Friday, January 06, 2012

English Leather After Shave and Cologne

I recently was up to Rose's in Seaford Delaware where I bought a package with three bottles of English Leather After Shave and Cologne, very cheap. On looking over the box I see it is now packaged in China but with fragrance oils from the USA. It is a come down from the 1960's when I first started using this product. I have always used English Leather since I first purchased it. It is not an overpowering perfume. One of the unique things about English Leather, and always has been is the wooden top on the bottle. Strangely the wooden bottle top was sometimed used as a gear shift knob in the 1960's when manual shifts were still around. The cheap Chinese version retains this, but the bottle is an untrademarked bottle.

English Leather was first introduced in 1949 by the MEM Company. The MEM company was a toiletries and cosmetics company founded in 1883 in Vienna, Austria. MEM moved to the US in the late forties and became known for fragrances such as English Leather and Timberline. English Leather was developed due to the fondest the public had developed over the years, after the WWII, for pilots' leather jacket which was one of the most romantic and desired things. Leather scents were also very much in, and one of them was the intensive and very masculine English Leather. But all good things come to an end and as mass marketing took over the MEM Company (and English Leather) was acquired in 1996, by Renaissance Cosmetics, Inc., and its wholly-owned subsidiary Dana Perfume Corporation.


Now Dana Perfume also had a good history. Dana is a perfume brand originally founded in Spain, in 1932. Dana's main perfume was Tabu. The fragrance is now a classic and has been a perennial best-seller. It is still in production today. The company relocated to the United States in 1940, when Europe was occupied by Germany. Dana launched a number of notable classic fragrances and acquired some such as Canoe and English Leather and women's scent Ambush. Dana fragrances were re-tooled over time from prestige fragrances to mass market products.

However Dana was purchased by Renaissance Cosmetics in 1994, but the company's bankruptcy in 1999 led to the acquisition by New Dana Perfumes, who later changed their name to Dana Classics. Dana Classics Fragrances (which is owned by Patriarch Partners LLC) today produces English Leather. I think with each change in ownership the formula was re- formulated to be made with cheaper ingredients.

The Mem version of English Leather (must be at least 16 years old by now) can still be found on EBay and other places like that. The Chinese made stuff is about $3 to $5 a bottle and the MEM stuff goes for $30 to $50 a bottle.

So since everything else is made in China why should I worry about Chinese Made English Leather. After all my wife has some china that's made in England, so it all evens out. Well it is just one more sign of cheaper goods and less of a standard and companies that trade on established names.

1 comment:

kandy langford said...

Online for women's fragrances - "English Leather" popped into my mind. A teenager in the '60s - cool guys wore it. My sister & I had our own bottle & we wore it. The wooden top...never before - never after. Made in China - how very, very sad. The way of the world now...anything to make a buck. No quality - only quantity...