Shaving Product Review - Phoenix and Beau "Whitechapel
Barrister and Mann "Night Music"
Value (Cost, Packaging and Performance)
Lather (Density, Glide and Feel)
Post-shave (Healing, Moisture and Feel)
Scent (Quality, Strength and Longevity)
What does it smell of? Smoke, leather, sweet and dark, Whitechapel is an accord of six notes. Vetiver accommodates the profiles smokey edge, whilst sandalwood and leather reinforce its deep base with their thick richness. A hint of chocolate traces its way through the profile like a wispy London fog and jasmine and ylang-ylang provide a soft floral contrast to the profiles dark heart.
Why is it called Whitechapel? In December 2016 we held a contest where the prize was the winner got to name and outline the scent profile for our Autumn 2017 seasonal soap; Whitechapel is that soap and was named and proposed by a North American Gentleman called Rodney McAlpin.
In the chart above, I rate the Whitechapel soap (Lather) and Night Music aftershave (Post-shave) and EdT (Scent). For details on the soap scent itself, see below.
I've numerous in-depth reviews of #BarristerMann Night Music before, and while I find it one of my favorite scents from Barrister and Mann I won't get into it here. Long and short, it has notes of vanilla, bergamot, iris, five different musks and strawberry. It's modeled after Guerlain Shalamar. Dark, rich and decadent. While it didn't tie in to Whitechapel as far as scent, it's hard to deny the thematic statement in the photo.
This is actually my first soap from #PhoenixAndBeau after hearing about them for a while now (all good things). Based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England they are a family business founded in 2015 (launched in 2016) and led by Kerry and Sarah Burrows. They're quite proud of their soap and its ingredients... Which are pretty nice:
Potassium stearate, aqua, potassium tallowate (bovine), potassium castorate, cocos lactate, glycerin, potassium safflowerate, potassium shea butterate, lanolin, allantoin, tussah silk and essential oils: vetiver, sandalwood, jasmine absolute, ylang ylang, leather (fragrance oil) and chocolate (fragrance oil).
You have your basic tallow soap - plus coconut and safflower oil, glycerin, shea butter and lanolin, plus allontoin and tussah silk. While not an extensive recipe, it's got a lot of good stuff in it. An above average list, if just. In use, it proved to live up to the billing... Loading was easy, as was generating the lather. The soap produced ample, creamy lather with excellent cushion, excellent primary and very good secondary lubricity. There's not much to fault here; it performed very well and left a nice skin feel for sure. It's thirsty, but I didn't find it overly so - inline with similar soaps.
Packaging and branding is nice in general for them, but especially this release. While the containers are fairly standard PET tubs, this one in opaque black - the label and artwork immediately set it apart. The label itself is black, with a (faux) leather texture. The only other color, a glossy red, is "splattered" on top of that - that is, it has depth - giving the label a (physical) 3D quality. It's impossible to illustrate with a head-on shot as above, and I had meant to take a photo at an oblique angle to convey that, but spaced it. Really awesome effect and so fitting.
The artwork itself caused a modest stir in some circles (a bit silly, in my opinion) as it's a stylized, naked female torso. Almost like a poured/splashed fluorescent red paint over the body and shot under blacklight in appearance. I think it fits the name and theme of the soap perfectly and I also find the quality of the label overall to be excellent. There's a (much) less impressive label on the bottom of the tub with the ingredients; an extra, clear label added a few more ingredients not listed above... Another shot I had intended to take. Next time!
The soap goes for £17.99 (nearly $24) a tub - which I find to be excessive. Their other soaps go for a much more reasonable $16 each. The soap ingredients appear identical, and there are no particularly expensive essential oils in this scent - which means that you're essentially paying for the packaging (read: label). While I think the label is brilliant, I don't think it's worth an $8 premium.
Scent, then. Whitechapel officially has notes of vetiver, sandalwood, leather, chocolate, jasmine and ylang-ylang. On open you get leather primarily, tempered by smoky vetiver and sandalwood. The chocolate is subtle, but does lend itself to the overall accord as an undertone. The jasmine and ylang-ylang are likewise present, but teasing you as they weave in and out - mostly towards the finish. Overall a warm, dark vibe that's punctuated by the sensuality of chocolate and the brightness of florals. I'd really like to see a matching aftershave for this (or any!) of the Phoenix and Beau soaps. Scent strength was a light medium in the tub and lathered. I've heard this before of their soaps (e.g. Imperial Rum) and I might agree. A bit of a shame on both counts. The scent of Whitechapel is quite nice overall.
Hardware today consisted of the black #StandardRazors razor with a #PolSilver blade on shave five. The brush for today is by way of #LowbornSupply called Drac - a bit of a holdover from Halloween and a special request, sporting a stunning pearlescent red and black color scheme with a 24mm BOSS knot. A bit on the darker side overall, it's delightful up close and in the light - and needless to say, a lovely performer. The #GTP scuttle held up its end of the bargain in keeping the lather nice and warm.
For a first outing with Phoenix and Beau I have to say, I'm impressed by the soap's performance. I'd place it above average and not far from the top tier of artisans today. My biggest gripes I suppose, is that I wish the scent strength was just a bit more robust - and of course, the lack of matching aftershaves and/or balms. Granted, Whitechapel is a seasonal release. I also bemoan the limited availability of their products. They're released sporadically throughout the year in limited batches, available either direct (as this was) or through certain vendors (mainly in England). Maggard Razors used to carry them, but no longer. I find this to be a well performing soap with a lovely scent.