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Grim’s Reaping What I Sow

Cedarwood & Sandalwood – Castle Forbes

Castle Forbes has a reputation for strongly scented shaving creams. I was eager to try this sample and was not disappointed by the strength of the scent. Here is my sample.


This product was more of a croap than a shaving cream but still required little water to whip into a glorious shaving cream. It was rich, protective, and somewhat slick, although not entirely slick.

Upon opening the sample, this was, by far, the strongest scented Sandalwood that expanded as the lather was created. It was a rich peanut butter scent, similar to the QCS Mysore Sandalwood but richer, yet tempered somewhat by, I presume, the Cedarwood as the scent was not an exact match. The shave was as I have come to expect from the British shaving creams – excellent.

I rank this sample the same as D.R. Harris and GFT. The GFT lather might have been a touch better but this scent was clearly stronger. Unfortunately, that was detrimental to me as I am not fond of the scent. I rate this product 76.

Vanilla Sandalwood – Stirling Soap


This sample had good strength with vanilla dominating the sandalwood enough for me to make this the best smelling sandalwood, although I have come to appreciate the D.R. Harris and GFT Sandalwood for their subtle scents far more. Initially the scent was quite noticeable and although it faded over time, enough was left at the end of the shave to notice. Kudos to Stirling for providing scent through an entire shave.

The performance of this soap was average. It was neither spectacular nor below par. Both cushion and glide were acceptable but it was not particularly slick. In the end, my shave was smooth and acceptable with minor irritation. I rate this sample 35 for me based upon the holistic experience.

Marlborough - D.R. Harris

I don’t particularly like names of shaving creams that are non-descriptive. I understand if the product is a classic scent that has been around for a century like GFT’s Eucris, or if the scent is the signature scent of the company, like TOBS Mr. Taylor. But Marlborough means nothing to me. At best it reminds me of Marlboro cigarette ads, the Marlboro Man. I know it’s spelled differently but that is what it means to me. I had to actually research that Marlborough is a town in Southern England, site of a college, and an English title, all things totally lost on me. I see Marlborough and still think of a Cowboy on a Horse, smoking some Marlboro's, that died of lung cancer.


DRH describes Marlborough as a cedar and sandalwood blend. That makes it the same as Castle Forbes blend and close enough in my mind to put with the Sandalwoods. My experience with this product was identical to the DRH Sandalwood. The lather took a tiny bit more water but was a very good lather. The scent was instantly obvious and lasted the entire shave. Further, the cedar cut the sandalwood down a bit making this, for me the best scented of all the Sandalwoods.

My shave was smooth, uneventful, very good performance and had a long lasting, non-offensive scent. I used it my scuttle for part of a second shave and the lather was excellent. It was warm and the scent came across more. It was excellent. I rate this product the highest of the Sandalwoods at 80.
An interesting thread grim. A question if you don't mind. Are your ratings based on just 1 or 2 latherings of each product, or have you spent more time (say a week to 10 days) with each?
An interesting thread grim. A question if you don't mind. Are your ratings based on just 1 or 2 latherings of each product, or have you spent more time (say a week to 10 days) with each?

Initially, it was the maximum number I could get from the sample, which was usually three for creams. However, after using the same product line but just different scents, I reduced that to usually two (and I have completed more than I have had time to type up).

In other words, once you have tried Product Line A's Sandalwood, and say their Rose, you can be pretty much be assured that the technical attributes (e.g., cushion, slickness) are mostly identical across the product line. This can even be extended to the "type" of scent. For example, I find TOBS creams to be identical in that their scents are all "cologne or perfume" type scents while QCS seems to be the opposite, a much deeper, truer to the intent of the scent. Once I figured that out, I became more focused on scent differences because there was very little differences other than the scent and so no need to get the maximum number of shaves per sample.

Especially with the soaps, some soap samples you could easily shave a week with and if I did that, it would take me a year to go through all this stuff. :blushing:
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Sandalwood Analysis

Sandalwood is not for me and I knew that when starting these samples. I came into this set of reviews with a bias. The darker, muskier Sandalwoods, such as Cyrus R Salter, Crabtree & Evelyn, Castle Forbes, and Proraso confirmed that bias. However, as the days went by the scent of the lighter Sandalwoods grew on me. I came to like it more and more and came to associate shaving with it. My brush smelled wonderful.

Realistically, this is a scent I probably will not buy again but if I were, probably, it would only DRH Marlborough by the thinnest of margins. In my opinion it has the best lather and scent to my nose.

Looking at prices and technical performance, I conclude you get what you pay for. The inexpensive Sandalwoods were, to me, clearly inferior. Nothing new here. Quality cost money.
Grim: a lovely idea and a great set of reviews. I too never thought Sandalwood was interesting, or was for me, when I started with the wet shaving process in Sept of last year. Sandalwood was one of the 5 scents I picked out to start with, but it was easily my least favorite during my initial runs.

7 months in however I keep returning to it and each time I try it out I experience it a little differently and I enjoy it a little more. I think its easily in my top 2 scent choices for shaving soaps right now. I have come full circle on this scent.

I agree with you completely on the issue of "life's too short to spend with smelly products" . I like variety and I like the experience of trying out new scents. There are plenty of folks on B&B who only use one and only one shave soap or creme. That's not me.
I like lots of choices and I want them all to be great, or gone.

I think I'm going to go shave now. With some TOBS Sandalwood . Thanks for the posts.
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