Perfume Directory

Blacks Club Leather (2014)
by Shay & Blue


Blacks Club Leather information

Year of Launch2014
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 15 votes)

People and companies

HouseShay & Blue
PerfumerJulie Massé

About Blacks Club Leather

Created in partnership with Blacks Club of Dean Street, Soho, as a:

... homage to the eclectic membership and celebration of the spirit of bohemia.

Blacks Club Leather fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Blacks Club Leather

First thing's first, Shay & Blue London is what I like to call "Nouveau-Niche", or a niche house founded in response to the interest in higher-priced and more-exclusive perfumes rather than one born from any true desire for artistic expression via perfume and whatnot. Shay & Blue London is the brainchild of former Chanel Senior Vice President Dom de Vetta, who was also Global General Manager of Jo Malone London before he decided to take his ball and go home. So many executives with zero knowledge of how perfume is made end up taking this "I can do it better" path, and it does get tiresome, especially when they end up hiring a nose then asking them to make pretty much slightly less-derivative versions of all the same stuff already on the market, just with a higher price, a heavier bottle, and a puff piece to sell it. Blacks Club Leather (2014) really is not so different than that unfortunately, and it smells like something that could sell for $60 in a mall boutique (or $20 from Avon), but amped a bit in strength and going for $140+ instead. The official market copy reads: "Sophisticated, tasteful, avant-garde, traditional, egalitarian. These are all words that apply equally to Black's Club, the renowned members-only club in London's Soho district." Let me stop you right there. Egalitarian and members-only do not really get along well when describing the same thing, like rich Hollywood fake-progressives that pretend to have everyone's interests at heart but lunge for their lawyers on speeddial the instant someone asks them to be as charitable as they say they are.

The basic gist of Blacks Club Leather is to be a cleaned up and polished leather scent of some strength and character, just without the winching animal growl of classics like Hermès Bel Ami (1986). Since oakmoss is untenable and isobutyl quinoline out-of-fashion as a leather note, that really just leaves the usual soft suede smell of modern ambery leathers or the bootstrap and raspberries shtick of Tom Ford, but Shay & Blue doesn't go that way. Instead, they actually serve up something which to me doesn't feel like a leather scent at all, opting to use the same medicinal compounds as most designer oud-themed fragrances, stirring in some heavy woodyamber aromachemicals, and then gussy it up in the usual way these houses do. Problem is, I've smelled this before too many times, just not in a "leather" scent. The opening reminds me very much of Yves Saint Laurent M7 (2002), or at least the "oud note" element of it, surrounded by some peppery notes. There is a "boozy" cognac note in the heart but to me that just smells like sugar in contrast to the grit on display in the opening, until it is followed by some kind of benzoin and ambrocenide/amber xtreme style molecule. Bogart One Man Show Oud Edition (2014) uses a bit of this, but luckily focuses more on the leather and oud aspects, while Avon Premiere Luxe Oud (2017) goes in more of a peppery traditional amber direction. Any "leather" that is supposed to be here just isn't, but this isn't bad. Wear time is over 10+ hours and sillage is steady, even if projection is thankfully not enormous. You know the drill, winter use or formal use, because this is a woody punch to the face if not used carefully. High heat in particular would make this mighty scratchy and unbearable, and may feel a bit too stiff for casual use.

I like Shay & Blue London Blacks Club Leather, and might even love it if it wasn't called a leather scent, but points must be deducted for delivering a very synthetic smell that comes across like the seventh son of a seventh son to M7 or even Gucci pour Homme (2002) from the Tom Ford era of LVMH. Shay & Blue has a lot of renown product in their catalog, and house perfumer Julie Massé is a talented woman, but this is perhaps unintentionally an insult because of the delivery. In essence, we have a scent named after a frou-frou gentleman's club in London, claiming to be a leather fragrance, smelling like a cut-rate synthetic woodyamber typically identified as "oud" instead, but still somehow coming out pleasant, solid-performing, and elegant if unoriginal. Again, if this was shopped by a mailorder house like Jafra or Oriflame, all would be forgiven, or even perhaps as the latest Zara Intense-Something fragrance, but it's in a Shay & Blue bottle and goes for the price of anything Montale sells at retail, which is a deal-breaker. If you are a collector of the house, this may be worth sampling, but if you're looking for something of this style, you have tons of more-affordable options. Likewise, if you're looking for a leather scent, you won't find one here so don't get burned by diving in blind, but if you like it, you could do far worse. I'll spare this one the axe because objectively it is nicely constructed, it just talks "the talk" of niche then fails to deliver on the promise of its own market copy, especially when the brand overall gets hyped to death by influencers on social media. Neutral
14th September, 2020
Very nicely done...a nice smooth leather with no gasoline or animalics...a refined gentleman's leather...pleasant layer of smoke...nicely acccented with a fruity/woody accord that's like a dead ringer for the juicy-fruit accord in Divine Sage Homme...smoky woody leather...friendly multitasking scent...casual to formal use...dont really get much in the way of any booze...this does conjure up an image of lounging in a nice leather chair in front of a fireplace in a wood paneled club room...elegant and bottle worthy IMHO...
18th March, 2019
This was the fragrance that first got me on to S&B - some leather fragrances can be very shout-y and animal-y (cuir d’arabie, tuscan leather, cuir de russie) whereas this is a more subtle, classy and practical/versatile scent - like a gently perfumed leather chair that can suit formality or more relaxed situations, and be unique without being ostentatious. If the Blacks Club itself (which apparently inspired this fragrance) is as elegant and interesting as the fragrance it could well be worth a visit!
26th January, 2019
This fragrance is indeed like sinking into a big, comfortable club chair. Well-aged leather with a beautiful patina, and smooth, polished woods under your fingers. A drink in hand; something strong and no-nonsense, flavored with a piece of orange rind. The place is pleasantly crowded and buzzing with good energy, good conversation, and good music. The big fireplace bathes the room in its warm glow and casts a subtle veil of smoke.

I've recently spent a wonderful night in a place like this; a well-hidden speakeasy that served killer cocktails in a stylish, old school setting. The beauty of it was that it was cool and exclusive while still being relaxed and not overly pretentious. This fragrance takes me right back to that bar and I like it.

I like it so much that I bought a full 100 ml bottle, and that in a time where I've decided to only buy small decants of new fragrances from now because my collection is growing so rapidly.

The opening is quite strong, and the fragrance lasts a good six hours on me. After the first hour or so, it becomes softer and more mellow, making me feel like taking my heels off and curling up in that big leather chair. I feel right at home here.

14th February, 2017 (last edited: 15th February, 2017)
I really enjoy this. Has a sophisticated blend and tends to be unique (to me) compared to many of the other leather fragrances that I've used or smelled. This is my fourth cologne purchase from Shay and Blue, and I've been really happy with their products. I'm not talented at describing all the notes, but I'd say give this one a try if you like a leather cologne that has an elegant smell to it.
04th March, 2015 (last edited: 08th March, 2015)
As soon as Blacks Club Leather bursts from the sprayer the leather note lashes the nostrils with incredible radiance, and is then engulfed by a tidal wave of fruit purée.

This opening is a phenomenon! If you want to play spot the note this is one for you.
Some of the things you might find surging around in the maelstrom are :
plastic leather, linalool, orange cake, grapefruit and bergamot, green, muguet, yeasty pub cellar, pear drops, banana skin, licorice, Jasmin and iso butyl quinoline derived bitterness.
This is not so much an accord as a headlong rush of fruity esters over leatherette.

Over the first hour, the tide of fruit recedes to reveal what becomes a fine leather.
Buttressed by spicy iso eugenol the leather accord takes on a pleasantly hard feel, becoming an accurate portrayal of old leather armchairs.

The sweet fruity head rush and the bitter leather heart make up the dynamic tension at the centre of this figurative portrait of a Gentleman's Club in London.

The leather is a fine and well executed, hard spare accord, more weighted to the top by iso butyl quinoline (think Bandit) than to the funky-fatty depth of castoreum (the horse in Habit Rouge.)
The leather theme has a refined antique quality suggestive of traditional luxury, and also shares in the austerity of military discipline.

As soon as the spartan leather has established itself, a floral accord of light Jasmin and iris delicately softens the tone, with alpha ionone gently rising up the profile.

The insistent fruity boozy head chord rounds out the leather with an impression of muscatel or even alcopops, but it isn't accurate enough to represent the cognac that the marketing literature claims it to be.
It has evidently been made incredibly strong to give it the necessary staying power to reach into the drydown. A large dose of Exaltolide may be involved here, which would explain the huge fruity rush at the beginning.

In the second stage, after the fruity sweetness has subsided, the profile resolves itself into multiple facets. This is where things get interesting.
Smoke, white wood, muscatel, spilt drinks, polished mahogany, spicy undertones, floral and aromatic nuances - as if they were from various aftershaves and gentlemen's colognes, all weave themselves around the leather core.

An enjoyable effort, but there are technical and artistic problems that can't be overlooked.
The main one being the massive 'cognac' accord, which smells like nothing of the sort.

Longevity is average with an unremarkable drydown, but the sillage largely burns itself out in the explosion of radiance at the start.

It's an interesting idea - portraying a Soho club, and Shay and Blue have given the traditional subject matter of leather a new style with their attractive contemporary treatment.

Good in places but ultimately flawed, so it's a borderline positive rating.

14th February, 2015

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