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Hey guys! Ross here, back for another shave. What a treat this one was! Declaration Grooming’s bison tallow soap formula is one of my personal favorites and provides an exceptional cushiony, yogurt-like, dense lather when dialed in right and rewards you with excellent slickness during the shave. The scent of Gratiot League Square is provided in collaboration with Chatillon Lux and is a light, leather scent that almost transforms into a suede-like smell as it dries down, to my nose. It is in no way a bold scent but is a pleasant one you can enjoy during and after your shave. Scent strength is middle of the road, hanging around a 6 out of 10. The aftershave/toner provides a nice face feel post-shave. The Timeless Bronze continues to surprise me with its efficiency and effortlessness to use. The patina on this razor has begun almost instantaneously and I’m looking forward to seeing the rustic turn in appearance it gains over time. I have really enjoyed this razor and it’s build quality so far. Overall, an outstanding shave and I can’t recommend Declaration Grooming, Chatillon Lux, or Timeless Razors more! Go try them out if you haven’t already! Items used in today's shave Declaration Grooming Gratiot League Square Shaving Soap https://goo.gl/xsWUFP Chatillon Lux Aftershave, Gratiot League Square https://goo.gl/ESuGxA Declaration Grooming Batch 4 Knot Brush Timeless DE Razor, Solid Bar, 0.38 Blade Gap, Bronze https://goo.gl/11r51S Make sure to keep up to date with us Facebook: https://facebook.com/westcoastshaving/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/WCShaving Instagram https://Instagram.com/WCShaving
This soap review features the 2016 artisan rookie of the year, L&L Grooming (https://www.landlgrooming.com/) and killer post shave master, Chatillon Lux (https://chatillonlux.com/). Even with the honors of being the best new artisan on the scene in 2016, Scott, from L&L Grooming continued his assault on wet shaver’s wallets by opening Declaration Brushworks (https://www.declarationbrushworks.com/), the premiere U.S. based artisan brush maker who hand ties every knot. L&L Grooming soaps are also available at Maggard Razors. Chatillon Lux is one of, if not the top aftershave artisan in the wet shaving world. Their collaborations are always successful and highly sought after. Bon Vivant is a warm and spicy blend with a crack of sharp citrus. The scent notes feature caramel, birch tar, black pepper, maple syrup, vanilla, patchouli, neroli, petitgrain, yuzu citrus, ginger, anise, juniper berry, white grapefruit, wormwood and coriander. What does all this boil down to? For me it opens with herbaceous citrus and some black pepper before the sweetness of the maple syrup and caramel enter the fold. At its base, it fades back to earthy where the patchouli, juniper berry and petitgrain present themselves. Scent is mid-strong both off the container and through the shave. Similar scents on the market include; Mickey Lee Soapworks Unforgiven or Phoenix & Beau Sanskrit. L&L Grooming’s Bison tallow soap base is among the very best performing soap bases on the market. Some have trouble dialing in the lather because it simply loves to be drowned with water. The results when dialed in though stand in the rare air of greatness though. Above average in all metrics. "Yogurty" dense cushion, hella slickness and residual slickness and spa like moisturizing post shave is what you can expect. With an ingredients like this (Stearic Acid, Water, Potassium Hydroxide, Avocado Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Bison Tallow, Mango Seed Butter, Castor Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Lanolin, Bentonite Clay, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Extract, Salix Alba L. (White Willow) Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid,) its no wonder. Similar soap bases in terms of performance are: Mickey Lee Soapworks and Tallow + Steel. Get at me here: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dendj55/ Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/rudshones/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dendj55/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ruds_shaves Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/dendj55 Snapchat: @ruds_shaves
Mike’s hails from the well known Ann Arbour, Michigan area and has been a well known artisan in the wetshaving community for years now. His website sells bath soap, shampoo bars, Shaving soap jars, and loose shaving pucks. The site restocks at a fairly slower place. Small batches are made in cycles. When a soap sells out, it may take a little longer for that particular soap to restock. Mike works at his own pace, doesn’t really advertise at all, and seems to like things a bit lower key. That doesn’t mean he is tone deaf: after years of using tin jars and brown paper labels (Which, IMO, were a classic and rustic look), Mike’s soap jars were upgraded to white plastic and silver sticker labels. Many shavers dislike tins due to their tendency to dent very easily and I’ve heard a number of experienced shavers who will finally give this stellar a shot now that the tins are gone. Also, empty tubs with scent labels can be purchased for $2.50 if you want to swap out your tin. The formula is tallow and consists of distilled water, saponified tallow (beef), stearic acid, vegetable glycerin, saponified kokum butter, avocado oil, shea butter, lanolin, fragrance & essential oils, saponified coconut oil, kaolin clay, & vitamin E. The soap retails on his site for $13 at a net weight of 5 oz, a stellar value at $2.60/oz! The scent notes are a manly blend of bergamot, patchouli, basil, and oak moss. The closest other barbershop scent is Soap Commander’s “Honor” and Maggard Razors “London Barbershop”. IMO Soap Commander’s is about a 9 on scent strenth vs Mike’s at what I estimate is about a 7.5 (out of the jar and lathered-the scent stays the same). I’ve had several people disagree with me regarding that, but this is my interpretation because no two noses are the same. I’ve owned both, but I traded Honor because it was too strong for me. IMO, Mike’s iteration has more basil and tones down the bergamot and patchouli to the perfect balance. It is neither musky nor powdery like Stirling and Cooper & French’s takes, but the scent can be enjoyed in addition to them. It has more in common with Seville than those two in that it uses more citrus, but it is also quite unlike it. Nevertheless, I found the Seville aftershave to be a good follow up and compliment for the citrus and oak moss. I’ve seen many reviews say that Mike’s is a softer soap. That has not been my experience. This is perhaps due to me using tins that have seen previous use. The airing process likely hardens the soap to the point where I had to load my brush 2x since I neither used an especially wet brush nor did I use water droplets to loosen the surface. I recommend doing either or both of those things for an easier loading experience. As far as lather building, the soap can take its water but it’s the the thirstiest soap base. Just add drops of water incrementally until you achieve the lather you want. The lather volume is good but doesn’t explode like similarly harder soaps like Stirling. It’s medium in density/volume. Dialing the correct amount water results in a shiny lather that is similar to a yogurt and is VERY slick. It excels in slickness and glide and offers some of the best protection that one can find for the price. Residual slickness is also above average and even more so with just a splash of water. I wouldn’t call the RS elite, but it is more than adequate. If you’re in a hurry, you can buff with confidence. This was a two pass shave with a small amount of buffing and the end result was what I would call an elite post shave feel. My skin was soft and felt nourished for the rest of the day. I did use Alum and Sevilla aftershave and I felt no burn/stinging at all. I nearly always use a balm and did not need to do so for this. It felt like the balm had already been applied, so I didn’t bother. At $2.60 an oz, the value of Mike’s soaps rivals that of Stirling, unanimously considered to be the best bang for your buck. Stirling is mere cents cheaper than Mike’s and while it does feature better packaging, variety, and an easier lather load and density, Mike’s wins the post-shave battle. The latter was my favorite thing about the soap apart from the well crafted scent. Mike has properly utilized his ingredients to produce a criminally underrated product. Now that they come in plastic tubs, there is no reason to not give Mike’s a shot! I can vouch for his Hungarian Lavender, a more naturally herbal and woody take on the lavender genre. He also makes what many to be a contender for best bayrum, and possibly the most popular of his scents-Orange, Black Pepper, and Cedarwood. You can buy Mike’s at www.mikesnaturalsoaps.com or at the Maggard Razors website.
These three scents will be released on Friday June 29, 2018 at 12:01 AM EST at www.declarationgrooming.com Contemplation $25.00 USD ($6.25/oz) and $22 for the others Disclosure: I bought the sample from Maggard Razors w/my money. I was not asked to do this review nor was I paid. It’s just for fun. Declaration Grooming needs no introduction unless less you’re new to wetshaving or some how unaware of their name change from L&L Grooming. They are at the top of their game and they specialize in luxury shaving gear that includes their signature Bison Tallow Shaving Soaps and premium hand tied badger knots that they provide in their own hand turned handles as well as a knottting service. They are also known for frequent collaborations with aftershave/fragrance producer Chatillon Lux, often providing a soap vehicle for CL’s popular fragrances. Declaration’s Bison Tallow soap base is considered top tier by many if not most wetshavers. Scott has since pushed the envelope even further with a new soap base that was unveiled and released in mid-March dubbed “Project Icarus”. It proved to be a modified version of the Bison Tallow bass that included lamb Tallow and goat’s milk, the latter well known for its use in skin care. This was a popular move and saw the first iteration released in Chatillon Lux’s Santal Austere scent. Originally a one off project, demand soared as the positive reviews poured in. The lone detractor of this release was that for many the scent did not hide the gaminess (animalic odor) of the ingredients. Now three months later three more scents (Contemplation, Sweet Lemon, Short) were released first at the annual Maggard Meet Up and shortly thereafter samples went on sale on Maggard’s web site. Those samples have sold out and I was fortunate enough to be able to buy one for myself in order to test its mettle as well as review it on my YouTube channel. Before I discuss the scent, I will point out that these three releases feature a modified formula of the original release: different goat’s milk and lamb Tallow were used in order to decrease the “gamey” scent. To my nose I do not smell anything gamey, but take note that scent is subjective and you may not have the same experience. - [ ] Scent: I do not know the exact scent notes, but this is a medium to light green scent. This is not strong like TSM Fougere and seems a bit more user friendly in that regard. To my nose this is a green fern scent bolstered with sage and brightened by a citrus note. It is indeed a calming scent, but to me it’s just ok. It’s not a scent that I will clamber to own even though it is nice. It is about a 5, or lower mid scent strength, out of the container but increases to about a 6 once lathered up. From what I’ve read from other shavers, this appears to be the favorite of the three by a decent margin, but it may be safe to say that Shore has comparable share of fans. The soap is not soft like the normal Bison Tallow base. It is mid-firm and the problem of overloading is not with this base. I actually found that I needed to load a damp brush twice as long as I have to with the Bison base (30 seconds rather than 15). This soap is also very thirsty and water must be added in copious amounts. Dialed in, the lather is superb, slick, and shiny. Slickness, glide, are amazing and residual slickness is excellent. The hero of the shave was the post shave feel. I didn’t not need a balm on most of my face after using it. I did have a spot of irritation from a cut, but that area of my neck was irritated before shave from either an insect bite or a heat rash. That was the lone detractor of the shave’s results. It’s also proof that excellent products will not save you from poor technique. This undoubtedly occurred because I was filming and talking as I shaved. That is the only reason I ever get cuts these days. The original release, Santal Austere, was $31, nearly an astounding $8/oz. I’ve heard that the reason was probably due to the cost of the Sandalwood oil and that these three new releases will probably cost less. I am not big on buying premium priced products and I own very few of them (Wolf Whiskers brush is an exception). Quite honestly, I get just as good of a shave with soaps like Mike’s Natural Soaps, Barrister and Mann, and Catie’s Bubbles. Some of those brands are half the price of Santal Austere and unless I get to try samples of the other two scents and am blown away by the scents, I don’t feel the need to buy this one, stellar performance or not. I tend to not go for stuff that’s much more than $4/oz, so that’s why I’m grateful for Maggard Razor’s willingness to provide us all with samples to try even though its apparently not very cost effective for them. I am happy that I got to try this soap and review it even though I’m not planning on buying a set. It was a fun experience as always and that’s the whole reason that I even do this-for fun!
Proraso in tubo Linea Rossa e Omega 48. Vediamo insieme le caratteristiche di montaggio
Edit: a note before you read or watch-I tend to not be that big of a horn tooter for Declaration-formerly known as L&L Grooming. I get good shaves from it, but never elite like many others attest to have. I’ve just never had a superb, knock your socks of shave with that base. Good and above average, yes, but nothing that wowed me. This could be that the base is different than many others out there and I’ve never face lathered with it since I’ve only tried samples. I’ve always had to bowl lather. In my experience sometimes a bowl lather is drastically different depending on how much soap and water is used. Also, the soap is Uber soft. It is a similar consistency to Black Ship Grooming, another brand that I think I’ve similarly never truly dialed in. I have recently found a few scents that I really like so maybe I’ll get a tub of my own and be able to give a revisional review in the future.
These are my thoughts on Gratiot League Sqr, a collaborative effort from Declaration Grooming and fragrance aficionado Chatillon Lux who are known for making some of the best aftershaves and fragrances in the world of wetshaving. This is is a complex scent that is in an undeniably good Bison Tallow soap base. Nonetheless, several factors knocked just below the 80s in my 100 pt grading scale. The fairly strong scent out of the jar is wonderful and a rather sweet take on leather with notes of vanilla, amber, tobacco, clove, Sandalwood, Bergamot, rose, vetiver, and Amber. I get mostly vanilla, Sandalwood, Tobacco, and Amber. Lathered, the scent changes to a rose laden leather. Not being a fan of rose, this lessened the scent overall for me and I had to grade it down to about a 6. The Dry down was rather nice though and prevented it from going further. I believe the aftershave will need to be experience for a full effect and mileage will vary person to person. A second area that was graded even lower was value. It’s $21 USD for approx 4 of soap. While Declaration is a tried and true brand with a highly touted (by most) base, I can’t rate the value more than a 5/10. Sure, these are highly resellable, but there are, IMO, equally performing soaps out there that are $4/Oz or less. I know the ingredients used are expensive and that reg customers know what they’re getting when they buy Declaration, but the practical shopper in me coupled with my mixed reaction to the scent can’t give bump this one any further up. I give it an overall 79.5, the highest number in my “Excellent” strata and just short of the 80-84 Outstanding level. Many may disagree and that’s fine. This is a subjective opinion review after all!
Buy the soap here: https://www.declarationgrooming.com/collections/frontpage/products/gratiot-league-square-chatillon-lux-collaboration
Buy the reasonably priced aftershave here: https://chatillonlux.com/collections/aftershave/products/gratiot-league-square-aftershave