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Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet -- New Formulation Without Tallow

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I have no interest in jumping on the “new is bad” bandwagon – my goal in trying this soap was to attempt to break the code of the new formulation, and share my recipe for success. In this regard, I have failed you all.

Let me start out with giving you an idea of other soaps against which I can compare the new reformulation of Penhaligons BB. I will not discuss scents, as my sole purpose is to discuss the lather quality of the newest reformulation. For what it’s worth, the scent of the new formulation is exactly the same as the tallow fifth BB that I have. I use shaving soaps almost exclusively. I currently use both prior versions of Penhaligons: tallow first (English Fern) and tallow fifth BB. I prefer the tallow first version, but the tallow fifth version of BB is still a very nice shaving soap. My opinion is that the best soaps currently in production are Czech & Speake and Art of Shaving. I am also a big fan of shaving soaps made by Tabac, DR Harris, La Toja, Truefitt & Hill, L’Occitane, and QED. While I generally prefer my soaps with tallow, as you can see from my “short list,” I also really enjoy some shaving soaps without tallow. There are many other good shaving soaps out there that I have not listed, but I just wanted to give you my “short list.”

I have hard water, but have not had any problems getting great lather from any of the above listed soaps. I usually face lather, but also enjoy using a scuttle or a bowl to make lather. My favorite soap brush is my Rooney 2/1 Finest, and that is the brush I used to experiment with the new Penhaligons. I used my daily razor and blade: a Merkur slant with a Gillette 7 O’Clock SharpEdge (yellow) blade.

I tried several different methods to try to get a good lather out of the BB without tallow. Both the scuttle and the bowl were failures. The lather from this new formulation breaks down very quickly, and it is very difficult to maintain a thick lather for any substantial length of time. After my dissatisfaction with the lather I was getting in the scuttle and bowl, I turned to face lathering.

I was determined to get a good lather, or at least give the soap every opportunity to give me a good lather. I decided that the best chance for success was to use more soap. I started out by applying the puck directly to my face, using it like a shave stick. I then loaded my brush with even more soap. I began to build a nice, rich lather on my face by slowly adding warm water by dipping the ends of my brush in a mug and transferring it to my beard.

It took several minutes, but I did get a nice lather on my face, similar to many other non-tallow triple milled soaps I have tried. I was pretty happy at this point, congratulating myself for my success. However, this nice lather immediately began to break down to a thin film. I built the lather back up with my brush, using different soap to water ratios, but it again began to break down. I tried this several more times, again using different water to soap ratios. The result was always the same: the lather would start to break down after 15 to 30 seconds. Before anyone suggests that perhaps I was not using enough soap, I wound up using more soap than I have ever used before. I am an experienced soap user, and can assure you that the issue was not lack of product.

The only way I could eventually get a decent shave with this soap was to lather and shave small areas of my face at a time. Since I knew, at this point, that the lather was not going to maintain its cushion, I only shaved in quadrants. Using this method I found that the soap was slick enough, but I could really feel the lack of cushion in the lather.

Bottom Line: While I finally got a close enough shave with this soap, the overall experience was negative. I never got a lather that I consider to be adequate. The soap was incapable of maintaining a thick enough lather to protect my skin. It is not the worst soap I have ever used, but it is definitely close. From a cost benefit analysis standpoint, this is the most over priced soap to ever grace my sink. If this shaving soap cost $5 retail, I could forgive the poor lather. However, at the price they are charging, Penhaligons should be ashamed of themselves. Please note that I have no problem spending large amounts of money for a nice shaving soap. I have never balked at the price of any of the other high end soaps. However, the performance of Penhaligons new formulation does not come anywhere close to the price Penhaligons is charging. Penhaligons needs to go back to the drawing board. They either need to bring back tallow, or have one of the manufacturers that have successfully made a non-tallow shaving soap (Truefitt & Hills or Trumpers, for example) make soaps for Penhaligons.

Latest reviews

I held off from the new formulations for at least a year while I quitely parseled out my old tallow English Fern. I finally gave the new stuff a try. I was pleasently surprised. This is a good soap with a classic Penhaligon's scent. The new bowl is just fine. Honestly, I didn't find anything really wrong.

Price (8): A bit steep, but quality is good and the scent is wonderful.
Quality (9): Small niggles here, soap is a bit soft for the price
Scent (10): Penhaligon's, need I say more?
Lather (10): Thick creaming lather that soaks up water like a man with a hangover
Efficacy (9): Nice, but I have had a few others that were a tad more efficacious (is this a new word?)
Moisturizing (9): Good job here, but a few are more moisturizing

All in all, whatever the issues were with the first batch, no problems on what I bought a week ago.
Price
4.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Lather
5.00 star(s)
Quality
4.00 star(s)
Efficacy
4.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
4.00 star(s)
I'd just add to the other reviews that having decided to add the Penhaligon Blenheim Bouquet shaving soap to my cologne and aftershave in the same range. It lathers fine and smells wonderful, truly a top end product. I give it the thumbs up.
Price
3.00 star(s)
Scent
5.00 star(s)
Lather
4.00 star(s)
Quality
4.00 star(s)
Efficacy
4.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
2.00 star(s)
I picked this up because I had the old formula and sold it. I was wanting to revisit this soap so I picked up the new formula on bst. How different can it be? Surprise Surprise, very different from the original. The lather is pure fart and doesnt last for anything. Its thin even if you lay it heavy and it dissipates in just seconds after applying to the face. I cant comment on some of the points because I just couldnt shave with it. Damm nice scent though :001_smile
Price
0.00 star(s)
Scent
3.00 star(s)
Lather
0.00 star(s)
Quality
0.00 star(s)
Efficacy
0.00 star(s)
Moisturizing
0.00 star(s)

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