I need opinions of D.R. Harris almond

Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by Cowtown, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. Cowtown

    Cowtown New Member

    Good evening chaps. I am a hard soap fanatic and use them 95% of the time. Only sparingly do the creams appear in my rotation and they had better be good or they are sent packing straight away. Now I have a pretty good rotation of superb shave soaps that I have winnowed down from the masses to what I consider ideal for performance and scent. I am now down to filling holes in the lineup. One glaring example is an almond hard soap. Yeah, that's me. The only guy around who doesn't have a go to almond. Almond lathers are so common a topic on the forums that I subconsciously avoided them for a good long time. I have some sweet almond oil cream from C&E that is fine but too sweet smelling and will go to trade. I also have a Trumper almond soap w/bowl that to put it plainly, is no where near the Harris in performance. It is even the vaunted tallow containing version.

    So where does this leave me? What I would like in my "go to" almond soap is the performance of Harris or Tabac in the lather department. I demand my hard soaps perform excellently or out they go. The real rub is getting an almond that has a more natural almond scent and not the sweet/cherry/almond accord of most lathers. Hence my topic title. A good place to start I thought would be the Harris almond. I know its performance but know nothing of its scent. I have perused a LOT of reviews on all the major forums and find a lot of mention but little real information about the scent of this soap. Usually something like "a natural, bitter smelling almond". Okay, what is bitter almond? Does that mean it smells just like raw almonds or roasted almonds? See what I mean? I would like someone who has really used this soap to chime in and give me an opinion. I am going on the assumption that all the Harris soaps share the same shave qualities. Is that accurate?

    I am also wide open to other brands. Valobra? Acca Kappa 1879? Thanks gents. Help me spend some money and fill that gap!

    Regards, Todd
  2. msandoval858

    msandoval858 Active Member

    Well, you are certainly correct that the DR Harris soaps will get the performance, but I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of the almond scent. It's not very natural almond smelling to me and almost has a bit of a "bite" to it... like a spice note I can't quite put my finger on. Of course this is just my perception of it.

    My favorite almond is the C&E sweet almond oil soap. I don't find it to be as sweet as the cream at all and it is very nice.
  3. Austin

    Austin Member

    DR Harris does have a spicy scent to it. That's why I like it.
  4. msandoval858

    msandoval858 Active Member

    Good to hear. For the longest time I just thought I was crazy :happy102
  5. TstebinsB

    TstebinsB Active Member


    It's spicy and maybe a little sweet. It's the only "almond" scent I've ever liked. It's also a fantastic performer. It's a staple in my rotation.
  6. Cowtown

    Cowtown New Member

    Thank you gentlemen. I suspected from the start that Harris almond would be as superb as the rest in regards to its shave properties. It is the scent that is at question. Spicy and sweet. Hmm. I will have to think about this one. Any others out I should be looking at?

    Regards, Todd
  7. Hi there Todd,
    I'll have to post as a laymen regarding this scent (almond), since it's not one I care for. I have no soaps with that fragrance, nor have I sniffed many that did. Hehe, I DO enjoy plenty of others such as lime and bay rum, and that keep me busy trying new ones.
    Todd? I might be wrong, but do you happen to like Amaretto? How about marzipan........like the way that tastes? Ever try orgeat flavored sodas or anything else that syrup' is mixed it? I would guess that type of 'flavor' appeals to you in some way. Sure, that stuff may be too sweet tasting, but I'm talking about how it smells, and also the pure flavor without anything else added to it Those examples, to me, are "Almond". It's what I automatically think of when a description of the scent comes up. Hehehe, and I'm certainly not surprised to see so many different vendor's 'take' on that fragrance. Sounds like they all have their ideas on what that scent should smell like. I mean sheesh, look at C&E's version. Sweet almond or not, that stuff smells a LOT more like lilac to me than almond.
    Finding the perfect lime or others (in my case), or any scent is hit and miss(as you know). I'm sorry I can't recommend something in almond, but I think I know the scent you're after. If I'm wrong, feel free to correct me, since almond ain't my meat. To me, marzipan IS almond, since that's the basic ingredient when making it. No other flavors are usually added.
    I think what's probably gonna happen is that you're gonna buy a few(or six) and see how they work on your face and nose. No substitute for the real thing in front of you.
    Good luck with your search, and I'm sure you know the drill by now.......
  8. Cowtown

    Cowtown New Member

    Hi Marin. Yes, I love Amaretto. No, I don't want my soap to smell as sweet as Amaretto tastes! Real almond would be nice. However, I have seen stated somewhere(pretty sure) that almond EO is toxic. Now mind you essential oil, not the almond oil from the nut itself. I ASSume the EO comes from the almond tree buds themselves. I don't really know. I have not sniffed pure almond oil to see if it has any scent at all. That may be why there a scad of different almond scents out there. As you surmise, trial will be the ultimate test...and answer.

    Regards, Todd
  9. Sailinblues

    Sailinblues Well-Known Member

    Sweet almond oil, comes from the dried kernel of the plant and is considered mostly odorless. I'm not sure but I think the toxicity is related to bitter almonds. Bitter almonds contain a compound similar to cyanide. This data came from Wikipedia, so you may want to find a more definitive answer. I googled it and came up with a ton of info.
  10. Hi Todd,
    I wish I did love that scent and flavor, although I DO like pistachio ice cream for some odd reason. Almond extract is the most common flavoring added to it, but it works for me in ice cream.
    Yeah, you've probably sniffed pure almond extract before.....maybe in the baking section of some store? I guess it's that scent in that form I'm referring to, rather than the EO, which I've never tried.
    Hehehe, yes, I'm sure you know very well how that trial and error thingy works. Good news is you can always find a buyer without a problem. It's an 'enthusiastic' bunch here...heh.
  11. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    You've got it right, Chris. :happy088

    Sweet Almond Oil is NOT toxic.
    Bitter Almond Oil is toxic.
  12. Cowtown

    Cowtown New Member

    Well thanks again Chris and Joanna. I suppose no matter what I try, there is really no way to get a natural almond scent in a shave soap. Maybe there is a reason I have avoided almond lathers?

    Regards, Todd
  13. greendyk

    greendyk New Member

    Likewise for me. (If it smelled like marzipan, I wouldn't like it!)

  14. Cowtown

    Cowtown New Member

    You know gents, I think the almond will be my next hard soap from Harris. Yeah, I like the marzipan scent but remember, it is not really like the cherry/sweet stuff that passes for almond scent in most toiletries. So, the slightly spicy scent of the Harris is probably right up my old-school alley. All this is somewhat relative anyway. I was just inventorying the shave soap stash and counted no less than 15 soaps not including the QEDman shave sticks. Egad. Maybe I should work my way through some of my stash first? Who am I kidding? I am going to add to the stash anyway!

    Regards, Todd
  15. magic

    magic New Member

    I received a sample of D.R Harris from VintageBladesllc.com & I believe it was the Almond. Wonderful lathering.
  16. It's my go to soap. mild and not a deep almond scent. It's actually quite a refreshing smell, almost a barbershop scent. Can't beat the quality of this soap!
  17. woodsrider

    woodsrider New Member

    DR Harris almond is a staple in my rotation. As others have commented, the lathering performance is excellent. Regarding scent, it has a nice, clean "soapy" smell (although I'm not sure what almond is really supposed to smell like....). As others have also eluded, the scent has a bit of an acrid bite...it almost burns my nose if I take a big whiff of it straight from the bowl.

    DR Harris is one of the few manufacturers that has not converted from a tallow based to vegetable based soap. I have a few spare pucks in both almond and lavender, and I plan to keep them in my rotation.
  18. Aztecface

    Aztecface New Member


    While I found the D.R. Harris Almond scent so strong it almost made me hurl my search for the perfect almond scented cream/soap brought to the "Cella". An amazing soft soap.
  19. Sailinblues

    Sailinblues Well-Known Member

    I'll have to agree with you there. I've got the Cella and the Valobra soft soaps and they've got the Almond covered for me. No need for an Almond cream here.
  20. Will

    Will Nevermind

    Cella has a nice almond scent but their are better and D. R. Harris is a GREAT ONE! Just to rich for my blood.

    Col Conk smells Delish and much diffrent from Cella.

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