told aboud. This is not a dark one in my opinion, it's a bit floral in the middle, is spicy from the top to the bottom (nutmeg and cloves) and has a woody-ambery dry down not so mellow, resinous and sweet it to become a cloying or too sweet fragrance. It's a bit leathery and animalic because of the musks and the leathery somewhere hidden elements. The starting sweetness is tamed by a moderately dry base, a bit powdery and just in the right way mild, where dry ingredients (cedar and oakmoss) balance the natural resinousity of amber. This is a smooth spicy oriental, versatile and preferable for formal events at night.
12th February, 2011 (last edited: 09th January, 2014)
Izzy Show all reviews
United States
This is not good, no need to say more. Stay away from this stuff
18th December, 2010
Maybe the best of Avon (I have not tried everything Avon has to offer) and I agree with shamu in the sense that it is a well balance perfume and that there is nothing black or dark about it. Very spicy and flowery with a powdery amber drydown.
The problem with this perfume is that there is nothing that sets it aside from the hordes of mediocre perfumes that flood the market. In other words, there is nothing to call home about it, but in the other hand it is a nice and pleasant perfume that should not offend anybody.
01st November, 2010
HIDEOUS! That is the best word I can use to describe Black Suede, My best friend loves it & says it works on him. I can not stand it from top to bottom!
26th October, 2010
shamu1 Show all reviews
United States

Am I the only person here who sees this as a floral scent? For the first hour, the florals smell very prominent to my nose, which isn't a bad thing at all. Black Suede seems to put have all the best features of Stetson, Royal Copenhagen and PS Paul Sebastian, wrapped up into one excellent fragrance.

"Black Suede" is a misnomer because there is nothing black or dark about it whatsoever, nor are there any leathery notes that I can smell. Instead what you have here is a superb floral oriental fragrance that dries down to a warm amber and wood base. Black Suede has an overall powdery smell to it, but it never overwhelms (unlike Avon's Wild Country, which is a storm of talcum powder). It is extremely old school in overall feel.

The whole fragrance is just beautifully balanced, with the florals never becoming heady or overwhelming, and the oriental amber base never becoming heavy or overly sweet. The drydown is a marvelous combination of sweet and dry, with the amber providing an almost nutty scent and cedar notes giving it a dryness that counteracts the sweetness beautifully. Everything smells just right in Black Suede, which is a huge accomplishment in its own right for any perfumer.

I am a newcomer to Avon fragrances, and Black Suede is my first introduction to Avon's men's line. Apparently this is an Avon classic, and I can see why. Two thumbs all the way up.

MY RATING: 8.5/10
06th October, 2010
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Yuck! I received a bottle of this as a gift in the 80's and thought it smelled like some strange blend of rancid cooking oil and cleaning solvent. I passed it on to a friend who liked it, but either he never wore it around me or it was so different on him as to be unrecognizable.
10th March, 2010
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
Although known in the broader culture as primarily a woman's line, Avon does have some fragrances aimed at men, this and Wild Country in particular, that have a barbershop vibe and are great deals for the money. Black Suede is regularly available for about ten dollars and lasts longer than many pricier brethren. This one is a powdery, smooth scent in the Royal Copenhagen/Zizanie lineage although Black Suede is smoother and a bit richer. This would be a great starter fragrance for a young man who doesn't want to smell like everyone else on line at the theater.
30th January, 2010 (last edited: 03rd October, 2011)
These are my initial notes: Stinky, musky, cheap, powdery. 1 star.

This stuff smell horrible. There is not much I can add to my initial impression. It smells like a sleazy old man who needs a bath. To add a bit of a positive, the foul odour dissipates eventually and you are left with a decent cedar wood fragrance.
09th December, 2009
I always thumped my nose at Avon fragrance for men because I thought them inferior in quality and longevity to the designer perfumes. I remember this one as being nice and pleasant. I also remember an Avon cologne from my youth called simply "Leather." It came in a yellowish-orange bottle with rubber lining. "Leather" smelled like Madras by Myrurgia, which I can only find in perfume stores in Mexico City. Madras is a richly sensuous and seductive medley of fine aromatic wood and amber notes. It is definitely worth seeking out.
11th October, 2009
I smelled this before was the first thing I noticed after trying it. On the way home I realized that it was, to my nose, close to Dunhill for Men, the one designed in 1934 according to BN's Fragrance Directory. And, a week after, to my surprise, I realized that it also shared notes in common with Versace L'Homme. These notes are many. They all open up with the same sort of top notes, a very strange "watery" feeling to the nose: take a room with walls full of mold but turn it into a nice, flowery, powdery smell. Of course, a very primitive blind test among relatives (wife and kids) proved that of these three, Dunhill was the better option, followed by Versace and Black Suede, mainly because of leather-type base notes so characteristic of Dunhill, which are completely absent in Black Suede.

So, if you can't find Dunhill due to its discontinuation, and Versace proves hard to find because of its lack of market presence, you might as well resort to this one. Take the added benefit of its low price, the fact that there is an eau de cologne, shaving foam, after shaving balsam and deodorant sold under the same brand, so this actually means sillage and longevity are not a problem at all. Besides, if complimented about, you may surprise people either way, saying it is one of Avon's inexpensive fragrances, a rare option among Dunhill's line or a souvenir from the eighties, originally bought to be worn with a wide shoulder-padded coat.
04th September, 2009
Indeed a cheapo Kourosesque vibe just 30 minutes or so for the impatient. Overall softer and if lightly applied achieves a level of OK, but don't strive here for any mythic greatness with an increase in dosage. Too easily moves into sensual BO...to complete our theme.
07th August, 2009
Duncan Show all reviews
United States
Fairly sickly and nasty. Smells like Lysol original formula. Would not recommend.
24th June, 2009
I smelled this at a flea market right after receiving a sample of a sample of Hugo's newest fragrance and to me they smell exactly the same. I don't understand why because Hugos was supposed to be a sport fragrance and this is a "black" fragrance. Maybe im going crazy
23rd December, 2008
Musk, woods and amber. It almost, barely almost reminds me of Kouros... has that honeyed note to it that mimics civet. Not bad.
23rd October, 2008
Nice. Really nice. Warm, smooth, woody, spicey, leathery.

Excellent training-wheels fragrance for teen guys.

But hey, I have been wearing it for years now! I'd advise using the complete range of Black Suede products to get a lasting, satifyin auror of scent eminating from your body.

I always get lots of compliments wearing this when I do wear it out, but its a frangrance I typically use at home or when I go to do the groceries, and am not after something high-end or glamourous, or trendy.

Although, by the number of compliments I get, it must smell quite good to other people. I'm not saying it doesn't to me, I think it smells supurb, but I just use it more as an at-home comfort scent.

Easily wearable. Smooth. Masculine. A little boozy. A little spicey. A little woody. A little leathery. All combining to make a fragrance of decent sillage, at a good price. This fragrance can;t possibly offend anyone! Suits all attire.

Thumbs way up from me!
10th June, 2007
I really enjoy this on my husband. I don't get "old man" from this at all. All I smell is sensuality:)
26th May, 2007
I feel it’s one of those dated colgnes that can pass my personal test. I got a bottle. I love that it has a very boozy quality that remids me of a combo of cointreau with cognac –not that it has any- but I feel it that way. So I am not really sure why they called it black suede because it doesn’t feel black nor suede-ish. The top notes are very fleeting and the whole thing is very woody as well, but more cedar /barkwood than pine or cypress. The base notes are very musky –bit powdery yes- with an added kick of sandalwood and a very attractive amber. Sometimes it feels sensual.
09th October, 2006
I sniff this from time to time, but I never wear it. Its o.k.,but smells like hair grease to me.A female gave it to me.She said she used it for air freshner.I tend to do the same thing.
03rd August, 2006
if you are buying for your grandad its a safe bet but if you want a scent that is modern dont bother!
16th October, 2005
Somewhat of a formal scent. Sweet musky, synthetic leather smell with a powdery drydown. Not bad, but doesn’t work well on my skin.
19th November, 2004