Shaving Product Review - Barrister's Reserve "Lavender" and
Chatillon Lux "TSM Fougére"
Value (Cost, Packaging and Performance)
Lather (Density, Glide and Feel)
Post-shave (Healing, Moisture and Feel)
Scent (Quality, Strength and Longevity)
Barrister's Reserve: Fern is based on a combination of oakmoss, lavender, and tonka, and is the ultimate classic men's scent. Originally derived from a legendary fragrance not made for 60 years, Fern is dapper in ways that never, ever go out of style.
I've reviewed three of the Barrister's Reserve soaps in-depth by #BarristerMann thus far; Spice, Cool and Lavender - so check those out for details on the performance and characteristics of the soap base. Fern (and Lavender) was released on September 22, 2017 but due to various production issues, the matching aftershave(s) won't be released until October or even November. So I'll briefly talk about the scent, but reserve final judgement until then.
Regarding TSM Fougére, by #chatillonlux, I wrote a full review of the soap and scent before along with a follow-up review of the aftershave so check those out for the skinny. It's a deep, exquisite fougére with an impressive accord; notes of oakmoss, incense, lavender, vetiver, neroli, tonka bean, petitgrain, nagarmotha, clary sage, cedarwood, grass, musk, bergamot, grapefruit, Spanish moss, violet, geranium, violet leaf and anise. In the chart above, "Post-shave" and "Scent" reflects this - but I'll focus on the soap below.
What's the inspiration behind the Fern scent? None other than the granddaddy of fougére scents... Houbigant Fougére Royale which was launched in 1882. The nose behind this fragrance is Paul Parquet. This original in fact, begat the entire fougére category of scents, which are very popular today. The key ingredients are florals, greens and of course, oakmoss. The original has top notes of lavender, clary sage and bergamot; middle notes of carnation, orchid, heliotrope, rose and geranium and base notes of tonka bean, musk, vanilla, oakmoss and coumarin. Since Fern is as faithful representation of the original as possible, the notes are essentially the same. Indeed, the accord compares very well to the original... Unlike the half-baked attempt that is Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Déjà Fougère.
As I said earlier, I'll reserve the full, in-depth review of Fern for when the matching aftershave is available, as I will do for Lavender as well... While you get a very good sense from the soap(s), the aftershave(s) are what really let the accords shine brightest. That said, it smells truly lovely (as does the original). Many fougére scents rely on the core of florals, greens and oakmoss - and maybe go from there... It's a broad category and can go very dank and green to bright and floral. Fern is classic - refined and elegant; a complex accord.
Hardware for today consisted of a freshly cleaned #TimelessRazor custom "mild edition" with a #Stork titanium handle and a fresh #PolSilver blade, while the #ThatDarnRob custom brush with a 24mm BOSS knot handled the soap and brought forth lovely lather within the #GTP scuttle. As I mentioned in my review of Lavender - some tips on the Reserve base... Load less of it than you might be accustomed to. One way to tell if you've too much is the proto-lather is rather stringy or seems to float on the surface of your bowl or scuttle. It is also an indication of too little water - add slowly to taste. Finally, you'll want to use a stiffer, wetter brush for best loading. The trick to this base is to use it with some regularity and work to dial it in with your particulars.
A lovely shave indeed! Nothing beats a clean razor and a fresh blade - and of course the amazing performance of the Barrister's Reserve soap base. If you use a lot of different soaps, as I do - take some extra time to dial it in. When you nail the sweet spot, it's magic. As for scents... I love me some fougére and Fern is the leading exemplar of the original.