Brush: Yaqi Cashmere Synthetic
Soap: Stirling Soap Company Stirling Gentleman
Aftershave: Stirling Soap Company Stirling Gentleman Splash / Balm
I opted to revisit an old faithful today. I haven’t been using Stirling soaps that often. I have found newer soap formulations from other artisans were really catching my eye and I found their performance was working so much better for me. Today I figured I would revisit one of the first sets I picked up and put it thru it’s paces.
First off, Stirling still offers one of the best price to quality soap offerings out there. They have a large number of scents, offer splashes and balms for each soap, and all perform well above average. You get a huge tub of soap for the price that will last a very long time. They also offer a really nice sample format so you can try a large number of scents before you commit to a set.
I’ve always found Stirling easy to lather, but the more I used newer bases from other artisans, the less I was reaching for Stirling. Today, I wanted to push the base a bit and see if I could dial it in a bit more. What I found is that while Stirling lathers easily, dialling it in to get the best performance out of it takes some patience. Today I pushed the water content. I lathered to a point it looked great, and then I pushed in some more water. I then worked it a bit more til it looks great, and then I added more water. Adding it slowly and working it, I was able to improve the lather a bunch vs where I normally found it. It developed that little bit of a glossy sheen to it. Cushion is excellent. Slickness was very good, although residual slickness still suffered a bit for me. I’d recommend keeping the lather on whenever you touch razor to face. Post shave was quite nice. I was surprised at how much I liked the lather today. So I guess I’d revise my opinion a bit, it is easy to lather but tricky to dial in for optimal performance. I have a much easier time getting the most out of newer bases, but with a bit of patience, you can really elevate the lather from this soap.
The scent on Stirling Gentleman is fantastic. Tobacco, Vanilla, Amber, and Musk. It is a really nice, masculine blend. Scent is strong and when layered with the splash and balm, you will carry it all day. The splash has really nice scent strength and a good alcohol kick. With the balm, the scent is a bit toned down in strength and to me, it was a touch heavy for my preference. It performed well, it just felt a touch heavy going on.
All in all, a great shave today. Lesson for the day, keep pushing those lathers, see what you can get out of them. A bit of patience and a bit of extra water and you can turn a good shave into a great one.