When it comes to shaving soap, Barrister and Mann, to my face, sets the standard. That’s why I was surprised when I saw a tub of Lavanille, one of the soap maker’s most expensive fragrances, in the giveaway I won. This is an expensive soap, and for someone to just simply give it away with no strings attached was something that caught me by surprise. Either way, this is the last of the free soaps that I have that I will be reviewing.
I’ve reviewed soaps from Barrister and Mann before, but never one from their Tallow lineup. And that’s not because I’ve never used one before. I’ve owned a few of their Tallow soaps, including Seville and Cheshire, which reminds me of even more reviews that need to be done.
The lather that Barrister and Mann’s Tallow soaps are capable of making are at the top of the rung for me. Nothing compares when it comes to slickness, cushion, and post-shave feel. Other soaps out there get close, but when I do these reviews I have one soap maker in mind that I compare everything else to and that’s B&M. But there’s one major drawback – the price.
B&M’s Tallow soaps are its priciest and Lavanille is currently the most expensive out of the lineup. At $24.00 for a 4 oz. tub, Lavanille comes in at a pricey $6.00 per ounce. This is one of the most expensive soaps I have ever used and while I know that there are even pricier things to shave with out there, I don’t see something with a larger price tag being added to my den.
The soap is housed in a nice clear tub with a gorgeous, elegant label. I like the sturdy design of the tub and the straightforward, but stylish design of the label. Overall, it’s an appealing tub of soap.
Opening the lid to Lavanille reveals a complex, masculine scent that I have a hard time pinning down. B&M creates some of the most unique scents I ever used and my poor sniffer just isn’t up to the task of being able to name every single note. There’s a lot of stuff in the soap and, unsurprisingly, B&M has an extremely lengthy description. Here’s a snippet of it:
“We have not copied the original; instead, we have taken the Mousse de Saxe and blended it with lavender, vanilla, cedar wood, and the elegant musk Exaltolide to create a dark, leathery, elegant soap unlike anything seen for nearly a half century.”
Off of the puck, the soap starts off as a dark scent with a strength that’s more than average. The cedar wood and leather are up front, while the sweetness from the vanilla and floral notes from the lavender come toward the end. Oddly, Lavanille reminds me a lot of Hallows. It’s not as dark, though.
Lathering for 30 seconds off of the hard puck produced more than enough lather, but Barrister and Mann’s Tallow lineup is quite thirsty. Adding gradual amounts of water resulted in an incredible lather that was more than enough for three passes and a clean-up pass.
When going into a face lather, the scent mellows out. The dark notes that were present right out of the gate off of the puck now take a back seat. The cedar wood and leather are still up front, but they are more intertwined with the vanilla and lavender. It’s a complex scent that reminds me of wealthy individuals. Since I am not one of those, it’s a scent that conflicts me. It smells good, but it’s not up my alley. I’ve transitioned to simpler scents and this sophisticated one is a little too royal for my nose.
For those that do enjoy the scent, there is some good news. The scent lasts for hours. I shaved at around 7:30 PM and managed to smell the soap on my hands when I went to bed at 11 PM. And that’s even after I put a balm on. I even thought I got a hint of the soap on my hands when I woke up this morning.
Scent Pleasantness: 6/10
Scent Strength: 8/10
Lather Quality: 10/10
This soap is incredibly expensive, but it’s worth every penny. The scent may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s unique, complex, and lasts for hours. And the lather it makes is superb. This price point makes it inaccessible to every wetshaver’s den and sets the bar for what I am willing to spend on a shaving soap. It’s amazing stuff, but to those that can’t afford it, don’t feel bad. It’s just shaving soap and I wouldn’t say it’s a must have.