A disappointment

What is your opinion on fine shaving creams and hard soaps? Do you like Trumpers, Coates, Taylors, Truefitt & Hill? Post your reviews and opinions here!
bernards66
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A disappointment

Post by bernards66 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:31 pm

Yes, unfortunately. It has been years since I've bought any of the Taylor creams so when I noticed that my supplies of several items, including my T&H Lavender shave cream were running low I reluctantly decided that I needed to place an order with one of 'our' vendors ( Straight Razor Designs in this case ). I ordered several items, taking advantage of their free shipping on orders over $100. This was all 'reluctant' because funds are low, but these were all items that I'm familiar with and that will get used....or so I assumed. I chose the Taylors version of Lavender cream as it was less than half the price of the T&H and I'd used it, along with various other Taylor creams, in the past. Taylor shave creams in the pots have always been a 'best buy' as far as I'm concerned; quality at least very close to the other top shelf English creams at a much lower price. And that's still true....but. The order arrived in record time and I cracked open the cream this morning. The coloration is decidedly more intense than the T&H but not quite as much as the D R Harris's version. The pot was filled to the brime and the texture is good; dense but still 'creamy' and it dissolved well and entirely in use. The lather and the shave were top notch, but the scent is very different from the Taylor Lavender creams I've used in the past. Fragrance oil or EO, they have always had a sharp clean clearly 'lavender' scent, not unlike the T&H or DRH. Not this stuff. It comes across like it's trying to move toward smelling like their St James's scent; a decidely 'cologne-like' and faintly 'marine' sort of aroma. Not at all my thing, and being that sort of scent, it tends to linger a bit. It's really a superb shave cream in terms of it's performance but I just can't get with that sort of scent so, I suppose, I may try and trade it for something a bit more 'traditional'. Tomorrow it's the Harris's Almond hard soap. It too does not smell the same as it used to but the difference does not seem to be as glaring. Ah, well....
Regards,
Gordon

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Post by jww » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:28 am

Gordon --- have you ever used DR Harris lavender soap? It's just the right amount of fragrance for me -- subtle yet sharp at the same time. Love it and have both a puck and a stick for travel.
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Post by 95% » Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:56 am

Gordon - I wonder if your pot of TOBS lavender wasn't just a fluke. I ordered a pot in July (from Bullgoose) which has the traditional Taylor lavender scent: deep and true, but a tad "sweeter" than the T&H. There's nothing modern, oceanic, or aloe-verish about it. My pot wasn't old stock, because the consistency is perfect and the contents had not begun to dry out.

With respect to the Harris lavender soap that Wendell mentions, I was disappointed in the puck I ordered last year because there was nothing remotely lavender about the scent. In fact, it smelled like Arlington, and I wondered if there hadn't been a switchup at the factory.

My puck of Harris almond, now a couple of years old, has the right scent for that soap: dry, old-fashoned, and not "foodie" in the least. Are we now in the midst of a massive English reformulation?
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Post by Thalay Sagar » Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:30 am

Guys, you're scaring me. 8-[
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Post by Nitrox » Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:52 am

I've also noticed that the scents on the new Taylor's are not as strong as their older formulations. Still great creams and performance, but a tad different overall.
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Post by brothers » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:18 pm

Gordon, I'm familiar with the scent of Taylor's Lavender soap, but haven't really tried the cream, but I'd like to, if it is quite similar to the soap. Would you say the cream you have is similar in fragrance to the soap?
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Post by 95% » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:26 pm

Gary- I'm also interested in Gordon's reply to your question. But I can say that the scent of my Taylor lavender cream is similar to the soap's, but more intense.
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Post by harper » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:40 pm

Gordon: your comments caused me to post this a bit earlier than I planned because I have had an interesting experience over the past few days with shaving soaps. I have used creams exclusively for a good many years now but for some odd reason on Thursday I tried a cake of DR Harris "Cologne" shaving soap that has been kicking around for at least 30 or more years. I know its approximate age because I bought it in Paris when my son and I were on one of our visits there. I found it lousy and didn't lather worth a damn; it is almost a full cake in a wooden Harris bowl which explains why it is almost a full cake. I recall that I didn't like it when I first tried it and I don't like it now. Then I tried using Trumper's almond in a bowl ... probably 20 years old #I still have three or four cakes around from my soap days including one in an unopened wooden bowl# ... and it, too, did not lather as well as I like but better than the Harris. In both instances I used the same Rooney brush # a good soap brush# with the same results. I now remember vividly why I switched to creams which lather wonderfully for me regardles of whether I use a Vulfix, a Rooney, a Shavemac or a crappy little stiff brush I bought on sale in Rome. As well, the same oily feeling on my skin returned when I used the soaps. Today, I went back to Trumper's almond cream and it worked beautifully and my skin does not feel oily. So, for me and soaps, some things have not changed from the good old days except I am experimenting a bit more with different creams ... coconut, violet, limes but always go back to my old standby almond.

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Post by jgkeegan » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:30 pm

I am wondering if the perceived differences in new and old isn't because the old ones are, well ........ old.

--james

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Post by bernards66 » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:56 pm

Gary, The last Taylor's Lavender hard soap that I used was from several years ago, but no, this cream does not smell like that soap. It doesn't smell like any high end 'lavender' shave product I've ever used before. Like I mentioned above, it's as if it has been cross-bred with their St James's scent.

Harper, Well, usually I get on pretty well with the better English hard shaving soaps. I too started brush lathering with the hard soaps but today prefer the creams...but not by nearly as wide a margin as is the case with yourself. I just find the creams lather easier and provide a bit 'richer' lather but I do fine with most of the soaps.

Wendell, Your question leads nicely into the second part of this thread...the D R Harris's Almond hard soap that I started on this morning. You see, the last cake of Harris's soap that I got was their Lavender and I am near to finishing that off now. When I got it ( sometime last year ) I immediately noticed ( and commented here I think ) that it seemed to lack the punchy scent that their Lavender soap used to have. To me, it was still a distinctly 'lavender' scent, but much milder than in the past. Really, it didn't/doesn't have much more scent than the T&H Luxury soap, whereas, at one time, it most definately did. And, it turns out that this Almond scent is the same trip only to an even greater extent. Not to mince words, this stuff has almost no scent at all! Just to make sure, I had my wife ( who has a sensitive sniffer ) check it out and she also said it had hardly any scent. Good God!....what happened to that crisp, very masculine and noticeable eau de quinine aroma that it always used to have? That special scent was a good part of the reason that it was probably my favourite hard shave soap made. Yes, before you ask, the soap still 'works' just fine, an excellent hard soap lather in fact. But the scent GONE! So, this is just great; two purchases that I was sure would be fine and neither of them smells the way they used to. I can live with the soap but it's not the joy to use that it used to be. The cream I will probably have to try and trade. I'm really not amused with all this. It's one thing to take a gamble, buy something 'blind' and discover that you don't like it....that's just part of the game. But I was making what I thought were bedrock solid purchases here and...well...they weren't.
Regards,
Gordon

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Post by F.W. Fitch » Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:52 pm

One thing I was wondering Gordon. Is this new pot of Taylor's paraben free? I doubt this would of caused any scent alterations ,but they might of done 'something' to their fragrances, when they went to a new blend now? Just a passing thought...

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Fitch
Last edited by F.W. Fitch on Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by EL Alamein » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:01 pm

I think I just heard an echo of the Crack of Doom.

Why do these firms have to continue to mess with these products? The products have been around forever because they are classic and will always have a demand. It's because they are classic that people buy them, change that and you loose your base customers.

I understand some changes are the result of regulations which change how scents etc are manufactured and therefore they are mandatory but I'll never know why they take a winner that's been around for a century or more and change it. It is devalued by doing so.

As for the regulators they really just need to be fired, their inane decisions repealed and their offices abolished.

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Post by drmoss_ca » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:55 am

EL Alamein wrote:I think I just heard an echo of the Crack of Doom.
What a thread that was - 19 pages! I am beginning to feel quite content rather than embarrassed at the amount of soap and cream I have stashed away.

Chris
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Post by DGB452 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:42 am

bernards66 wrote: I immediately noticed ( and commented here I think ) that it seemed to lack the punchy scent that their Lavender soap used to have.

And, it turns out that this Almond scent is the same trip only to an even greater extent.
I bought refills of all five D.R. Harris shaving soaps directly from their shop about one month back, the Lavender actually has the strongest scent. The Almond isn't that far behind either, its scent strength is just about right for me. But, I have had an Almond refill in the past with next to no scent as well. I think either it was from a bad batch scent-wise (performance was still excellent) or it had been sitting around for a while and had lost its scent.

F.W. Fitch wrote: Is this new pot of Taylor's paraben free? I doubt this would of caused any scent alterations ,but they might of done 'something' to their fragrances, when they went to a new blend now?
Taylor's did change the scent of a few of their creams when they went to the parabens free formulation, and Lavender was indeed one of the scents they changed.

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Post by Esoteric83 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:22 am

I am not up to speed on the production logistics that surround the production of these creams, but could the St James notes be from the last production run in the factory; ie shoddy clean up / prep?

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Post by bernards66 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:20 pm

Fitch, Yes it is paraben free, but as you say, I don't see how that would effect the scent. I guess it's possible, but I doubt it. I was pleased to note that it was still packed in the traditional style pot with the ridges on the lid etc.

Chris, Yeah, really. And this is especially true of Taylors who already offer many 'cologne style' scented creams; why mess with one of the few really traditionally scented offerings? For many years the only Taylor creams that I personally was interested in have been their Almond, Lavender, and Rose. The others are all good shave creams but the scents are just not for me. In retrospect I wish I had gone with my first impulse and just ordered their new Coconut cream to check out....or the Trumpers Limes I was also considering. But, of course, there was no way to know.

Well, it's some consulation to hear that this may just be an 'off' specimen of the Harris's Almond soap....that someone had one like this before but that their most recent purchase is fine. Still, it's a drag that I had to get one of these.
Regards,
Gordon

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Post by a-cut-above » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:34 pm

bernards66 wrote:.....Well, it's some consulation to hear that this may just be an 'off' specimen of the Harris's Almond soap....that someone had one like this before but that their most recent purchase is fine. Still, it's a drag that I had to get one of these.
Regards,
Gordon
I wonder how common this occurrence may be. It reminds me of my puck of D.R. Harris Arlington soap I bought about two years ago which was nearly scentless. The lather was perfect DRH lather, but barely any scent. I received a sample of DRH Arlington a few weeeks back on one of those soaked paper "wipees" in a foil packet and thought how nice my soap should have smelled! BTW, my puck of Trumper Sandalwood SS is also nearly scentless, a serious diappointment for me as I have a sandalwood product from every major (and a bunch of smaller) shaving product manufacturer. Is there something inherent in making shave soaps that makes adding the scent dicey (doubt it)? Or just bad luck?
Last edited by a-cut-above on Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by John Parker » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:51 pm

Three weeks ago I received a grated sample of D.R. Harris Windsor soap, and it had almost no fragrance at all. So I traded it for a grated sample of D.R. Harris Arlington soap, and it had zero fragrance. Fortunately my puck of D.R. Harris Lavender smells great. Was thinking of getting the Almond, but now you all have me wondering!

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Post by a-cut-above » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:03 pm

Others have noted how "lightly" (or little :x ) the Windsor pucks were scented. I wanted to get one as to have each of the tallow-based DRH soaps, but I think I will pass for now.
Dave

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Post by ScottB » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:50 pm

drmoss_ca wrote:
EL Alamein wrote:I think I just heard an echo of the Crack of Doom.
What a thread that was - 19 pages! I am beginning to feel quite content rather than embarrassed at the amount of soap and cream I have stashed away.

Chris
I recently became engaged and my bride-to-be came to my home for a visit this summer for a few weeks. She evidently was overcome by curiosity at the number for cabinets and the sink setup in the corner of my shop and decided to have a look inside the cabinets, perfectly understandable given the fact that I sortie to the shop each morning after showering and reappear sometime thereafter fully groomed and nicely scented.

Upon returning from work I greeted her and she had a sort of "canary that ate the cat" smile on her face and started peppering me with questions about my wet shaving hobby and my shave den. The thing that seemed to amuse her the most was the relatively large collection of shaving soaps I store in my shave den. She muttered that she "had no idea" that I would be interested in such things because I seemed to her to be "very manly" in every other aspect. I asked her if she thought it was unmanly to keep a supply of nice shaving soaps and she repeated simply that she "would never have guessed".

Is that the type of embarrassment you are referring to?

Since then she has become a bit more enlightened about the subject and I set her up with a single blade replacement for the twin blade razor she was using in the bath and a decent brush and puck of Trumpers Rose Soap and she seems to get it now. During the rest of her visit she aksed if I would be using a safety or a straight razor and then followed me out to the shop to watch if I indicated I was going to use a straight. I found it flattering and endearing and started to enjoy the company though it took some getting used to. I suppose it is preferable to some hobbies a man could have.

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