Shaving Product Review - Wholly Kaw "Washington's Blend" and
Cold River Soap Works "Fougére Moderne"
My buddy Jared Stein suggested I try the #WhollyKaw Washington's Blend soap, which he arranged to have included in the August 2016 NYC Meet-up goodie bag. My other buddy Alex Gonzalez sent me a sample of #ColdRiverSoap Fougére Moderne aftershave a while back, and despite really wanting to - I've been remiss in not trying it sooner. Today I decided to tackle both - and I'm glad I did! Read on...
I immediately noticed the soap sample in the goodie bag because of the interesting label... And also because I couldn't read any of it. Like a lot of samples, they tend to get lost or cast off to the side for "one of these days" to happen, which sort of seem like they never really do. It was suggested that #WhollyKaw is an underrated artisan, and I'd have to agree. The scent notes are fresh herbs, green foliage, meadow grass, wild flowers and moss with hints of black tea and citrus with a base of cedarwood, patchouli and musk. Indeed, it smelled somewhat green and citrusy, punctuated with the spicy earthiness of the black tea, patchouli and musk. While a bit on the lighter side of, or maybe medium in scent strength, it smelled quite nice. I dig it. The ingredients are also quite nice...
Vegetable stearic acid, beef tallow, distilled water, potassium hydroxide, sodium hydoroxide, castor oil, kokum butter, cocoa butter, glycerin, shea butter, lanolin, essential oils and fragrance oils
That's a pretty good list; definitely more than your average soaps. While more of their offerings are vegan, this one is tallow. It's fairly soft in consistency. I'm a firm believer in lanolin and kokum, cocoa and shea butters for a good face feel and castor oil and glycerin also help glide. I can easily say that the soap produced ample, fairly dense and creamy lather with excellent glide and very good secondary lubricity. With a little water, the lather was denser but still quite usable - with more water, the lather obviously got less dense and gained volume without getting too fluffy and slicker. By the third pass I had overdone adding water, to the point I was slinging lather - but it hung on and still did a great job. I suspect a proper tub of the stuff, dialed in, would be a real treat - and at $18.99 for 4oz. it's a good value. The matching aftershave is $14.99 for 100ml, and while fairly simple, does at least contain panthenol for healing - so at least a step above Fine Accoutrements. Their toner is cheaper, non-alcoholic and has better ingredients - but very limited to one scent (currently).
The aftershave I've been eager to try for a while, as I'm already a fan of CRSW soaps. I finally gave it a go today. Fougére Moderne is described as "a clean and complex aromatic fougère, classic in it’s construction yet modern in the execution" with notes of neroli, aldehydes, bergamot, pine and lavender on a base of tonka bean, oakmoss, sandalwood and vanilla. It smells very reminiscent of Tabac which has almost identical top notes of aldehydes, lavender, neroli, bergamot and lemon, middle notes of carnation, sandalwood, orris root, jasmine, rose and pine tree needles with base notes of tonka bean, amber, musk, vanilla, oakmoss and tobacco! Really, they're more similar than they are different, with Tabac just a bit spicier and obviously with tobacco notes. The real reason I wanted to try the aftershave though, is the absolute powerhouse list of ingredients...
Aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice, glycerin, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel), armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, water, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) distillate, emulsifying wax nf, chamomilla recutita (chamomile) flower extract, calendula officinalis (calendula) extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, fragrance, tocopherol (vitamin e) and grapefruit (citrus grandis) seed extract
That's a lot of really, really good stuff - and at $18.95 for a standard 100ml bottle, excellent value. Especially as it worked very well; it immediately left a soft, smooth, moisturized feel that calmed my skin. I'm definitely a believer now, and will be adding matching splashes to my future CRSW orders; something I haven't done yet (though in my defense, I mostly have limited edition, seasonal releases that didn't offer any).
Hardware today included the #Merkur #Futur razor that I've been falling in love with all over again this week, same #PolSilver blade on shave five. Smooth, close and efficient! The #BSB Shaving Brush did an exemplary job at whipping the snurdle from the sample tub into warm lather in the #GTP scuttle.
A great shave today, with two products I hadn't tried before (but should have). Wholly Kaw is definitely underrated; I think the soaps are quite nice with a suitably complex scent. I probably wouldn't opt for the aftershaves, which are a little simple for my taste - but a lot of people might be okay with that, especially for the price. I'm also definitely a believer in CRSW Post Shave Lotion now. Their scents were always excellent, and Fougére Moderne in particular is very close to my beloved Tabac with a formula that works well. Solid products here, and I highly recommend both!