Shaving Soap Review: The Blades Grim “Smolder”

Posted: December 11, 2016 in Shaving Articles
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Ease of Lathering: Fairly Easy. The Smolder soap is a soft, tacky soap, with a definite oily sheen on the puck. It loads onto the brush without any difficulty but…different than most of my other soaps. It goes to a paste on the brush, and tends to create a slightly different consistency of lather upon the face. The Smolder soap doesn’t seem to work best when you try for the voluminous lather that several soaps in my collection produce. Rather, leaving it slightly dry and thick seems to be the winning strategy. If over watered, it tends to begin losing its consistency in the later passes. Still, this is a learning curve issue, and is not so much a knock on the soap’s formulation as a data point to consider.

Protection: More than adequate. As discussed before, Smolder doesn’t really want to produce a whip-cream lather like, say, a Taylor of Old Bond Street soap. I have not seen it naturally come together into that huge, peaked lather that often is the hallmark of a high-cushion outing. That said, it presents no problem in terms of letting the shave happen comfortably. On the later passes, provided that you don’t go back to the puck for additional soap, it tends to produce a thinner, more surface-level paint on. Again, it still works. It really has its own personality. Do avoid underloading the brush or getting too much water into the mix, as these mistakes will cause you to have less than perfect results.

Residual Slickness: Of the various things that this soap has going for it, probably the foremost is slickness and post-shave feel. That high oil content makes for a great level of slickness for auxillary passes, and upon rinse, there is a protective layer left behind that makes the face feel well protected.

Scent: The topic of scent is always subjective. For me, I think this stuff smells amazing. It has a top note of vanilla. There are some smoky, cologne-like notes there too. I find it masculine, but also sweet. It reminds me of the way some expensive mixed drink might smell. Good stuff.

Production/Value: I think that this soap is going to ablate at a somewhat faster rate than most of mine. It’s a very soft material, and you need a significant load to get ideal performance out of it. Still, it’s not a terribly expensive soap, all things considered. I wouldn’t put it in the highest value class, but there’s nothing here to complain about. The scent, if it tickles you, will certainly justify the cost.

Notes: The tin that the Smolder comes in is deeper and has a smaller diameter than most of my other similar weight soaps. It is a really nice tin, with a screw top and neat graphics. I think that it isn’t ideal to load the soap out of, however. I’ve placed my puck in a ceramic bowl, which allows me better access to the soap, and a wider swirl with the brush. This step makes it much easier to work with. I’ll probably use the soap until I want to make a change, then put the remainder back into the tin for storage. This shouldn’t be a problem, as the consistency of the soap is so soft.

In the end, I think this is a good product. I’ve heard that the same artisan soap maker who makes the Maggard’s soap makes the Blades Grim stuff. I dug into some research about the Blades Grim company, and though their reviews and promotional material are great, it’s a little hard to find a lot of reviews outside a retail environment. It may be that the company is just new, but it is usually easy to find a bunch of reviews on most “software” in the shaving game, so it puzzles me. I haven’t drawn a conclusion, nor do I need to. The purpose of these tests is to get real world data from my own experimentation. Perhaps it’s just that the company has only been around for two years, and it takes some time to be tried and trusted by the community at large. I can say, thus far, I don’t see any reason not to give the Blades Grim soaps a try.

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