Ease of Lathering: Quite easy. The Soap Commander soap base is not a very hard soap, but it isn’t as soft as the the popular “Italian soft soap” or “croap” that you’ll see from a lot of makers. It does take a bit longer to get the brush fully loaded than some of the soaps out there. Nothing to detract from the performance or estimation of the soap, just trying to put things into perspective for you. No real challenge to load and lather, but doesn’t leap into a lather without any provocation. On the loading/lathering continuum, I would say that it is not as easy as Catie’s Bubbles or Razorock, but easier than Barrister and Mann, if that helps put it into perspective.
Protection: The Soap Commander puts in a performance worthy of his rank here, as this is a seriously rich and protective product. The feeling when you swirl this soap onto your face is truly luxurious experience. There is a sort of glide and richness that you don’t get with all products. Particularly, this tends to be a hallmark of the really good artisan makers, and rarely happens in a mass-market product.
Residual Slickness: Great. Let it not be said that it is impossible to create a vegan base soap that needs no excuses made for it. This stuff is slick, and leaves your face in really excellent condition. The post-shave feel is superb. In case you’re not getting the message, this stuff is racking up some great grades here.
Scent: Let me attempt to remain objective and refrain from delighted “squee” sounds. Damn. This stuff smells A-fricken-mazing. It has jumped right to the top of my favored smells. I’ll open the tub and smell it for a minute when I’m not even in the room on “shave business”. The official notes are teakwood and cardamom. There are several notes below that, like cinnamon and amber. What does that mean? It is a dark, warm, woody smell, with sweet and spicy following and underpinning that wood smell. It would complement a sandalwood or a bay rum smell, as notes are shared with both of those scents. This is, however, a thing unto itself. A wonderful thing. Scent strength is above moderate but in no way pungent during the shave. Just enough to fill the room with the smell of awesome during your happy little depilatory ritual. Because the scent comes from actual essential and fragrance oils, rather than chemicals, it lasts a while, if not covered by another scent. Top, top marks here. Wow.
Production/Value: The packaging on Soap Commander products is not flashy, but it’s extraordinarily well thought out. The graphic design is cohesive, clear, and functional. The soaps, while having a motto, as it were, (Passion, in this case) also make it clear what their fragrance notes are, right on the label. I like this, which is more of an exception in the wet shaving biz. Some soaps make it damn near impossible to tell what they might smell like. While having your soap named something neat, like “Zanzibar”, is great and all, it’s friendlier to the customer to be upfront. Okay, off the shaving soap/soap box with me. This is six ounces of high quality soap, made of excellent components, and with a nice, oversized tub that makes it easy to lather inside the container. It is offered at a very fair price. The solidity of the soap makes be feel that it will ablate slowly, so the shaves per ounce should be quite high. Perhaps not quite what a triple-milled tallow soap would be, but damn good. To me, the value is really solid. At $15 for 6 ounces (2016, Winter), you’re talking about really good price to volume.
There are cheaper soaps, but few of them are anywhere near this good.
Notes: I’ve pretty much gushed about Soap Commander in this review. I stand by my raves. This stuff is pretty rad. I’m seriously considering getting more Soap Commander stuff, though I need more shaving soap like I need a colony of puff adders in my sock drawer. At this point in my gear acquisition disorder, it takes something a little special to spark this level of attention. I’d been hearing about Soap Commander for a while, and I’m very glad I tried it. Highly recommended.
Cheers, and happy shaving!