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Tcheon Fung Sing Tabacco Verde

Pros: Easy and quick latherability, classic scent, smooth shaves
Cons: Scent is too strong, product can be a bit harsh on the skin
Originally I had intended to post a review when the puck was finished, but unfortunately at about 4/5ths through the bowl I had grated the soap into slipped out of my hands and broke into a thousand pieces. That was the end of the TFS Tabacco Verde experience. In any case: this isn't a 3-shaves-with-the-new-product review.

When you receive the puck, two things stand out immediately. One is a penetrating yet classical and shaveworthy scent, definitely worth the description of 'green tobacco'. It's not something I'd recommend to a young'un: this reeks of being settled, having a mortgage, a steady relationship, etcetera. Then again it's just a scent so best to ignore this sort of ageing male-blathering. Second is that the puck is very dry to the touch: it has a semblence of crumbling to dust if you handle it a little too roughly. (It actually doesn't, but still.) Obviously it hasn't been superfatted, nor has it received any treatment to make its appearence more appealing.

Grating the puck is very easy because of its non-fatty consistency, so there is no real problem in getting the soap into whatever container you desire. Just add a little water to compress the mass into the form... although once you start using the soap the water from the brush will act as a glue too.

The ingredients of the soap are minimalistic. As in Cella-minimalistic: stearic acid and coconut fat provide the backbone, potassium and sodium lye were used to saponify the whole thing, there's perfume for the scent, and some sodium carbonate to enhance solubility. All in all this label reads as 'expect a full, heavy lather with a little bit of effort', and that's exactly what happens. It takes a while to get there, but once it is there, you're staring at a bowl full of rich shaving goodness. Two additional remarks: what I hadn't expected is the high solubility of soap. It really dissolves very easily, so you may have to adjust your loading time to avoid picking up too much soap. No, it's still not there in 3 seconds or with just a few spins, but given a nice moist brush (a Rooney 3/1 in my case) I was done in 10 to 15 seconds tops. Second is that I noticed with other soaps using a similar formulation that my skin could be a little apprehensive about it, and regrettably this soap proved to be no exception. It was one of the milder ones, though... but still caveat emptor in case you have a similar issue.

Shaving efficacy proved to be consistently excellent, with very smooth results on every occasion irrespective of weather conditions or hair length. Note: with regular triple blade-cartridges (from Gillette and Wilkinson). Unfortunately, there was a bit of tingling and slight itchiness on a good number of occasions too (no, it's not the blades), but as I already indicated my skin is not really fond of this type of formulation.

Initially I had hoped that the scent would mellow out over time, especially given that the soap had been grated. This didn't happen; and had the unfortunate effect of me tiring of it all more quickly than I'd hoped. Although I like the scent an sich, it really was too intense and overpowering in this product. Then again, I'm already comfortable with whiffs of fragrance, so most shaving products I use run into this problem at some point.

The price/performance ratio is pretty standard for a shaving soap. It's not the cheapest of products: it sits right in the middle of the group of products selling for €10 per 100 g. For this price I expect quality lather and quality shaves, and that is what this soap gave me.

In the end it all boils down to this: would I purchase the product again? The answer to that is no, somewhat unfortunately. Had the scent been less pronounced, and the product a little less harsh on my skin, I might've been tempted due to the quality shaves; but as it stands now the Tabacco Verde gives me too many reasons to leave it on the shelves of my suppliers. That said, it has most certainly been an agreeable aquaintance.
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