SOTD - May 25, 2017


Shaving Product Review - Wet Shaving Products "Starbucks" and
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements "Ahab's Bitter"

Value (Cost, Packaging and Performance)

Lather (Density, Glide and Feel)

Post-shave (Healing, Moisture and Feel)

Scent (Quality, Strength and Longevity)

Each bar has three metrics, each representing 33% of the total (11% = below-avg, 22% = avg, 33% = above-avg, except cost)

Nothing quite like that first cuppa joe in the morning! Make that good feeling last a little longer with Wet Shaving Products Starbucks #soap and Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Ahab's Bitter #aftershave.

For this review, I won't get into the performance of the soap too much. I did an extensive review of Black Amber Vanille which you can check out for more details. Long and short of it is that it's a very nice performer for the money. Not top tier, but better than average, certainly. So let's talk about the scent specifically and how this Rustic formula soap compares. I've also done a review of a PAA aftershave yesterday, so for more info, check that out. Again, I'll just comment on the scent here.

Note the (obvious) name of Starbucks in the WSP offering, and the Starbucksian green logo of the PAA offering... Both might be grounds for a C&D, had they lasted.

First, a quick note about coffee scented shaving software in general... At one point or another, many artisans have dabbled with it. But most products seem to go the way of the dinosaur eventually. In fact, both products you see here today are now discontinued. K Shave Worx recently discontinued their own Café de' Shave soap as well. As much as I love coffee (it is the bringer of life) it's hard to pull off correctly; not just shaving scents but vaping flavors as well. Part of that stems from the fact that "coffee" can mean many things. Regular "Americano" or espresso? Light roast or dark? Flavored or straight? More often than not, it's not what you want personally. And sometimes, it just smells... Synthetic. While Starbucks smells of espresso and Café de' Shave more a regular coffee, Ahab's Bitters is a little funky - with the inclusion of heavy hay notes (more on this below).

Coffee makes morning better. Whether you're a morning person or not, this espresso scent will help you get going!

As I mentioned, this soap is from the regular Rustic line of soaps; that is, it's not Formula T - which contains tallow and is made to be more cushioning and moisturizing (and thus not vegan, as this is). Honestly, I was expecting a bigger difference than there was in practice. The lather was still both fairly dense and creamy with ample glide during and after a pass. It wasn't quite as creamy, nor as moisturizing as the tallow version(s) which I definitely prefer... But you really can't go wrong with either. So how's the scent? The scent strength in the tub is impressive but quite light once lathered. A shame, as I was hoping for more. I suppose it's for the best, as a hint is better than being overwhelmed with a whack coffee scent (which it's decidedly not). It smells of legit espresso. Dark, strong, espresso. Works for me!

These #paa aftershaves, as I expanded on in yesterday's shave review are not great performers or a value at $24.95 each. Scent-wise, it opens as a nice, strong coffee - but quickly mutates to hay absolute, black tea extract and coumarin middle and base notes. The dry down takes a good 20-30 minutes, whereafter the coffee is mostly, but not all gone. The hay is predominant but tempered by the black tea. While the coumarin adds a sort of almonds and vanilla vibe, it also adds a freshly-mown hay, further bolstering the hay absolute. It's almost a buttery scent overall on the base. Not something I'd wear in the warmer months and even in the cooler ones - it's a bit odd. Scent strength is quite potent and long-lasting.

Hardware for today's tonsorial duties befell the #Mühle #R89 head with a fresh #PolSilver blade that I shimmed for a little more "oomph" sitting atop the titanium RazoRock Halo handle. The brush of choice, as it is with #wsp_shaving soaps, was the #SOC which I kept on the drier side for loading quickly and cleanly. The #GTP scuttle, naturally, kept everything in check and warm.

Coffee. How I love thee, let me count the ways... Alas, it's not long for this world when it comes to shaving software. Think of it more as a novelty, rather than a fragrance people are keen to wear... At least as a more singular note. It's definitely part of more complex accords like Barrister and Mann Leviathan (having notes of leather, coffee and sandalwood) or Tallow + Steel Dark (with notes of coffee, cocoa, vetiver, ginger, benzoin and peppermint). All that said, I'm a fan - and I'd like to see more out there.