Ease of Lathering: Very Good
Protection: Very Good
Residual Slickness: Good
Scent: I have to admit that I totally misjudged this soap after the first few shaves. Here’s the thing: at rest, dry, Tabac just smells like soap. Kind of a clean, slightly flowery scent. It’s only after lathering that the soap really starts to give forth its full spectrum of smells. It’s fairly present, but not overwhelming to my nose. It smells much like the aftershave, for all that helps. I can’t tell you exactly what it smells like. I’m not discerning enough to take you through the “notes” as they call them. Perhaps the best I could do would be to tell you that it smells like a vintage cologne on top of the soap smell. I’ve found that, the more I use Tabac, the better I like the smell. Every time I come back to it, I grow fonder.
Production/Value: This is a good, hard puck soap. It produces a lot of lather without eroding away. Thus, it’s going to give you lots of shaves per ounce. As with any hard soap, a brush with good backbone will make things easier. You’d have to have a pretty floppy brush, though, to render it difficult to use. Though this is not a bargain basement soap, it’s still a good value in my book.
Notes: This is a very nice soap in regard to doing the basic task of creating a lather and allowing you to shave without drama or bloodletting. Now, it doesn’t smell like I thought it might, which was like pipe tobacco. With a name like Tabac, one would imagine that would be the profile. Perhaps it’s green tobacco, which is a different smell. I didn’t grow up in a place where tobacco is grown, so I can’t say.
Let’s leave scent aside and speak about performance. This soap creates a beautiful lather with multiple brush types, and whips it up without any undue gyrations on the shaver’s part. It’s a good performer. It seems to have good protection, just fine on first pass. I suppose that the shortfall would be that it doesn’t leave your skin as slick after it has been scraped away by the razor as some other soaps I’ve used. Thus, you’d be best served by erring on the side of slapping a bit more suds on your face, if you need to take cleanup passes or additional trips across clean skin. Just a caveat, which may or may not be an issue, depending upon your technique.
A final bit: the packaging on the soap, when purchased with the shaving bowl included, is really nice. A bit more luxurious in this regard than any of my other soaps. It’s not a travel-ready container, though, as the lid does not securely snap or screw on, and it’s on the heavy side. For travel, I’d say a soap that performs as good or better, and has a very slim packaging, is the Arko. If there is a soap in my current arsenal that is most similar, the Arko would be it. Arko is cheaper, but otherwise is quite similar in performance. It might outdo the Tabac in residual slickness. The scent of Tabac is more “cultured” and luxurious than Arko, though I don’t mind the smell of the latter, myself. Tabac is certainly a classic soap, and performs very nicely. Give it a shave or two before you make up your mind on the scent, as I didn’t get the fully present scent of the brand until I’d worn off the first layer of the puck. In general, Tabac is a “grower” for me, one that took me a bit of time to warm up to. Warm up I have. Give it a try.