Quick Take: PAA/Crown King “Atomic Age Bay Rum” (Soap and Aftershave)

Posted: July 8, 2018 in Shaving Articles

As I recently did a review of the Crown King formula in my “Sun Down” article, I won’t altogether belabor the point. Okay. I’m going to belabor it a bit. This is me we’re talking about. Talky Verbose and the TLDRs, taking the stage.

The Crown King formula is pretty much as good as you can get. Buttery, slick, voluminous, with protection for days and excellent post-shave feel. There are precious few soaps that can be said to equal or exceed the shave quality you’ll get here. Phoenix Artisan Accouterments essentially puts the lie to the old idea that you have to have tallow and lanolin in a soap to make it awesome. Sure, I love a tallow soap, but tallow isn’t the only game in town.

The scent. Yeah. That’s the thing to talk about here. In the first round of shaves with this soap, the scent came off as very woody, for a Bay Rum. I liked it, but it didn’t seem to have the scent profile I thought it would. I couldn’t quite relate it to a straightforward Bay Rum, like Pinaud Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum. It didn’t clash with a scent like that, but it was…so much denser and more complex. The complexity didn’t come as a surprise, since PAA is known for going beyond the obvious notes with many of their creations.

For me, it took several shaves to totally get the whole picture. This set of products, particularly the aftershave, has several tricks up its sleeve. You put it on, and get a good jolt of woody character at first, with spice behind it. As the scent matures and cooks away a little, you start getting the Bay, and all kinds of notes my nose isn’t quite able to assign a name to. There’s some alchemy here.

Both the soap and the aftershave have a bit more “punch” in terms of the scents than the average. I believe that this is due to having larger doses of the scent and essential oils than most makers use. This is a soap that will impart some lingering scent to your face for an hour or so after shaving.

In terms of the aftershave, it has good staying power and good feel on your face. Not too strong, but potent enough that you don’t need a whole palm-full to do the trick. Plan on at least three or four hours of perceivable scent after application, easy. Not quite a cologne, but a step up from a lot of the aftershaves that only stay for an hour or so. That also means that the splash will last longer per ounce (which it should, as it’s not the cheapest in the universe).

Altogether, a smashing home run for PAA. Unreservedly recommended. If you are a Bay Rum fan, a must-try.


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