One of the challenges for us as tanners is to keep coming up with “new” leathers. When we’re developing a leather it is usually because there is a customer that is asking for something specific. Typically, the resulting leather ends up being a variation of an existing leather that has been designed and tanned to meet certain aesthetic and performance characteristics. These demands change all the time and range widely – a leather needs to change to be waterproof, cementable, breathable, stronger, burnishable, softer, firmer, shinier, duller – the list goes on and the combinations are endless.
On the other side, sometimes we develop new leathers because we think they will just look, feel and turn out really well. Relatively recently we had the thought – “what if we take a top quality cowhide and tan it with the same liquor we use to tan shell cordovan?” We’re kind of up there with Heinz and the upside-down-ketchup-bottle idea on this one. While it’s a little more complicated than just changing packaging, we should’ve thought of it much sooner…
Like any development it almost never works out perfectly the first time through. But, after a solid 2 – 3 years of trials and production runs, we’ve nailed it. The leather already has a handful of iterations, but the base tannage is called Essex. It’s a rich, full grain leather that utilizes the same blends of extracts that we use in our shell cordovan. It’s already available in a handful of products, and I personally think that the new Libero Ferrero shows off the character of the leather beautifully. This, in addition to themselves being amazing bags. Matt Lafferty was kind enough to let me take some photos of the finished product.
A waxed version of the leather, named Dublin, can also be found in many products in the Allen Edmonds Rough Collection.