14 Like 0 Dislike
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
Disclosure: The Artisan gave me this soap sample for my honest opinion via public feedback. I was not paid otherwise and I do this for fun. Buy “Field Day” in full jar or a sample here: https://summerbreaksoaps.com This is the second video review of the samples that Keith from Summer Break Soaps sent me. The first was Picture Day, a lavender forward Barbershop. For that review check my upload history from last week. Field Day’s scent is another animal entirely in that it is of the earthy, after the rain variety which soaps such as Barrister & Mann’s Petrichor, Lakewood Soap Co’s Smokey Mt Rain, and Declaration Grooming’s After the Rain belong to. I listed these soaps because they are all pretty wildly different takes on the scent, but they all maintain an air of familiarity that anyone could recognize and describe. Field Day is somewhere in the middle. It’s got the freshness of Lakewood’s take, but does a good job of melding it to what I would describe as lighter, maybe even polite, grassy petrichor. I’m not a big fan of fresh scents of the aquatic variety, but I tend to like fresh aspects of green scents and the vetiver comes through for me here. Dry, the scent is a medium 5 out of the container-my nose was immediately hit with the fresh rain accord but just as quickly the grass and earthy soil came through just enough to turn this scent into something special. Lathered, the grassy accord grew to about the same strength as the aqua and the earthy notes faded more. The scent overall expanded to about a 6 and stayed there throughout the shave. I found the dry down to be very pleasant and a few spritzed of Proraso Green Aftershave was a very good match. Since I had already used this soap a few days ago and could attest to its great performance, I decided to go all out and I used a Feather blade. I did use a mild Merkur razor head, but a Feather is a Feather-the sharpest blade out there and one that some faces tend to fear, mine included. It’s not often I use them, so I did have a little apprehension going into the shave. This time, knowing the thirstiness is the soap, I added water many times and the lather stayed well hydrated on my face but I was glad to see that the overall volume of the lather was well maintained (what some people call “cushion”...I personally hate that term. Cushion is not going to protect you if the soap has no slickness, so why call it that? Just call it dense or thick). My face could feel the skin conditioning properties at work as I built the lather and began to paint. By the time my feather blade touched my skin, it was buttery smooth sailing. I used no pressure, just touched it at the correct angle, and four days of growth was mostly cleared in one pass. My second pass went similarly and I was left with zero irritation-the alum failed to bite me. 8 hours later my face feels like I used a creamy balm on my face. I did not use one. I merely used some Proraso Green Aftershave for the menthol and scent. I could’ve gone without that as well. Overall, the soap is excellent in every category and is not far from being in elite company. This particular scent has won me over to a genre I don’t normally go for. Keith and April at Summer Break Soaps should be proud of their soap base and scents-they are both high end and at $3.75/oz are a great deal ($15/jar). If you are in for a Spring type of scent, at least grab a sample of Field Day from their website -I don’t think you’ll regret it!
Grooming Dept (https://www.groomingdept.com/) is another strong candidate for 2017 artisan rookie of the year. Grooming Dept has a wide variety of soap bases including vegan, tallow, duck fat and tallow & duck fat. After the Fire is billed as a “lime forward barbershop scent with smoke and resin”. The smoke and resin, even to someone like me with a sensitive nose for smoke, is not prominent, but is present. The lime forward barbershop accord dominates the olfactory experience. In the genre of barbershop scents, this one is at the less traditional end of the spectrum and unique. Scent strength is light-mid off the puck and remains as such once lathered. Scents that compare with After the Fire are; Chiseled Face Groomatorium Ghost Town Barber and Black Ship Grooming La Concorde. As with the performance of the recently reviewed duck fat base (https://youtu.be/edWSrpGxNy4). the performance on Grooming Dept Tallow Beef & Duck Fat is upper class. This soap hits the higher marks for lather volume and density, slickness and residual slickness and post shave. Ingredients are listed as; Stearic Acid, Water, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Beef Tallow, Castor Oil, Duck Fat, Kokum Butter, Fragrance, Hydrolyzed Silk Protein, Goat Milk, Shea Butter, Sucrose Cocoate, Safflower Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Jojoba Oil, Babassu Oil, Abyssinian Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Kaolin Clay, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Citrate, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Allantoin, Chamomile Extract, Sea Buckthorn Extract. If you are looking for a similar experience in terms of performance, I suggest; Wholly Kaw and Mickey Lee Soapworks. Get at me here: Email: email@example.com 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
This soap review features the 2017 artisan of the year, Declaration Grooming (https://www.declarationgrooming.com/). Declaration (formerly known as L&L Grooming and Declaration Brushworks) is well known for their range of shaving soap, aftershave care and hand tied premium badger knots and hand turned brush handles. The company has not rested at all, even through their move from Georgia to Michigan. Aside from purchasing direct, their software is also available through Maggard Razors (http://www.maggardrazors.com/). Bandwagon is Declaration’s nod to the classic and very common barbershop genre of scent. The scent is an interpretation of Declaration’s trips to the local barber with their grandfather. The scent is a musky, powdery accord that is supported by creamy sandalwood. The scent notes are listed as: Bergamot, Musk, Sandalwood, Lavender, Camphor, Coumarin, Tarragon and Anise. The scent for me, opens powdery and creamy before some muskiness comes into play. This is a masculine barbershop that is unique enough to buy, no matter how many barbershop scents you own. The scent strength is light to mid, by design actually. Scents with some similarity are: Wholly Kaw Man From Mayfair and Reef Point Soaps Command Presence. Declaration’s 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. Excellence 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. The Shavescore for this soap base comes in at 95. Similar soap bases in terms of performance are: Wholly Kaw (donkey milk) and Catie’s Bubbles (luxury soap). Get at me here: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/dendj55/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ruds_shaves Twitter: https://twitter.com/ruds_shaves Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/user/dendj55 Snapchat: @ruds_shaves
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