Be bold with Eric's list of not-for-the-faint-of-heart fragrances. The traditional aromas have their place, but sometimes you want to step outside the box. That's what these scent-makers have done with these unique (and sometimes polarizing) bouquets.
Barrister and Mann Shaving Soap, Lavanille:
This household favorite for a majority of us avid wet shavers, Will - of B&M - creates some of the most obscure, convoluted, yet mysteriously attracting scents in the fragrance world. Lavanille is Will’s take on the oft extolled Mousse de Saxe accord created by the De Lair house in the early 20th century. Following the trend of the accord itself, Lavanille features notes of lavender, vanilla, cedar, and exaltolide, a complex musk with leathery undertones. Don’t let the order of these notes mislead you; at its heart, this scent is vanilla forward, with a marked animalic musk and leather duo underneath, while lavender and cedar calm this ethereal storm with a floral and woody air. B&M’s “Glissant” soap is among the best out there, with an easy and quick-loading base that will result in a lather perfectly balanced in protection, slickness, and glide. Beware, the vanillin content in this soap will stain many badger brushes (especially bleached 2-band badger brushes), so it is advised to use a synthetic brush with this one.
Lather Bros. Shaving Soap, Take Out Night:
A newer soap at the WCS site, Lather Bros shaving soaps have a killer soap base that results in a beautifully slick, comfortable, and dense lather at an incredible price. Take Out Night is an ingenious, yet absolutely bold move on the gourmand front. As you may be able to tell, Take Out Night is a play on popular Asian plants and spices used in Chinese grab-and-go food: crisp ginger, chili, lemongrass, and fig to round out the accord. Unlike other “gourmand” accords, the chili in this fragrance really gives the olfactory landscape a salty, savory punch, somewhat reminiscent of orange chicken. Ginger and lemongrass create a peppery, yet floral heart, while fig ever so slightly bolsters the fragrance with its sappy, ripe undertones. Lather Bros’ soap formula provides a slick lather with excellent density and cushion, in addition to a wonderful post shave.
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements, Organism 46B Shaving Soap:
As many may know, Douglas Smythe is quite the fan of the eclectic. Look at many of the offerings by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements, and you’ll see scent names and components not used in many other artisan offering. From Douglas’ bold and unapologetic approach to fragrance, we’re now gifted his offering, Organism 46B. Unlike the above listed “Main Course” gourmand, Organism 46B is an after-dinner treat. Burnt sugar, bitter orange, brandy, tobacco absolute, benzoin and ambergris yield a sweet, syrupy, musky and boozy accord that, to many, results in an absolutely uncanny relation to Tootsie Rolls… Myself included! This will make for the perfect evening olfactory dare and, as is the rule with PAA soaps, you’re rewarded with a lather that outperforms countless other tallow-based offerings, yet within a vegan base; quick-loading, water generous, and a slippery lather with extracts that will nourish your skin long after you're out of the bathroom.
Pre de Provence No. 63 Men’s Body Lotion:
Now, it seems to be quite popular that the bold, daring man does not have time to mess around with sissy business like oils, lotions and the like. On the contrary, only a fool would overlook taking care of a hardworking exterior that needs to keep up like a reliable machine. If you’re dry-skinned, then that means grabbing a lotion that will embody your character. In comes Pre de Provence No. 63 Men’s body lotion. Crafted in the rolling, green hills of France, this lotion is a heaping, mixed blend of potent botanicals to heal and moisturize the skin. The real dare lies within the scent; the demanding duo of dry leather and ashy tobacco, fleeting wisps of citrus, and cedarwood, ripe plum and violet leaf. If a cowboy were to extract the essence of a well-worn pair of boots, No. 63 would be its name.
Chatillon Lux Parfum, Santal Auster Extrait:
The traditional method of creating a fragrance is to layer the scent into top, heart, and base notes. The top notes are typically light, aromatic, citrusy or fruity, which quickly yield to a warmer, more floral, green, perhaps more woody heart, all on a soily, dark, brooding base. Even with Chatillon Lux head Shawn’s extensive knowledge in fragrance, Santal Auster stares down this orthodox approach with reproach. Rich, fresh Myrsore sandalwood blends with the earthen, complex heart of oud, while smoky, refined incenses of styrax and opoponax give way to dark-aged, rootlike patchouli and animalic castoreum. Dark, dusty, woody, and foreboding, this accord can strike fear or desire into the eyes (or nose) of the beholder and all those within reach.
Tabula Rasa Steampunk Shaving Soap:
Tabula Rasa is a Germany-based artisan; the work of a small house perfumer named Erik. So-called “TR” has a reputation for its uniquely dense, yet spongy cream soap that results in a very slick, nourishing lather. Somewhat like the Barrister “Reserve” soaps, this lather may not be dense but, rest assured, it does an incredible job protecting and conditioning the hair and skin. Most find there to be no need for a post shave product with this soap’s effective formula. TR’s “Steampunk” is a truly obscure olfactory, taking from the enigma that is the old-meets-new steampunk genre. Atlas Cedarwood, violet, lime, and musk combine for a unique air; somewhat clean, mysterious, metallic, fresh, yet with an ancient undergrowth, this is a paradoxically awesome accord, whose sum is far greater than its parts.
Nostalgic Grooming, Medium Oil-Based Pomade, Drakkar Type:
The world of pomades has been making a shift toward water-based styling agents. Their benefit lies in their ability to easily wash out in the shower. However, even with water-based pomades containing wax, the water content prevents the hair from exhibiting your day’s true ‘do until after the water has evaporated. Who better than to flip the script with it’s purely oil-based pomade than Nostalgic Grooming? Nostalgic’s Oil-based pomade provides hold with beeswax and soy wax, while added butters prevent the hair from drying. This combination also helps keep the hair conditioned and easily controlled all day long. Drakkar Type is Nostalgic’s take on the Drakkar Noir accord, with peppery, citrusy notes over a woody, earthy core. Dark, foreboding, and spicy, this is not to be worn if you want to blend in with the crowd.
Meißner Tremonia Shaving Cream/Paste, Black Beer No. 1:
Many avid wet shavers find themselves clamoring for American-based artisans. Easily accessible, it’s hard not to! However, Meißner Tremonia out of Germany stands as one of the most worthy competitors to the national artisan base we’ve come accustomed to. Thomas’ knack for creating timeless, age-old accords is quite uncanny. Each scent presents as a natural, complex accord taken from the good, green earth itself. Black Beer No. 1 is Thomas’ take on the popular “Schwarzbier”, a Germany-based dark lager that hides hints of chocolate and zesty citrus notes. Similarly, this soap is equal parts hoppy, spicy, woody, citrusy, and with an earthen uppercut reminiscent of its inspiration. The shaving cream/paste creation is similar in texture to many artisanal soap bases; a hard, yet pliable soap that takes on tons of water and, with rosemary and macadamia nut oil, will soften and comfort the skin. With the added beer, the lather will feel light, comfortable, natural, and yet with perfect density.
Barrister & Mann Eau de Parfum, Romance in Middlesex County:
Many are familiar with the talented wet-shaving perfumer Will Carius, of Barrister & Mann since he topped this list of daring aromas. However, Will has been stepping outside the bounds and into the world of fragrances. Romance in Middlesex County is one of Will’s first Eau de Parfum’s, and a uniquely masterful creation with beautiful, eclectic scent notes. Coined “RiMC”, this accord features notes of apricot, tangerine, ho wood, cardamom, coffee, lily of the valley, fresh laundry, jasmine, tobacco, musk, oakmoss, and sandalwood. A fruity, juicy air quickly gives way to the bold heart of freshly brewed coffee, lily of the valley, and fresh laundry. Sweet, summery, yet perfectly complex and daring.