Reviews of 85+ Soaps

Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by BaylorGator, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    I just received the first box of a massive soap sampler from another forum which will be putting 4 boxes of about 100 samples each in my bathroom over the next 6 weeks or so. I've got my hands full comparing soaps now. Since TSD is my online home, I'm posting my soap reviews here. Feel free to chime in with questions, opinions, or comments as you see fit.

    A word about my reviews... They are not intended to give an analytical blow by blow of every element of each soap. I've tried many soaps, and own more tubs than I could use in several years right now, so my goal here will be to find the soaps I like most and compare them to the ones I own and enjoy in order to see if there are a few I love enough to add to my already somewhat excessive inventory.
    As such, the two factors I'm seeking in a soap are:
    1. I love the smell. -- For me, there are many good soaps that can provide a comfortable BBS shave given good technique. Therefore for me to consider a soap I have to love how it smells before I consider its performance. Because of my allergies, which can make it tougher than usual to smell things at times, I also want the scent strength to be high. YMMV.
    2. It has to have "comeback sauce" - in other words, when I finish my shave, I want to think "Wow, I want to shave with that again soon". Several performance factors play into that, but if they all don't work together to create a great shaving experience then it won't get any love in my den. Onward and upward...
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
  2. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    SPOILER ALERT... Since the list of soaps and reviews keeps growing, I've put an up to date summary sheet here for easy reference. Feel free to check back on it for the most updated results. Having said that, if you haven't read the reviews yet, I'd encourage you to skip it and come back later, so you don't spoil the fun.


    I've tried to rank the soaps in order of "enjoyment" which is kind of a nebulous term that combines performance, scent, and the overall experience of using the soap for me, for whatever reason. YMMV.

    KEEPERS - These are soaps that are actually in my den, and deserve to be there for the forseeable future. I’m not claiming that these are definitively the “best” soaps (YMMV), but they are the ones I like the best, and are graded accordingly. Following this is the list of soaps not in my den. You will note many of these are rated as highly (and some higher) than the soaps in my den, so don't discount them either...

    Grade A+ (Truly Outstanding)
    Grooming Dept. - This soap is the best of the best in my opinion. Previously I ranked Wholly Kaw neck with Grooming Dept., but continual development of the soap continues at GD which now sets it apart to me. Great lather, great overall performance, unique scents, and moisturizing properties. It is virtually flawless. Several bases exist, and though I think the Lusso base is the cream of the crop, I honestly think even the vegan base outperforms most tallow soap in my den. I generally prefer tallow by a wide margin due to the creaminess and slickness it can provide.) On the down side, limited releases make this soap very hard to get ahold of, so if you are lucky enough to get some, I'd recommend picking a scent you think you’ll like and hitting the buy button before it is gone.
    Wholly Kaw - This soap is virtually flawless. Rich luxurious lather (that won’t break down no matter how much water you throw at it) provides superior cushion with plenty of slickness. From a performance standpoint, it honestly lacks nothing. Well crafted scents that are reminiscent of French perfume/cologne, which may narrow its appeal a bit to some.

    Grade A (Excellent)
    Barrister and Mann
    - Rich, dense lather, good protection, and extremely unique, complex scents make this soap an absolute first string pick. I favor the glissant base because of the scent variety. It's not the top performer of the A's, but the performance is excellent and the scents take it over the top for me. Warning: scents can be "hit and miss" and some can be very polarizing. The more I use them, the more even "polarizing" scents tend to grow on me.
    Stirling - Fantastic slickness sets this soap apart from almost every other soap in my den. Combine this with really good good lather, good protection, high scent strength and tons of scent choices (cologne, fruity, herbal, etc), and you’ve got the “go to” soap. The scents are often usually straightforward and not overly complex, but there are some cologne dupes that hang in there with just about anyone's. Generous (1 oz.) inexpensive samples also make trying new scents easy, making this the "best bang for the buck" soap out there in my opinion. A "must try" soap.
    Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations - Maybe this soap gets overlooked because it's long convoluted name. Whatever the reason, great lather and great scent put this up there with the best of them for me. One of the best performers, if not the best performer of the A's. This one was a surprise "dark horse".
    Tallow And Steel - Another "first string" soap with excellent overall performance. The new scents are still complex, but more muted than those in the previous base. They're still enjoyable and unique, and I understand the base has been "tweaked" to let the scents "shine" a little more is rolling out with new releases.
    Sudsy Soapery - A soft soap which provides an irritation free shave and great moisturizing. The new tallow base puts this one over the top for me increasing the slickness over the veggie base. (The Uplift is a fantastic lemony scent too). Even the vegan base is a worthy contender, as I’ve found the Lavendar & Peppermint and the Delor De Treget collaboration with Chatillon Lux to be really nice additions to my den.

    Grade A- (Great)
    Saponificio Varesino
    - This hard soap has a mild, clean, upscale and sophisticated cologne scent and is a good all around performer. I think other soaps graded similarly perform equally well for less money, but this hard puck will outlast them, evening things out.
    Chiseled Face - Nice creamy lather (midway in between dense and slick), good overall performance, and very unique, creative scents (Santa Paula and Ghost Town Barber are favorites). Also, my skin is smooth and soft after using this soap, providing a nice post shave experience.
    Wet Shaving Products (formula T) - A good all around performer with unique scents (Mahogany, Black Amber & Vanille, and Blackbeard are favorites.) I prefer the performance of the Formula T (tallow) base, and would bump the Rustic (vegan) down a grade, but it’s still a solid choice. Apparently, the vegan formula is an MdC knockoff with similar performance but different scents.
    Declaration (L&L) Grooming - Shaving head to head with B&M, it’s hard to tell these two apart on purely on performance. I’d say this is a tad less “risky” in terms of scents, and MAYBE a tad more moisturizing. My preference goes to B&M here because of their scents, and because the DG soap base is a little "croapy" (i.e. soft) for my liking, but YMMV. I like the new Icarus base better for sure, but haven't vibed with a scent enough to buy a full tub of it.
    Soapy Science - This is a soap that resulted from a girl named Hannah's 8th grade science fair project. She now has her own soap brand and uses 10% of her profits to fund charities. I don't know how she did in the science fair, but the end result is that this soap holds its own alongside some really well respected soaps in this category.

    Cella - Really? Cella? Yes, Cella. While there may be better, fancier, more gourmand soaps out there, this formula and scent has gone unchanged for over 100 years for a reason. It performs way better than its price would indicate delivering rich, thick lather and excellent performance. A solid choice for anyone's den.

    Grade B (Very Good)
    I Coloniali - Mango - Great scent, but unobtanium and expensive. The lather is very slick but not very dense or creamy. Despite my first shave with this soap being quite underwhelming, I found a puck and enjoy shaving with it. Would I shell out $30 again for another puck? Probably not, but I’ll definitely enjoy shaving with this one while I have it.
    CRSW - The bread and butter of this brand is their Select line, which gives great overall performance and includes some really great citrus scents, in particular. I've tried some of their new Glide base (their premium line) which gets some rave reviews for slickness, but it just doesn’t do it for me at all. It’s more like a cream than a soap, and didn’t really outshine the other formulas for me. (FYI I’m the minority view on this one.) Anyway, their Kauai soap has a fantastic smell that I’m glad is in my den.
    TOBS (cream) - Unbeatable, creamy, foolproof lather and so many fantastic scents (Jerymn St, Peppermint, Grapefruit, Mr Taylor, the list goes on and on...). My first "real" shaving cream continues to deliver for me in pure enjoyment of use.

    Catie's Bubbles - Really unique scents. Given the right one (Waterlyptus is an all time favorite), the performance of this vegan soap is solid enough to be a keeper. Having sampled so many good artisans, though, there are better options out there if you don’t happen on a scent you love.
    abones by Luna - This is a soap produced by an artisan in Spain and is a bit difficult to acquire. I’d rank it in the middle of most artisan soaps in terms of performance. I happen to LOVE the toasted coconut/buttercream scent of Coco, but based on performance alone it’s probably not worth the trouble of tracking it down. If you see a scent that intrigues you on a BST, though, it might be worth giving it a shot.

    SOAPS THAT DIDN’T MAKE MY DEN - There are some excellent soaps on this list. For one reason or another, they didn't end up in my den, but many are ranked higher than some in my den that I just happen to like. I have graded them as above. (YMMV)

    Grade A+ (Truly Outstanding)
    Panna Crema Nuavia - This, in my opinion, is a top tier soap with outstanding performance and great scents. My favorite is Blu (kind of a spicy Italian Cookie Vibe) followed by Verde (a bit more aquatic vibe). Having said that, it's $60, comes in a fancy crock, and does not offer refill pucks. Since both Wholly Kaw and Grooming Department can be had for one third the price, come in a myriad of fantastic, complex scents, and have performance on par (and arguably better) than this soap, it's an honorable mention for me.

    Grade A (Excellent)

    Grade A- (Great)
    Noble Otter - This is an excellent soap, but their scents aren't quite up my alley. Their Lonestar is a really unique one though, and they all definitely have a bit of a Texas scent vibe. I also found their pine scent to be more of an East Texas pine forest vibe than the typical pine scent that smells like fir trees and Christmas. It's similar to Oleo Soapworks below in performance, so if you like Oleo, but don't vibe with their "artificial/playful" scent vibe and want to go a bit more in the direction of the Lone Star State, Noble Otter may be for you. Honestly, at an A- it's worthy of anyone's den.
    Oleo Soapworks - This is a duck fat soap with great performance and really strong, enjoyable scents. I've become a sucker for the creamy slick quality that duckfat can give a soap (either that or the soap makers using duck fat are just good at what they do). Anyway, the scents are not too complex but still pleasant to my nose. Some find them "artificial" smelling, but I just find them to be unique - for example the Melonade has a "sweettart candy" vibe to the scent. The Montrose Beach smells like a lake in the pines with some a suntan oil smell mixed in. If that's not your vibe, I get it, but I think it's a "fun" soap with really good performance.
    Jeeves of Hudson Street - Another artisan that combines really solid performance with well crafted scents. Their barbershop is an especially rich scent and their bay rum is quite non traditional (to me, in a good way).
    Crowne and Crane - This artisan falls in the same sweet spot for me as WSP and Jeeves. Like WSP, I prefer the tallow, but their vegan Tobacco & Amber scent is great and definitely den-worthy.

    Boellis - A relatively expensive Italian soap that is excellent overall. Think "high end Cella". A more refined scent with great lather and great performance, but you'll pay for it.
    Antica Barbieria Colla - Another expensive, but excellent Italian soap. To me, almost identical to Boellis, but less cherry note to the almond scent, a tad lighter scent, and a bit more expensive.
    The Holy Black - It’s a bit expensive, but this soap provides rich, creamy lather and great overall performance. The eccentric “Gunpowder and Spice” scent is a favorite for me.

    Eufros - This soap whips up easily into a nice thick lather, which provides great slickness and cushion and a good overall performance along the lines of the other soaps I grade similarly like Declaration Grooming. Having said that, like most soaps, their scents are hit and miss and must be ordered from Spain, so it’s a bit tricky to try. I found Brisa Oriental interesting.

    Van Yulay - I've only shaved with one scent of this soap, so I really don't have a sense of what they are all about, but performance is great. I'll have to try some more over time to really determine where this one stands overall, but so far, I'd assess it as a very solid all around performer with a pleasant scent.
    West of Olympia - This sample was sent to me by a friend from Washington state as a local artisan who is getting a lot of buzz in that region. I can see why. Great lather, decent slickness and some really unique and outstanding scents. Another dark horse.

    Midnight and Two - Nice scents (I prefer a little stronger), good lather (I prefer a little thicker), good slickness, great face feel and moisturizing properties.
    Panna Crema Pure2O - From a performance standpoint, this is a really good soap on par with my A rated soaps. Disappointingly, however, this soap doesn’t excite me nearly as much as those other soaps that do “wow” me with some element (slickness, scent, lather, etc.)
    Mike's Natural - A good performer which I'd be tempted to add to then den, if it were not for an "off" scent in the base, which is very distracting to me. Some scents of the soap overpower this, and some don't but I can detect it throughout the line. If you don't smell it, this soap is a winner. If you do, it's a bit of a nonstarter. (Orange Cedarwood and Black Pepper, and Lime are favorites, strong scents, & least affected).

    Mickey Lee - This soap makes a good lather, but doesn't have quite as much slickness as my favorites. The Kraken is a great scent, that to me is definitely worth trying for yourself.
    Santa Maria Novella - From purely a performance standpoint, this very soft "croap" is as good as they come, providing rich, creamy lather, along with great cushion, slickness. Where this soap falls down for me is on scent (almost indiscernible to my nose). If you're a purist for performance it might be worth $70. For me, it doesn't deliver enough "comeback sauce".

    Grade B (Very Good)
    Shannon's Soaps - Anybody who can mix grapefruit, bay and patchouli into a unique scent I like has immediate credibility and respect in scent making as far as I'm concerned. Having said that, I was not overly impressed with the lather of this soap and find it difficult to create a rich, thick sustainable lather for me. I felt the blade a bit more than normal too. Good face feel, though. I've heard it can be a bit difficult to find the sweet spot, so maybe I'll dial it in more over time.
    Le Pere Lucien - This soap lathers with less water than any soap I’ve ever used. Slickness, performance and post shave is good, but the scents are just OK to me.
    Storybook Soapworks - This one almost made me pull the trigger. Unique Scents and good overall performance, but nothing to unseat my favorites at this point. One to keep an eye on if they come out with more soaps and scents for sure.
    Soap Commander - Performance rivaling many of my keepers, and scents that are unique and pleasant, but didn't come out and grab me like some others do.
    Phoenix & Beau - Really nice lather and well crafted scents. Albion was’t one I’d gravitate to, but my wife commented on how good it smelled, so I may have to re-evaluate.

    Wickham - The performance of this soap was really good. I’ve only tried rose scented, which was really well done, but just didn’t have “comeback sauce” to me. Maybe some more scents would make it more of a favorite for me.
    K-Shave Worx - I wasn't familiar with this soap, but another shave enthusiast PIF'd it to me for evaluation. It's a vegan soap that sells for $10 shipped online. How good can it be, right? WRONG! I've only got the one scent (Hump Day) but it's strong, citrusy and unique, and it lathered up better than most soaps in my Den. Really good overall performance at a price that is probably way too low for what you get.
    Eleven/Sapone Di Paolo - Eleven is the new formula and name for SDP, a particularly good vegan soap, that held up quite
    well against some good tallow soaps. Scent strengths and uniqueness is not up there with my favorites, but the new formulas are notably better, perform admirably, and are definitely worth buying if you find one up your alley.
    Tiki - Solid performance with some really unique scents. The Fougere is fresh and bright, as is the Set Sail fragrance. My favorite is the Spice Island, a unique spicy mango scent.
    Big Easy Soaps - Availability can be an issue here, as the artisan runs an Etsy shop that goes in and out of stock, but the soap provides very solid performance. The Café Orleans scent, though, is something special transporting you to Cafe Du Monde with chicory coffee and beignets. If it's re-released I will buy it.

    Turtleship - Good performance with simple, subtle scents (say that 10 times fast). I wish they were a bit stronger and more complex.
    Ariana & Evans - The packaging promises a unique experience, but doesn't fully deliver on the promise. I found it to be a really good soap with better than average overall performance, good slickness and good residual slickness, but the scents were weak, and nothing about this one called me back for more.

    Martin De Candre - A very good overall performer, but nothing jumps out as being "over and above" for me (especially at $70 per puck), and the scents I've tried don't excite me much.
    Henri and Victoria - Another good soap resulting in a good shave with good results. Would I be happy shaving with it regularly everyday? Sure. Is it best in class? Not really. Reminded me a bit of Reef point in the “scent family” with a mild cologne vibe to it. Lather dissipated a bit and post shave was a bit dry.
    Castle Forbes - Probably one of the best of not arguably the best cream out there as long as you like one of their few (but straightforward) scents.

    Dr. Jon's - Another very good soap with good overall performance; again, nothing jumps out at me. The Hydra scent has a solid following. Aphrodite is also a nice citrus scent.
    Viking - I find the Ragnar and Iceland scents to be standouts. Good performance, but nothing, beyond the scent, really separates them as exceptional. Having said that, Ragnar is my favorite spin off of Creed Aventus so far. I ended up mixing it with Stirling Executive Man to up its performance a bit.
    Moon Soaps - Another good artisan soap which performs well, with a few notable scents. I particularly like the sweet tobacco smell of Havana, and the Amaretto is a nice italian soap smell.
    Tcheon Fung Sing (TFS) - an old school Italian soap company founded by a Chinese immigrant who moved to Italy in the 1930s. Good veggie based soaps that have lasted the test of time. Some are produced for and marketed by Razorock. This soap gives me good overall performance, very nice scents and scent strength, and a drama free shave. I just tend to lean towards stronger scents, creamier lather and more slickness in my highest rated soaps.

    Black Ship Grooming - Better than average performance, providing good slickness and protection. I haven't gotten to try most of the scents, but the Fougere didn't stand out as a keeper for me.
    Wheat State - Not knowing much about this artisan I didn't expect much. The name is lackluster, the barbershop scent was mild. Upon lathering up, however, this soap produced really nice slickness and good cushion. Not one of my top soaps, but definitely better than average and worthy of consideration.
    Obsessive Soap Perfectionist - A good artisan soap produced “across the pond”. Really solid performance, but nothing stands out above the crowd enough for me to buy it.
    Long Rifle - Good overall performance contribute to buzz about this soap, but it’s not as slick as my favorites. The scents are unique, but don’t really line up with my tastes.

    Mitchells Wool Fat - This is a controversial rating, as this is an iconic soap that is purported to perform well, but scent plays a big part in the experience for me, so a lightly scented or unscented soap isn't going to make the den unless its performance absolutely blows my other soaps out of the water. It didn't.
    Meissner & Tremonia (Dark Lime) - Despite creating a rich, thick, luxurious lather, I got no smell and no trace of limes out of this one. Similar to “the fat” above, if you are all about lather and not one for strong scents, this one may be right up your alley.
    Hendrix Classics - This is a soap that was included as a gift with a custom razor I bought (it’s also available for sale on the website). This soap really holds its own and has a great barbershop scent.
    Dapper Dragon - A solid performer that hangs in there with others in this category.
    Reef Point - Now discontinued, this soap was unique, providing solid overall performance and "clean cologne" scent profiles that were unique and different. (Submariner is a favorite.) Some are hit and miss to me.
    Wet Shave Obsession - Zaro - Another good, but discontinued soap that produced thick lather and good overall performance, but a bit drying post shave feel. The "fougere" scent actually smelled like caramel to me, which, ironically, was what I liked most.
    The Shave Den - Discontinued in 2018, TSD soap was a solid performer with good lather good cushion and decent slickness. This lanolin soap lacked a bit of residual slickness, but was on par with a number of good artisan soaps. The barbershop scent was unique and outstanding.

    Grade C+ ( Good)
    Pre de Provence #63 - This hard milled soap smells really great and unique. Like a French Perfume, only not too feminine, if that makes any sense. I really like the unique smell which is not like any other soap in my den, but you really need to dial in the lather to get good slickness.
    Fine - Clean cologne scents that I enjoy. Good performance, but the soap doesn't stand out like my favorites do. Platinum and L’Orange Noir are really fantastic scents that still tempt me to buy them anyway.

    Soap Smooth - This soap has really nice scents and better than average performance. Unfortunately, most vegan soaps don't perform as well for me as tallow soaps, and this one is no exception. However, if you are a big vegan soap fan, I'd recommend Soap Smooth.

    Tabac -Another iconic soap, but I just can't get past what my wife refers to as the "old man smell". Others call it "grandma's purse" scent. Either way, it's not making the den. On pure performance, this soap is probably a B. On smell it’s an F. I gave it an overall C+ to keep people from flaming me.
    Arko - I'd put this one in the same category as Tabac. Really good performance with a scent that doesn't excite me so much. If there was an award for best performance for the least money, Arko would do a "mike drop" at the awards ceremony. Just don't expect a spa-like experience from the shave, more like a "dishwashing soap" scent that gets the job done.
    Body Shop Maca Root (cream) - This cream whips up easily into a rich, thick lather and provides for a good shave. Slickness and cushion are average, and lack residual slickness or a unique scent has convinced me to give this cream away in search of more good stuff. It's a good product, just not a standout for me.
    Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements - PAA is one of those soaps that performs just fine, but nothing really stands out above the pack to me. I'd put them on par with Razorock, but with a myriad of scents that I think have bases covered. Like Razorock, I find the scent strength to be a bit weak and numerous scents are copies from other manufacturers' that I find to be a bit less complex and enticing than the originals, and I picked up a bit of an off scent in the base. If you don't lean towards stronger scents, though, PAA is a great one-stop-shop with lots of choices.
    Razorock - Overall, these soaps lather quickly & easily, but I find performance to be average, and scent strength to be below average. The scents also skew a bit towards a "European Cologne" vibe that don't tend to do it for me. Because different soaps marketed under the Razorock brand name are made by different private label manufacturers, your mileage may vary on a soap by soap basis.
    Ginger's Garden - An average soap which lacks a bit in slickness and cushion for me. The scents I've tried are pleasant, but relatively mild.

    Mystic Water - This soap has many fans, but for me, I find the lather is not dense enough and the soap lacks cushion. I think I'm the minority view on this one, so many will probably disagree with me, but I’m just not a big fan of this soap.
    Wild West Shaving Co. - Not a standout for me, and I felt like protection might have been lacking a bit. It's cheap enough that maybe it's worth a flyer if a scent intrigues you, but it won't end up in my den because the puck was way too small to use for loading a brush making the original package unusable, and I didn't vibe with the scents.

    Stone Cottage - This cream, now in version 2.0, produces a rich lather with good slickness and protection. Overall, I’d rate it much higher if it weren’t for scents that I just find offputting. (My wife refers to them as “Old Lady” scents). As always YMMV.
    Rock Rose Apothecary - this soap is getting some buzz on the forums, so I'm probably the minority view on this one, but I get an off scent in the base (tallow I think) that really spoils things for me. Many people apparently can't/don't smell this, so it may not affect you at all. Aside from this, it's a pretty good overall performer, although it is a very soft soap which can do that "stringy thing" when loading. Not a big deal, but just not my thing.
    The Soap Exchange - This is an artisan soap out of Texas with interesting scents (in a good way). Performance is decent, but I can't get over an off scent in the base which spoils the experience for me. Like some scents, it's not discernable to everyone, but it's very noticeable to me. If you're one of those folks who doesn't tend to detect those things, it's worth a try.
    Saint Charles Shave - Although I found the Rose scent to be dead-on, the slickness and ability to take water without breaking down we’re not.

    Grade C (Average - Drugstore Grade)
    La Toja - An Iconic shave stick that is convenient for travel, but really doesn’t stand out to me.
    Palmolive - Same idea as La Toja, but with a bit more pedigree. Nothing wrong with either; nothing stands out to me, though.
    Speick (cream) - Yeah, I know it comes from some remote part of a mountain in Austria where vestal virgins hand harvest the secret plant, travel the route used by the Von Trapps in the Sound of Music, bring it back to the Motherland and distill it into shaving goodness. While it does have the unique smell of the Speick plant, and the lore is worthy of a Grimm's fairy tale, when you strip it all down the German drugstore cream lacks any superior slickness or cushion, and is still just average.

    Proraso (cream) - When I started wet shaving, I thought this stuff was the greatest thing since sliced bread; so much better than canned goo! It's still a favorite of many, but I don't find it a standout in performance, lacking as much slickness and protection as I've become accustomed to with some other soaps. It left the den in a PIF.
    Pacific Shave Co. (cream) - This cream provides a good shave at a great price. A bit drying, but overall, if you're into bang for the buck, I'd put this one in the same category as Proraso cream.
    Cremo (cream) - If you are looking for no muss, no fuss, experience with solid shaving results Cremo fits the bill. Personally, though, I don't find the shave particularly exciting or enjoyable. Slickness is great, cushion is OK, scents are mild and lackluster to me. The Bud Light of shaving creams. It gets the job done, but doesn't provide anything I really want to savor.

    Nancy Boy (cream) - A refreshing, mildly cooling cream with good, but not stellar performance. Lacks a bit in cushion and residual slickness to me, but still provides a good overall shaving experience.

    Grade D (Worse than Average)
    Dirty Deeds - This soap smells great, and gave me a great shave. Having said that, it lathers about like a bath soap with big bubbles that dissipate quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I couldn't see the lather on my face for most of my shave.
    Williams (modern) - It lathers for some, and not for others. It smells like soap. You can get a 3 pack for about $6 delivered. Performs slightly better than a bar of bath soap for me. Apparently the original Williams was better.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  3. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    First shave: Midnight and Two - Citrus Island
    I'm a sucker for citrus scents and this is a nice one. Lathering up with a badger brush revealed this to be a thirsty soap. It created a lather about half way between the thickness of B&M and the slickness of Stirling (two of my core soaps). Good cushion, but I found residual slickness to be lacking until I added more water on my last pass, and the slickness suddenly showed up. I will probably shave with another M&2 soap in this box to dial it in a bit better next time. At this point I'd say this is a very good soap and on par with some of my favorites. Having said that, Stirling makes some fantastic citrus scents (my favorite being Pharoah's Dreamsicle) that are awfully hard to beat.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  4. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    Are you doing a review a day for this month?
    Kokak likes this.
  5. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    I get one box at a time and get to keep each box for about a week with breaks in between. During the breaks I will probably review some of the soaps I already own. So, the short answer is: I'm hoping to reviewing 3o to 40 soaps in the next 6 to 8 weeks. Not one everyday, but a bunch in the next two months.
    FaceScraper, wristwatchb, RyX and 3 others like this.
  6. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    I look forward to following each review.
    FaceScraper and Kokak like this.
  7. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    Keep in mind that free advice is worth what you pay for it, Paul :).
  8. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    That puts the pressure on you to make the advice good :cool:
  9. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    Two Rule Breakers Force Me to Screw Up and Cheat
    Got your attention now, right? OK, here's the story - I had made it a rule not to sample discontinued soaps, and only to use/review soaps from makers I already own (saving those for when the boxes were in transit), but today an unexpected rule breaker showed up in my review lineup... I Coloniali Mango. Since the opportunity to pay $60 for a puck of this soap came my way yesterday I decided to try and understand what kind of soap would make anyone crazy enough to do such a thing. Knowing the high cost of the soap, and the small size of the sample, I decided to bet that a hard soap like this needed very little product to whip up a good lather, so I gathered up the shavings from the bottom of the container and pressed them into my lathering bowl, figuring I'd leave the sample intact for others. Long story short, I botched the lather. I decided to make the best of it and add some more shavings off the sample, but at that point it was too late. Tried to salvage a face lather using what I had, but it was a crappy enough first pass that I decided to abandon I Coloniali Mango for another soap...
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    FaceScraper likes this.
  10. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    OK, my botched lather sent me back to a familiar soap. (I know, I'm cheating a bit here by reviewing a brand I am already very familiar with... but whatever.)
    Anyway, I didn't expect to like Cheshire's scent at all (tea scented???), but it was intriguing enough after getting a whiff of the sample that I went all in on the experience. (For those of you not familiar with Barrister & Mann, their scents are unique, complex and very hit and miss.) Every one of them, though, whips up easily into a rich, thick lather which has made me a fan. Compared to yesterday's shave with Midnight and Two, the soap may have been a little less moisturizing, but the great scent and awesome lather gave me a little better "experience" and better than average results. It may end up on the "buy" list.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    FaceScraper likes this.
  11. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    Is it safe to say you were pleasantly pleased by the tea scent(as part of a shave soap)?
  12. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants


    Keepers For My Den
    Barrister and Mann
    - unique, complex scents and rich, thick lather

    On The Fence
    Midnight and Two
    - nice scents...although they could be stronger, good lather... although it could be thicker, great face feel and moisturizing properties.

    Not For Me
    I Coloniali Mango
    - great scent, but discontinued, too expensive, and I botched the lather.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    FaceScraper and ajc347 like this.
  13. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    Yeah, who woulda guessed that? Not this guy!
  14. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    I asked about the tea scent because I might get Tombstone Shaving Soap(from Phoenix Acoutrements)as part of a "bundle" with the aftershave of same name). The description gives it a quite manly appearance save for a slight bit of opium(why'd they have to include THAT?)and the tea.
  15. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    Having just attended "high tea" at a fancy hotel in Canada with my girls on a recent family trip, believe me Paul, I'm more of a spots bar kinda guy. I figured the chances of me liking a tea scent was somewhere well south of zero, but was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong. Having said that, B&M's scents tend to be unique and not representative of anything else out there.
    FaceScraper, jtspartan and PLAla like this.
  16. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    The next soap up in the Box - Matin De Candre. I had shaved with this from a sample early in my wet shaving tenure and found it a bit "meh", but since I know a lot of guys rave about this soap, I figured I'd give it a try again now with some experience under my belt.
    Well, it was better than "meh", but honestly nothing that really stood out over and above any of the soaps I enjoy most in my den. If I'd been given it in a blind sampling, it wouldn't make the top of the list. Is it a good soap? Absolutely. Just not a standout for me.


    Keepers In My Den
    Barrister and Mann - unique, complex scents and rich, thick lather

    On The Fence
    Midnight and Two - nice scents...although they could be stronger, good lather... although it could be thicker, great face feel and moisturizing properties.

    Didn't Make the Cut
    I Coloniali Mango - great scent, but discontinued, too expensive, and I botched the lather.
    Martin De Candre - a solid soap, but nothing jumps out as being really outstanding to me.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  17. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    One of my all-time favorite soaps, both the regular & fougére-scent.
    Paul Turner likes this.
  18. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    Keep in mind' I'm trying to only review excellent soaps, so the ones that don't "make the cut" for me are still, in my opinion, pretty dang good.
    I'm curious what you like or what stands out most about MdC for you @HolyRollah?
  19. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord Staff Member

    For me, two things I've always liked about MdC—the fragrance(s) and the thick, cushiony lather that is easily generated.
    Acknowledging there is no 'one perfect soap' for all, the two most common negative comments I read about MdC are the price ($$) per jar, and secondly, some users find it too drying to the skin, post-shave.
    Fortunately for me, I haven't experienced any of the dryness issues post-shave when using this soap. The initial cost of MdC is not cheap, but the soap is so dense, a single jar will last years with daily use so the 'cost per shave' over time makes it somewhat of a bargain. I still have two four-year old jars used in my daily soap rotation that still have 75% remaining.

    I am looking forward to your ongoing observations on these soaps! :happy088:
    FaceScraper, JazzDoc and Primotenore like this.
  20. BaylorGator

    BaylorGator MISTER Fancypants

    Since my first experience with Midnight and Two was really only half a shave, I decided to give it a full run this morning with The Cabin scent. My experience with the full shave was similar to the partial shave. This is a good soap. I'd say this scent performed well in all areas, slickness, cushion, scent, etc. As in my first pass, the attempt to get thicker lather held back any residual slickness, so I wet my whole face and the brush and face lathered for the second and third pass. The lather needs more water than you think in order to get residual slickness, but thinning out the lather definitely gets it there. The only thing this soap didn't have for me is comeback sauce. If it were in my den it would make the rotation for sure, but right now I'm looking for upgrades, and I didn't find anything here that blew me away enough to part with $25 for another soap. I'm going to create a category called honorable mention that this one will go in. There are several soaps I already own that are honorable mentions; I'll use and enjoy them while I've got them but they don't have enough "comeback sauce" for me to go back for a second tub (in the theoretical world where I actually finish a tub of something). If this had been one of my early SAD acquisition soaps, it definitely would have been a keeper.


    Keepers For My Den
    Barrister and Mann
    - unique, complex scents and rich, thick lather. Some scents can be polarizing.

    Honorable Mentions
    Midnight and Two
    - nice scents...although they could be a bit stronger, good lather... although it could be a bit thicker, good slickness when watered down, great face feel and moisturizing properties.

    Didn't Make My Cut (YMMV)
    I Coloniali Mango
    - great scent, but discontinued, too expensive, and I had issues with lathering properly.
    Martin De Candre - a solid, well respected soap, but nothing jumps out as being really outstanding to me. Also a bit pricey
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
    Primotenore and jtspartan like this.

Share This Page