Tobacco might not be your first thought when you talk about soap fragrances, but this chameleon aroma can take on unexpected nuances. In this list, we see tobacco take the lead and the supporting role, display its green, growing glory or its dusty, dry decay, reach back to tickle memories of grandpa's pipe or inspire refinement in today's up-and-coming gentleman. Do yourself a favor and give tobacco look.
Soap Commander Shaving Soap, Fortitude:
Soap Commander has been a favorite of mine for quite some time now. At $2.50/ounce, this places it among some of the top value soaps available to us avid wet shavers. It yields a very dense and slick lather with a tremendous post shave (thanks to the generous addition of shea butter). Fortitude is one of Soap Commander’s most bold offerings, with notes of Hay, Tobacco, and leather giving rise to a potent, dark, wet tobacco with the hay and leather adding a dry and pungent earthiness. This is not a faint-of-heart scent. Shavers beware!
Wholly Kaw Shaving Soap Merchant of Tobacco:
To many wet shaving enthusiasts, Wholly Kaw has landed a coveted spot in the most top tier among a sea of shaving soaps in their collection. Sri’s ability to create smooth, beautiful accords and a very high quality - yet low quantity - soap formula makes him a force to be reckoned with. Merchant of Tobacco is yet another testament to this fact, with a beautiful fragrance consisting of honey, bitter cocoa, oud, bourbon, vanilla, and tobacco that creates a gourmand experience with dark, sensual tobacco creeping ever so slyly throughout the shave. Wholly Kaw’s Donkey Milk formula is acclaimed for its incredibly stable, first-tier slick lather and top-of-the-line post shave healing. Give yourself this treat that you won’t regret.
Artisan Soap Shoppe Shaving Soap, Humidor:
Artisan Soap Shoppe is a new addition to the wet shaving scene, and we are happy to be a provider of Jenny’s high value men’s grooming products. Few are the times in artisan soapmaking where great value comes at a very economical price; and yet, here we are. Jenny’s shaving soaps clock in at $2.00 an ounce, a price that is rivaled by only a very small handful of talented artisans. In our humble opinion, these soaps are one of the best values in all of wet shaving; you’re rewarded with a very fast lather time yielding a slick, shiny, very comforting froth with a surprisingly upper-tier level of residual slickness, which is something I find usually at much higher price points. Humidor is the simple yet heavenly match of dry, woody Spanish cedar and sweet, mild tobacco, making for an earthy scent that is still calming and smooth enough for a mid-summer’s day shave!
Henri et Victoria, Cognac and Cuban Cigars:
Based out of Quebec, Canada, Henri et Victoria creates an immersive, distinct array of shaving soap scents, among which is the fan favorite Cognac and Cuban Cigars. This features notes of cedarwood, clean, fresh leather, zesty lemon, cognac and a spicy tobacco for a spicy, earthy scent that befits a special, classy night out on the town. One of the first artisans to sport a triple-milled soap, this will provide you with ages of incredible lathers!
Alt Innsbruck Cologne and Aftershave:
This mid-20th century Eau de Cologne boasts some of the most devout followers in fragrance, which is surprising, considering the fragrance’s components. With notes of green tobacco (tobacco leaves) and mint, you get a clean, crisp, old time frag that’s mature and sophisticated, simple yet effective in evocating an air of confidence and independence. This one has stood the test of time.
Mickey Lee Soapworks Shaving Soap, Grand Havana:
Mickey Lee Soapworks is yet another proud example of a high quality, high value artisan shaving soap. Sammy and Eric are a husband/wife duo that crafted the MLS brand that brought me into the rabbit hole of artisan shaving soaps. Their formula gives a fast-loading, fast-lathering lather and, with various butters, you’re providing a stable lather and residual slickness that allows you to clean up simply with water/lather from previous passes. Grand Havana is a cherished scent by many, with notes of tobacco, black tea, benzoin, and vanilla for a warm, slightly spiced cigar tobacco accord. Unlike other “brown” tobacco scents, this presents itself as a very sophisticated, light fragrance for the refined gentleman.
Wholly Kaw Shaving Soap, Project Leather:
As noted above, Wholly Kaw produces one of the most top-tier lathers we wet shavers could ever hope for and with small-scale, sustainably sourced donkey’s milk, it provides one with an acclaimed post shave. Back at it with the well-rounded scents, Sri has killed it with Project Leather. Notes of suede, cardamom, vanilla, tobacco, oud and bourbon give you a truly masculine, yet refined olfaction. Suede and tobacco are at the forefront, presenting a dry, sophisticated yet boldly animalic air, while the green cardamom, vanilla, oud and bourbon yield a sweetness and depth that reminds me of wearing a brand new pair of suede drivers at a late evening garden party, imported cigar in one hand, old fashioned in the other.
Oleo Soapworks Shaving Soap, Rush Street:
Chicago resident Vida Perez-Velazquez has immediately taken many wet shaving enthusiasts by storm with her shave soaps based in duck fat, an ingredient which is known for creating slick lathers and which contains a slew of healthy fats to moisturize the skin. This makes the need for an additional, healing post-shave treatment all but completely unnecessary. Rush Street is one of my favorite scents from the Oleo line, with notes of grapefruit, cedar, coriander, ginger, labdanum, patchouli, vetiver and tobacco. The base notes are strong with this one; labdanum, vetiver and tobacco yield a present, earthy base upon which rests dry, barky cedar and spicy, savory coriander, while ginger and grapefruit add a sweet tinge to the aroma.
Catie’s Bubbles Shaving Soap, Connecticut Shade:
Chris, of Catie’s Bubbles, has laid the foundation upon which numerous subsequent artisans have based their subsequent soap formulation on, and for good reason. The soaps behave like many others well beyond its price; with a lather density and sheen reminiscent of tallow soaps heavily laden with oils and butters, but at a fraction of the price. Connecticut Shade is Chris’ take on an unforgiving tobacco accord, which is a stark sidestep off the beaten path, with notes of sweet tobaccos, vanilla, oak, and nutmeg. Wet, dark tobacco mixes with vanilla and nutmeg to yield a sweet, spicy, dark floral that lifts the senses, while oak adds an earthy moss to subdue the fragrance. What this creates throughout the shave is a forest-like scent that takes your mind to a trek through the ancient amazon during a late night thunderstorm.
Declaration Grooming Shaving Soap, Unconditional Surrender:
Remaining at the top of my preferences is the Declaration Grooming shaving soap line which, at its price, gives among the best shaves I could ever ask for. While there are few lines that match its performance, Scott’s scents have proven to set himself above the competition and, with his collaboration with Chatillon Lux, this only further pushes the envelope away from the norm. Unconditional Surrender is a dark, yet sweet aroma, that beckons the strong-willed, yet humble leader inside you, with notes of amber, tonka bean, amyris, cedarwood, agarwood, vetiver, cigar tobacco, black tea, jasmine and geranium. The molasses-like head of amber and tonka bean gives way to the complex, woody and floral notes of agarwood, cigar tobacco and jasmine during the shave that likens itself to a forgotten book among the remnants of an 18th-century library.
Pre De Provence No. 63 After Shave Balm:
Pre De Provence creates some classy grooming products that everyone can be proud of; men and women alike. Shea butter is a welcomed ingredient in almost every one of PdP’s products, resulting in top-of-chain skin moisture, combating the skin-drying effects of sulfates at every step. No. 63 is a truly masculine scent of peppery citrus, cedarwood, plum, violet leaf, leather, and tobacco and, while this seems like a pungent combination, the resulting scent is a very smooth, refined, sultry accord. Perfect for ending a classy, smooth shave.
Imaginary Authors Bull’s Blood Eau de Parfume:
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Josh Meyer’s masterpiece, known as Imaginary Authors, deserves high praise. One of his original scents, Bull’s Blood is a simple, yet effective combination of patchouli, rose, costus root, tobacco, black musk and “Bull’s Blood” (don’t worry, that last one is fake). Patchouli, rose, and tobacco dominate this fragrance, making for a dusty, sultry and dark Spanish rose fragrance with a securing black musk introducing an animalic tone. This scent is for the bold and adventurous; for the one who leads.
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Shaving Soap, Al Fin:
PAA makes one of the finest artisan vegan shaving soaps (which is why we’ve chosen for them to make our artisan shaving soaps!). Avocado oil and kokum butter provide a level of slickness that remains on the skin, even after the lather has been whisked away by your hardware of choice, making for a wonderful residual slickness and post shave feel; especially important for those of us braving the wickedly dry heat of the sweltering desert sun. Al Fin is one of owner Douglas Smythe’s most prized creations, with a complex accord of rose, bay leaf, lemon myrtle, vetiver, white clover, cypress, helichrysum, ambrette, geranium, and tobacco absolute. Lemon, rose, vetiver and tobacco absolute are the prominent notes here, yielding a light, adventuresome olfactory experience, with tobacco absolute providing the smoky, earthy background necessary for a calming winter afternoon or pleasant summer day off of work.
Cooper & French Shaving Soap, Relentless:
A welcomed addition to the West Coast family are the Cooper and French shaving soaps, which offer an distinct array of soap scents to choose from. One of my absolute favorites being Relentless; spices, bay rum, tobacco, leather, iris, tuberose, guaiac wood and tonka bean. The result is - especially thanks to the iris - a light, silvery and sweet air underlaid by the woody, rosey, spicy base of tuberose, tobacco, and guaiac wood. If you’re looking for a gentle tobacco accord, this is one of my highest recommendations. Complex enough to keep you guessing throughout the shave, yet simple enough to be pleasing to the senses.
D.R. Harris Eau de Toilette, Windsor:
A classic fragrance house to the established gentleman, D.R. Harris makes an immersive range of sophisticated aromatics suitable for the mature-of-heart, the well-mannered individual. Among the highest of these (in my and many others’ opinion) is Windsor: a classic, timeless, age-old combination of orange, bergamot, leather, black pepper, amber, patchouli, cedarwood, vanilla and vetiver. The scent of a tweed jacket laid upon a lawyer’s oak chair in a Victorian British courthouse. (There’s no tobacco, per se, in this one but it hits all the marks for this curation of gentlemanly, timeless aromas.)
Chiseled Face Groomatorium Shaving Soap, Sherlock:
One of our most cherished artisans at WCS is the Chiseled Face line of soaps. A soft soap that set the ground for incredible value soaps with complex, unique aromas. Sherlock is one of the original scents in the lineup, and a seemingly disparate and polarizing olfactory experience with tobacco, toasted caramel, black pepper, moist dirt, leather, moss, mandarin, honey and rose making this a woody, peppery, sweet and musky aroma for those bold enough to wear it. Ron’s slick soaps are quick to load, and take on a ton of water (likely due to the mango butter and silk protein), making this perfect for the novice or veteran, the safety razor or straight razor user alike!