What's new

Stirling Varen Shave Soap Review

I actually got samples of Scott's pine and varen (along with the aftershave samples) last Saturday and I already own a full size Glastonbury. I shaved with the Scots pine this morning, and it's okay scent wise, but I like Coniferous better as far as the scent. Way better pine scent. We will see how varen goes. The performance of the mutton soaps is unbelievable, but I'm just not sold on any of the scents so far... I really wish they would do my favorite scent, Christmas eve, in mutton!
My secret to getting around the scent thing, (and I agree, Coniferous is the best natural smelling pine forest scent) is to use the Scots Pine Sheep soap, but then use Coniferous, Ozark Mountain or Christmas Eve splash afterwards. Performance of the Sheep, with a long lasting aftershave scent that you like better, bam!
 
John it's good to see you back and having success w/ Stirling. I had the Electric Sheep in my rotation, but it had been pushed aside by other purchases. Since reading this post, I have become intrigued about Varen, and since I didn't have Executive Man...

Oh, BTW, Electric Sheep was pushed aside by MdC Fougere and Stirling Strawberry Lemonade( this soap makes me smile every time I use it!)

marty
 
After listening to all of you crow about Varen for far too long, I finally broke down and got a tub. I have been one of the very few people around here that have not gotten along with Stirling soaps. It was not for a lack of trying, as I think I have about 6 or 8 tubs sitting on the shelf being ignored right now. The only one that came close to being decent for me was Ozark Mountain. The scent was excellent, but the performance for me was not great. So I use it when i am thinking about camping etc. None of the descriptions of the Mutton scents were appealing to me. So it was with great reluctance that I ordered a tub of Varen, and gave the Mutton a try. The first shave with it was this morning. The smell wasnt bad. Very reminiscent of Ozark Mountain to some degree, but more grass than pine. The performance was good. After shaving with two different Omnibus soaps for the last couple of weeks, the bar is incredibly high. I dont think the Varen has quite the luxurious face feel of Omnibus during the shave. Had I not been using Omnibus so much, i may feel differently. But yes... the post shave feel is excellent! I am glad I got it and gave it a try. I will keep using it and see how it goes. I may become a Stirling convert after all. Thanks for the enabling! :)

2021-11-04 10.25.34.jpg
 

Rhody

I'm a Lumberjack.
I too went with the sheep 🐑 I went with scots pine as a safer choice on scent. I must say I like it. Wonderful lather I do notice a difference in the soap lather too. It seems thicker. Very high quality, cushion slick and nice post shave. I went with Scott’s pine aftershave too. It’s nice. Not as strong as other stirling aftershaves but that’s probably best given the scent profile. I also went just menthol not glacial like I usually do abd I think I like that level of kick better. It’s not so overpowering and my eyes didn’t water 💦
Must also comment on stirling as for high value. 5.8 oz of soap and they always fill the aftershave up to the very top. Very much appreciated. I do like their old style bottles much better however.
 

JCarr

More Deep Thoughts than Jack Handy
I'm also not a big fan of Stirling beef tallow soaps. They're ok, but not high on my list. And I'm in the same boat as the OP ... It wasn't for lack of trying as I must own half a dozen tubs. But the mutton tallow soaps are absolute gold... definitely a different product.

I wish they would venture out with some of their existing scents and start making more of their scents in the mutton tallow base.
 

Hannah's Dad

I Can See Better Than Bigfoot.
I'm also not a big fan of Stirling beef tallow soaps. They're ok, but not high on my list. And I'm in the same boat as the OP ... It wasn't for lack of trying as I must own half a dozen tubs. But the mutton tallow soaps are absolute gold... definitely a different product.

I wish they would venture out with some of their existing scents and start making more of their scents in the mutton tallow base.
I had relegated Stirling to my ‘second tier’ soap list, favoring instead the likes of DG, B&M, A&E, M&M (to name a few of ‘the lettermen’ soaps).

But when I tried mutton for the first time …
1636116048883.gif
 
Last edited:
I guess we are all different in our experiences. No doubt water, gear, and technique all play a part.

This week I have been using the beef (Christmas Eve) and mutton (Glastonbury) bases on alternating days. There are differences, but for me not so large that the mutton tallow is mind-blowingly better. All good, just different.

I used up a sample of Varen a year ago, and although it has been long enough that I don't clearly remember it, apparently it did not stand out to me as substantially better since I did not get a full puck. When I next need to restock I probably will. I must have liked the Varen scent more than the Glastonbury, since I used it first. I do like fougere and earthy scents.
 
I enjoy the scent of varen but it’s not in my top 3. It seems to have a scent profile that’s similar to Stirling spice. Just ordered a couple tubs of varen so I don’t have to worry about them discontinuing it for awhile
 

doctordial

my brain goes "thonk"
Rod had sent me sample of the Varen soap with an order years ago. He didn't have it in full production at the time and called it Fern. When I took the wrapper of of it, I thought to myself, this soap is sticky and not very firm. It was sticking to my fingers and to the wrapper and was bending very easily. After I got over that, I started to use the soap and said the very things you al are saying about. I really looked foward to the fragrance this soap and the shave. It took Rod 2+ years to put this into full production so you guys are probably getting a firmer soap than what I got. I have a little left over so I'm going to take it out and see what I can get out of it. I think this can easily give Tabac a run for it's money. Btw. Tabac was the first soap that I used that made want to shave with soaps.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
I guess we are all different in our experiences. No doubt water, gear, and technique all play a part.

This week I have been using the beef (Christmas Eve) and mutton (Glastonbury) bases on alternating days. There are differences, but for me not so large that the mutton tallow is mind-blowingly better. All good, just different.

I used up a sample of Varen a year ago, and although it has been long enough that I don't clearly remember it, apparently it did not stand out to me as substantially better since I did not get a full puck. When I next need to restock I probably will. I must have liked the Varen scent more than the Glastonbury, since I used it first. I do like fougere and earthy scents.

There are so many superlative shave performers around these days, the really outstanding products are not head and shoulders above the others, IMO. I'm not sure the mutton soaps shave substantially better than the beefers (Tabac, Cella, B&M, et al) but the after-shave face feel is in a class by itself. It's a Tier 1 soap for me, but it's the whole package that made me a fan. The after-shave face feel is a big part of that. Maybe the biggest part of it, actually.

Do I think you're missing out on a huge life changer if you don't try it? No. But there is something about these mutton tallow soaps that is just different, in a very good way. Even @Marco found out. Best soap in the world? Definitely not. But there is just something about it that stands out.

If you've over-shaved lately, or the changing of the seasons has dried your face out a bit, try a mutton tallow soap from Stirling for a few days. I can't guarantee it will be the best shave of your life. But I think I can guarantee that after a few shaves with it, your face will thank you for it.
 
There are so many superlative shave performers around these days, the really outstanding products are not head and shoulders above the others, IMO. I'm not sure the mutton soaps shave substantially better than the beefers (Tabac, Cella, B&M, et al) but the after-shave face feel is in a class by itself. It's a Tier 1 soap for me, but it's the whole package that made me a fan. The after-shave face feel is a big part of that. Maybe the biggest part of it, actually.

Do I think you're missing out on a huge life changer if you don't try it? No. But there is something about these mutton tallow soaps that is just different, in a very good way. Even @Marco found out. Best soap in the world? Definitely not. But there is just something about it that stands out.

If you've over-shaved lately, or the changing of the seasons has dried your face out a bit, try a mutton tallow soap from Stirling for a few days. I can't guarantee it will be the best shave of your life. But I think I can guarantee that after a few shaves with it, your face will thank you for it.
I agree with this entirely. Excellent soap. But the Varen I have is not better than the new Omnibus soaps. Had I tried it before Omnibus came out, I might feel differently. But I didn’t. And the post shave feel of Varen is quite good. But for me, Omnibus is better in that regard as well. I am glad I tried it though. It’s a good soap. Just not mind blowing. The bar was set too high for me by all the fans on here. I’ve had performance issues with Stirling soaps in the past. So I’m glad they have upped their game since I last bought one.
 
Picked up a sample of Varen that came in last Friday, so I tried it out on Saturday and again this morning. Upon initially smelling it, all I could smell was pine. Now that my nose has adjusted a bit, definitely not pine, must be that foguere or whatever its supposed to be (I have less than zero knowledge of scents). Pretty nice scent actually once you get used to it.

I've only used creams and hard milled soaps in the past, so the softness of this soap threw me off a little bit. On Saturday I seriously overloaded the brush and as a result had a slightly dry lather on the first pass, but easily fixed that up for the second pass. Overall shave was not great since I went ahead with my first pass even though I knew it was too dry and pasty which led to a fair bit of irritation. Despite that, my skin felt super soft all day.

This morning I was more cognizant and didn't load the brush for more than 10 or 15 seconds, which was still more than I needed for my 2.5 pass shave. I made sure the lather was nicely hydrated. I will say that it does not seem quite as slick as tabac (tallow version) but the post shave feel is out of this world. I'll definitely be ordering a full puck!
 
I had some very real "issues" with the Omnibus soap base from B&M.
It's likely just a personal choice thing, and it may be just the one single scent that I bought (Melange) but the Stirling Scotts Pine and Varen wipe Omnibus Melange right off the map for shave quality.
If you're a younger guy who doesn't have thin skin and wrinkles, you may have a different opinion.
 

Hannah's Dad

I Can See Better Than Bigfoot.
I had some very real "issues" with the Omnibus soap base from B&M.
It's likely just a personal choice thing, and it may be just the one single scent that I bought (Melange) but the Stirling Scotts Pine and Varen wipe Omnibus Melange right off the map for shave quality.
If you're a younger guy who doesn't have thin skin and wrinkles, you may have a different opinion.
Phil, if you like menthol and don’t mind the scent of citronella, you must get the Glacial Electric Sheep. It’s brilliant.
 
Top Bottom