SOTD - October 2, 2017

Wholly Kaw

Shaving Product Review - Wholly Kaw "Dance of Agrumes"

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)

Another amazing accord, rivaling commercial offerings - Wholly Kaw Dance of Agrumes #soap and #aftershave may just become your go-to everyday scent... If it weren't a Special Edition.

A citrus blend is layered on top of green and cedar middle notes settling down to an earthy base with Oud stealing the show at the end.

I've reviewed several of the "donkey milk releases" from Wholly Kaw in the past few months, starting with a review of Fougére Bouqet back in May. If you click this #WhollyKaw hashtag you can see several more. So I won't get into performance too much; suffice to say that it's truly excellent, and firmly within the top tier of today's artisanal shaving market. What differentiates these releases are the scents and this one immediately captured my attention. Let's see why...

Dance of Agrumes at first nod might be viewed as a citrus scent. The word agrume in fact, is Italian, borrowed from Medieval Latin acrumen - and literally means citrus. Officially, the scent has top notes of bergamot, orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, pink berry and neroli with middle notes of black pepper, cedarwood, galbanum, rosemary, coriander, aldehydes and base notes of vetiver, musk, patchouli, amber and oud. So in looking at the top notes, you can clearly see a who's who of the citrus world. But this accord is so much more... It's not citrus for citrus sake - it doesn't beat you over the head with it like say Through the Fire Fine Craft Sucker Punch or Dr. Jon's Hydra or even more sedate citrus-forward scents such as Chiseled Face Santa Paula Citrus or Wet Shaving Products Citrus Blast.

Much like King of Oud which I recently reviewed - this is a much more complex, mature scent that rivals commercial cologne offerings. In fact, you may note a lot of similar notes between the two. But they're decidedly different... Dance of Agrumes is definitely (light and) citrusy up front, like many Italian or French scents, whereas King of Oud is more (heavy and) woodsy, from start to finish. The bases are perhaps most comparable. Up front, the plethora of citrus notes are wonderfully blended to be a zesty, if subtle amalgam. It's quite hard to pick out individual notes but it definitely leans towards bitter orange, brightened slightly by the pink berry. Contrast this to Wet Shaving Products Citrus Blast that has all of its citrus overpowered by the berry.

The top fades rather quickly, being citrus. Nature of the beast. But then the real magic happens... Going into the middle it starts to take on a spicy, herbal vibe as the wood creeps in - and fully forms on the base as the (synthetic) oud combines with the cedar, surrounded by musk and earthiness. The transition is also "greened up" from herbal rosemary and coriander to grassy vetiver. From an accord standpoint, this is perhaps their crowning achievement, surpassing even King of Oud in terms of scent maturity and the deep journey it takes from top to bottom. It's not as adventurous as the latter, perhaps even slightly "boring" at the top... But this is an accord that should appeal to many, suitable for everyday use and wear. Truly well done!

The soap and aftershave are about a medium in terms of scent strength. More so the soap, but the aftershave - at least initially - as well. Once dried down, it truly shines. The scent has outstanding longevity at over 6+ hours, with a light, non-intimidating sillage. Quite impressive, and like some of the other scents to come from #WhollyKaw as of late - screams for an EdT. This is something that I think more artisans should consider. Not just to remain competitive, but to take their offerings to the next level. Obviously they don't have to do one for every scent, but certainly the "special" (or popular) ones. This scent is one of those, but being a Special Edition - might see limited popularity. I think it should be a regular offering!

Hardware today included the usual Monday morning go-to; the #TimelessRazor custom "aggressive edition" with a RazoRock Halo handle and #PolSilver blade on shave three. I went with the #WildWestBrushworks custom brush because the 26mm Maggard Razors Black (a.k.a. APShaveCo Tuxedo) knot is just a lovely beast. It loaded up and lathered the suds to perfection in the #GTP scuttle. The shave, as you might expect - was sweet.

Wow. So much awesomeness coming from Wholly Kaw of late. This Special Edition release is no exception, and may just be their best scent to date. While I like King of Oud more, probably... This one is just top notch. It starts off a little slow, but by the end you'll surely be impressed as well. Kudos to Sri for both his bases (soap, toner, balm) and his evolution as a scent mixer.