Wild West Curation
The days of cattle drives, wagon trains, and frontier living was certainly in need of some good soaps and scents. Eric has rounded up a list of aromas that are sure to please your inner cowboy or cattle rustler. Check out these leathery, tobacco-y, bay rum-y grooming products.
Uncle Jon’s Natural Shaving Soap, Fresh Roast:
Uncle Jon’s is a newer addition to the WCS family. Uncle Jon’s soaps are unapologetically scented with bold and beautiful fragrances to lather up with confidence before a hard day’s work. Much like the experienced, hardened cowboys of the Western Frontier, your day can start with a piping hot cup o’ joe. Fresh Roast is no refined latte or mocha; it is fresh-ground dark roast coffee, infiltrating its smooth, yet bitter and awakening tentacles into every cell upon your groggy palate. While we advise those with sensitive mugs to proceed with caution on this strongly-scented lather beast, its performance and pure scent make it hard not to recommend this to anyone who enjoys coffee on the daily; a nostalgic scent, combined with a dense, comforting and slick lather will be sure to please.
Wholly Kaw Donkey Milk Shaving Soap, Project Leather:
It should be no secret to the wet shaving enthusiast that Sri’s men’s grooming project, Wholly Kaw, has quickly become among the top soaps on many mens’ shelves. His use of organic, small-farm Donkey milk in his tallow-based soaps make for one of the most ridiculously performing soaps currently out there; a dense, yogurty protection combined with milky, oil-like residual slickness making the need for re-application all but unnecessary on your final pass. Project Leather is a dusty, yet bright leather scent; worn suede, spicy cardamom, vanilla, brown tobacco, oud and bourbon make this a true wild Westerner’s desired olfactory landscape. Refined, yet rugged. Sultry, yet sophisticated. Try this if you dare.
Abbate Y La Mantia Shaving Soap, Buttero:
Abbate Y La Mantia - we’ll call them by their commonly known acronym, AYLM - is the collaboration between popular soapmaker Tcheon Fung Sing and an Italy-based saffron farm. In these completely luxurious, exotic Italian soaps, the pistils of the saffron flower are distilled, and the oil of this extraction is used in the saponification of the soap base itself. In effect, this creates one of the quickest lathering soaps currently on the market, where several swirls with a damp brush upon the soap results in an almost completely hydrated lather. Unlike WK’s Project Leather, Buttero is a fresh leather accord, similar to that of a newly hand-sewn saddle, a cherished pair of leather cowboy boots to be cared for until dust and dirt and dry desert do their part.
Catie’s Bubbles Shaving Soap, Connecticut Shade:
After a hard day’s work on the frontier, nothing (perhaps besides a cold one) could soothe the soul after a day’s toil than a puff of freshly torn tobacco packed into your clay pipe. Catie’s Bubbles’ Connecticut Shade is this dry, smoky tobacco, with notes of pipe tobacco, dry oak, leather, and vanilla and nutmeg to round out and sweeten this accord. As many are familiar, Chris’ shaving soaps, while vegan-based, behave much like many of our favorite tallowed-based artisan soaps, with incredible density and residual slickness usually attributed to lanolin or various milks. Give this one a go!
Duke Cannon Big Brick of Soap, Accomplishment:
Duke Cannon’s soaps aren’t for the fellow namby pamby. You won’t find a hint of floral, no touch of rose or lavender here. These soaps are 10 ounce bricks of masculine-scented, exfoliating soap with steel-cut oats to remove dead skin and oily grime buildup from your day out in the heat. Accomplishment uses bergamot, black pepper, and various woods to evoke the feel of a cold, frosted glass of bourbon in a rusty, 19th century wood cabin atop the High Sierras.
Beardbrand Gold Line Styling Balm, Old Money:
Beardbrand’s beard oils have been a WCS favorite from the very beginning. Nourishing, skin-loving, and yet light, they are known and loved by our bearded brethren. Beardbrand has now crossed the line of previously exclusive territory with their styling balm. Most orthodox water-based pomades are too heavy and pore-clogging for beard growth, while most beard balms are too light for adequate hold for hair ‘dos. Beardbrand’s styling balm is an equal parts light-hold pomade and beard balm in one, with a natural sheen perfect for all hair above the shoulders… Except maybe the eyebrows, we don’t recommend that. Old Money is the unforgiving, masculine accord of crackling, aged oak, spicy black pepper, and dark, earthy, yet molasses-sweet amber for a scent fit for outlaws and rugged gentlemen alike.
Imaginary Authors The Cobra and the Canary Eau de Parfume:
Imaginary Authors’ Josh Meyer has the uncanny ability to make perfumery an art form from start to finish. He can create complex storylines with just a small handful of scent notes. The Cobra and the Canary is one such olfactory experience, with notes of leather, hay, tobacco and ripe lemon create an unexpected undertone of wet asphalt and rubber that make this a truly daring fragrance. Think of the hardworking folk driving nails into the First Transcontinental Railroad in the heat of the summer day, rubber and pitch upon the ground. While I find this a purely summertime fragrance, you can use this anytime you’re longing for a summertime adventure while stuck in the office.
The Artisan Soap Shoppe Classic Shaving Soap, Agave:
We’ve come to the conclusion that the Artisan Soap Shoppe soaps are one of the best values in all of traditional wet shaving. Under a great price point, you are rewarded with any easy-loading, thirsty soap resulting in high density and incredible slickness. Like the sweet extract taken from the agave plants strewn across the Sonoran desert landscape, Agave is sweet, somewhat syrupy, yet dry, woody and floral all in one. Also pick up the matching aftershave splash and you are rewarded with the toning, pH-regulating effects of witch hazel and high amounts of jojoba oil closely mimicking our skin’s serum to restore moisture levels. Just what you need as you traverse the barren West on your cattle drive or wagon train.
Chatillon Lux Eau de Toilette, Unconditional Surrender:
Chatillon Lux has quickly gained popularity in their ability to create inherently complex accords through a long, yet well-blended list of eclectic scents. Unconditional Surrender is owner Shawn’s homage to Ulysses S. Grant’s relentless tenacity in battle. Notes of amber, tonka bean, amyris, cedarwood, agarwood, vetiver, cigar tobacco, black tea, jasmine and geranium create a masculine, woody, spicy, earthy sweet and grassy accord that I believe can be worn at virtually all times of the year, albeit boldly and obdurately. Like Grant, this scent is relentless, daring, leading, and influential to those close enough to bask in its glory.
Dr. Jon’s Beard Oil, Anne Bonny:
One of our favorite wet shaving artisans, Dr. Jon’s, has now taken their seemingly universally loved scents and infused them into some killer beard oils! Anne Bonny is a very interesting, well thought-out bay rum blend. While many bay rums fall by the way of “love or hate” relationships for many a wet shaver, Anne Bonny is a warm blend of West Indies bay, dark rum, floral black tea, and lime for a boozy, woody and slightly citrus. While this accord originated in the waters among the West Indies, this quickly became a scent popularized among Western barbershops and home brewers alike! Unlike many beard oils, Dr. Jon’s’ ingredient list is quite impressive, taking moisturizing grapeseed, sunflower, and jojoba oil, and including evening primrose oil, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids and is used clinically in treatment of atopic dermatitis.