The water soluble aid to the perfect shave? What the hell? Water soluble? - Who cares? What does this mean? Think this is just another b/s "wonder shave" product with a lot of hollow claims? Well... think again... it isn't. While it may smell like b/s - its very humble claims (see label below) are as real as real gets.
I could go on and on about this product.... but like the label, I am just gonna lay out the fact.
Performance - Outstanding. You put a little in your hand (about as much as you'd use if it were an a/s balm) rub it on your damp face - and voila, hair immediatly feels "rougher" and your face feels slippery/moisturized. The "rough" feeling is that of the hairs having been raised - so your beard growth FEELS rougher. Squash your lather filled brush against your face and proceed to lather as usual - and wait.... what is this? The lather is applied to your face EASIER, with less effort, and in more prolific quantities. Yes, this pre-shave actually seems to help the cream/brush work BETTER. So now to the "water soluble" part, basically it is laimans terms for "not full of oil" - so basically it will mix with the lather, will not repel water (as a pre-shave oil will) and will was RIGHT out of your brush, making it PERFECT for brush users, and fellas who use mighty expensive brushes.
Scent - Man o man.... i'd liken the nastiness of this scent to that of CAR's "cube" - in that on its own, if you take a big ole whiff of it, it is just putrid. Now if you smell it a few times and go easy on it, it isn't SO bad, and you really WANT to like it - but it is some weird concoction of chamomile gone vile. Now, let me mention, while it might appear as those this is akin to smearing refuse on your face, it actually isn't bad... in the slightest. Provided you don't sniff it from the bottle direct, use an absurd amount, or put some up your nose, you will hardly even notice the scent there - and ANY shaving cream/soap that is scented will IMMEDIATLY drown out even the slightest hint of this pre-shaves smell, without altering the cream/soaps scent AT ALL. So while the "scent" in an of itself would get a "0" if I were to rate the "scent" - I am not going to factor that into the review as it is not intended on smelling, it doesn't muck up or mess with other products scents, and if used properly is barely discernable.
Packaging - Boring albeit elegant black box w/tissue paper. Nice - but for the $, "nice" isn't something that should be used to describe it. Where this product really scored packaging points is the handsome glass bottle which looks/feels outstanding.
Price - Overseas it is $40+ stateside it is even worse. Granted it is a 125ml bottle, but still..... $40 for a pre-shave? Wow....
Bottom line - If you positively must have the closest, most comfortable, longest lasting shave... this product will absolutly make a dramatic different in your current shaving techniques. I don't care how good your shaves are.... you use this stuff, and they'll be better and your face happier, period. It doesn't smell the greatest, it isn't cheap, it isn't a product that will really envoke a passion.... but it will do exactly what it claims.... and then some, which is quite a rare occurence now adays.
For Andrew French of Castle Forbes... so far as I am concerned, this stuff is "boss."
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