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Czech & Speake Oxford & Cambridge

Item Description

This is a mysterious and expensive soap that I have wanted to try for a long time. So what is this stuff? The short answer is it is AOS shave soap strongly scented with dark lavender (Czech and Speake Oxford & Cambridge fragrance.)

It is made in Italy. The puck has the exact same color and consistency (triple milled) as AOS soap. I lathered both side by side and it lathers (and shaves) exactly the same as AOS. Gents who complain about the subtle clay like lavender smell of AOS soap have an alternative - a huge lavender bomb alternative. It is intoxicating. It is so strongly scented that while working today I had to move the box across the room from my desk. Nearly three hours after shaving, my wife can still detect the fragrance of the soap on my face.

If you are unfamiliar with AOS shave soap, you should know that it is one of the few tallow first ingredient shave soaps remaining. I consider it to be one of the best shaving products in the market. It has beautiful lather, is super creamy, and generates with total ease. In efficacy, only tabac ranks higher.

It is pricey. The shave soap with the dish or travel tin is one of the most ridiculously priced items in the market. However, the refill pucks are within reach at $30 for a box of three travel size refills (2"x1/2"). If lavender is your thing (Santa Maria Novella meets Castle Forbes type lavender), this is your huckleberry.

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Pros: Awesome aroma and lather
Cons: cost/availability
Price: This somewhat goes hand and hand with availability. I jumped in on a split to try the soap out. Now I am looking to try their other soaps. This is on the high side, but I have realized that I did not change the way I shave to save money. I think that is the first step of the 12 step shaving program.

Quality: Seem's to be top notch. I've only been wet shaving for a few months and have not used many soaps, mostly creams. This soap seems to lather easily, however there is a water to soap ratio - or it does not seem to work as well.

Scent: Very complex. As others have mentioned, the aroma is very powerful. I could smell my mail box as I walked up to it. I bet the mail man was going nuts.

Lather: Water to soap ratio is very important that i am finding. I have not been too successful with bowl lathering the soap, so I face lather.

Efficacy: Does what it needs to do and completes all shaving tasks enjoyably.

Moisturizing: I always use an after shave moisturizer, so it is somewhat to tell how the soap performs by itself :\
Price
1.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Lather
4.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Efficacy
4.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
4.00 star(s)
Some days I just want to grab a quick shave and move on. This means compromise. First, I'll start running the water and wet the brush just enough to dab a splash on top of the soap puck. While waiting for the water to get hot, I'll grab the scuttle, put the brush inside, and start splashing my face. About 30 seconds in, I'll squeeze out the still unsaturated brush and swirl it a few times over the soap puck and run it over my face to build a thin lather, and then add some more water to the brush and make a really wet lather. Then I let the brush and my face soak. A minute later, I'll go back to the puck and start to build a very wet yogurt-like lather on my face. It's important in all of this to get enough wetness to the beard to shave easily.

Other days I like to take my time, and maybe grab a straight razor. The straight razors work best for me with a really thick and proper lather, not the wet runny lather I prefer for quick shaves. AoS is my goto soap for this, providing a lot of protection, and a thick, luxurious lather that lasts through a full pass.

I find melt & pour soaps best for wetting. They seem to melt into the smallest amounts of water, yet can absorb as much water as I can feed them. Then they transfer this liquid into the beard. I don't care much for the lather, which I find thin, and find they completely lack any protective qualities. Perhaps they wet my skin even more than my beard. Sometimes it seems best to do a preparatory lather with a melt & pour soap then switch to a heavy, luxurious tallow soap for its protective qualities and face feel.

Enter Czech & Speake. It wets nearly as well as a melt & pour, can produce a rich, creamy, and protective lather, and has no trouble going from one state to the other. Of the 35 or so brands I've tried, Czech & Speake is the only soap that can effectively support the full range of wet and dry lathers. It's the soap that can replace a whole den of soaps.

I started off by saying that some of my methods require compromise. What you get with Czech & Speake is the most well balanced compromise of any soap. It's not the most protective soap--I give that nod to Art of Shaving. It's not the slickest--I prefer Mitchell's Wool Fat for the lanolin. It's not the best for wetting--I'd give names (Mama Bear) but the melt & pours dominate here.

If there's one thing Czech & Speake lacks, it's that it's not the best moisturizer out there. But most soaps aren't, and those that do moisturize seem to do so by adding oils or by being hard to rinse off, leaving behind a layer of fatty soap. On the other hand, it's not especially drying either.

While I don't have a good sense of scent, I prefer the scent of Oxford & Cambridge (O&C) to the more popular No. 88. People say the O&C is lavender, but they both seem complex to me, and I prefer much simpler scents, like straight chocolate or lime. The 88 is far more complex, with an underlying hint of rancidity, but ultimately, there are similarities between them. The O&C is a bit subtler, so the clean scent of the underlying soap really comes through. On the face, O&C gives off a fresh, clean, honest soap smell behind a pleasant and conservatively applied fragrance.

The price speaks for itself, and will probably put off most people.

For the record, NYC water is one of the softest in the world, with a mineral content almost dangerously low.
Price
0.00 star(s)
Scent
4.00 star(s)
Lather
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Efficacy
4.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
3.00 star(s)
Good review

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petr
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