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Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:18 pm
by Bill_K
If you enjoy the aroma of black licorice whilst shaving your menthol-numbed face, look no further than Stirling’s ‘Glacial Obsidian’ shave soap. [1]

Upon opening my new jar, I was immediately impressed by the really strong aroma of anise; I could not distinguish it from the black licorice candy pipes that I used to buy as a lad at the corner store. It was simply intoxicating.

It was with more than a little enthusiasm that I loaded up my favourite brush – the Semogue 1305 boar – and went straight to lathering. I worked up a great lather in short order and eagerly applied it to my face. This was my first experience with such a highly-mentholated soap, and it was quite a shock. My face felt like I’d dunked it in ice water, and my eyes teared up to the point where I could hardly see myself in the mirror.

My first thought was, “This must be wet shaving’s answer to monastic self-flagellation.”

In spite of the watery image before me, I managed to get through the first pass without bloodshed. I dreaded the thought of a second application, but by the third pass my face had become enured to the menthol and I was really enjoying the experience.

Did I mention the aroma? Oh, my – it’s fantastic, but it’s strong! So strong, in fact, that my wife called out from the bedroom, “Is that your new soap? I can smell licorice all the way down the hallway.”

In the end the soap gave me really good glide with no irritation, and an exceptionally smooth shave.

One word of caution, though: you might want to use a synthetic brush with this soap. Even after rinsing my 1305 three or four times it still smelled like anise (and lent that wonderful aroma to the bathroom). It wasn’t until after I lathered with Mitchell’s Wool Fat the next day that the aroma finally surrendered and died. As a test, I also lathered with my one and only synthetic brush (an AP Shave Co ‘Tuxedo’) and it shed the aroma after only a quick rinse.

I’ll grudgingly have to admit that the synthetic is clearly the better brush in this case. (More about that in a later review.)

To sum up:
Aroma: 5+/5 (simply astonishing)
Lather: 4/5 (very good)
Performance: 4/5 (if you can handle the substantial menthol)
Value: 5/5 (excellent – at $18.75CAD for a 5.8 ounce / 172 gram jar, it’s good value for your money)

[1] ... shave-soap

Edit: grammar

Re: Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:16 pm
by brothers
Bill, I like menthol in my soap too. This is a good review.

Re: Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:47 pm
by CMur12
Thanks for another great review, Bill!

All things considered, I think I'll pass on this soap. :)

- Murray

Re: Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:10 am
by Bill_K
Thanks for the feedback.

My kids popped over for supper the other day and I showed the Obsidian to them. Both really loved the aroma, and in particular, my daughter said she had to restrain herself from spooning some out for a taste. Like I said, "5 plus" out of 5 for aroma.

Re: Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:40 pm
by JayDee
A wonderful and super-frigid soap with a lovely scent, easy to lather and great post-shave care.

Re: Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:15 am
by Bill_K
JayDee, I agree. I'm starting to become accustomed to the menthol and I'm getting some really great shaves with this soap.

Re: Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:22 am
by Yehuda D
It’s so frigid and wonderful!

Re: Review: Stirling's "Glacial Obsidian" Shave Soap

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:06 pm
by Bill_K
This morning I loaded my brush with Mitchell's Wool Fat for 15 seconds and then loaded the brush with Glacial Obsidian for another 15 seconds. This cut down the menthol substantially, to the point where my eyes didn't water up, but still provided the powerful and delightful scent of anise.

I would up with a wonderful scent, great shave sensation, and a fantastic post-shave feel. I'll definitely be using this trick again.