When I first received my February box from Wet Shave Club, I admit that I was somewhat underwhelmed by the shaving soap included. Wrapped in shrink-wrap and banded in a piece of cardboard displaying the All Soaps on Deck logo was this smallish, brown, speckled brick of glycerin soap. I’m also going to put out there ahead of time that I’m usually not a fan of glycerin soaps, whether they be used for shaving or washing. I think they tend to dry out my skin, and they seem to disappear too fast compared to harder triple-milled soaps or even softer Italian-style shaving soaps. However, I am willing to give every product I review a fair shake.
When I was waiting tables years ago, some of my best tips were from the most unassuming people. That lesson (you know, the one about judging books) is something I learned early in life and have held true. Some people assume everything and everyone is crap until they prove otherwise. I, on the other hand, will give anything and anyone a shot until they give me a reason not to. Immediately proving my point was Garreth Wippel, one of the owners of All Soaps on Deck. As a blogger, I try to stay pretty active on social media promoting my blog and sharing information I find useful/interesting/funny. So, I posted a picture of the goods in my Wet Shave Club box, and Garreth reached out to me the same day with some quality control concerns about the soap I had received. After a brief chat conversation we realized that what he thought was a problem was really just the result of taking a picture with the soap still in the cellophane wrapper. However, I was extremely impressed by this. Like I’ve mentioned in other reviews before, I always love companies and the people behind them who look out for their customers and end users. I’ve written two negative reviews of some soaps from big companies, and have not heard a response, but here was a guy who cares about his products so much that even a bad picture gave him reason to reach out. It’s people like Garreth who move the artisan cause forward.
Clove and Spices
So let’s get on to the soap. The three areas I like to focus on in my reviews are scent, lathering, and performance. As you can probably guess by its name, this is a bay rum soap with a spice backbone. While not the strongest smelling soap (I’m a sucker for big smells), there are nice clove notes to this soap with other spices lingering in the background too, possible cinnamon. My only real regret regarding the scent of this soap is that I received it in February. This soap would be perfect from October through March. Lather is where this shaving soap really blew me away. Because the soap is shipped loose and not in a tub, I threw it in one of my shaving mugs, soaked it in water during my shower, and built my lather after. After about fifteen seconds of loading the soap onto my brush, foam was already bursting from the mug. I mean this soap was an absolute breeze to lather. Once I started building my lather on my face, it just kept coming and coming. Truly exceptional. The performance of this shaving soap was fantastic too. It was incredibly slick, and my shaves with this soap have been some of the closest I’ve gotten. I do need to point out here that this is not the most cushioning soap. I believe all soaps fall on a spectrum where cushion is on one end and slickness is on the other. The Spiced Rum Shaving Soap from All Soaps on Deck definitely falls on the slick end. What I recommend with a soap like this is to use a very sharp blade like a Feather, an aggressive razor like the Merkur Slant Bar or the Muhle R41, and an extremely light hand. A slick soap like this is made for a close, close shave, but technique becomes that much more important.
For me, the only real drawback to this soap is the packaging, or lack thereof. I am a face latherer, and I like to use soaps that ship in a container so I can load my brush right in the tub and then build my lather on my face. Of course I’ll just use this as an excuse to buy a new shaving mug. Aside from that, I wholeheartedly recommend this shaving soap. From the lather to the slickness to the performance, this is a great soap. The Spiced Rum Shaving Soap from All Soaps on Deck is a wonderful, glycerin-based soap exploding with lather, requiring a deft hand, and an incredible value.