Shaving Product Review - Wickham Soap Co. "Magnum"
Value (Cost, Packaging and Performance)
Lather (Density, Glide and Feel)
Post-shave (Healing, Moisture and Feel)
Scent (Quality, Strength and Longevity)
Magnum is a scent that projects masculinity and confidence. Sweet yet warm and packed with intoxicating freshness, this sophisticated fragrance with notes of lemon and basil and a hearty base of amber and smooth musk, is a real charmer.
New to the den is Wickham Soap Co. and up for scrutiny today is the Magnum scented soap and balm in newest 1912 formula. It's produced by Darron Barnes in England. Their current line consists of about a dozen scents, including Unscented and of course, Magnum which is the subject of today's review. Special editions of late include Le Bleu (for West Coast Shaving), Union Sq. (for Pasteur Pharmacy) and White Note (for the Sin Corte No Hay Gloria forum in Spain); it will become part of the regular line as Ninfeo di Egeria on July 16, 2018.
Branding is excellent; each product has a uniform base style with the logo and name of the artisan, product name/type, quantity and ingredients. Earlier labeling looked very similar but the new stuff has slight tweaks that are very nicely done, introducing flair (I'm not sure if that's also the case with the balms or I have older stock). The text varies in color and there's a small illustration right under the artisan's name, reflecting the product in some way... As you can see above, there's a stylized Tom Selleck with red script, matching his signature Hawaiian shirt on the TV show, Magnum, p.i. in which he played Thomas Magnum. Not only is this creative and cool, but it makes for excellent marketing... I'm a fan of the show, having watched it in the 80s and that latter part definitely played into it.
The packaging underneath is also rather excellent. The containers for the soap and balm are white PET plastic; the soap container fairly large and the balm in an airless pump. Solid and robust, yet clean and simple. The labels are waterproof and shiny and are affixed top, side (in two spots) and bottom. The quantity of soap figures into the value equation as the container bears 140g /4.93oz. of product - as opposed to the more traditional 100g/3.53oz or 125g/4.41oz. The balm container holds 50g/1.76oz. Considering the soap runs $18 and the balms $12, they're a very good value especially when you consider the performance as well...
So let's talk about the scent of Magnum. Officially, the scent has top notes of sweet lemon and basil, a middle note of rosewood and base notes of musk and amber. On open, the scent presents as an herbaceous (basil) citrus (lemon) but tempered already by the slightly floral, peppery and camphoraceous rosewood (aniba rosaeodora). After the citrus burns off and a short transition of mostly floral - it settles into the base of musky amber. Sillage is fairly middling as is the longevity at 4-5 hours.
Let's take a quick look at the soap ingredients:
Potassium stearate, aqua, sodium cocoate, sodium cocoa butterate, sodium palmate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, sodium avocadate, parfum, white kaolin, allantoin and glycerin.
Now the soap performance. The #WSoaps 1912 base is vegetal; it contains no tallow or other animal products. I've long maintained that vegetal bases can be just as rewarding as tallow-based offerings; witness Saponificio Varesino for example. Of course, I've also heard chatter about this soap (all of it good). The hype is real. It loaded easily, lathered even easier and produced abundant, creamy lather that has excellent primary and very good secondary slickness. I say "abundant" because despite using my 30mm brush and loading for my regular amount of time (30s) there was enough for a full three-pass shave. Impressive, because for a brush of this size I usually load for 40-60s! Nice cushion, great glide (a little less so on touch-ups) and the resulting face feel was excellent. This performance should come as no surprise; it contains a who's who of good stuff for skin (and glide): cocoa butter, palm oil, jojoba seed oil, avocado oil, kaolin clay, allantoin and glycerin.
Let's take a quick look at the balm ingredients:
Aqua, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin, fragrance, carbomer, caprylyl glycol, tetrasodium EDTA, citric acid, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol and allantoin.
The balm was nearly as impressive. You need a very small amount (not even pea-sized) to get the job done. Rub it between your hands and apply to a slightly damp face and you're off to the races. It absorbs quickly and leaves absolutely no tackiness behind (even if you overdo it; it just takes a little longer). This is interesting, as it contains mostly aloe (second ingredient) and glycerin (third ingredient). Some aftershaves (e.g. Ginger's Garden) in such a formula can be quite tacky - here, the ingredients are perfectly blended so as to avoid that. Plus there's a couple of other good things in there for your skin; citric acid which smooths and soothes it, and allantoin for moisturization. Caprylyl glycol is a bridge, being both a skin conditioning agent and a preservative but unfortunately, the rest of the ingredients are mainly preservatives and anti-microbial agents (sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and phenoxyethanol). Since it's not an alcohol-based aftershave, rather a balm (in part thanks to the carbomer and EDTA) it needs these.
Hardware today consisted of the #Merkur #Futur razor with a #PolSilver blade on shave three, on the "3" setting for a more aggressive shave. Happy to say, super close and comfortable. The brush was the custom piece by #LeoFrilot sporting a 30mm Ghost knot, custom ordered from a Chinese supplier. The inspiration is kind of fitting; RMS Titanic (being English; from Southampton) and the colors - red, black and white - matching the packaging. Finally, the unsung hero, the #GTP scuttle.
I'm quite impressed with the Wickham Soap Co. products. The branding, packaging, performance and of course, scent is all top notch. Considering the price and quantity of the products in addition to the aforementioned performance, they represent a very good value. Stay tuned as I'll be reviewing another scent, Club Cola and Union Sq soon! I'm a new fan of this decidedly underrated artisan.