Razor: Yaqi Mellon
Blade: Astra Green
Brush: Paragon Synthetic
Soap: Van Yulay Bacchus
Aftershave: Van Yulay Bacchus

Another Black Friday add.  I had picked up a couple Van Yulay products a while ago with an Amazon.com gift card I had won.  This soap was the stand out scent from that batch, so much so I wanted to add the matching splash.  Fast forward to Black Friday and there was a great deal on Van Yulay products via their website.  I picked up the matching splash, as well as several other products.  You will see some more of those posted in the near future.

Van Yulay is an interesting company.  I think they may have the largest shaving soap line of any artisan I’ve ever seen.  The collection is huge, coming in a few different bases and formats.  Her samples are packaged really nice with a colourful label attached.  Her main products, I find the quality control on the labelling leaves a bit to be desired.  I find often the labels have scratches, discolorations, orientation issues.  Given the vast size of the product line, I would see how it would be tough to keep on top of all of this.  Then you open the tub and look inside and most of her soaps are piped in with a nice design.  I can just imagine the time that goes into that.  I wish the attention on the outside matching the attention paid inside.  But I digress.

The scent on Bacchus is fantastic.  It is based off the Keith Urban Phoenix fragrance.  I’ve never tried it, and it appears to be discontinued, so I have no idea how accurate this is.  Scent notes are Blackberry, cognac, suede, musk, Canadian balsam, Mexican chocolate, woodsy notes, Tonka bean, amber and leather.   It is a really well blended, masculine scent.  It is has a nice ruggedness to it with some sweetness of the Mexican Chocolate and Blackberry.  I keep going back to the tub for a smell.  Scent strength on this is a medium.  I do wish it was dialed up a touch.

I’ve been playing with this particular Van Yulay base for a while now and I think I have got the most out of it.  I hesitate to say dialed in, because this particular base is a bit of an enigma.  The hydration band for this is pretty narrow so it is tricky to get it to an optimal performance.  Depending on how you push the water content will vary the results a lot.  I found I can either hesitate on the water a bit and get great cushion and post shave but slickness is a bit average.  If I push the water a bit more, the slickness becomes excellent but the cushion and post shave falls off for me.    There doesn’t really seem to be an optimal middle ground where everything is balanced on that front.  So I typically opt for a bit more slickness and let the rest of the shave play out from there.  Doing that, I’ve found gets me the best shaves and I do get really good shaves with it this way.  Today was no exception, a great shave.

For the post, the matching aftershave is a witch hazel base and is a nice quality skin food base.  The scent is a perfect match, but again could use a touch more strength on this one.  Skin was left feeling nice and hydrated.  A great finish to the shave and I get that subtle Phoenix goodness following me.  Hopefully it sticks around for a while.

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