As the world turns and seasons change, there come natural points of reflection and introspection. Moments to assess motives and initiate change. Or maybe you’re just bored and want to try something new. Whatevs.
In this Fall curation, Eric goes beyond the traditional pumpkin, apple, and spices to embrace the bigger picture of autumn. As the nights cool, fields ripen, and leaves fall, here are some must-haves to enhance your grooming routine. He has included some of the expected players with Stirling’s Pumpkin Spice but what about a fall pomade and toothpaste? Yep! Read on to explore a world of scent and sensation that will take you into autumn and beyond.
Stirling, Pumpkin Spice: Stirling is the name of the game when it comes to great quality at a great price. Their shaving soaps are getting rave reviews for their phenomenal lather - rich, slick, dense. On top of that, a blend of pumpkin, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon, this is sure to please the senses and set you up for a day of apple-picking, leaf raking, and pumpkin carving and into a night of football, hayrides, and bonfires. This aroma doesn't rely on clove like so many others, instead it lets the pumpkin and other spices shine.
Chiseled Face Groomatorium, Cedar and Spice: This is not your run-of-the-mill fall scent. Cedar and Spice is a blend of cedar, guaiacwood, Haitian vetiver, patchouli, black pepper, juniper berries, lime, clove, and ginger. The woods combined with the vetiver and patchouli make for an upfront (very) dry, earthy, woody scent. However, juniper, lime, clove, and ginger all lift the profile to something much more interesting, yet still spicy, woody, and dry. Combined with the amazing performance of the Chiseled Face soap base, you have yourself a winner, winner turkey dinner!
Mickey Lee Soapworks, The Drunken Goat: For me, the Drunken Goat is a great fall scent. With notes of chocolate, molasses, oats, and chestnut, this soap makes it very difficult for me to resist eating (which you really shouldn’t do for any soap, FYI). As if Mickey Lee Soapworks didn’t already have - in my opinion - one of the best soap bases on the market, the addition of goat’s milk adds a level of skin comfort that is virtually unparalleled. Water has also been replaced with Guinness beer, so a hint of earthy hops does peek into the cookie-like scent profile. This is a must-try. Seriously.
Catie’s Bubbles, La Terre Verte (soap and splash): Chris - the master perfumer and soapist behind Catie’s Bubbles - has created a warm, woody soap scent that is sure to please anyone. Translated into “The Green Earth”, this scent is a simple, yet effective combination of oakmoss, sandalwood, and patchouli, for a blend that is inviting, yet very calm and collected. With what is hailed by many as one of the highest performing vegan soap bases, I would highly recommend this to any wet shaver, novice or veteran alike.
Captain’s Choice, North (soap/splash): Captain’s Choice is renowned for their iconic take on the bay rum scent profile; however, their lesser known North is a sometimes overlooked scent of theirs that is truly one of my favorites. Notes of juniper, pine, vanilla, and a touch of spice for a scent that makes you feel like you’re walking in the cold, mountainous wilderness with your hatchet over your shoulder. (Created in collaboration with WCS founders years ago, this one holds a special place in our hearts.)
Stirling Soap Co. Shaving Soap, Coniferous: In terms of performance, nothing has changed from the “Pumpkin Spice”: an easy-loading, slick, protective lather will reward you. However, Coniferous is unique in its combination of pine, fir, cedarwood, and lichen essential oils. This is a very green, yet very woody scent. Lichen lies in the undergrowth of the scent with its dry, earthy, powdery profile. Nothing is sweet about this aroma, just a very masculine combination of woods and earth - like kicking up leaves on a forest path.
Barrister and Mann, Latha Taiga: To those interested in trying the famed Barrister and Mann soaps on a budget, look no further. Their “Latha” line is their value-priced soaps with scent profiles much more agreeable than their oft-polarizing limited edition scents, yet still with an outstanding soap base. Taiga (Russian for forest) stretches across the northern hemisphere. Known as the needleleaf forest, you can imagine why the notes of balsam, pine, and cedar headline this grooming aid. Sweet, fresh, and balsamic (not musty), this is like a freshly cut pine bough.Taiga will leave you yearning for the winter holidays.
Soap Commander, Confidence: We’ve talked a little about them in other curations but, long story short, Naval veteran-owned Soap Commander makes a very impressive, skin-loving vegan shaving soap. Confidence is a calm blend of honey, musk, and patchouli for a sweet, molasses-like scent. One of my favorites. This reminds me of a honey-sweetened cup of earl grey after a long day at work. If you’re looking for a relaxing way to start off or end the day, then this is a great choice.
Simpsons Cafe Latte Shaving Cream: Widely known for their impressively handmade shaving brushes, Simpsons has been making some equally high-quality shaving creams. Just a dab of the brush bristles on the surface of the cream is enough to get a great lather. Specially formulated to avoid an airy frothy phase, you end up with a lather that has a wide range of cushion and slickness. Pairing that with a sweet, dark chocolate espresso, and you’ve got the perfect companion to the start of a cold day: a cup o’ joe.
Midnight and Two Pre-Shave Oil, Provence: Like many to-be artisans, Canadian Tim Gutwald was fed up with the synthetic foam and multiblade cartridges making daily shaving a painful, uncomfortable routine. After months of product testing, Tim decided to create his own product for shaving: something that was all-natural, from start to finish, and was effective. In 2016, he quit his day job as a Financial consultant and ran his now-named Midnight & Two operation full time (instead of just 12:00-2:00am -- hence the name). Scented with Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils, this pre-shave oil is a calming prep to moisturize the oft-dry skin accompanied with fall and winter.
Midnight and Two Shaving Soap, The Study: As with his other products, this shaving soap is all- natural and vegan. Created with myriad butters, steam-distilled essential oils and clay, this vegan cream soap is very dense and easy to lather. Scented with vetiver, sandalwood, petitgrain, and lavender, this is a very earthy, woody profile balanced perfectly with the lighter petitgrain and lavender for a very inviting, relaxing air. When the wind howls and leaves blow, hole up in your man cave. This is the aroma of a gentleman's den- redolent of leather, musk, and a hint of tobacco.
Marvis Toothpaste, Amarelli Licorice: Marvis toothpaste has a somewhat cult-like following and, here at WCS, we understand why. Marvis was created in the 50’s and was praised for its intense whitening effect and extreme minty flavour. Over time, it began losing popularity, until it was bought out in 1997 by Ludovico Martelli Srl (the storied owners of Proraso, which shares an equally cult-like following). Like traditional wet shaving, its rebirth has turned the daily chore into an absolute pleasure. Marvis teamed up with Amarelli, makers of licorice since the early 1700’s, to create a minty toothpaste tinged with anise for a uniquely fresh start and end to your day. So for a season of the year renowned for candy, get a toothpaste that not only embraces the candy culture, but battles bad breath and deters tooth decay.
Dr. Squatch, Gold Moss Scrub: Dr. Squatch is one of the top dogs in the uproar of bar soaps. Their handcrafted 5-ounce bar contains only saponified coconut, olive, hemp, and soy oils, as well as shea butter, lye, water, fragrance, and sea salt. The scent of oakmoss makes this a perfectly simple, yet masculine part of your morning routine, and the inclusion of many essential oils make your skin ridiculously smooth and hydrated after your shower. After a long day of raking leaves, harvesting apples, and making pie, you can clean up good with Dr. Squatch. (And even if all you did all day was drive to a desk, watch football, and eat pie, you’ll still smell good.)
Imaginary Authors, Cape Heartache: It’s no secret that Imaginary Authors is one of my favorite niche fragrance houses, and Cape Heartache is my top scent by the house, with notes of Douglas fir, pine resin, Western hemlock, vanilla leaf, strawberry and old growth. The scent opens quite sweet, with strawberry and vanilla leaf dominating. During the dry-down, however, the three woods combine to make this a complex, woody, deeply sweet fragrance perfect for all your autumnal adventures - campfires, county fairs, or rainy day hikes.
The Iron Society water-based Pomade: Of the pomades I’m familiar with, Iron Society seems to be on the only one bold enough to make such a strong, woody, musky scent their staple fragrance. To my nose, this seems to be a combination of citrus, peppery, and musk.. LOTS of musk. According to numerous customers, this intoxicating scent can be smelled all day long, and turns quite a few heads in the elevator. This water-based pomade does contain glycerin and castor oil so, although it is categorized firm hold, it will be malleable and easily re-styled. Perfect to handle the crisp breezes of fall.
Captain Fawcett’s Moustache Wax, Sandalwood: Movember is coming close, and you’ll need something to keep your ‘stache stylish. Captain Fawcett’s moustache wax has a medium-heavy hold, and only a small amount is needed to train and direct your mustache where you want it to go. Heavily-laden with beeswax, this scent combines with sandalwood essential oil for a unique, industrial, yet woody scent. You’ll want this one year-round, especially if Movember turns into Forever.