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Martin de Candre Fougère Review

I enjoyed looking into this one, skip to the final comments if this is too long to read. :biggrin1:

Soap
: Martin de Candre Fougère

Cost: >$50

Ingredients: Stearic Acid, Aqua, Coconut Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Aroma (Fougère)

Appearance and packaging: This soap comes in a nice white box, almost like a gift box, and I was immediately struck by how heavy it was. When I opened the box, I found an instruction card for how to use the soap and distinctive MdC glass jar with tin lid. I realized where most of the heft on the packaging came from. The glass just is very robust and a really good width for brush loading. The soap itself is a pale white color, with maybe a tinge of yellow/green/brown…it was hard to tell for sure, but it’s definitely off-white. The soap was harder than most artisan soaps, but not as hard as a triple-milled soap.

Scent: I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never used MdC before and when most others describe the scent of MdC it’s always, “smells great” or “classic fougère”…not very helpful for those deciding whether or not to spend the sort of cash this soap costs. To me the scent is strong and subtle at the same time. What I mean is the scent is definitely there, you can smell it from a room away, but what actually comprises the scent is hard to discern. It smells green to, maybe a little citrusy up front and has some floral tones. Truthfully, the first thing I thought when opening my jar was, I bet this is what a French grove smells like.

Workability and Lather: I did my normal prep of soaking the brush and the top of the soap puck for 5 minutes in warm water, then shaking out the brush so it was still damp, not drenched and poured off the water from the soap. I started to load and had planned of doing my normal 30 second load, but never made it. Within the first few strokes, the soap was exploding with lather. I loaded for maybe 15 seconds before I stopped and decided too much money was falling into the sink. I began to palm lather and in less than 30 seconds, I had shaveable lather. I worked it for a bit longer to see if I needed more water, which it appeared I didn’t, but I dipped once anyway and worked that water into the lather to only be rewarded with mounds of luxurious lather. I ended up making a second lather with less product to take the pictures you’ll see below. The first batch was way too messy and not photogenic at all.

Slickness, Glide, Cushion, and Retention: The slickness was very good, maybe slightly less than PannaCrema. The glide was as good as any soap I’ve tried. The cushion was outstanding and the lather retention was as good as some of the better soaps. All in all, top marks on all accounts.

Face Feel and Moisturizing: The soap feels good on your face and is very protective. The after shave face feel was great and I felt moisturized all day.

Final Comments: Here’s where the rubber meets the road, if you exclude price from the equation, there is no doubt that MdC is an extraordinary soap. It is the easiest to lather soap I’ve ever seen and the lather gets high marks on all the major shaving properties. Unfortunately, this is the real world and the price can be a real problem for a lot of shavers. So here’s the question, is MdC worth the money? One of my other favorite soaps, PannaCrema is ~$20 (including shipping/import cost) for 100 grams but can be a pain to buy due to supply shortages. For $60, you get 200 grams of MdC and it arrived at my house from France in less than 7 days. Also, you need so little product to make mountains of lather that the jar should last a really long time. I think in the long run, MdC is about as expensive as the D.R. Harris and PannaCrema’s of the world. I think the biggest problem for justifying the cost of MdC is the availability of products like Tabac, MWF, Cella, and Razorock. These companies produce exceptional soaps for so little money. There are also great artisan soaps available like Mike’s, B&M, and Synergy that while cost slightly more than the commercial brands, still fall way under the cost of using MdC. Do I feel MdC was better than any of the above mentioned brands? Yes, but is it worth buying? Maybe. That’s the best I can do. This is a very individualized question and I can’t spend your money for you, but I’m glad that I now have MdC in my stock and will be enjoying it for a while.

Notes: I have softened water and this probably impacts how I lather soaps.

Equipment Used:
Weber PH Bulldog w/ Polsilver Super Iridium (2)
Rudy Vey Custom w/ Muhle Fibre Synthetic
Proraso White Pre-save
Myrsol Agua Balsámica





 
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I should have also noted that I, personally, really enjoyed using this soap and would put this into the "Would buy again" category. I'm not put off by the price though, and this soap seems to be somewhat polarizing because of the price. For the money, you're going to get a fantastic product that will get you fantastic shaves. But the same can be said about Arko.
 
Really good review and appreciate the pics!

Any comments as to how it compares to MdC's original soap and other offerings?
 
Any comments as to how it compares to MdC's original soap and other offerings?
The scented is similar in scent (my opinion)to the fougere, but the fougere's smell is stronger. The unscented smells more clean and earthy-sweet. They all seem to lather the same and give the same shave. If you had to pick one, I would say the fougere, mostly because I like the smell, but unscented would be my #2 since it would be the most different from the 2 scented versions and some people just don't like scented shave soaps.
 
The scented is similar in scent (my opinion)to the fougere, but the fougere's smell is stronger. The unscented smells more clean and earthy-sweet. They all seem to lather the same and give the same shave. If you had to pick one, I would say the fougere, mostly because I like the smell, but unscented would be my #2 since it would be the most different from the 2 scented versions and some people just don't like scented shave soaps.
Can't wait to get this one, but I just have to finish my scented original first. So only another 200 years before then...!
 
I did order directly from France, but I bought 3 tubs and that cut the shipping price per tub down. Find a friend that wants to buy it with you and splint the cost. I believe there are some B&B vendors that sell this stuff stateside. Old Town Shaving may have some, give them a call and see if their price is any better.
 
Cool, appreciate the advice. I'll give Old Town a buzz.

Not sure why 73 hurts much more than 60; we're interesting creatures. Feel like every shaving journey requires at least trying MdC.
 
spot on review I have been using MDC exclusively for the past month or so and I love it! Aside from the great results I really like the short ingredient list and the fact that it is a non animal based product, but thats just my preference. I would offer one suggestion, maybe you don't need to put water in the jar as it would extend the life of the product. But thats just a suggestion.

Thanks again for your review
 
I ended up going the direct route. Looked from other threads that Old Town Shaving was charging a shade under $70 so I decide to throw in the extra 3 bucks to get it straight from the maker. Hope I like the scent, the Valobra Fougere isn't something that I love smelling.

Sorry for derailing your thread, Evil4blue. It was indeed a thoughtful and useful review for the rest of us.
 
I ended up going the direct route. Looked from other threads that Old Town Shaving was charging a shade under $70 so I decide to throw in the extra 3 bucks to get it straight from the maker. Hope I like the scent, the Valobra Fougere isn't something that I love smelling.

Sorry for derailing your thread, Evil4blue. It was indeed a thoughtful and useful review for the rest of us.
Hey, no worries and if my experience is anything to base MdC's service on, you'll be shaving with the soap by next weekend.

As for the scent, it really grew on me as I used it. I really, really enjoy it now and hopefully you will too.

Lastly, I've had maybe 30 shaves out of the jar pictured and I've barely dented the surface of the soap. Really, I'm amazed at how little product you need to make good lather with MdC. That $70 will buy you a lot of soap.

Let us know your experience once you get you soap in.
 
This was a fantastic review. Thanks so much for writing it up. I really enjoyed the read. I've been on the fence and very curious about MdC Fougere for a while now, and I think you may have just pushed me over the edge to add it to my short list. When will I get around to actually buying it… that's another question, but I sure look forward to it. Glad to hear it's working out so well for you. I don't know why but I just really enjoyed this review (like I already said). Very well put together.
 
I found the cushion great, slickness pretty good but might not have had my water amount quite right on my first lather. The scent is growing on me, but it's not a scent I loved right off the bat like I did with TOBS Jermyn Street. My final opinion overall is a work in progress but I'm glad I tried it. After only 1 shave I'm not sure whether I'd buy it again.

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