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Santa Monica Bay Rum Shaving Soap

Pros: Inexpensive, high quality, great fragrance, excellent lather, made in the USA from a small business, awesome customer service
Cons: The tub it is sold in could be a bit wider for loading, but who cares. It's still awesome.
I give this soap 10s across the board and for many reasons.

Price: I honestly can't complain about the soap. Competing soap companies manufacturing premium non-tallow based soaps are charging well over $25/tin of soap, some well over $45/tin. For under $25 (priority mail shipping was $5 for me, so my total purchase price was $21) you gain a good quantity of a high quality, Made in the USA soap from a small business with great and near immediate customer service.

Quality: Again, there is another 10 to be remarked here. I stumbled upon this soap and it's beginning while pouring over the treasure trove of data in the B&B forum. As I read how this soap was engineered you could tell in the prototype photos, recipes and such that a lot of love, care and passion went in to this product. It most certainly shows in the end product and in use as well.

Scent: I was put off by the scent at first. "Put off" isn't even the best way to describe it. Because when I discovered that LASS had developed a bay rum scent, I was giddy because I love the smell of what I'm used to associating with bay rums ie. clovey, spicy scents. This soap is NOT that type of bay rum. I contacted John about this, not to complain but to give feedback on it. He took the time to explain that the soap uses an actual bay EO and dark rum in the recipe and also explained how many people are used to the same scent profile that I was familiar with. I did some research on the phenomenon that he explained to me and sure enough he was correct. At this point, I was even more enamored with the product being a premium hand crafted product with more of a homage to real bay rum roots. That being said, the scent is floral and citrusy, to which you can definitely point out the distinct bay EO in the scent. It is absolutely euphoric, but not overpowering. I'm definitely in love with the scent.

Lather: As someone who is relatively new to wetshaving, I've definitely acquired soaps that are more difficult to lather, or require different technique than others. This soap is not a "thirsty" soap and it requires a minimum load time to gain enough soap to complete a 3 pass shave. I find that less than 15 circles of a shaken boar brush gives me plenty of thick, luxurious lather that lasts throughout my shave.

Efficacy: It hasn't been up until I've used this soap that I have achieved a nick free, irritation free shave with a DE razor. Granted I've only been at this a couple of weeks, and I'd love to say that my technique has improved exponentially, but in reality I have to give the credit to the soap. The soap easily helps obtain a great shave by leaving a nice and slick layer under the lather for your blade to glide over with ease. I also notice that blades I thought were once too harsh for my skin are actually tolerable and give comfortable shaves with this soap.

Moisturizing: Another 10 here. My skin is left soft and supple after the lather is washed away.

A note about the customer service. The company started by a B&B user is churning out an awesome product. Since purchasing this tub, I've been in contact with John, posing questions of all kinds in regards to the soap. John responds almost always within an hour window of sending a PM or e-mail. When I originally sent my comments about the unexpected bay rum scent, I made sure to explain that I WASN'T complaining, but also wanted to see if I could get samples of his other two scents because I fell in love with my new bay rum and wanted to smell the other two fragrances as well. John offered to send me the samples without hesitation and also offered to send a sample of the bay EO oil to compare to other bay rums I am used to to get a feel for how different it is. I am a capitalist through and through. And in the day of wildly disposable consumables and large corporate infrastructure, that ability to be in direct and almost immediate contact with a small business owner that obviously stands behind his product is priceless. And because of that, he's definitely got a customer that will follow his endeavors in this "thing of ours".
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