Review: Truefitt & Hill – Trafalgar Shaving Cream

Truefitt & Hill - Trafalgar Shaving Cream

Truefitt & Hill – Trafalgar Shaving Cream

As I started getting into traditional wetshaving, I initially ordered a lot of samplers of creams, soaps, and aftershaves.  It’s the move that spawned the very website you are reading right now.  Initially I was really into bay rums, and things scented with pretty obvious ingredients like Lime, or orange, or straight up sandalwood.  But these samplers from Truefitt & Hill I just wasn’t sure about.  They smelled musky to me.  Maybe a little old man smelling, maybe a little bit like a Macy’s perfume counter.  I used to hate the perfume counter but I find that in my journey trying out all these scents, I have grown.  A lot.

And that brings us to today.  I finally reached over and picked up the little sample of Truefitt & Hill’s Trafalgar Shaving Cream.

Trafalgar is one of Truefitt & Hill’s signature scents.  Perhaps their most signature scent.  At first sniff, it smells clean yet complex.  It is not a simple scent, and I think that is what threw me a little when i first picked it up.  If you sniff around Truefitt & Hill’s website, you will find the exact description of the scent:  “top notes of Cedar and Sandalwood complemented by subtle hints of Jasmine and Spice”.  While it may be tough to make out what that smells like in your mind, I can tell you that the combination really is wonderful.  Its a clean (cedar), slightly sweet (jasmine) but very distinguished scent.  It’s manly, but playful.  It yells out “gentleman”.

On the shave end, it’s a glycerin soap.  I have lately been going deeper and deeper down the tallow road, thouroughly enjoying the pleasures of the thick and rich qualities that tallow brings to a shaving cream/soap.

I started with a dollop of cream that was slightly smaller than an almond.  It whipped up into an amazing amount of lather, and I hardly needed much water to make it explode.  It’s pointless to say how many passes this lather could have been used for, because it really just would have kept going and going and going.  The lather was rich and creamy, but I found that I am spoiled by tallow-based soaps and creams, because I found the lather wasn’t as slick and cushioning as other lathers I have tried.  It does last though, as each pass got better than the last, with a little whipping with my brush before each application.  I found that by the time I got to the last part of each pass, the lather was starting to fade on my face.  Not bad, but not as good as I have had with other soaps.

Of course, I sit here with a super smooth face.  I had a nick-free shave, and my skin feels smooth and moisturized.  Glycerin is great stuff for your skin, and as I mentioned, this cream is glycerin-based.

Overall, while it didn’t quite measure up to some tallow-based soaps and creams, the scent carries this glycerin-based cream to a height far above other glycerin-based soaps and creams.  And if the scent doesn’t do it, the brand sure should.  Truefitt & Hill is the world’s oldest barbershop, and these scents have been around for a long long time, and are even used by royalty (if that matters to you).  Whether or not it does doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that this is a time tested brand, a time tested scent, and there are many many people out there that love it.  I personally think you owe it to your face to try Truefitt & Hill’s Trafalgar Shaving Cream.

  • Scent – 4.5
  • Lather Performance – 4
  • Lather Life – 4
  • Overall – 4

Review: Captain’s Choice Lime Aftershave

Captains Choice - Lime Aftershave

Captains Choice – Lime Aftershave

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when the box arrived yesterday, containing a brand new bottle of the brand new fragrance from one of my favorite artisan aftershave makers: Captain’s Choice Lime Aftershave.  I have previously reviewed their Bay Rum and Cat ‘O Nine Tails aftershaves and loved them both.  I sadly missed the trials, but whats good is that I finally have a bottle of the goods.

So I had a really smooth shave today.  Of course, my neck is a bitch to shave, really thin skin and sideways grain make for a real shred-fest if I’m not careful.  Today I was mostly careful.  But I had really good help.  Here was my setup:

The Neutrogena is one of my secret weapons.  I think I’ll do a review of it one day, because it’s a great toner for right after shaving.  I don’t need to say much about the Art of Shaving Lavender Soap.  I’m lucky in that I have one of the older formula tallow soap pucks.  Oh yeah…

So, like I said I did nick myself a couple times on the neck.  Nothing bad, just a couple weepers there, which was not bad news because I could now test the burn a little bit of this aftershave.

So I grabbed the bottle.  The bottle is the new packaging from Captain’s Choice.  It now comes in a nice brown glass bottle, to extend the life of the aftershave inside.  The new labeling is also really nice, and looks fantastic on my shave shelf.  Once you unscrew the plastic top you see the reducer, the little piece of plastic that makes a very narrow hole, so that you can effectively “splash” the aftershave into your hand without having to worry about half the bottle coming out.

The ingredient list is simple.  Grain alcohol, Witch Hazel, Essential Oils and extracts, and glycerin.  Each one comes into play in perfect harmony with the others.

The alcohol burn is not so bad, on the milder side.  I think this is in part due to the Witch Hazel and the glycerin.  The witch hazel is just fantastic for your skin.  To have this balancing act between alcohol and witch hazel is in my mind what takes an aftershave to the next level.  Glycerin is included in a small yet perfect amount.  Its just enough to make your skin feel moisturized without feeling sticky.  As I write this, my face really does feel not only baby-butt-smooth, but soft and moisturized.

The scent is a unique and fantastic take on lime.  It’s a deep plunge into lime.  Sweet and spicy, but not too sweet, and honestly not too spicy either.  The smell is strong and at the same time not too strong.  But there’s something about it’s depth that carries out the lime scent longer than other citrus scents I have tried.  It doesn’t last too long.  I’m about a half hour since using it and I can still faintly smell it on my hands.  But it does last longer than, for instance, Geo F Trumper’s Extract of Limes Skin Food.  Lime, as well as other citrus scents, is a top note, and as such as a strong entrance, but last only a short time.  So bravo to Captain’s Choice for extending the lime scent probably as long as they could.  It made for a great shave.

I’m really excited to have Captain’s Choice Lime Aftershave on my shave shelf, and I think you’ll feel the same with either Lime, or even their Bay Rum or Cat ‘O Nine Tails.  Excellent products, all of them.

Review: Geo F Trumper – GFT Shaving Cream

Geo F Trumper - GFT Shaving Cream

Geo F Trumper – GFT Shaving Cream

So what does a GFT smell like?  That’s what I was about to find out.  My supply of samples is starting to thin a bit, so today I grabbed one that isn’t a lime or orange or rose or any simple scent: Geo F Trumper’s GFT Shaving Cream.

While the scent isn’t a simple one-note song, it isn’t overly complex either.  Now, being a person who hasn’t always fancied the smell of musk, I had a little trepidation reaching for GFT because musk is a note in it’s scent.  It starts off with top notes of mandarin and lemon.  In the middle-range are “woody notes of cypress and bittersweet tarragon.  And the base notes are composed of cedar and moss with a “musk-like base”.  And yes, that musky base note is there.

Overall the scent is bright and fresh with a strong bottom.  It’s citrusy, but with the woody and musk-like notes, it’s very manly.  It’s not a sweet citrusy scent, but a smart citrusy scent.  It’s similar to Taylor of Old Bond Street’s Jermyn Street scent, but again, with some woodier notes involved.  This scent has a little too much of the woody/musky thing going on for my taste, but fans of that scent profile will really love this scent, I’m sure.

Also I should say that for a shaving cream, the scent has some staying power.  It actually still is lingering here after the application of my aftershave.

The lather is really good.  A little does go a long way.  I used a large pea-sized dollop of cream, and I knew almost immediately I should have used a small pea-sized dollop.  There was enough lather for 6+ passes, and I only needed three.

I did a three-pass shave, and the lather started off a little on the weak side, but got better and better.  The third pass had the best lather, thick and yogurt-like, pretty much exactly what I am looking for from a lather.  I just wish I had that lather for all three passes.  It could be because I used too much cream to start with.  This stuff also does not need much water to lather up good.

It also does not thin out at all while you’re shaving.  It did just a little during the first pass but the lather did get better and better.

Overall I really did enjoy the shave I got from GFT.  The scent is not my favorite, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great scent.  Look up the reviews on Amazon.com, and you’ll see there are many people out there that really love it.  Here’s my ratings:

  • Scent – 3.5
  • Lather Performance – 4
  • Lather Life – 4.5
  • Overall – 4

 

Review: Mike’s Natural Soaps – Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap

Mike's Natural Soaps - Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap

Mike’s Natural Soaps – Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there who are probably not reading this.  I was going to just shave with whatever I felt was next in my rotation of creams and soaps and then I realized, “Hey, I’m pretty sure I got a rose sample somewhere, maybe I should review it”… And here we are.

Today, in honor of my mother Eleanor, who’s recipe for Pink Potato Salad is listed in the vaults at Food Network, I shaved with a rose-scented soap, a sample that I have had lying around for a while now.  Today I bring you a review of Mike’s Natural Soaps – Rose & Cedarwood Shaving Soap.

You hear a lot of guys going nuts about tallow.  I get it now.  Yes I am not new to tallow soaps and I have had the privilege of trying out a wide swath of soaps and creams.  It really does seem like every time i try a tallow soap I go nuts over the lather.  And conversely, every time I try a non-tallow soap I am left feeling ‘ok’ about it.

Today I went nuts.  Mike’s Rose is just an amazing soap.  The scent is unique thanks to the cedarwood.  Now from what I understand, rose essential oil is extremely expensive, due to needing so many rose petals per drop of oil.  So many soapmakers use fragrance oil for rose.  This is one of them.  I honestly wouldn’t have known if Mike didn’t say it on his website, but regardless.  The rose scent is wonderful.  It is the driving force of this shaving soap.  But then there is the cedarwood, which adds a sharp, fresh note to the fragrance.  It’s truly something you have to just smell to understand.  Overall the scent is wonderful and bright, while retaining it’s floral presentation.  Really nice scent that is present but not overbearing.

The lather is simply perfect.  I like a nice thick lather, with cushion and slickness, that lasts.  The lather that I got from this soap could easily be the bar that I measure all other soaps up to.  As I mentioned before it’s a tallow soap, that also is loaded with other amazing ingredients like avocado oil, kokum and shea butters, and lanolin, the magical wax from sheep that makes Mitchell’s Wool Fat so extraordinarily slick.

The lather was ultra-thick and creamy, with enough to last 5 passes.  Each pass got better and better, too.  And it stayed thick on my face while I was going through each pass – I never needed a touchup.  And it was amazingly slick, allowing the blade to glide right across my skin and through each whisker.  I could still feel that slickness as I rinsed between passes.  If I had any complaints it might be that the lather got a little bit dry by the third pass, maybe too thick.  But then a few drops of water and a re-whip will bring it right back to where it was.  Still a fantastic lather… Mike’s mom should be proud.

My hardware was pretty usual for me, but the software was tailor-made for mother’s day:

And here are my ratings for the shave:

  • Scent – 4.5
  • Lather Performance – 5
  • Lather Life – 4.5
  • Overall – 4.5

Review: Truefitt & Hill – West Indian Lime Shaving Cream

Truefitt & Hill - West Indian Limes Shaving Cream

Truefitt & Hill – West Indian Limes Shaving Cream

As some of you may know, I have had samplers of several of Truefitt & Hill creams sitting around for a while, waiting for me to get over the hesitation I have of trying them out.  It’s partly because I am not sure about the scent when I sniff the sampler, and partially because of the fact that so many people love this company’s products, that I feel too small to be a reviewer.

But I am over it.  And today, I shaved with Truefitt & Hill West Indian Lime Shaving Cream.  And it was awesome.

Let’s start with the lather performance.  I have been spoiled a bit lately by tallow soaps and they have set a very high bar for me when it comes to slickness and cushion.  T&H’s West Indian Lime Shaving Cream is not a tallow-based cream, so as such it’s not quite what one would find in a tallow counterpart.  But, Truefitt & Hill does not disappoint.

The lather was very thick for a cream.  I took the time to whip it up really good, and got a lot of cusion and some decent slickness.  It went on thick on my beard, and allowed the razor to do exactly what it needed to do.

As for the lather life, I feel it felt just slightly short.  While in the mug, the lather got better and better with each pass, with easily enough lather for 5 or 6 passes.  However, I found the lather was starting to die on my face while I was performing each pass.  So If I started shaving my neck, by the time I got to my moustache, I found the lather was thinning and needed a little touchup.

As for the scent, it is delicious limes.  Now looking at Truefitt & Hill’s description, you will find it contains notes of lemon, lime, and other citrus scents.  I totally get that.  Before I read that I did pick up a slight hint of orange, and felt overall that it was a citrus scent that was a little bit of a darker lime.  Now lime, as everyone knows, is a zingy citrus scent.  Very acidic, sharp, and usually lasts a very short time.  I think this is a brilliant take on the lime scent.  It’s rounded down a little with the other citrus scents, and I wouldn’t doubt that there are other deeper fragrance notes buried underneath the top citrus notes to draw out the scent a little more.  I can’t say it’s my favorite lime scented product, but I can say it’s a very unique and good one.

I shaved with my usual setup:  Weber DLC with a brand new Personna Medical Prep razor blade.  I finished with Thayer’s Rose Witch Hazel, and Geo F Trumper’s Extract of Limes Skin Food.  BBS (baby-butt smooth) shave with only one weeper from a careless move on my neck 😉

So for Truefitt & Hill’s West Indian Limes Shaving Cream:

  • Scent – 4
  • Lather Performance – 4
  • Lather Life – 4.5
  • Overall – 4

Review: Tabac Shaving Soap

Tabac Shaving Soap

Tabac Shaving Soap

(Please be sure to check the update to this review below..)

I’m going into this review a little nervous.  And I have been nervous about many of my reviews, because how can I, a humble wetshaver for less than a year, take myself seriously enough to sit in judgement of many of these products, some of them in production for over a hundred years, and some of them loved by maybe millions of men.  Tabac is one of these.  From my point of view, it holds a legendary status amongst those men out there who take a brush to soap when they shave.  And it seems to be even more popular as an aftershave/cologne.

So I got a sample of it probably a month ago from Garry’s Sample Shop, and in a little drawer it sat, all this time, waiting for me to get over my nerves about reviewing it.  I even smelled it a few times and that Macy’s-cologne-counter-hating guy in me was like “yeah it smells like old man stuff”.  That didn’t help the nerves.  So today, having been away from the diaries for a while, I decided that it was finally time to shave with Tabac.  Man am I glad I did.

The scent is very complex.  The actual list of notes, according to basenotes, are: pepper, petitgrain, citrus, neroli, lavender, camomile, geranium, oak moss, carnation, sandalwood, vetiver, moschus, and ambergris.  Got that?  I know exactly what you’re thinking.  That doesn’t help at all.  I know.  Here’s the way I would personally describe it.  On top, I feel a very clean, slightly musky citrus scent.  Beneath that scent is a floral background.  At the back end of the scent, if you pay attention, you can definitely pick up the sandalwood feel.  Overall it’s a very pleasant scent for the morning when you are shaving.  It starts complex and stays complex.  It’s not too citrusy, not too floral, and not too woodsy, but it is all three of these things, and more.  As pleasant as it is, it’s just not personally my thing.  At least not now… 

This stuff lathers up so thick and creamy.  I often hear people say that you are looking for a yogurt-like consistency with a lather.  Of all the products I have tried, this was the most yogurt-like.  I found it to be maybe just a bit too thick though.  It began to feel a little tacky on my face.  But it does provide great cushion and was moderately slick.  All in all, it was a great performer, but maybe too much, if that makes any sense?

As far as the life of the lather, it was perfectly suitable to last at least 6 passes.  And on my face, I never had to touch up a spot.  Every soap needs to check out Tabac and then they will understand how long a lather *should* last.

Overall I had a fantastic shave.  Baby Butt Smooth.  My skin feels fantastic.  The lather had a life expectancy I wish all shave creams had.  The scent was ok.  Clean, fresh, floral, but maybe just not my personal cup of tea.  Is this good stuff?  You bet your ass it is.  The price is on par with other high-end soaps as well, so it’s not a bank breaker.  It’s worth at least a sample try, and I am glad I did.

I really should have started doing this a while ago, but I will start giving actual ratings to soaps.  I know there are others doing this already… Mantic, Greg, and a host of others.  Well, that doesn’t mean I can’t right?  I mean it’s just one more review and rating.  I’m new to wetshaving, and many of these products, and I suspect you are too.  In the end I hope these reviews will be helpful to you.  Here’s the criteria I will rate, from 1.0 to 5.0:

1) Scent – How much do I like the scent.  This will also include scent strength…
2) Lather Performance – This will incorporate two ratings: one for cushion, and one for slickness, as I have found that they can be exclusive of eachother.
3) Lather Life – Does this stuff fade into weak bubbles quickly or does it get thicker and better with each pass?
4) Overall rating – My general feeling after the shave.

So for Tabac Shaving Soap:

  • Scent – 3.5
  • Lather Performance – 4.5
  • Lather Life – 5
  • Overall – 4

I will try to get these ratings into my past reviews, as long as I can honestly remember and rate each criterion appropriately.  If not I may just shave again and re-review.

EDIT – July 30, 2013:

I came back here to read what I had written about Tabac, and immediately realized I needed to update this.  Since having done this review, I have tried many other soaps and creams, and tried tabac several more times.  The scent and the performance have grown on me dramatically.  I even ditched the sample and bought a full ceramic tin of it and it has become one of my favorite soaps.  It’s a fantastic scent and a fantastic performer, and there is no wonder in my opinion why it is a favorite amongst many wetshavers.  The only wonder I have is how did I not like this more when I first reviewed it.  Silly me.

Here is my updated rating:

  • Scent – 4.5
  • Lather Performance – 5
  • Lather Life – 5
  • Overall – 5

Seriously.  One of the best ratings I have offered.  And it’s well deserved.  Also I had neglected to mention in the original review that this is one of the few large-production soaps to still be made with tallow.  No wonder the lather is so damn good.

Review: D.R. Harris – Arlington Shaving Soap

D.R. Harris - Arlington Shaving Soap

D.R. Harris – Arlington Shaving Soap

Ahhhhhh…. You hear that?  That’s the sound of luxury.  Its the exact theme of this shave.

D.R. Harris, is one of the “ivy league” shaving product producers from London.  They’ve been around for over 200 years, making the very best in creams, soaps, scents and other products.  In the batch of goodies I ordered from Garry’s Sample Shop, I received this sample of D.R. Harris Arlington Shaving Soap, arguably one of their most popular signature scents.

Arlington is a very simple scent:  citrus over fern.  So what does that mean, you say?  As usual, not a whole lot I can tell you without putting it up to your nose, but I’ll try my best.

It’s a soft scent.  I can definitely smell the citrus, but it’s not too strong.  I can also definitely smell the fern, which is almost impossible to describe.  But once you smell it, you’d easily say “oh yeah, fern”.  It’s a clean soft green scent, even with a hint of “soap” but definitely a great scent for spring, which I happen to be enjoying at the moment.  It also has that classic kind of smell, one from another time, similar to Geo F Trumper’s Eucris, but not as dark.  A wonderful outdoorsy spring scent.

Let’s talk about the lather.  Oh yeah.  I love me a good lather.  D.R. Harris Arlington soap is a triple-milled (french-milled) tallow soap.  Triple-milling will remove water, making the soap harder, richer, and much longer lasting.  So once you get a puck of this stuff, it ain’t goin anywhere anytime soon. I whipped it up using my Simpsons Duke II best badger brush and got an unbelievably thick, rich, luxurious lather.  It got better and better with each pass and left me with a fantastic cushion for my razor and wonderful slickness for the blade.

The remaining lather rinsed clean off my face, and left the wonderful arlington scent lingering.  I had an excellent BBS shave, and it left my skin feeling wonderfully moisturized.

This is a great soap to have in your rotation.  If the other D.R. Harris soaps are the same, then I’d feel safe recommending them all.

D.R. Harris Arlington Shaving Soap is available at Amazon.com!

Review: Geo F Trumper – Eucris Shaving Cream

Geo F Trumper - Eucris Shaving Cream

Geo F Trumper – Eucris Shaving Cream

Alright, its been a little while since I shaved with my buddy Geo.  So today I decided to go back to the company that drove me face-first into the world of classic wetshaving.

Today’s candidate was one that has been sitting here tempting me for a long time, Geo F. Trumper’s Eucris Shaving Cream.  It is part of a sampler of scents and creams that I got from Geo F Trumper a little while back.  I loved the Rose, and was hoping I was going to love this one just as much.

The way I am processing all these varied scents is to go with the basic and obvious first.  So from lime-scented products, I can go to orange and grapefruit, even a bay rum here and there.  Rose will smell exactly what I think it will smell like, as will your basic sandalwood.

But then there are these named scents, for instance Eucris.  And they end up being a bit of a surprise.  I’m going in not knowing what to expect.  I did this with Taylor of Old Bond Street’s Jermyn Street Shaving Cream and was blown away by what I found.  Not only the business-end lathering, but also the fun-side scent.

So here I was staring at Eucris, again not knowing what to expect.  Here’s what happened.

I lathered it as I lathered Trumpers Rose Shaving Cream.  I got to where I felt it was at its best.  Maybe I was wrong.  It seemed the lather was more of a 9 to the Rose’s 9.5.  Not a bad lather, per se, as some of the most recent creams I have tried, but not a great luxurious lather that I was expecting.  But I did still find it cushioning and also added slickness to my face.  The razor went across my skin really nice and the whiskers were gone.  I did have a bbs shave, but with just a few small weepers (tiny nicks) on my neck.  The stuff rinsed clean off my face, and also, more importantly, got better with each pass.  Just a little added whipping between passes and it was thicker and richer than the pass before, with the final pass being quite good.

The scent was really nice.  For those in the know, I am no fan of the Macy’s cologne counter.  I don’t really like musky scents at all.  Admittedly, this has a musky scent.  Here’s how it’s described on their website:

An eau de toilette with panache, the striking fragrance of Eucris sweeps the gentleman into the realms of utter sophistication and pleasure. The warm, sensual beauty of sandalwood, musk and moss is enhanced by a heart of rich, honey-like jasmine and exquisite muguet. Rousing, peppery top notes of cumin and coriander radiate with the fullness of plump blackcurrants.

Now that says a lot but im sure most of you don’t know what it smells like.  For me its a dark, manly scent that takes me back to a dusty victorian room, where gentlemen in bowler hats, with lit pipes and glasses of bourbon in hand were discussing matters of politics.  This scent was launched in the early 1900’s and absolutely smells like it.

It may not be my favorite scent, but maybe its one I would like to have on hand for poker night or a wine tasting.  It’s actually quite luxurious and I can see it being a nice scent to wear on days or nights where you want to be a gentleman amongst men.

Geo F Trumper Eucris Shaving Cream is available at Amazon.com!

Review: Mystic Water Soap – Orange Vanilla Shaving Soap

Mystic Water Soap - Orange Vanilla Shaving Soap

Mystic Water Soap – Orange Vanilla Shaving Soap

Mystic Water Soap is one of the wonderful artisan soapmakers that get mentioned quite a bit on the shaving forums.  And a while ago I rang them up on the internets and ordered a few samples.  It’s been a while, but I have finally gotten around to this one here, their Orange Vanilla variety.

I love creamsicles.  I think you are a rotten person if you don’t like them.  Well not really, but cmon, there is something about orange and vanilla coming together that is so awesome, in the same way that it’s awesome when peanut butter and chocolate come together.  So when I re-stumbled upon this soap sample a few days ago I got really excited and decided to make it my next review.

First the good.  The good hits your nose right out of the bat.  The scent.  The soap is actually brown from the vanilla in it, so you know you’re dealing with great stuff.  The smell is exactly what you think it would smell like.  It’s sweet, but not a cloying, heavy kind of sweet.  The orange is there with the backup of vanilla, and its not a strong vanilla.  Overall the scent is wonderfully balanced.  And it stays wonderfully balanced while being whipped up into a lather and while on your face.  Awesome smell.

The ingredients in this soap are exactly what you want when you love your face.  Tallow, Glycerin, shea butter, avocado/palm/castor oils, Aloe vera, Bentonite Clay, wheat protein, and something that doesn’t come around too often: silk..

The slickness this soap provides is top notch.  It’s fantastic.  You feel it when lathering it on, and you feel it when rinsing your face after each pass.  Can’t say a bad thing about this aspect of the lather.

Well I pointed out the good, you say.  So then is there a bad?  Unfortunately, yes.  I found, not only with this soap, but also with the last MW soap I tried, that the lather is somewhat lacking in it’s thickness and cushion.  It just doesn’t thicken the way I personally like my lathers to thicken.  It’s a light fluff kind of lather, almost like whipped up egg whites.  There’s not much substance to it.  And by the time I am halfway through a pass, I find that what is left on my face is just vanishing into nothingness, albeit still leaving an incredible slickness behind.

Maybe I am doing it wrong.  Maybe I am spoiled by great latherers I have tried like Art of Shaving, Geo F. Trumper, and Taylor of Old Bond Street.  I like everything about this soap, except the one thing I love the most about traditional shave soaps, the thickness and luxuriousness of the lather.  It’s missing here for me.  Of course, I won’t dismiss the company, as it has many many happy customers.  YMMV (Your mileage may vary) is the key word in shaving soap reviews.  Try a few samples yourself.  You will definitely love the scents, and the slickness.  And if you end up lathering it better than I am, then you’ll absolutely love the whole package.

Edit:  I completely forgot to mention a couple things…

First, I tried this soap for 2 consecutive days.  The first time I mug lathered and got a very weak lather.  The second time I face lathered and got a better result, but it still was quite lacking by the third pass.

Second, While I did have problems with the lather quality, I got great bbs shaves both times.

Review: Art of Shaving – Lavender Shaving Soap (with tallow)

Art of Shaving - Lavender Shaving Soap

Art of Shaving – Lavender Shaving Soap

Yup.  With tallow.  I know, it’s not fair.  I have not tried the new non-tallow formulation, but I can tell you that I’m astounded that Art of Shaving (or more properly, their parent company) would mess with something that is so dead-on awesome.  And I apologize to all of you who will probably not have the chance to try out this amazing shaving soap.  All I can offer is a chance to experience it in my own words… Ok I’ll shut up and get to it 🙂

So yes, I had read that some time recently Proctor & Gamble, the parent company of Art of Shaving, decided to cut corners and remove tallow from the entire line of Art of Shaving products.  This devastated the fans of their soap, whose glowing reviews fill the halls of Amazon and all the shaving forums.  When I read of the demise of Art of Shaving tallow, I decided that I would keep out an eagle eye for any sales of the tallow formula.

About a week ago, it happened.  Someone had stumbled upon a cache of Art of Shaving’s Lavender Shaving Soap with tallow at a local grocery store for a decent discount.  He bought all of them and came back to the forum to share the news and offer some for sale.  I jumped at the occasion, and purchased not only my first Art of Shaving shaving soap, but also my first lavender-scented soap.

Fast forward.  It arrived.  I also had just purchased some 1-cup pyrex bowls to mill my soaps and soap samples into.  So I did just that, maybe 1/4 of the soap went through a small grater and into the bowl.

So today was the day.  While showering, I left my mug and best-badger brush in hot water to soak, and also left a thin layer of water on the top of the soap.  Once out of the shower, I softly shook out most of the water from the brush, poured the water off the soap, and loaded the brush for about a minute, until I could tell it was thickened with a great amount of soap.  Into the mug it went, where i spent another minute or two whipping up a super-thick, wonderfully fragranced lather.

I could tell right then and there that I was in for a real treat.  This lather smelled ridiculously good right there in the mug, and was so thick that the brush easily stands on it’s own.  I went to lather my face and felt that if I let go of the brush, it would stick to my face.  The smell was gorgeous, the lather was ultra rich and thick.

While shaving I took note of not only of how well this lather provides a great cushioning, but also is very slick, allowing the blade to slide across my skin, but take the whiskers away with little to no effort.  And as thick as the lather was, it wasn’t gunky, and didn’t stick too badly to my Weber DLC DE razor.  As I rinsed after each pass, I could still feel the slickness.  And right after that the soap rinsed completely clean.

The second pass (my personal test of how good a lather holds) was even better than the first.  The same goes for the third pass.  And there was enough luxurious lather for at least another 3-4 passes when I was done shaving.  I used this to wash my hands, if anything to impart a little more of that delicious lavender scent to them.

My shave was smooth as silk, and left my face wonderfully moisturized.

And now I am pissed.  Because I found a great great soap.  At least I am at the beginning of this puck.  I am going to try the new non-tallow formula, and see how it compares.  But you can bet your ass that I am going to be on the lookout for more pucks of the tallow stuff.  Oh man is it good….

Oh, I should probably be doing this more, but here is my full lineup: