It's such a simple old-school lemon/bergamot top, a little bit of oak moss in the middle, and a cedar-y leather base.
It's really easy to overdo it with the cologne, which has been stated by several reviewers. My technique is to splash the aftershave (after shaving, of course) and put small dabs of the cologne behind the ears and on the wrists. That's all you need for a full day of awesome scent.
No geritol, cardigan wearing, velcro shoes and liniment, just a classic manly smell (when done correctly).
english leather is the best of the drugstore colognes out there along with pierre cardin which is the strongest I have worn. english leather is a very masculine strong fragrance that last for hours. it has a macho sex appeal to it that one can't help feeling in a sexual mood. it's a classic that seems to hardly changed unlike other drugstore colognes I have tried.
Haven't used this stuff in a while(since the '70s, when I was a child....TWICE!!!), but it's certainly a classic!
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Ahem!, my first review on Basenotes...
This review is for the MEM company after shave. First off, I'm quite enthusiastic about this after shave for it has absolutely no burn, therefore it has little alcohol content. Some alcohol is good in an after shave for it's anti-septic qualities but too much alcohol in an A/S can feel like liquid fire. Anyways, this is absent of any appreciable amount of alcohol
In the opening going on I get a light lime (citrus) note, some leather and what smells to me of sandalwood. Could be the leather and moss playing together. Through the dry down the woods come out to mingle with the rest of the cast. Just lovely IMO. Longevity isn't there for me nor should it in a discreet after shave
This is based on the English Leather after shave or cologne of 1976, whatever an awkward teenager would borrow from his older brother for his first semi-formal dance.
I was the awkward kid's dance partner, and I remember snuggling my head onto the lapel of his suit and smelling sandalwood and something else comfortable and mossy that made me want to keep my head there all night. It might have made me think of a library in an old house - leather and pipe tobacco? I don't remember any citrus notes. According to other kids he told later, I kept saying he smelled good, then sneezing.
Since I was awkward too, we both just waved goodbye, and that was the end of things. The smell of his suit still makes me happy after 36 years. It's just now occurring to me that maybe he never put on the English Leather himself. Maybe he borrowed the suit from his big brother, and I was just getting the leftover scent from the week before.
English Leather is a nice old, masculine, grandfathery cologne. The first impression I got was of alcohol and fake lemons. But after a few minutes it warmed up into a very nice mossy, pencil shaving scent. Woodsy. There remained a bit of a synthetic feel though. But what makes English Leather great is that cool down when the wood and moss fades out and then it's leather, leather, leather. Some reviewers say that if you like this cologne you don't know what leather smells like, but I grew up in the country around saddles and boots and fresh leather and that's what this is- fresh leather. Not old saddle leather, but if you bought a strip of belt leather to tool, that's what this smells like. Pretty good for a cheapo scent, and they are my standbys.
English Leather is a comforting fragrance. For men of a certain era, whose fathers came of age in the 50s and 60s and wore this, a bottle of English Leather represents a certain masculine ideal. We scions have rebuked our fathers' racism and sexism (at least most of us have) while maintaining a kind of brand loyalty to a notion of manhood ever vanishing. Fragrances such as Old Spice, Clubman and English Leather provide a sense memory, a memory of school plays, graduations, barbecues, baseball games and the smell of Dad. On this Father's Day, it is appropriate to remember a classic symbol of Man in all of his facets.
English Leather is a rite of passage and an underrated mainstay in a masculine arsenal. For those who believe history began with Nirvana, who only follow trends, and who scoff at anything preceding their birth, it's a pity that you'll break the lineage. Odds are that one of your forerunners had this on his skin when he slid across his first car's seat to kiss that girl, which eventually led to your advent.
What other fragrance smells like it? To this day, it is an individual. In an era when lockstep is advised, it's refreshing and commendable that English Leather still beats its solitary lime and leather drum.
Very heavy scent. Smells completely different in the bottle than it does on my skin. It smells like just pure manly, spicy leather out of the bottle. I only notice the citrus on my skin.
Don’t really get the middle notes here. Seems to fade straight into the woody & leather base notes.
The scent’s not bad per se. It’s in its own class in a way. Other scents are ‘English Leather’ scents – it’s hard to put this in a category. It’s extremely cheap & saying that EL is ‘nothing fancy’ is an understatement. It’s very base & cloying – but not altogether in a bad way. It’s not that bad of a scent, but it is also very mature. Using it for a couple hours (very lightly mind you) is fine, but after a couple of hours on me – there’s just something that tells me that I’m much too young to be wearing this. There’s a bit of old mannish-ness to this. The scent itself would probably get a thumbs-down if that was all I was considering. It’s tolerable if you’re going by scent alone IMO.
Dies down after about 6-7 hours on me, so it’s got pretty decent longevity. The sillage is good. You barely have to splash any on this stuff is so strong. It also has the ability to be offensive if you’re wearing too much. I imagine that EL is a bit of an acquired fragrance. All in all, probably a cog in anyone’s fragrance library; not the best, but a must-have, especially for the price. A thumbs-up from me reflects EL’s history, notoriety, price, and decent scent.
Just a f---in' manly scent. A no-nonsense, rugged, but gentlemanly type of scent. It's not a high brow scent, but it's got class. I mainly wear it when I'm doing something active (physical labor or sports).
It is a very simple fragrence. It comes on strong with the turpine, tar, and citrus notes on application. On the dry down, the woods start to work its way through. The tar and turpine notes start to evolve into a creamier, oakier note along side the woods. The citrus notes eventually lose their sweet and acidic tops, but they linger on through the bitter peel zest notes in the heart, which temper the creamy oak notes.
An old gentleman, English Leather is one of the few vintage colognes to stand the test of modern retailer and consumer taste and time and is a stalwart at Christmas in drugstores and discounters across North America. Of all the Dana Classics readily available, this is by far the most accessible to all ages and tastes. Enough has already been said about the reformulation and I won´t dwell on it, but despite the move towards a less leathery and barbershop cream scent and towards a more direct, dryer creation, English Leather offers one of the best bargains in fragrance around.
The notes in this one pretty much sum up its simplicity, but don´t confuse that with a lack of sophistication. This is one of the nicest dry-downs around, revealing a wonderful sandalwood layer that overtakes the early lemon and lime top notes that flicker out relatively quickly. It can border on cloying for some because at its core it is very synthetic and Dana takes shortcuts in the ingredients that the original did not.
Still, an essential purchase with very decent longevity and projection compared to much more expensive and lower-performing frags on the market. Can be found in gift sets after Christmas in abundance for cut-rate prices at most bargain discounters, hold out for the larger spray cap bottle if you can, projects better and seems better blended than the smaller sample viles.
This review is for the vintage, since I haven't sniffed the current production.
My memory of the topnotes was confirmed by the old 'MEM' bottles I have, circa 1980... kind of soapy, citrus and a bit musty. Not very 'leather' really, but immediately recognizable and true to my memories.
But the drydown... what a surprise! Once the topnotes fade, the vintage Old Leather leaves you with a very rich sandalwood. In fact, it's one of the best sandalwood scents I've ever smelled.
For those who enjoy sandalwood, vintage EL should be a 'must have'.
I love it! It's a beautiful perfume for classics men, is a "jazz" of parfumes!
My favorite aspect of English Leather is the classic smells-like-it-sounds name that is seldom if ever employed in the modern industry. If you've smelled this one before, you hear 'English Leather' and associate with it leather, lime, moss, countryside, affable, courteous, utilitarian, reliable, everyday, familiar. He's always been around and no one seems to mind the company.
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I have an entirely new found love and respect for this cologne. I found some in my drawer, but it's no longer going to be there.. it's out of hibernation, and on the dresser with all the others.
What I get out of it that I never got before, is a very fresh opening; citrus and limes, the lime note is amazing, but doesn't last long, nor does the citrus top. It smoothly blends into the mossy notes, which are sweet, dry, resinous and somewhat earthy. The middle becomes a bit powdery, which is not something I love, but the mossy notes eventually cancel it out before it once again very SMOOTHLY switches into the leather base. I'd say the leather in this is a bit synthetic smelling, and not very modern, but still delightful, and a pleasure to wear.
This should be a staple in every man's collection. I just wish they made an EDT spray, with better longevity and projection.. but then again, that would ruin the legend that English Leather is.
It is true that this does not smell like the English Leather I remember my father wearing in the 1970s, but to say that there's no leather in English Leather anymore is nonsense. Yes, English Leather obviously has been reformulated, and I would go so far as to say that it's a completely different fragrance than from 40 years ago.
The difference now is that the leather accord is much more subtle, and that citrus and wood notes now play just as much of a role as leather does in the current English Leather. English Leather now smells like a more concentrated classic eau de cologne, with wood notes and leather acting as fixatives and adding color to what would have otherwise been a bland cologne. It is not sweet like the original EL, and has an overall very dry feeling.
I won't go so far as to say that English Leather is improved over the earlier version, but it is just as good, even if it is very different. I look at the new formulation as a reinterpretation of the classic leather fragrance. I like this scent very much.
The review by vintage*red is on the mark, regarding the new (Dana) English Leather versus the original (Mem Company) English Leather. Those of us who survived the 60's can surely remember the creamy, saddle-soapy fragrance of original English Leather cologne. The reborn Dana version seems only like a distant cousin to the original. I have a chicken-and-the-egg dilemma: does English Leather really smell like saddle soap, or does saddle soap kindle memories of English Leather as how saddle soap should smell? Now I'll toss and turn as I ponder that one...
I am fortunate to own both a bottle of *original* Mem English Leather Cologne (thanks to patience, persistence and eBay), as well as a bottle of Dana English Leather Cologne. The Mem version is so, so much better and it gives me flashbacks from the late 60's. (To avoid becoming a persona non grata, every young man just had to own this delicious cologne). The longevity of the Mem version seems considerably more abbreviated than I recall, but then the bottle is decades old and might have lost a little potency. Still, for a few hours it gives a wonderful leathery/soapy aura if modestly applied. Foetidus is correct on that point - overuse the original Mem version and it can be potent enough to fill a fair-sized arena. I probably won't use either version very often as my tastes have evolved somewhat over the years, but wouldn't be embarrassed for one moment to take another ride back to the 60's on the English Leather train. Matter of fact, while the thought is fresh, tomorrow might just be the day.
Saddlesoap and flowers, as I sometimes think of it. I think the barbershop that my mom always took me to as a small child smelled like this, and I only recently realized it. I guess it's mostly old-fashioned flowery soap with a little bit of something incensey? I struggled with whether it's so flowery as to be effeminate, but I think that this question is ultimately moot with English Leather. It's more of a clean-man than a manly-man scent, and I'm sure that's how it was intended: for fine, upstanding, well-groomed, clean-shaven gentlemen in their offices, hard at work during a time of post-war prosperity. Naturally it's not as strong as all the later EdTs, but since I'm sure this was meant more as an splash-on augmentation to one's aftershave than as a statement on its own, I won't criticize it for weakness. A fairly good cheapy.
wjlamp is sooo lucky to have discovered a vintage bottle! I used to wear this in the sixties before it was "permissible" for unisex fragrances and I loved it! There was a very rich, sexy-sweet quality about the leather note that is lacking in any of the leather fragrances that I have tried lately (although I have not tried the new Chanel). The new versions of this scent are adequate but not special. 5 stars for the old; 3 stars for the new.
This was my Dad's cologne, I still have a bottle that reminds me of him. In fact my Mom commented how much she liked smelling this on pop. It is not bad for a drug store scent, it is artificial though. Kind of an artificial leathery soapy scent. It is very strong and lasts a good while.
Not the best cologne at the grocery store but not the worst. I give it a thumbs up simply for nostalgia and memories of my pop.
Lady Luck is beautiful but blind.
Yesterday, while I was browsing at the local bazaar, downtown Athens, I stumbled upon a pile of cheap Chinese made perfumes $3 ,a piece.
Shiny colors fancy packaging and all the assorted paraphernalia.
Excusing myself to the poor seller,I tried to get out ,carefully,without damaging the merchandise.
Accidentally,a small brown cube of glass with a round wooden cap,fell off the pile.
Yes it was an English Leather cologne.Not Dana's,mind you,It was a MEM.!!!
Holly ones, a vintage EL,in a pile of garbage...
To cut a long story short,the seller found only 4 of them in the whole lot. He asked $ 10 for all,wholesale price (sic).
Needless to say I bought them.
The last time that I had one original MEM English Leather,was in 1981,a leftover in a small,local, going out of business store,
A lovely fragrance.
As I always say,it's up to the individual. The perception of an airy fragrant wave, is always a matter of a momentarily lapse. The smell of that elixir,is heady,from minute one. As all the fragrances of the leathery kind,and I had a lot of them including KNIZE 10 , this beauty lasts on me, a good twelve hours give or take one,with no change. May be my pH is neutral,or leathery,( smiles). I don't know.
What I do know, is that I have 16 oz, of an old precious juice, seasoned like vintage wine,that boldly rhymes and rhymes.
A thumbs up, I hear you say? Not only....
One of my all time favorites. This stuff is just righteous!
I gave this one a try again. And grateful I did. The after shave is smoother, not simply lighter, more balanced. This is still IMO one of those light/heavy scents where moderation is defintely the best policy. Too much of the cologne, especially on the chest, a somewhat cloying depressing effect. But 2-4 shots of the cologne distributed, at least for me, is not only fine but somewhat refined.
This is indeed an improved reformulation where in the past I never applied EL cologne with a spray but with fingertip drops. This new and improved EL (except in the minds of purists) allows for expansion/retention of the citrus (a clean mixture of maybe lemon, some orange blossom) and the woods at some point with olfactory illusions? of a kind of raw mint or sage, flashes here and there, of that "hint of mint" of a long ago promo, with also more room for what appears when passing back and forth between notes, ah yes, brief hits of leather. There are even moments before the citrus fades when things seem slightly lime.
Clean, retro with a drydown much less outdated than many other classics. The new EL evolves into a very wearable natural scent with a calculus that defies its synthetic ingredients. Slightly sweet, dry, fresh, with enough warmth.
My only edit is to add this: the new EL is one of the most underrated scents out there in any category.. Call it a poor man's everyday niche scent if you will. English Leather rocks!!!
28th August, 2008 (last edited: 07th July, 2011)
The first cologne I ever purchased. I must have a leather fetish and consider this a more basic scent than the sophisticated Knize Ten, the "sumptuous" Creed. It remains a standout, by any measure. Who cares if it is inexpensive and a drug store purchase. I agree it a casual, all around scent that almost everyone likes.
This is one of my all time favorites. I wore this back in high school 40 years ago (it was very popular then). To this day, I feel very comfortable wearing EL. Yes, I have more expensive brands but EL to me is always right for almost any occasion and any time of day. It is clean smelling and very manly. Whenever I wear EL, people will always ask me what cologne I have on. Many times, the "old classics" are more favorably appreciated than the newer ones (which are often very strong, synthetic, and over bearing). If you're a guy who just wans to smell clean and fresh, English Leather will never let you down!
The first scent I've bought based on basenotes reviews - so I wanted to start with something inexpensive. What a bargain! I'm amazed that it's possible to buy such a great aftershave for £6 ($12) a bottle.
Goes on with a quite unpleasant and powerful chemical twang but this dies quickly and within half an hour is undetectable. It's been replaced by a really gentle warm scent which lasts ages and has good sillage but is not overpowering. It's clean and masculine in a nothing to prove sort of way and does indeed smell of cheap brand new leather. An easy to wear comfortable scent for days when you just want something relaxed and pleasant. At the price you can't go wrong.
This a definite classic. Think of a fragrance like Aramis, though much more complex, lively, and well-rounded. Sandalwood and oakmoss seem to dominate the base, with just a hint of sweetness. The middle and top notes seem vaguely citrus, but I cannot place the rest of them. Despite the name, I don't think it is particularly "leather" scented, it is more of a "woodsy" fragrance.
Warm, woody and masculine stuff, but minus the "gasoline" notes of Knize's leather and the price tags of Tabac Blond and REL. Am I comparing it to those giants? Not really -- only marginally, maybe, as it IS a leather frag. But for the guy seeking a "man's man" frag with excellent sillage and very good longevity? I don't know why I'd hesitate to recommend English Leather.
Nice, clean and very leathery.
Unfortunately, I can't find it ANYWHERE!
This is probably best for an at-home comfort scent, to splash around after a shower in the morning, or to freshen up in the morning.
I would not recomend it, no matter how much I love it, as an "outing" fragrance, but sometimes I wear to the shopping mall and to classes at uni.
A nice, well-rounded cologne. Just wish it were more readily available.
I have been sampling quite a few leather scents lately including some famous ones. I love leather notes in perfumes and bought this one blind from a vintage sale for very little. This is the old class, less sweet than often now, flowers omitted. And it is not one of those oriental leathers either. This, to me, is like an uncompromising rendition of a lasting cuiron. It's not smooth and chique like a ladies handbag. It lacks the brilliance and floral richness of Knize. But such simplicity can be a virtue! There are times when you do not want extravagance, just walk through the hills with your most comfortable boots and your favorite old leather jacket. What a find!
How can you go wrong with this? Soap and Leather, classy and masculine, gentle.
There is kind of a cheap bitter chemicals aspect to it if you pay attention, but it only costs $10, and most people just notice how nice it is.
Since it's so inexpensive, I like to use it to freshen up my pillows and bedsheets. It would make a wonderful shaving cream as it immediately brings that to mind, along with an old fashioned shaving brush.
Don't be too snobby to enjoy this one!
16th April, 2007 (last edited: 11th April, 2008)