What's new

New ABC Hard Soap (vs the last version)

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
Antica Barbieria Colla has re-released their hard shaving soap. This is a reformulated soap, not the same as the old version of a few years ago. Ingredient labels shown below.

TL;DR: Based on one three pass shave with a straight razor, the new version is slightly (but not much) inferior to the last version except in two areas. The new version is slicker and cheaper, it’s about half the price of the old version. The new version is priced more competitively against its peers like MdC and SV, and even the better hard English soaps (except on scent). The new version is an exceptionally good straight razor soap due to the slickness.

Price: the new version is about $32 US for 125g delivered from ABC (I bought 4 to get free shipping and they emailed a free product offer which I have not yet redeemed). The old version retailed for about $70 US from US resellers but was cheaper from ABC, about $45 IIRC.

Consistency and appearance: The new soap is denser, whiter, smoother, and with a translucent waxy appearance. It is a palm oil soap. The old version was more opaque, less dense, less smooth in appearance, less white, and was a coconut oil soap. Both are hard cured non-milled soaps similar in consistency to Martin de Candre, especially the older version.

Scent: Both are a very light almond scent. They could be considered unscented by many.

Ease of lathering: Both are easy to lather, the old version is a bit easier to lather as expected, sharing a formula very similar to MdC.

Quality of lather: Both excellent, the old version is more MdC like though it was better in all aspects, especially post shave feel. The new version‘s lather is still rich and creamy but a little slower to lather and a little thinner, though I expect that more loading would add to the new version’s lather density. One very nice quality about the new version is that it is very slick, like SV beta 4.3 slick. Shaved skin loses some slickness if it dries, but a quick wipe with wet fingers brings the slickness back without re-lathering, very much like SV beta 4.3. Post shave is still excellent.

Who should consider it: Straight razor users for certain, especially if strong scents are not a requirement.
Who should consider a pass: It’s still a pricey soap, so if that’s an issue there are soaps that are a better value. If you want a strong scent, this soap won’t satisfy you.

Below, old version right, new version left.

065F5231-4C6A-4224-B74B-DF51285B9432.jpeg3195BE3D-0A00-4CF8-9922-F5BDD2CF57B3.jpeg
 
Excellent presentation! Thanks . I'm glad they lowered the price. $ 32 is a price closer to reality. Overall, in your opinion it is over SV, which offers a larger amount for the same money?
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
Excellent presentation! Thanks . I'm glad they lowered the price. $ 32 is a price closer to reality. Overall, in your opinion it is over SV, which offers a larger amount for the same money?

TBD, I haven’t used it as much as SV yet.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
Is there a noticeable difference in performance of soap vs cream?

The new version of the hard soap is slicker than either the cream or the old version of the hard soap. The differences are not huge but noticeable and the lather from the cream and old hard soap are a bit better IMO.
 

shavefan

I’m not a fan
Excellent write up @Steve56 !

I think it's still a pass for me as the almond scent is most likely derived from benzaldehyde, which lights my skin on fire.
 

shavefan

I’m not a fan
Where did you find out about this?

Benzaldehyde is the most used fragrance for 'almond' scent. Several years ago I tried many traditional Italian shave soaps that were almond scented and all resulted in irritation of my skin. It took me a while to find the cause but I narrowed it down to the common denominator which is benzaldehyde.

However, I think Wholly Kaw uses a benzaldehyde free almond scent so maybe this new formula from ABC does as well. Matter of fact, I'll email them with the question and update here.
 

Steve56

Ask me about shaving naked!
Update to my original post after using it several more times - not much to update really.

Blooming the new version a little helps, and if bloomed it lathers about as easily as the old. Just put a little water on the surface while you shower/prep and life is good.

The lather is a little lower structure than the old, but the lather is still far better than most competitors. This is a non-issue but since I was doing a comparison I mentioned it.

And that’s about it, the initial impressions were pretty close considering they were based on one shave. I am considering that ‘slightly inferior’ may be incorrect, it’s just different.

ABC is having a buy three get one free sale until October 16th. As you might suspect, it isn’t quite as simple as that. If you buy three products, the CHEAPEST additional product is free, so you can’t buy anything cheaper than the soap - not that this is much of a problem at ABC! Next, €100 gets you free worldwide shipping, but you’ll have to buy 5 soaps to get free shipping where it used to be 4 ex-promotion, but not to worry, if you do so, 5 soaps are the price of 4 without the promotion. Christmas is coming quickly and shipping is likely to be an issue this year I think.
 
I just received the soap. It’s not as good as sv or any artisan soap out there but I still like it. It gets the job done. For me ethos is top quality artisanal soap and abc fits the bill when I want to use something more traditional.
 
Top Bottom