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Once more unto the breach: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:58 pm
by Thalay Sagar
Well, this is the second time the scent of Floris has seduced me into buying the soap. Back in the early summer of 2010 I was in ShopLondons and smelled the call of Floris and picked up a puck (in that beautiful bowl). The soap stunk. It wouldn't lather worth a damn. In fact, it got to a point where it wouldn't lather as a hand soap. It currently sits in the shower in a state of eternal repose, neither shrinking not scenting. At least i got a pretty bowl of it.

Time passed, memory faded, some good words started to filter in and, lo and behold, ShopLondons had Floris on a half off sale. And, hey, I had to order Mom a birthday present anyway and ain't I lucky. So still not fully recovered from my Gordon-based enabling, I ordered a puck. And you know what? This stuff doesn't stink. In fact, it is quite good. Now, I cannot compare it to the glory pucks of yore as I was never fortunate to get my brush on one, but it stacks up reasonably well with old Penhaligons and Trumpers and with Harris or Valobra. Think of it as in the tier just below. The lather made with both a BK 4 and some other brushes is nicely dense and creamy. While the cushioning is very good, it tends to be more favorable to glide/cut. The soap that it actually reminds me of most in performance is Bath House Spanish Fig and Nutmeg. Skin feel afterwards is nice but not exceptional. Just a good shave. Something in my mind makes me think it is performance has been tweaked with the one-pass cartridge shaver in mind. I have kept the box and barcode but have been unable to determine the date of manufacture from them but feel comfortable that this puck is of a different formula than the dreck of 2010.

Now would I recommend anyone to buy this soap. Um, objectively, no. Its far to expensive for what you get. I mean for the price of one of these pucks you can get a couple of pucks of Harris or Tabac and have change left over for a latte or some blades. Or a gross of Arko. Even at half off its a tad pricey. But do I regret my purchase. Not in the least. Our hobby has left objectivity a long ways away. So if you really love the scent of No. 89 or can get it on a great deal, you shouldn't regret the purchase.

Re: Once more into the breech: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:07 pm
by bernards66
Chris, Thanks for the informative post. Others have also said that the current Floris hard shave soap is much better than that truly awful stuff that I had several years back ( sent from Buzz ) and that, apparently, you got stuck with as well. The old Floris No 89 was, indeed, exceptional. It was tallow based, had a touch of mineral oil in it, and the scent was superb ( based on the earlier version of the No 89 cologne ). I'm still not quite sure how this new stuff stacks up. If it's not as good as the Harris's then I definitely could not justify paying full price for it. But at least it's good to hear that it once again is, at least, decent.
Regards,
Gordon

Re: Once more into the breech: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:33 am
by Squire
Yes, well, I'm not in the market for one either though I am glad there is a more than passable one available now for those who are interested. The original Floris 89 would make you a believer in quality shave soaps.

Re: Once more into the breech: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:01 am
by churchilllafemme
I have no idea when my No. 89 was produced; it was advertised as "vintage" when I bought it a couple years ago. It does not list tallow in the ingredients. But for me it lathers beautifully.
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Re: Once more into the breech: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:02 pm
by EL Alamein
Chris, I think you nailed it. I have a cake of the newer stuff and it's very good but not as good as the old stuff. If we ever get back to the old formula there will be ebullience in these communities - and much hording.

I love the scent of 89 and as you state objectivity has long since been abandoned. One will have to deal with Floris on their terms to get this. The beauty of it is in the eye of the beholder.

Chris

Re: Once more into the breech: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:47 pm
by bernards66
John, Yours is fairly old, note the older ( and I think classier ) style of the box. But it is not quite as old as the ones I was referring to above. But also note, the first ingredient in yours is sodium stearate which is the base of most of the best English shave creams and is usually ( although not always ) derived directly from tallowate. The formulas of these older soaps used to vary some, for example, they did not always add that mineral oil, but any one I ever tried was superb. I'm sure that the one you have is also. It's only when they went to a palm oil derived base that the soaps took a nose dive performance wise. Again, I'm glad to hear that now, at least, they are reasonably good again.
Regards,
Gordon

Re: Once more into the breech: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:03 pm
by Nitrox
I also have a puck of the 89 I got a few months back and it does lather very well indeed.
I did get it on special as I also find it very expensive, but that 89 scent doesn't make me regret purchasing it.
To me it is right up there with the best soaps in terms of shaving qualities. Very nice slick lather that doesn't evaporate after ten seconds.

Re: Once more unto the breach: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:20 pm
by drmoss_ca
Thread title edited (minor spelling error).

C.

Re: Once more unto the breach: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:17 pm
by Thalay Sagar
:oops: Thanks, Chris. I plead fatigue. Or a bad memory.

Re: Once more unto the breach: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:22 pm
by Squire
drmoss_ca wrote:Thread title edited (minor spelling error)
Spoilsport

Re: Once more unto the breach: Floris No. 89 Soap

Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:55 am
by river1
The Floris soap in a wooden bowl from Tieste is one of my favorites. It has a wonderful scent and the lather is among the best. Thanks for the review and comparison.