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April 10, 2019 2 min read

In the Anvil shop we're perpetually surrounded by leather. And not just cowhide... we've got a ton of exotic leathers like alligator, giraffe, elephant and stingray. We get up early every morning and at times spend late evenings up here making wallets and belts and all manner of leather goods for our friends who patron Anvil Customs. Now, you might say, "Gee, isn't it great to come into the smell of leather every day?" Well, yeah, yeah it is. But we don't get to enjoy the smell as frequently as our customers do. Basically, we've become a little nose-blind to the smell since we're around it all the time. Sometimes we might get a whiff when we unpack a new fresh batch of sides, but sadly, the smell of the leather is generally lost to us. 

But why? Why does leather smell the way that it does? The smell of leather evokes smells of rustic cabins in the country. Cows definitely don't smell like that while they're grazing! The answer is fairly straight forward. Effectively, the smell of leather is the product of the tanning process. There are two major tanning methods, Chrome Tanning and Vegetable Tanning. Our standard cowhide products use a vegetable tan (veg-tan) so that's what we have the most of around the shop. Occasionally we might get a chrome tanned(chrome-tan) or oil tanned cowhide through, but typically the only chrome tanned hides we use are our exotics hides. Its the perfumes and chemicals that the leather tanneries use that ultimately give leather that unique smell. If scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, it makes sense that strong smells like leather get caught in people's minds. We're not mad about it though. We just wish we could still smell it the way that our customers can.