Ruds Shaves - APR/SBS - Fresca Intensa

Australian Private Reserve and Storybook Soapworks collaborated on a 2019 summer seasonal scent known as Fresca Intensa. Collaborative efforts such as this have become more common with AP Reserve of late. AP Reserve leverages their mastery of fragrance, while utilizing various U.S. based artisan’s soap base. Available in soap, aftershave splash and EdT, this offering can be found direct from the artisans websites or at Maggard Razors.

Fresca Intensa is a Colonia type fragrance, known for their masculine yet sophisticated use of citrus. This invigorating blend features notes of: Cedrat, Neroli, Lemon Verbena, Lime, Lemon, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Lavender, Rhubarb, Petitgrain, Sweet Orange, Bergamot, Rosemary, Rose, Amber, White Musk, Ambergris and Vetiver. This is a bright, crisp scent that screams summer seasonal. Mrs. Ruds approves of this scent for casual use, however she does not find it sexy enough for date night. Strength of scent is mid-strong out of the container and moves to strong as you build lather. Try That Soap recommends Catie’s Bubbles Confiant as a comparable scent profile.

Storybook Soapworks uses a tallow based soap featuring listed ingredients of: Stearic Acid, Water, Beef Tallow, Potassium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Fragrance, Shea Butter, Vegetable Glycerin, Rice Bran Oil, Avocado Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Sodium Lactate, Tocopherol. The soap is soft and therefore care should be taken to ensure it is not overloaded. The soap is of above average thirst, but not the thirstiest soap out there. When properly hydrated and dialed in, the resulting lather will display the consistency of sour cream. Both primary and residual slickness are very good. While short of the upper tier soaps in terms of slickness, it gets the job done without any problems. Post shave is protective and nourishing to the skin. The post shave, like the slickness is very good. Storybook Soapworks soap base is more than a serviceable base in terms of performance and as such receives a ShaveScore of 88. For similar performance in a soap base, I suggest: Purely Skinful Handmade Essentials and Stubble Buster.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Australian Private Reserve/Storybook Soapworks Fresca Intensa (promotional gift)
  • Brush - Simpsons Chubby 2 “Super Badger” (gift)
  • Razor - Colonial Silversmith (gift)
  • Post - Australian Private Reserve/Storybook Soapworks Fresca Intensa (promotional gift)


Ruds Shaves - Barrister and Mann - Clusterfig

Barrister and Mann introduced a new Fall seasonal for 2019 on September 23rd. Clusterfig flanks the ever popular Leviathan release, which occurs each Fall season. The goal was to deliver a true fig scent to the wet shaving hobby market in a way that only Barrister and Mann can. Barrister and Mann products can be purchased direct from their site and from third party stockists such as: Maggard Razors, West Coast Shaving and Top of the Chain.

Clusterfig features notes of; Amber, Fig, Lemon, Apple, Violet, Orange Blossom and Jasmine. The fragrance, while complex is fig forward as intended. The scent is sweet and floral but not in a heavy way. The bright green fig opens the accord before sweet apple and tart lemon hit the nose. The floral notes move in and wrap themselves around the sweetness in a mastery of olfactory perception. Mrs. Ruds is not a fan of this scent, but that is no surprise given her distaste for floral scents. This has a mid-strong strength of scent off the sample and remains this way once lathered. Try That Soap recommends Ariana & Evans Summer Fig as a comparable scent profile.

Barrister and Mann Excelsior is a tallow soap that utilizes the following ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Potassium Stearate, Potassium Tallowate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Tallowate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Milk, Potassium Kokum Butterate, Methyl Gluceth-10, Xanthan Gum, Sucrose Cocoate, Potassium Ricinoleate, Sodium Kokum Butterate, Allantoin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lanolin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Fragrance, Sodium Ricinoleate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate. The soap is on the firmer side of mid and loads very easily into your brush of choice regardless of fiber type. While the soap handles hydration and even overhydration with the most thirsty soaps, overhydration is not warranted. The lather builds effortlessly and it presents itself with the consistency of elmer's glue when dialed in. While it lacks voluminous peaks, it is very dense and protective. The slickness is as expected, oil on glass slickness with residual slickness for days. The post shave is luxurious and leaves the skin both hydrated, protected and feeling supple. The entire experience with this soap base screams luxury. In a crowded space of elite level luxury soap bases, Excelsior stands alone at the top. Excelsior receives a ShaveScore of 98. Soap bases with similar performance are Talbot Shaving and Ariana and Evans.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Barrister and Mann Clusterfig (purchased)
  • Brush - Ever Ready 200 w/ 24mm Maggard SHD (gift)
  • Razor - Dovo “Best Quality” (gift)
  • Post - Fine Accoutrements Fresh Vetiver (purchased)


Ruds Shaves - Talbot Shaving - Authors Ridge

Talbot Shaving is set to release their next scent, Authors Ridge, from West Coast Shaving on September 29, 2019 at 18:55 Eastern time. This is Talbot Shavings most personal project to date. It pays homage to the Authors Ridge area of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, MA. Chad has always been fascinated by the great authors who happen to be laid to rest there, like Emerson, Thoreau, The Alcotts and Hawthorne. With every soap purchased, Talbot Shaving donates a portion of each sale in support of the Trust for Public Land. This organization aims to protect and restore recreational land from neighborhood parks to national parks. For more information visit: http://www.tpl.org/about.

Authors Ridge is the embodiment of early Autumn as interpreted by the scents creator. Dry leaves, fallen weeks before, open with a dusty, soft kiss. Herbaceous bush notes roll into the mix and yield a palatable dry dankness next. Encompassing the entire accord is the dark and spicy natural notes of coniferous and bunchgrass. The idea of life and death, the changing of the temperatures and the changing of daylight hours all are represented in this fragrance. It is perfect for the cool weather months that lie ahead. Mrs. Ruds does not approve of this scent at all. It is too earthy for her. Strength of scent is mid-strong off the container and remains that way through the shave. Try That Soap recommends Phoenix & Beau Baskerville as a comparable scent profile.

Talbot Shaving uses a tallow based soap featuring a skin rich ingredients list of: stearic acid, tallow, water, shea butter, potassium hydroxide, castor oil, fragrance, glycerin, sodium hydroxide, lanolin, palm kernel oil, marshmallow root, babassu oil, meadowfoam oil and tussah silk. The soap base is on the firmer side of soap bases. It likes to be pampered with lots of water. When properly dialed in the lather looks like a plain Greek yogurt with the same dense feel and wonderful sheen. The slickness both primary and residual is the best in the business in my experience. Equally as impressive is the post shave, an elite level post shave as it leaves the skin feeling moisturized and supple. Based on the experience and several shaves, the ShaveScore for it is a 97. Other comparable soap bases in terms of performance are Barrister and Mann and Ariana & Evans.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Talbot Shaving Authors Ridge (promotional gift)
  • Brush -​ Turn-N-Shave “Piano” (purchased)
  • Razor - RazoRock Lupo (loaner)
  • Post - Maol Grooming Authors Ridge (promotional gift)


Ruds Shaves - Southern Witchcrafts - Samhain

Southern Witchcrafts is an artisan soap and aftershave maker based in Georgia. The brand began in 2017 and is owned by Courtney Brooks and Stephen Joiner. Joiner, is also the owner of the artisan brush company, Dogwood Handcrafts. Samhain is SWs fall 2019 offering and will release on September 24, 2019. Southern Witchcrafts focus is on providing high quality vegan shaving products with scents that are interesting and unique. In addition to ordering direct, Southern Witchcrafts can be purchased at Maggard Razors and Top of the Chain.

Samhain is a blend of; bourbon, tobacco, pumpkin, sandalwood, nutmeg, oud, incense, amber, vanilla, hazelnut, charred wood, musk. The fragrances is inspired by the “Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter”. This scent is a perfect autumn scent that open with smells of pumpkin, vanilla and bourbon, before the slight spice of nutmeg rolls through. From there, the scent is enveloped in a nutty, resinous blanket. The entire presentation is grounded by a woodiness. Mrs. Ruds likes this scent, likely because of her affinity for New England falls and pumpkin spice offerings. Strength of scent is mid-strong out of the container and remains this way for the shaves duration. Try That Soap recommends Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Atomic Pumpkin as a comparable scent profile.

Southern Witchcrafts uses a soap base of the vegan variety. The bases ingredients are listed as: Water, stearic acid, shea butter, castor oil, potassium hydroxide, glycerine, coconut oil, sodium lactate, sodium hydroxide, jojoba oil, aloe powder, liquid aloe, isopropyl myristate, kaolin clay and fragrance. The soap is soft to mid on the firmness spectrum. The soap base loads easily and lathers with very little effort. It is of normal thirst and whips into a lather that will have the consistency of cool whip. The slickness of this soap is excellent in both the visible slickness area as well as a secondary slickness. Post shave, like slickness is excellent as well. The oils and butters provide a luxurious feeling on the skin post shave. Given my experience with this soap base, it receives a ShaveScore of 92. Soap bases with similar performance are: Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (CK-6) and Wholly Kaw (vegan).

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Southern Witchcrafts Samhain (purchased)
  • Brush - Wolf Whiskers “Scorpion” (purchased)
  • Razor - Jerry Stark #502 (gift)
  • Post - Southern Witchcrafts Samhain (purchased)


Ruds Shaves - Stirling Soap Co. Aftershave

Stirling Soap Co. is a veteran owned artisan founded in January, 2012 by owners, Roderick and Amanda Lovan. The company is focused on high quality offerings for budget friendly prices with regards to grooming and accouterments. They also focus on staying environmentally conscious with their product making processes. In addition to their great soaps, they offer an amazing aftershave splash and aftershave balm, when considering the value to performance factor. Stirling Soap Co.’s offerings can be purchased direct or at third party resellers like Maggard Razors, West Coast Shaving and Top of the Chain.

South Padre was a summer release scent by Stirling Soap Co. that discontinued after summer 2016. This is one of my absolute favorite summer scents. Notes of: Coconut, Aqua, Lavender and Blood Orange combine for the smell of the beach on a hot day. The smells of beach sand, ocean air, suntan lotion and tropical drinks can be smelled with this fragrance. Mrs. Ruds approves of this scent as a casual wear, although she does not find it sexy enough for date night. Strength of scent is strong upon application and the sillage is very good, lasting 6-7 hours. Try That Soap recommends Catie's Bubbles Ocean Grove for a similar scent profile.

Stirling Soap Co. aftershave splash features skin enriching ingredients of: Denatured Alcohol, Witch Hazel, Fragrance Oil, Aloe, Glycerin and Hydrovance. The aftershave kicks hard with a high but fleeting alcohol bite. The liquid is clear and leave a bit of an oily feeling on the skin. The face feel of this aftershave is very good although shy of the very best offerings. Like the soap, aftershave splash punches above its price point. Given my experience with this post shave, Stirling Soap Co. aftershave splash receives a PostShaveScore of 85. For similar post shave performance I recommend Murphy & McNeil or Summer Break Soaps.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Stirling Soap Co. South Padre (gift)
  • Brush - Turn-N-Shave “Showtime” (purchased)
  • Razor - Rockwell 6S (purchased)
  • Post - Stirling Soap Co. South Padre (gift)


Ruds Shaves - Ariana & Evans Shave Serum

Ariana & Evans will be launching their shave serum to retail on September 13, 2019. The goal was to bring a product to market that will work for both modern style shavers (brushless, cartridge razors) and also those into traditional wet shaving (shave brush, DE/SE/Straight Razors). It is priced well for market penetration in my opinion at 6 ounces for $15.99 (or $2.66/oz). Through two years of reformulation and experimentation, they’ve accomplished this goal. Ariana & Evans is available at these third party retailers; Maggard Razors, West Coast Shaving, A&E UK, The Stray Whisker, Italian Barber, Top of the Chain, The Razor Co and Tierra Santa Shaving (Israel).

Sandalwood is a blend of sandalwood and oud which creates a masculine fragrance with mass appeal. The blend is not overly complex, but by design is approachable and inoffensive, while still being masculine and classy. The scent intends to showcase sandalwood, and it accomplishes this versatile scent note. This scent is astonishingly Mrs. Ruds neutral. While she fore the most part dislikes sandalwood forward fragrances, this variation didn’t garner that reaction. Strength of scent is mid-strong out of the container and remains this way once lathered. Try That Soap recommends Austalian Private Reserve Les Santals and Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Supreme Sandalwood Science as similar scent profiles.

As a lathering shave cream, the product lathers like many traditional shaving creams. The ingredients are listed as; tallow, manteca (pig fat), stearic, glycerin, goats milk, potassium hydroxide, coconut oil, myristic acid, castor oil, avocado oil, shea butter ,camellias oil, argan oil, lanolin, agave, sodium hydroxide, colloidal oatmeal, bentonite clay, polysorbate 20 and sulfocide A. The product can be applied to the skin and worked with a brush or applied to the brush with lather being built on the skin or in a bowl. The serum is thirsty and explodes with water, it is above average in thirst, but not in a cumbersome manner. Primary slickness is elite, while residual slickness is excellent. Post shave is excellent and leaves the desired silky smooth feeling on your skin once rinsed clean. A post shave routine can be skipped based on this serum’s performance in the metric. While Ariana & Evans shave serum isn’t as elite as the traditional soap, it is a heavy hitter nonetheless. As such it receives a ShaveScore of 94. For similar performance I suggest Gentleman’s Nod or Noble Otter.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Ariana & Evans Shave Serum Sandalwood (promotional gift)
  • Brush - Maseto Shaving 30mm 2 Band (purchased)
  • Razor - Boker “Elite” (gift)
  • Post - Proraso Red (purchased)


Ruds Shaves - Fine Accoutrements Aftershave

Fine Accoutrements offers shaving soap, shaving cream, aftershave, aftershave balms, brushes, razors and shaving bowls. While you can always purchase direct from their site, they can also be found at the following popular third party retailers: Maggard Razors, West Coast Shaving, Amazon and Top of the Chain.

Platinum is based on the famed Aventus by Creed. Fine really put this on the map and did a nice job of duplicating the scent, which features notes of: Pineapple, Birch, Black Currant, Musk, Oakmoss, Bergamot, Apple, Patchouli, Ambergris, Jasmine, Vanilla and Rose. This scent is one of the most favored in wet shaving and for good reason. It is complex and masculine. I am initially met with a smoky pineapple and black currant shot before the scent becomes too complex to pull out individual notes. This is a scent I would consider a multi occasion user and also a multi-seasonal wear. Scent strength is strong out of the bottle with good initial sillage but with a short lived longevity. Try That Soap recommends Ariana & Evans Spartacus, Declaration Grooming Sellout, Stirling Soap Co. Executive Man, and Viking Soaps Ragnar as comparable scent profiles.

Fine Accoutrements Aftershave is a simple formula of: Alcohol, Water, Fragrance and Menthol. The aftershave features a high alcohol bite upon initial application. The consistency is much like water and the aftershave is clear. The aftershave dries quickly, with the dissipation of the alcohol and leaves no residue on the skin. Given the lack of skin food in the aftershave, this provides little to no post shave benefit aside from an initial antiseptic effect due to the alcohol. This is not a great stand alone post shave and I find myself always applying a balm after the aftershave. Fine Accoutrements Aftershave receives a PostShaveScore of 65. For similar performance in post shave I suggest: Folsom & Co. and Clubman Pinaud.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Murphy & McNeil Athchoiritheoir (purchased)
  • Brush - Mocek "Green Tea" w/ 24mm Maggard SHD (purchased)
  • Razor - Worcester Razor Co. “Royal Worcester” (purchased)
  • Post - Fine Accoutrements Platinum (purchased)


Ruds Shaves - APR - Les Santals

Australian Private Reserve, a well known artisan from the southern hemisphere, recently released their homage to sandalwood. APR is widely considered one of the premier perfumers in the wet shaving space, and Dan’s passion for this shines through in his scent creations and brash descriptions of the scents. Australian Private Reserve can be sourced directly from their website and also at: Maggard Razors, West Coast Shaving and Beard & Blade Supply Co..

Les Santals is a celebration of sandalwood. The fragrance features: Indian Sandalwood and Autralian Sandalwood. The scent is balanced to perfection and paints a masterpiece of creamy woodiness with a slight powdery pop. There are few scent notes as well known or used in men’s fragrances as sandalwood, and this offering puts the scent on full display. Mrs. Ruds is not a fan of straight sandalwood scents, so it is no surprise that she didn’t like me wearing this. Strength of scent is strong out of the container and remains strong once lathered. Try That Soap recommends The Club - The City and Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements - Supreme Sandalwood Science as similar scent profiles.

APR’s soap base features an ingredients list that reads as: Stearic Acid, Aqua, Glycerin, Beef Tallow, Potassium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Lanolin, Allantoin, Citric Acid, Silk Protein. The soap is fairly firm and loading it is easy regardless of what fiber brush you choose. The soap is thirsty, but not in a cumbersome way. The lather is dense, similar to cold sour cream with a vibrant sheen. The slickness is excellent both primary and residual. The post shave is also excellent, as it leaves the skin as soft and supple as you could ask for. The APR soap base comes in with a ShaveScore of 94. Soaps with a ShaveScore and experience similar to this are Noble Otter and Tallow + Steel.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Australian Private Reserve Les Santals (loaner)
  • Brush - Declaration Grooming Jefferson Unicorn Ivory (loaner)
  • Razor - Dovo “Best Quality” (gift)
  • Post - Australian Private Reserve Les Santals (loaner)


Ruds Shaves - Zingari Man - Post Shave

Zingari Man is the men’s line of shave offerings from Zingari Skincare. The artisan, Heather Melton is a certified Cosmetic formulator through the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild. The artisan’s focus is on nurturing your skin through the use of vitamins and minerals proven in skin health. The Zingari Man line offers shaving soap, post shave, beard care and skin care for a complete grooming experience. Zingari Man products can be sourced direct from their website and also at West Coast Shaving.

Zingari Man Aftershave balm is available in all of their standard scent offerings. I chose the unscented balm because I can use it directly after my shave as a stand alone or I can use it some time after my application of a scented aftershave splash. This balm is truly scent free, there is no noticeable smell from the ingredients used. This makes it the perfect offering to pair with any scent or fragrance that you want to wear. Try That Soap recommends Stirling Soap Co. Unscented as a comparable unscented profile.

Zingari Man Aftershave balm is very nourishing, as you would expect from a balm. The ingredients list features a skin rich formula of: Water, Witch hazel distillate(alcohol free), Meadowfoam oil, Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG 100 Stearate, Jojoba oil, Oat seed oil, Glycerin, Allantion, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, d-panthenol, Sorbitol, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, White willow extract, Green tea extract, EDTA tetrasodium. Two pumps from the dispenser is enough to cover your entire face. The balm is on the lighter side of consistency, which lends itself to quick absorption. There is a silkiness left on your skin but it is not an oily feeling at all. The protection from this balm last hours upon hours, as it soothes your skin from the harshness inherent in shaving. Given my experience with this post shave, Zingari Man Aftershave balm receives a PostShaveScore of 90.. For similar performance in post shave, I suggest; Ariana & Evan/The Club and Maol Grooming.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Stirling Soap Co. Sandpiper (purchased)
  • Brush - Mocek “Emperor’s Stone” (purchased)
  • Razor - Blackland Vector (promotional gift)
  • Post - Stirling Soap Co. Sandpiper (purchased)
  • Post - Zingari Man Aftershave Balm (purchased)


Ruds Shaves - Storybook Soapworks - West Egg

Storybook Soapworks entered the artisan soap market in the Spring of 2017. Lauren, the owner and man behind the soap making is an avid reader. Reading provides a respite from the stresses of life and his hope is that Storybook Soapworks hand crafted soaps and post shave products will do the same for its users. It has been quite some time since I have used a Storybook Soapworks product. This particular offering is a part of a trilogy created by various artisans for the Reddit sub, r/wetshaving. The scent was designed by the famed fragrance house, Chatillon Lux. Storybook Soapworks can be purchased direct from their website or at Maggard Razors.

West Egg named for the city of the newly-rich from the Great Gatsby, is a whimsical scent featuring scent notes of: white grapes and sparkling aldehydes. The culmination of these notes represents the smell of champagne. To my nose, this is an accurate recreation of the bubbly drink that signifies celebration. The scent is vibrant and fun, it is approachable and feels almost unisex for use. Mrs. Ruds likes the scent. While she does not find it sexy or masculine, she approves of casual ring. Strength of scent is mid out of the soap tub and remains this way once lathered. Try That Soap recommends the Chatillon Lux Eau de Parfum as a complimentary scent profile.

Storybook Soapworks uses a tallow based soap featuring listed ingredients of: Stearic Acid, Water, Beef Tallow, Potassium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Fragrance, Shea Butter, Vegetable Glycerin, Rice Bran Oil, Avocado Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Sodium Lactate, Tocopherol. The soap is soft and therefore care should be taken to ensure it is not overloaded. The soap is of above average thirst, but not the thirstiest soap out there. When properly hydrated and dialed in, the resulting lather will display the consistency of sour cream. Both primary and residual slickness are very good. While short of the upper tier soaps in terms of slickness, it gets the job done without any problems. Post shave is protective and nourishing to the skin. The post shave, like the slickness is very good. Storybook Soapworks soap base is more than a serviceable base in terms of performance and as such receives a ShaveScore of 88. For similar performance in a soap base, I suggest: Purley Skinful Handmade Essentials and Stubble Buster.

Disclosure: All reviews and impressions must state how the product was acquired, whether it be free, sponsored, promotional, purchased, or otherwise.

  • Soap - Storybook Soapworks West Egg (loaner)
  • Brush - DS Cosmetics “Gel Tip” (promotional gift)
  • Razor - Boker “Elite” (gift)
  • Post - Chatillon Lux West Egg (loaner)

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