Royal English Leather 

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Royal English Leather by Creed

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About Royal English Leather by Creed

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Commissioned by King George III in 1781, the fragrance was created to scent the gloves Creed then made for the English Royal Court.  James Creed - the first generation of the House of Creed - was the king's glove maker. Scented gloves were worn by the court in order to inhale the glove's fine aroma, a popular necessity of the time to combat the odor of the ubiquitously poor hygienic conditions.  The king loved the scented gloves so much, he asked James Creed to make a fragrance.  James Creed created Royal English Leather for His Majesty - and launched the most illustrious dynasty in the history of fragrance.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

Reviews of Royal English Leather by Creed

There are 86 reviews of Royal English Leather by Creed.

This scent of antique books. Weathered leather bindings and the musty-sweet scent of century-old pages. Between some of the pages are the remnants of pressed flowers, their oils long ago absorbed into the book and released as you fan the pages. A scent from another period of time, beautifully preserved.

Creed Royal English Leather (1981) is supposed to be the one that started it all for Creed, and if you believed the implications of the market copy used at the time this stuff was "reintroduced" in the 90's, the start of all modern Western perfumery as well. I don't know how far I'd go down that rabbit hole if I were you, as it tends to lead oneself to a rather myopic and solipsistic existence within the fragrance hobby where all one's free time is consumed with endless bickering in comment sections of YouTube videos, fragrance forums, social media, and banning forthwith from most of them because you can't let people go without accepting your lord and savior James Henry Creed into their hearts. Taking a more distanced perspective, I can see via the actual history surrounding Henry Creed & Sons, documented leather makers to the various royal families throughout the 18th through early 20th centuries, how this fragrance evolved from something used to scent King George III's gloves. As presented now, this fragrance really has more to do with early to mid 20th century leather chypres like Knize Ten (1924), Chanel Cuir de Russie (1924), Robert Piguet Bandit (1944), and MEM English Leather (1949). Like the other gray cap eau de toilettes, this was buried when Creed was forced to abandon the historical market copy.

The opening of Creed Royal English Leather is a cinder block to the face of pure waxy orange oil, bergamot, aldehydes, anise, and Isobutyl-quinoline leather. There is definitely a recreation of the Mousse de Saxe accord a la Marie Thérèse de Laire if not the actual accord being used, and it quickly dominates the fragrance. Like with Creed "Vintage" Tabaróme (1875), an ambery compound really adds some animal funk into the core of Royal English Lavender, but unlike Tabaróme, doesn't eventually give way to a clove-heavy tobacco vibe that reminds a lot of people of Clubman Special Blend by Pinaud (19??). Nope, you're locked into that ambery leathery shoe polish and oakmoss finish, backed by breathy musky ambergris dosed pretty high here but in later batches before discontinuation, replaced with a more mineralic cetalox. Sandalwood and a bit of birch add a woody smoky creaminess to the loud ambery leathery mossy sillage of the dry down, and the whole experience is rather baroque in style if not in actual historical period. Wear time is going to be all day, and this damn near takes my breath away with the aldehydes and IBQ leather, so projection is not a problem whatsoever. best use is when you feel like smelling how Nicholas Cage acts when he's playing an unhinged character in his latest action thriller. In a word: noticed.

Overall, Creed Royal English Lavender ultimately smells more like the dour British uncle of Hermès Bel Ami (1986) than something from 1781, but that's okay. If you're a fan of Avon Leather (1966) and always wanted to know what a "niche" version of that would smell like, now you have your answer, just be expected to pay literally hundreds to thousands of dollars for the experience due to how long this has been "vaulted". I like this a lot, but considering the availability of both Knize Ten and Hermès Bel Ami, plus the lifetime supply of Avon Leather I already have, I think I'm set enough on dark ambery or aldehydic tannery leathers with a Mousse de Saxe accord in them that I don't need to spend the price of a 85" 4k OLED TV just to smell like the impossibly obscure version of them. I do get the love though, and if you're a deep pockets executive (or the trust fund son of one) that likes to collect and curate pedigreed nose candy like this, there are certainly worse ways to spend your likely not-hard-earned fortune, so I see no harm in it. I doubt Creed will ever return to scents like these since the nouveau riche like their overpriced compliment bombs, while the Creed family has already cashed out the business to a hedge fund which will likely pull a Sears on the brand given enough time, which is unfortunate. Thumbs up

Wow...amazing history behind this fragrance. As the first Creed scent to be made in 1781, it deserves examination.

Royal English Leather oozes quality and elegance, with elements of citrus, wood, and - most of all - leathery notes that define this legendary potion. REL has the famous Creed accord - ambergris - placed in the heart of the fragrance, an unusual practice that presented the classic waxy-musky-sweet note almost immediately after the opening citrus salvo. Leather next to the sandalwood make for a sweet, cramy finish. All this was meant to impregnate the king's gloves as a means to mask the terrible odors that seemed to be everywhere else at the time. Like a scented handkerchief, but more expensive!

With that history in mind, REL turns out to be more interesting and functional. The overall odor is magnificent, and it works fine as a nominal cologne.

After a initial burst of freshness, owing to bergamot with an orangey undertone, I do not have to wait long until the centerpiece of this creation takes the stage: the leather.

And what a leather this is: intense, rich, creamy, with warmth balanced by a bit of austerity. It is sweetish - just the right amount - and lacks any significant element of the gasoline harshness that is such a core part of Knize Ten.

The other important component is the ambergris Creed is rightfully famous for. Is becomes a bit more prominent in the later stages, and in the base is combined with touches of a gentle sandalwood impression; the latter is never very prominent. The whole development is centred around the leather in a somewhat linear fashion, with the other notes modulating the core like variations to a musical theme.

I get moderate sillage, excellent projection and a - for Creed - impressive eight hours of longevity on my skin.

This grand classic of the history of perfume is beautiful in autumn. The quality of the natural is glorious, and the blending is done with beautiful balance. 4/5.

I'm glad I was finally able to sample Creed's Royal English Leather, now vaulted, via a decant from a friend and Creed enthusiast / collector, and it certainly doesn't disappoint.

REL is leathery, spicy, and animalic, and it's a bit too spicy and animalic for my taste, overall, keeping it from being a leather that I really love.

The ambergris factors in very strongly, fostering an acidity that's both natural-smelling and resolute.

Performance is unusually superb for a Creed fragrance, especially from the EDT era of the 1980s and earlier (presumably my sample came from the 1980s, not earlier, though).

Between the classic, masculine vibes of this fragrance and its power, REL is a nice option for an older man if one can afford it, but it's simply a bit too sharp to be wearable in many situations in my case. Nonetheless, I'm very glad to have finally tried it out.

7 out of 10

Not the most creative or interesting leather around and definitely unworthy its prices, especially now that it's discontinued (sorry, “vaulted”), but I can't really argue Royal English Leather's quality. It smells good. Almost great, if you're into classic, waxy, dark, austere “shoe polish-infused” tanning leather scents. True rich and faceted rusty leather, forget today's stupidly flat and artificial Tuscan Leather-ish stuff. Just think of Knize Ten: Royal is definitely close to it, just adding a whiff of flowers, a very pleasant touch of ambery mandarine giving some “air”, colour and sparkling sweetness to the heaviness of leather, and in the most recent bottles, also Creed's trademark base of metallic-dusty ambroxan. I had the chance of getting an older bottle of this, and that base accord was definitely not there – it was quite more all about leather and oily shoe-polish like notes (also darker, drier and spicier, overall slightly heavier too).

That's it: no tremendous twists during its evolution – actually, almost no evolution at all, nothing particularly standing out. But it smells good, very good. It's rich, distinguished, totally – somehow, slightly pedantically – elegant and austere, with the perfect balance of complexity and simplicity: it's nearly only waxy, brownish, lived-in leather - done extremely well, with a subtle sort of ambery-floral-mandarine aura giving a perfect hint of bright sweetness, and yet it doesn't smell boring or simplistic. Not even dated, actually; somehow it does have a “vintage” feel (think of Knize Ten again), and yet its texture feels crisp, clear, without the old-school thickness one may expect from this type of scent. Quintessentially British in fact: unexcitingly impeccable!


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