07-03-2018, 09:19 AM
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Sometimes reviewing a soap feels a bit like the movie Groundhog Day. Been there, done that, but nothing really stands out over and above the last time I did this. Henri and Victoria felt a bit that way for me today. 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. Overall I’d put it in the upper—middle of the pack.

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 07-04-2018, 09:40 AM
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Well, Groundhog Day was interrupted a bit today with a few fireworks. As stated in my previous review the large number of good soaps out there makes a lot of them run together without standing out. Kind of like the movie Groundhog Day... a few nuances are different here and there, but basically at the end of the day you end up in the same spot with the same net result. I’m kind of a glutton for punishment, too, in that I use the same brush same bowl, same razor, same everything for my evaluation. You know, the scientific method. Keep all the variables constant, so the soap itself is the only variable.
Well today I was tired of Groundhog Day so swapped out my “test equipment”. I paired up my new Rex Ambassador with my favorite ridged shaving bowl and a favorite Elite Manchurian knot. I loaded my brush heavily for my first shave with Siliski Soaps, and I’ve got to say it outperformed my expectations. Was the equipment the reason? Maybe, but I don’t think so. This soap was very rich and creamy, but also provided a lot of slickness and residual thickness. In my experience, a lot of soaps provide one or the other, but very few soaps deliver both. This one appears to. On a side note, the Midnight in Tunisia scent wasn’t my thing, but the performance of this soap on its first go-around was enough for me to investigate more. Back to the scientific method and some head to head shaves with my better soaps for this one.

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 07-06-2018, 03:54 AM
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My second shave with Siliski Soaps confirmed what I suspected in the first; this is a really good soap. I went with my usual equipment and shaved side by side with B&M. Although I far preferred the scent of the B&M (obviously a YMMV thing that varies by scent), the Siliski Soap compared very favorably. Normally I am "one and done" with a soap at this point. Like I said, Groundhog Day. White noise. Same/same. Whatever. This one really breaks through and stands out though, so I will be doing a couple more comparison shaves. At this point in the game that's saying something.

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 07-07-2018, 04:24 PM
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@Baylorgator Do you have TFS on your radar?  I have used several of his soaps recently (Panta Rei, Bergamot Neroli, Felce Italica) and all have provided enjoyable shaves.  Wonder how they would stack up with the other soaps you have reviewed.

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 07-07-2018, 04:48 PM
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(07-07-2018, 04:24 PM)boilerphan Wrote: @Baylorgator Do you have TFS on your radar?  I have used several of his soaps recently (Panta Rei, Bergamot Neroli, Felce Italica) and all have provided enjoyable shaves.  Wonder how they would stack up with the other soaps you have reviewed.

Not familiar with this soap.

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 07-07-2018, 04:55 PM
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(07-07-2018, 04:48 PM)Baylorgator Wrote:
(07-07-2018, 04:24 PM)boilerphan Wrote: @Baylorgator Do you have TFS on your radar?  I have used several of his soaps recently (Panta Rei, Bergamot Neroli, Felce Italica) and all have provided enjoyable shaves.  Wonder how they would stack up with the other soaps you have reviewed.

Not familiar with this soap.

Longer name is Tcheon Fung Sing - gets abbreviated down to TFS.  It is made in Italy, but he migrated from Asia (forget where specifically).  Soaps tend to be croap style.

PM me if you're interested and I can scoop and send you a couple samples.

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 07-07-2018, 05:08 PM
  • pbrmhl
  • Senior Member
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The new line of soaps from Tcheon Fung Sing is Abbate y la Mantia. I've got one of their soaps and one of their aftershaves. I'd be interested to hear your review of this brand, BaylorGator.

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 07-12-2018, 04:31 PM
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Big shout out to @boilerphan who sent me several scents of TFS plus a bunch of other samples of some really fantastic smelling soaps. The reviews will continue soon.

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 07-13-2018, 08:19 AM
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(07-06-2018, 03:54 AM)Baylorgator Wrote: My second shave with Siliski Soaps confirmed what I suspected in the first; this is a really good soap. I went with my usual equipment and shaved side by side with B&M. Although I far preferred the scent of the B&M (obviously a YMMV thing that varies by scent), the Siliski Soap compared very favorably. Normally I am "one and done" with a soap at this point. Like I said, Groundhog Day. White noise. Same/same. Whatever. This one really breaks through and stands out though, so I will be doing a couple more comparison shaves. At this point in the game that's saying something.

Thanks.  This is very high praise!

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 07-18-2018, 09:02 AM
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Since my last report I received some samples of Silisky Soaps in different scents which were much more up my alley: Citrus, Frigid (peppermint) and Appalachian Forest, and I've been using these soaps as a "control" soap to start taking a bit deeper dive on the A and A- rated soaps in my den. (Obviously I can't do this with the highly rated soaps that are not in my den, but that's not to take away from them at all). Anyway, the reason that I'm using Silisky as a "control" is that sometimes we all can be influenced by the reputation and online banter about a soap, and Siliski is one that I really hadn't heard much about before shaving with it. Accordingly, it's a great "litmus test" with no presupposed bias. Again, I don't like to get too caught up into "ratings" as that's very much a YMMV thing. The most important thing in this thread is the evaluation and description of the soap, not it's rating. The opinion, experience and input of others who have shaved with that soap are equally valuable. In fact, just to be clear, the difference between my A and A- soaps is not really a significant difference in performance since soaps all perform really well and are all top notch soaps. The difference is more of that "comeback sauce" factor that I've mentioned before. In entertainment, they call it the "X factor", and it's really hard to describe. Doesn't mean you'll like it, but it does meant that a lot of people recognize something special about it. For example, I don't like Jason Beiber or Celene Dion music at all. AT ALL. Not my thing. Having said that, they wouldn't have the careers they do if they didn't have the X Factor, regardless of whether or not I personally like them. Similarly, my A rated soaps just stand apart from other similar performing soaps to me for one reason or another. For that matter, a number of the B's are easily good enough to be someone's favorite in my opinion. OK, enough soap philosophy, and on to more reviews.

* Note, I have not shaved side by side with my A+ soaps. These just seem to stand alone as excelling in every area to me.

OK, here's how the side by side soap comparisons went so far:

Control Soap:

Siliski Soap - As I said, this is my "control" soap. It has great performance and good scents. One thing I've noticed with it is that it has a relatively small window with water, and you can over hydrate it if you are not careful. This is not in any way a problem; it's just something to be aware of when dialing it in. I'm putting it as an A- since it's a great all around soap that deserves to be among a lot of other really good ones. It really deserves a lot more recognition than it gets on the boards.

A Rated Soap Comparisons:


Barrister and Mann - When dialed in correctly, I'd say the Siliski actually provides a bit slicker lather than the B&M. Both are great soaps, but what sets B&M apart for me is the unique and complex scents. Like them or hate them, they are unique and wonderful in their own way.

Stirling - Slick with strong, likable scents gives this soap serious "comeback" sauce for me. I'm a sucker for new Stirling releases.

Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations - This soap just has fantastic creamy, slick lather. One of the best performing soaps out there. This one deserves more recognition than it gets.

Tallow And Steel - I don't know what it is about T&S, but the whole "scent transports you to a place and reflects the smells of the environment there" just has a unique mystique to it. Are the scents better than others? No, but the performance rocks and I just kind of like the "vibe" of the whole thing.

Sudsy Soapery - As I've used this soap more, I've started to appreciate the soft luxurious feel of the lather and the moisturizing properties.

Also I've shaved against one A- as well.

Soapy Science - I'm tempted to put many of my A- soaps as A's. I can't put my finger on what it would take to bump this soap up. Maybe more scents with more variety and more complexity? Maybe just using it more in the lineup? Maybe the phase of the moon or my mood? I don't know. I feel the same way about Siliski, by the way. These are both great soaps, and from what I know about the artisans, they are great folks. (FWIW I think the same is true of the majority of artisans I've gotten to touch base with or learn about online. Most soap artisans seem to be just really good people for whatever reason.)

OK. That's it for now. In a bit, I'll take a deeper dive into the A- soaps and I'll add a number of new soaps to the list. A number of samples are already lined up in the cue. However, the busyness of the next few weeks probably won't give me enough time to do this and write many reviews. No worries. This thread has really become more of a marathon than a sprint. I started it as my own personal notes for a soap passaround figuring it'd be my own personal reference and last less than 60 days. I'm a bit shocked that its still going strong after 75+ soaps sampled over 11 months now. Crazy.

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 07-18-2018, 09:04 AM
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Messed this post up and can't figure out how to delete it on my phone.  Oops.

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 08-01-2018, 08:56 AM
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Well I’m back from vacation in the mountains of Montana where I used only one soap for about 10 days. Now I’m raring to go on soap reviews again.

First up, the new tallow version of Sudsy Soapery. Historically SS is a really good veggie soap that has been on the fence for me for a while. Is it an A or A-? Is it in the den or out? Great soap, but not delivering enough comeback sauce to clearly establish itself on the A list. All that changes for me with this new tallow offering. It’s a little slicker, a little stronger scent (which is a fantastic lemony citrus scent). It’s just a little better all the way around. The x-factor (comeback sauce) has arrived. I can’t point to any ones specific reason why; it just is what it is. Sudsy Soapery is firmly an A for me now. Great stuff!

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 08-02-2018, 04:53 AM
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Arianna & Evans (A&E) has made a big splash lately, showing up in a lot of SOTD photos with unique scent profiles (fig, plum, etc.) This morning I had an excellent shave with Asian Plum. The soap provided good overall performance, and good slickness and residual slickness (which are a big deal to me), but just didn't break out and show me anything special. The lather was OK, the scent was weak, and although the soap is "above average" without question, there was nothing beconing me to come back for more. I'd rank it a solid B.

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 08-11-2018, 08:27 AM
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Multiple reviews in one post - catching up.

Another Sudsy Soapery shave in the books. This new Tallow Uplift is growing on me more and more. It’s already ranked as an A, but it’d absolutely becoming one of my favorites the more I shave with it. Comeback sauce galore!

Next up - Eleven. Previously called Sapone de Paolo, this was a really good vegan soap I ranked as a solid B. The new tallow formula does improve it, but comparing the lemon to the SS uplift above it’s not quite at that level for me. Is the formula improvement enough to bump it to an A-? Maybe, but I’d probably want to try more scents to get a better overall vibe of their offerings. Long story short, if you liked SDP before (which I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t), I think Eleven is better, just not a game changer for me.

Next up The Holy Black. Some people tout it as Nirvana; others say it’s massively overrated. Having not used it before, I was prepared for the latter, but was pleasantly surprised. I really like the smooth, creamy lather of this one a lot. I also really like the unique scent of gunpowder and spice. I’ll need to shave head to head to sort it all out, but I’m really impressed so far...

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 08-19-2018, 04:21 PM
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OK, I know some folks want to skip to the ratings, so after a few shaves, I rated Sudsy Soapery (Tallow) as an A, The Holy Black as an A- and Eleven as a B. All three are really good soaps.

I also shaved a few times with Hendrix Classics soap. What is that, you ask? It’s a relatively new company that makes custom scales and customized straight razors, knives, etc. I ordered a custom knife from Pete Hendrix, and after discussing with him how cool I thought some the straight razors on his site were, he thoughtfully sent along one of his soaps with my knife. Honestly, since soaps aren’t his main business, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a great barbershop scent and holds its own with many good artisan soaps out there. It’s a solid B.

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 08-20-2018, 04:58 AM
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Today's shave was with Tcheon Fung Sing (TFS) - Neroli & Bergamatto. I was not familiar with TFS prior to shaving with it, but since then I've done some research that makes me feel like my assessment and review are on track. (I don't like to research any soap I'm unfamiliar with ahead of time, since I like to review and judge them on how they shave, not on their reputation. So, for background TFS is an old school Italian soap company named by the founder, a Chinese immigrant who moved to Italy in the 1930s. The company has been making veggie based soaps in the italian tradition ever since. For reference, a number of Razorock soaps are made by TFS.


Although I grade out Razorock as average, they have soaps manufactured by several companies, some better than others. Therefore one of my main knocks on Razorock is that as a result of this you're not sure what to expect from soap to soap. Also many Razorock soaps lack in scent strength. These two knocks do not apply to TFS. Overall, I really enjoyed the scent and scent strength of Neroli & Bergamatto. The soap gave good overall performance and a drama free shave, so I can see why it has fans. It just didn't stand out in any particular way to me. Again, I may be in the minority on this, since two of the soaps that I rate as slightly above average (Razorock and PAA) both are some of the most popular soaps out there and have TONS of fans. I just tend to lean towards stronger scents, creamier lather and more slickness. After reviewing more than 70 soaps so far, I'm finding those three qualities to be my "holy trinity" for a great soap. Net net, I put TFS in the B category along with a large number of respectable soaps.

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 08-24-2018, 11:55 AM
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I’m winding down my soap samples in my reviews shortly, as there are just too many good soaps out there to review them all, And the differences between the well respected soaps I’m shaving with are not enormous, so I think these reviews are starting to have diminishing returns. Be that as it may, here are three more:

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.

Meissner & Tremonia (Dark Lime) - Despite creating a rich, thick, luxurious lather, I got no smell and no trace of limes out of this one. If you are all about lather and not one for strong scents, this one may be right up your alley.

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.

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 09-10-2018, 11:33 AM
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Tried the new formula for Declaration Grooming - Icarus, and I definitely prefer it to the regular formula. It's a harder soap, which eliminates the one thing I find really annoying about DG - the croapy, soft consistency. Having said that, I didn't find the "shore" scent compelling enough to buy a whole tub. It's an incremental improvement, so I'd still opt for the original in a scent I liked, but I think if they used this base on their Chatillon Lux collaborations they'd have a big win.

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 09-10-2018, 12:47 PM
  • pbrmhl
  • Senior Member
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(09-10-2018, 11:33 AM)Baylorgator Wrote: Tried the new formula for Declaration Grooming - Icarus, and I definitely prefer it to the regular formula. It's a harder soap, which eliminates the one thing I find really annoying about DG - the croapy, soft consistency. Having said that, I didn't find the "shore" scent compelling enough to buy a whole tub. It's an incremental improvement, so I'd still opt for the original in a scent I liked, but I think if they used this base on their Chatillon Lux collaborations they'd have a big win.

Declaration is using Icarus for some of the Chatillon Lux collaborations. As I recall, Santal Auster and Vide Poche have been done already, and La Foret de Liguest is in the hopper.

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 10-08-2018, 04:34 AM
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Well, it’s been a while since my last review, as I’ve taken some time off from DE shaving to work on my straight shaving technique. Anyway, back with the Fatboy and badger brush to test out Noble Otter. There is a lot of buzz going on around this soap and some folks are putting it up there with WK, GD and the likes. While I agree it’s a really good soap, I can’t quite get there as it being absolutely top tier. I'd put it in the same class as Oleo... which I've updated my review on below:


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 "sweet tart" vibe to the scent. The Montrose Beach has 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. (By the way, the sensitivity I thought I had to is ended up being caused by my first "defective" blade. I'd heard of such a thing but never experienced it.)

Anyway, I'd say Noble Otter is equal to or slightly better than Oleo in performance, 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. If you are turned off by the "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.

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