SOTD - September 26, 2017

Wholly Kaw

Shaving Product Review - Wholly Kaw "King of Oud"

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)

A robust, masculine scent that rivals commercial offerings - Wholly Kaw King of Oud #soap and #aftershave take it to the next level in scent, packaging and base level performance.

Oud – Originating from Southeast Asia and South Asia, Oud is rare and widely sought after in traditional perfumes. Natural Oud is said to cost more than its weight in gold. We used a blend of essential oils, aroma chemicals and resins to create an interpretation of Oud. King of Oud combines the freshness of Bergamot and scents of Rose and Pink Pepper sitting on a bed of Oud, Patchouli and Vetiver for a fragrance that is both fresh and richly aromatic.

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, yet this release one-ups even those, starting with the packaging...

The tub is slightly different than the other usual releases; both the top and bottom halves are white and overall it's slightly taller. But the biggest difference is the label upon the lid. It features a gradated, almost 3D appearance in both brand and product names and an overall simpler, cleaner appearance. The featured ingredients are now in a circle around the circumference of the label. I like it; quite elegant. A bit of a departure from the (relatively) recent, redesigned labeling - more upscale. The aftershave labeling is as it has been, however. It would have been nice to see the same treatment here.

As far as scent, King of Oud may just be the boldest, most complex accord yet by Wholly Kaw. It picks up where Dance of Agrumes left off, trading in some of the citrus in favor of being a bit earthier and darker. Officially, it has top notes of bergamot, lemon, clary sage, rose, aldehydes and pink pepper, middle notes of angelica, rosewood and galbanum and base notes of agarwood or Oud, sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli and amber. On the surface, it's somewhat similar to Dance of Agrumes but with some key differences. Just sniffing the dry tub reveals a robust scent that's rich and complex (and gets better from there). There's a tangy interplay of citrus and woods with a floral thread woven throughout. On the base, it's woodsy with more earthy and green undertones. Very nice. It offers the vibe of a good commercial cologne. While the oud in this case is synthetic, it pulls it off quite admirably (and at a reasonable cost, I might add).

Scent strength of the soap is on the high end of medium, while the aftershave is slightly more sedate. Sillage is mild, but longevity is excellent - easily achieving 6+ hours.

Hardware today was mixed up a bit, returning the #TimelessRazor to its "stock" form including the 14x100m Pineapple handle and a #PolSilver blade on shave four. The #BSB Shaving Brush made the lovely lather creamy and plush within the #GTP scuttle. I haven't used this handle much with the razor as it's both fairly long and heavy. I found the titanium options I've been using to be a better feel (for me, at least). It did seem to add just a touch more closeness to the shave, however - letting gravity boost the cleaving ability ever so slightly.

This is a really nice, solid release from Wholly Kaw. Taking the scent of Dance of Agrumes but trading some of its citrus for some darker, manly notes to create a vibrant accord. This should be a regular offering (with a matching EdT as well). A really nice scent (and underlying soap and aftershave bases) that I look forward to using again... Soon.