A woody, oriental fragrance.

Black Suede fragrance notes

  • Head

    • mandarin, bergamot, aldehydes
  • Heart

    • clove, cardamom, nutmeg
  • Base

    • musk, amber, cedarwood, labdanum, oakmoss, vetiver

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of Black Suede

You need to log in or register to add a review
I have a bias going into Black Suede; a nose I trust considers this a fave which colors my approach to wearing this from the get-go. Thanks to BN I have received an education on Avon and I understand it's place in perfume history.

Black Suede to me is a 20th century amber glow. Reviewers mention it's smoothness and that it has 'no sharp edges'. Having smelled this and surpassing double digit wears I can concur that the description is apt. It is a smooth linear scent and shares the nutmeg, moss, and amber notes that remind me of Bijan for Men(1981) which came out the next year. Indeed it has no rough edges or sharp corners. I do think that anyone asked to blind sniff this and guess the decade will guess 1980s. That puts it somewhere between dated and classic depending on your perspective. It's pronounced warmth and 'glow' make it easily suitable for cooler seasons, but it isn't totally counter-indicated for spring/summer although it is definitely not a 'beach friendly' fragrance. If not oversprayed it is elegant enough for formal and office although I would go easy on the trigger as too much would turn it into a repellent smell and you may notice people intentionally avoiding your scent cloud.

For me this has been a 'grower' and as I wear it more I like it more and more. It is classic Avon and I can understand it being a comfort scent for some. Having appeased my curiosity as to what this smells like I find it appealing as a classic amber and give it thumbs up.
4th May 2022
Old school. Nothing rocket-sciencey here, but still excellent. Black Suede has a drugstore scent cedar-nutmeg-amber vibe that just says comfort and quality. Pair the cologne with the shower gel and you're all set, especially for a cozy romantic night at home. Black Suede is like soul food. Probably better for the mature crowd, but also for the younger set wanting to try something retro and a bit outside their range. If you're not a fan of amber, this may not be for you. But at under $20, a decent blind buy.
31st July 2021

Avon Black Suede EDT (2012 formulation) -

Other than Old Spice, Avon Black Suede is by far the safest reach in my wardrobe. With no sharp edges, Black Suede bends itself into more of a warm "aura" around you instead of marching through a particular set of distinct note pyramid phases.

With that said, I wouldn't go for more than 3 sprays as it performs great for a budget EDT. I scored mine new in box for $15, which is an awesome value for the quality presented here.

Ultimately, there is a good reason this one has been in production for decades. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

3 stars
20th January 2021
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 Black Suede (1980) is not a game-changing fragrance, nor is it really a bold statement-maker either; but it does serve as a perfect bookend to what had been up until that point, a near-perfect run of about twenty years for Avon men's fragrances. Avon had really done its homework on the simple pleasures of solidly-built men's fragrance designed around trusted wet-shaving themes that didn't fuss around with animalics or grand bouquets of esoteric ingredients, as they understood the kind of guys who were buying (or having bought for) these fragrances. The ordinary working stiff living in a a rust belt city like Gary, Indiana, or in a rural east Texas town like Marshall, those weren't the kind of guys concerned with fashion at all, let alone delusions of grandeur about the way the smelled. Knowing it was a hard ask just getting these kinds of guys to wear "cologne" at all, Avon mostly stuck to barbershop scents and bay rum proxies, woodsy bracing things with zings of citrus, or brusk tobacco themes, housed in eye-catching bottles with sailboats or heads of steer on them like Windjammer (1968) and Wild Country (1967). Black Suede was marginally more sophisticated than them, as Avon had slowly been trying to bring a more paired-down version of what the big expensive houses were doing to their male audience, as they had already been doing for decades with their bread and butter women's perfumes. Avon Clint (1976) was like a backwoods Aramis by Aramis (1965), while Avon Tai Winds (1972) tried to bring the kung-fougère of Swank Jade East (1964) home to the guys who would drive to step foot in a Sears, but not a Macy's. What Black Suede posits then, and why it's a bookend in my eyes, is a highly-blended and hybridized take on the musky leather chypre vibe of Lagerfeld Cologne (1978), smoothed with oriental elements and Avon's patent house amber, then spiked in unexpected ways both with aldehydes, and a bit of makeup bag orris. I am still shocked that this of all things is Avon's biggest men's fragrance, but I'll take it.

What this odd combination does (and not just odd for Avon), is make an impeccably smooth, sexy, confident, and genteel anytime fragrance you can wear in most weather save the hottest, and avoids many of the pitfalls that tend to date leathers of the period in the eyes of most younger noses today. I mean yeah, the aldehydes coming out of the initial blast are definitely going to recall many women's perfumes of similar stripe from the period, mixing with the darkly-sweet mandarin orange and bergamot. Past that, the fragrance almost gets gourmand at times, with cardamom and nutmeg mixing with clove in ways that recalls baked goods. The real trick of tail here is the orris though, which doesn't smack the face immediately like the lipstick iris of the much later Dior Homme (2005), but does bring a sort of come-hither genderbend twist to the stuff. I'm sure much of Avon's target audience for this fragrance both then and now is not really much aware of this, as it really takes an enthusiast's nose to bridge something like Avon Black Suede to Dior Homme anyway, but there it is. Obviously, the connection is tenuous at best because that gender flirt was there on purpose in the DIor fragrance some twenty-five years later, and likely only here in Avon Black Suede incidentally, especially given how subtle it is. More importantly, is the execution of the ambery chypre base, with labdanum and oakmoss alongside cedar, vetiver, and a bit of vanilla. The touches of powdery introduced by the orris in the heart never fully dissipate into the dry down, but that creamy and musky-smooth warmth of the amber and vanilla merge perfectly with the spice and aldehydes of the top. If Lagerfeld was a sweaty professional wrestler, Black Suede was definitely his suit-and-cigar manager who did the smooth-talking. For me, this is pure coziness in a bottle, and I find it best used as a comfort scent. In fact, this is my most-worn fragrance and closest thing to a favorite-all time scent I'll likely have. I'd wear it even more often than I already do if I didn't want to continuously buy bottles, which is part of why I became a collector!

The funny thing about Avon Black Suede, is it is the best-seller that almost wasn't. The fragrance upon initial release in 1980 has a standard splash bottle and grooming line roll-out, got little more attention than anything else coming out for men back then, but did well enough to get that plastic stickered "pill bottle" sprayer released a bit later. Shortly after that ran its course, Avon Black Suede was discontinued, and that was all she wrote. Like any any men's fragrance from the earliest beginnings of what I call Avon's malaise period (for perfume at least), Black Suede came out and really only sold to the already-loyal, because the general buyer had moved on thanks to suburban sprawl bringing shopping malls and luxury goods chains. Avon played fast and loose with cross-branding and bought a bunch of luxury brand distributors to try playing the game, but eventually returned to focusing on the core product into the late 90's, when a new CEO brought with her some big ideas that lead to big product pushes. One of those pushes was increasing the footprint of the men's product range. Avon had quietly discontinued the "Avon for Men" moniker right around the original release of Black Suede, so when it was somehow chosen for relaunch in 1999 (giving a sprayer to the original splash bottles), it was rolled into a new "Men's Shoppe" initiative that led to a separate men's catalog. These newer bottles smell identical to older ones, and have "Black Suede" in text wear the "S" logo was on the original splashes, with the only other change being a darker-colored liquid in the bottle (even though the after shave contained the original straw color). A new flanker called Black Leather (2000) followed a year later, and within a decade's time, Black Suede outsold Wild Country, becoming the biggest global men's fragrance seller for the company. Not bad for a weird makeuppy aldehyde leather amber cocktail, is it? One actual reformulation, tons of flankers, and another repackaging later (which I don't like), and here we are. Thumbs up
5th 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.
1st March 2017
Show all 32 Reviews of Black Suede by Avon