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My complete review of the D. R. Harris Line-up

I bought a D R Harris (DRH) sampler back that has all 8 of their scents. Each mini tub had 7 shaves worth in it. I’m going to place each product that I tried into 1 of 4 categories. Excellent, Good, Bad and Yuck. If a slash is separating two categories then I think it fits in both depending on mood OR it is in-between these two categories. Naturally, the key factors that determine where the product ranks are scent, performance and post-shave feel. Obviously, each of these is subjective so take my review as you will. My review is sorted alphabetically and is otherwise in so specific order.

General:

DRH is an amazing shaving cream that lathers very quickly and provides some of the thickest, slickest, most luxurious lather you could generate in seconds. Each and every single product in the line-up is around TOBS aloe vera (which in my opinion is the best shaving cream I’ve ever used in terms of slickness; post-shave feel and lather. None of the products feel even somewhat drying or sticky like some of the TOBS creams and Proraso products. You really can’t go wrong with any of the products performance wise. I used half an almond size amount of shave cream per shave and I definitely had more than enough for a 3-pass+ shave if I needed it. Adding too much/too little water doesn’t seem to have a huge impact on the lather though of course, don’t expect optimal results if you don’t use optimal amounts of water. The scents of the creams in general were weaker than TOBS from my use though some of my samples had dried up a little. Take scent strength with a grain of salt BUT the actual scents were still very much present and identifiable. Overall, they are more neutral than TOBS creams. Not too sweet but not crisp either. They are mostly gentle aromas. The ingredient list is also much simpler across the board for these creams and most ingredients are synthetic versions of organic compounds anyway. Overall, scent strength was weaker during use, but scent durability was stronger. You also don’t need as much of DRH as you need of TOBS.

Reviews:

Almond:


Tier: Meh

Whilst I don’t hate this like I absolutely hated the TOBS almond cream, I still don’t love it either. I find almond scents unagreeable but the thing that makes this better than TOBS almond (which I kept in the yuck tier) was that the scent was crisper and less powerful. It’s there and it just complements the shave. Lather is excellent for baseline DRH and there doesn’t seem to be any added benefit from almond extract. It still has the medicinal marzipan scent which I dislike but this is pretty much its only negative aspect. If you like almond and want something a little gentler scent wise than TOBS almond but performs better whilst using less product…this is it. Good post shave feel and residual slickness, plenty of protection and a good performing cream. Just not a fan of the scent.

Arlington:

Tier: Bad

Arlington is a lot like TOBS Eton College (almost uncanny how similar the two are to me). It’s a little nicer though, in that the citrus is present and has a nice bitter tang to the end of the scent note and the fern provides flowery-woodsy depth to the rest of the scent. It’s a little sweet (borderline sugary). This had a stronger scent than the almond but was otherwise identical in lather, post shave feel and residual slickness. (most of the DRH line-up is identical except for parfum and slight additions of extracts). ‘Lemon + Orange + Sticks with leaves still on it’ is how I’d describe the scent. Its okay, and honestly a little too similar to TOBS Eton College (which is half the price). Not as sweet and superior in performance and post shave feel but not worth it imo when compared to the more unique offerings in the DRH line-up. Especially when it seems to have the same scent as a TOBS cream.

Eucalyptus:

Tier: Good

Scent is a gentle, definite eucalyptus scent. More like Vicks for babies and Eucalyptus drops than harsh eucalyptus extract. The menthol feels slightly stronger than Proraso Green and provides a nice cooling sensation without going overboard and making it so there is any discomfort or burning. As explained earlier, there is basically no difference between any of the DRH line-up performance wise between scents. Formulation changes somewhat (and this does have Eucalyptus oil in its formulation) but the only real change between products is the scent. I like this one. It isn’t like Proraso green which has a less clear eucalyptus scent. This is absolutely Eucalyptus and nothing else. There is also no counterpart in the TOBS line-up, so you are getting something unique here.

Lavender:

Tier: Good/meh

A mix of Lavender and Fennel and a hint of cumin, this is nice nocturnal scent that is relaxing and invigorating. Unlike TOBS where it was overpowered by the extras, this cream has lavender at the forefront and does not have a woody undertone but rather a simple fennel and cumin mix that makes the lavender more appealing. It almost has a licorice undertone and I like that it is weaker in scent, allowing the lavender to shine. The cream also has a deep purple colour. Not like off-white purple but an actual lavender purple colour. This is obviously unnatural colour which I’m not exactly thrilled about, but it is cool. It will stain the brush with repeated use though and I don’t know if it’ll wash out or not. I haven’t used enough for it to be a problem. These positives are unfortunately, outweighed by the fact that I can’t really tell the difference compared to TOBS lavender. Remembering they’re owned by the same company; it seems that this is just the DRH base mixed with a nearly identical scent that maybe has its proportions changed compared to TOBS. These proportions in the DRH are better but they are the same scent notes albeit in different quantities. I’m pretty sure the only reason I like this one more than TOBS is because DRH performs better but otherwise, Lavender still isn’t the scent for me. Can confirm that this is nice to use before going to sleep but seems a bit superfluous as I always shave in the morning. If you want a more masculine and a darker, earthier floral scent this is the one for you. DRH performance with a nice nocturnal floral and sharp fennel/cumin scent. Refreshing and invigorating but it loses points due to stark similarity with TOBS.

Marlborough:

Tier: Bad

A gentle blend of cedarwood and sandalwood. A non-offensive, wood scent which has clear cedar notes and a hint of sandalwood at the top end. This was weak scent, but it is one that you feel more than you smell if that makes sense. It’s a darker wood scent and is quite ashy but I think that the mix of woods betrays the strengths of them individually. Makes it feel a little too much like Cigarette smoke to me. DRH Sandalwood is much better for those who want a wood scented shave cream. Still unlike TOBS, the cream is non-drying and performs better. Otherwise, baseline DRH. Also, VERY similar to Mr. Taylors shave cream from TOBS. (I’m starting to notice a pattern here…)

Rose:

Tier: Good

If you like floral scents, you will like this rose scent. Reminiscent of a Turkish delight and is a little more flowery than its TOBS counterpart. There isn’t anything else present in its scent or formulation as in there isn’t really anything else in it, it is just pure rose. I found it a little feminine but it’s just a shave cream anyway. This is a sweet-scented cream that lathers well, and I found to actually be a little bit more soothing and moisturising than any of the other in the line-up. Maybe rose extract and oil helps in this regard but I definitely noticed that my skin was more moisturised and hydrated (but not oily) compared to the others. I suppose that technically makes the performance of this product better with enhanced post-shave feel. It also has a deep pink colour (artificial) which dyed my brush straight away after one use. Still not a fan of artificial colouring, I’d prefer to keep the cream as natural as possible, but it is cool to see the pink cream on the brush explode into lightly tinted lather. I prefer TOBS rose scent wise but this has better performance and post-shave by a significant margin. I feel like for daily use that this would get a tad boring compared to TOBS rose which has a more complex scent.

Sandalwood:

Tier: Excellent

I’m going to start this by saying I didn’t really like TOBS sandalwood. I’ve grown up around a LOT of sandalwood use in my culture and family. This is more akin to what the actual wood smells like compared to TOBS. A sharp, concise woody and somewhat herbal scent. Not earthy or musky. It is a nice perfume and feels as though the scent vaporises as you use it, making it really smell nice and balanced without being overpowering. A good scent strength, no complaints here. There is no sweetness to it at all and definitely no burning wood/ash scents either. There are other extracts in the formulation but the only two that come through are camphor and eucalyptus and even then, only slightly. Very reminiscent of Sandalwood plantations if you’ve ever been to one. There is also clove which adds that natural spice-menthol feeling when you rinse. I love this honestly. One of my favourites from the line-up.

Windsor:

Tier: Excellent

I really like this shave cream. At first it was confusing trying to identify the scent, but it was extremely pleasing. Very complex and very masculine. It has an aquatic earthy scent that I can’t quite exactly place mixed with a somewhat spiced gentle wood scent. There is also just a hint of lemon and grapefruit that just adds to the delight from the shave cream. It’s still quite gentle but it is also a very deep scent. The more you smell it, the more it evolves and changes. I’d definitely buy this again if I needed shave cream. Sort of Aquatic, grassy, woody but not ashy, leathery spice and citrus. That’s how I’d describe it. Can recommend this shave cream wholeheartedly.
 
Interesting. I've had Arlington and Eton College and much prefer the latter. Arlington had some note that just didn't sit well with me. Funny how we perceive things differently.

I agree on Windsor. One of the best scents ever.
 
Interesting. I've had Arlington and Eton College and much prefer the latter. Arlington had some note that just didn't sit well with me. Funny how we perceive things differently.

I agree on Windsor. One of the best scents ever.
I've used the both of these within a couple months of each other and to me, they are nearly identical (if they aren't outright the same). I guess we all pick up each thing differently. Almond has a cult following but I HATE it. Absolutely dislike the scent. To each their own haha.
 
Thanks for the nice review.



Scent of puck is completely different, and pleasant.





Not the same ownership, AFAIK.
I just don't like Almond scents in general. Didn't like it in TOBS and didn't like it in DRH. I guess that's why they make so many different scents!

I believe I read in another thread that TOBS, DRH and Geo. F. Trumpers are all owned by the same company/person. I'm not too sure but there is very stark similarity between a lot of the scents that would confirm that for me.
 
I just don't like Almond scents in general. Didn't like it in TOBS and didn't like it in DRH.
DRH and TOBS Almonds are based solely on benzaldehyde; the compound can be particularly cloying if over a certain level and used alone.
OTOH, DRH Almond hard soap (parfum) is a completely different animal: fizzy and slightly sweet, bitter and spicy. An "eau de quinine" type of scent.


I believe I read in another thread that TOBS, DRH and Geo. F. Trumpers are all owned by the same company/person.
At one time, T&H, GFT, DRH, TOBS and TAOS all used the same (third party) manufacturer (i.e. Creightons).
Today, Creightons makes T&H, GFT and SJOL.
 
DRH and TOBS Almonds are based solely on benzaldehyde; the compound can be particularly cloying if over a certain level and used alone.
OTOH, DRH Almond hard soap (parfum) is a completely different animal: fizzy and slightly sweet, bitter and spicy. An "eau de quinine" type of scent.



At one time, T&H, GFT, DRH, TOBS and TAOS all used the same (third party) manufacturer (i.e. Creightons).
Today, Creightons makes T&H, GFT and SJOL.
Interesting. If I can find a sample pack for their hard soaps, I'd be willing to give it a try. Regardless of who makes the creams, the scents that I said are similar are VERY, VERY similar. Almost identical.
 
Thanks for the great reviews!

I Love the scent of Arlington and picked up a bottle of the cologne for my dad who really likes it as well. With that being said, I can understand why some people may not like it, it is complex and there are a few strange notes in the mix. But I do agree with you about Marlbourgh which is VERY LIGHT and almost non existent to my nose. Need to check out the Rose, floral scents are a somewhat recent discovery and after years of thinking they were just for women, now have a keen appreciation for a well done floral scent....its funny how our "tastes" change over time.
 
nice review!
TBCH, I rarely use DR Harris creams, since I enjoy their tallow soaps so much!
Having said, Arlington cream remains a favorite, due to its great fruity scent.
DRH rose is also a good performer!

drharris creams.jpg
 
nice review!
TBCH, I rarely use DR Harris creams, since I enjoy their tallow soaps so much!
Having said, Arlington cream remains a favorite, due to its great fruity scent.
DRH rose is also a good performer!

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Is there a big difference between the cream versions and the soap versions? I'd assume some difference but I wouldn't think that there'd be a big difference in formulation.
 
Is there a big difference between the cream versions and the soap versions? I'd assume some difference but I wouldn't think that there'd be a big difference in formulation.

Completely different animals... Soaps are tallow based, creams are glycerin based. Both are pretty much respected here and do the job very well, but they are made and feel different
 
Thank you for a very informative review.
I wonder if the brush staining from certain varieties that you write of is permanent, or fades away when changing to another formula?
Also, you set out four categories or tiers: Excellent, Good, Bad and Yuck, yet you use "Meh" twice, a category not defined.
What does it mean? I cannot find it in my dictionary. Is it really a word?
Finally, why establish a "Yuck" category, when none of the products reviewed qualify for that tier?
 
Completely different animals... Soaps are tallow based, creams are glycerin based. Both are pretty much respected here and do the job very well, but they are made and feel different
Ah I see. The creams performance was very good across the board though the scents were unfortunately mostly disappointing for the price point imo. Another person here told me to use the almond soap as it has a completely different scent to the cream which I would do...but these soaps tend to last a long time and shaving soaps/creams are the only things that I change up to be honest haha.
 
Thank you for a very informative review.
I wonder if the brush staining from certain varieties that you write of is permanent, or fades away when changing to another formula?
Also, you set out four categories or tiers: Excellent, Good, Bad and Yuck, yet you use "Meh" twice, a category not defined.
What does it mean? I cannot find it in my dictionary. Is it really a word?
Finally, why establish a "Yuck" category, when none of the products reviewed qualify for that tier?
My brush has had most if not all of the staining removed with use of non-coloured product BUT I only used about a weeks worth of lavender and rose respecitvely and so maybe if you used either of these till you finished the tub, the staining would be permanent? Unfortunately, I can't test that but it's only a superficial change at worst so I don't think its a huge issue either way. As for my categories, these are just the general categories I use for stuff. Yuck doesn't necessarily indicate poor performance or poor value for money. To me, something that is 'yuck' is simply something that doesn't agree with me due to taste preferences. I wouldn't use something in yuck again regardless of price, performance, availability etc. For instance, I really can't stand Almond scented products but people love them whilst I like Arko and lots dislike it. My distaste for the product is really what the yuck tier is for. I left yuck in so people understand where I'm coming from and also because I reviewed the entire TOBS line-up too in which I used my yuck category. DRH almond nearly fit in but the weakness of the scent and superb performance make it so that if I had to, I'd use it again. I'd die before using TOBS almond again haha. The 'Meh' category is a colloquiolism. For me, 'Meh' is in between good and bad and is more of an ambivalent tier. Nothing great but not terrible. I'm pretty sure you say 'meh' when you don't really care about/for something either way. If I review anything else I'll add it in to my categories, it's more of an afterthought honestly.
 
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