I was eager to get my hands on Leviathan for one, it's a seasonal offering and it was just released again for this year... But also because the notes all seem to tick my boxes. What's not to like about leather, coffee and sandalwood, right?
A common mistake people seem to make is snort the new soap tin that they just got or the aftershave straight from the bottle. This is never a good idea. For one, as soap cures, oils and other components can sit on top - giving you a false impression of the true scent. Scents also need to be applied to get the real experience, such as the case with aftershaves. Leviathan is no different. Indeed, the first whiff of the new soap gives the impression of a wet dog, or something equally unsavory.
A couple of lathers in (two test lathers and the real deal this morning) and the soap scent normalized... The smell came around, and I got mostly a leathery scent with hints of sandalwood. As with most B&M soaps in my experience, you need to load a bit heavier than you're used to - and use appropriately more water as well (it's a thirsty soap). The resulting lather is fairly thick and on the foamier side, providing excellent cushioning. It is also exceptionally slick and gives your razor a nice glide.
The aftershave, upon application, gives you a fairly strong blast of coffee to the face which, as a coffee nut - I enjoy. In fact, I like this coffee scent more than PAA's Ahab's Bitters which honestly, was a little disappointing. The coffee scent in that was more of a caramel(ish), "flavored" type... More artificial in nature. This stuff is plain, wet coffee grounds. Yum! It fairly quickly changes into a more leathery, cedar scent with coffee highlights - sandalwood staying more in the background. There's also a slight musky feel to it. The scent strength mellows out quite a bit after dry down.
The resulting post-shave face feel is quite good! All the goodies in the soap (tallow, glycerin, kokum and shea butters, lanolin and silk protein to name a few) are a lot of the things I truly appreciate in a soap. The aftershave keeps it rolling with alcohol, witch hazel, chamomile, calendula and more. My face was left feeling moisturized without that slightly tacky glycerine feel (which I do enjoy) - as it contains panthenol (and sodium lactate) instead. This is also a humectant, with lots of skin food benefits having a wide range of uses.
A very nice shave today! An excellent performing soap and aftershave combo with an interesting scent... One that's a bit off the beaten path, with a very rich, leathery wood accord. The ingredients in both the soap and aftershave are like a who's who of good stuff as well. I'd definitely recommend you give #BarristerMann a try, and Leviathan especially if the scent sounds like your cup of tea.