I tested a sample of Shannon's soaps Balkan Blend, a tobacco scented shaving soap. This soap has the Chupacabra base so I was expecting good things and I was not disappointed. First, the scent. I normally don't like tobacco scents since I quit using any tobacco 40 years ago. I do like the smell of tobacco hanging in a barn to cure, but not processed tobacco. I have only found one tobacco soap that I like (love) and it has that smell, plus leather and other good things. I was surprised by this soap, completely. Lathering really brought forth some wonderful notes, such as cherry, vanilla, spice, and maybe a little orange or something that offsets the sweetness. It is hard to describe. It smells like a good quality pipe tobacco and it makes me want to wear it. I read that it has Virginian, Oriental, and Latakia tobacco scents in it. It sure smells good, no matter what. It is very manly. I like it.
The Chupacabra base is among the best available and this was no exception. The picture above is after hand lathering to check the consistency and then face lathering. In other words, this soap made lots of good, creamy lather. I did add water a time or two as I found that the Chupacabra is sometimes a little thirsty, but not as bad as some. I used a brush made from a Maggard's handle and a tuxedo knot that I also got from Maggards and glued together myself. It is actually a very good performer and soft, too.
Let me add that I never use a pre-shave of any kind. I bathe and shave after I step out of the shower (sorry, I know that will be hard to get out of your heads). I want soaps to perform on their own merits.
Taking my prized Thiers Issard Medaille D'Or Alger blonde horn straight razor in hand. I started on the tender area under my bottom lip. As soon as I made the first stroke I knew I was in for a great shave. I made three passes: WTG, ATG, and XTG. Going ATG and XTG I was able to make strokes that would have been dangerous or impossible with many other soaps. This soap is as slick as a Vaselined door knob. The residual slickness was so good I didn't even bother to re-lather on touch ups.
I didn't add any aftershave or balm as I wanted to see how my face felt after the shave. This is a tallow + lanolin soap, two of my favorite ingredients. It also has goat's milk and other good things. It has a lot of butters but my face didn't feel like I had been using a butter bomb.
Ingredients: Tallow, kokum butter, avocado oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, stearic acid, glycerin, lanolin, coconut oil, Goat Milk, Mallow extract, Buckthorn extract, Meadowfoam seed oil, Vitamin E, Fragrance.
Scent: 10/10 (I couldn't help it. I had to score this a 10. It deserves it.)
Post shave face feel: 9.8/10
Closeness: 10/10 (near BBS and I wasn't trying)
Skipping/Dragging: 10/10 (Nada, none, zilch)
Price: 10/10 (At $16 for 4 oz. this is a real value)
Total score: 9.97/10
I have to say that these Chupacabra base soaps are better than soaps costing several times the price. At the price they do cost there is no comparison. I am no fan boy. Anyone reading my posts knows I will criticize a poor or average performer. I use a straight razor because I think if it is good with a straight razor the soap will be good with other types. I want to soap to speak for itself. In this case, I believe this is a real winner.
(Now, if I can figure out a way to get some of that aftershave...)