Razor: Karve Overlander
Blade: Statum Platinum Chrome
Brush: Spiffo! 24mm Two Band Badger
Soap: Elvado Woodland Reserve
Aftershave: Elvado Woodland Reserve Pre-Shave/Beard Oil / Elvado Woodland Reserve Balm
Other: Thirsty Badger Brush Soaker
One of the first Canadian artisans I discovered when I started my wet shaving journey was Elvado. They actually make one of my favorite scents, Pacific Coast Kahuna, so you can imagine my sadness when they decided to close their doors. Well a few short weeks ago, John from Elvado reached out and let me know they were relaunching with a new scent and wanted to know if I would be interested in giving it a try. For transparency, the products you see here were sent to me at no charge for review, but the opinions are my own. With that, on with my thoughts.
The first thing I noticed upon opening the box was that Elvado has undergone some packaging changes. Branding has changed, the balm is now in a glass pump container, the soap (cream? more on that to come) is in a smaller plastic tub and it included a pre-shave + beard oil (which may or may not be a new offering, I’ve never really been one for oils). You aren’t going to be loading from this tub but with the consistency of this soap, you really wouldn’t want to. It does say soap on the container but I’d really classify this more in line with a heavy or stiff cream. The formula on these appears to be similar but different from the last lineup I’m familiar with.
Let’s start off with the soap. The scent on this is a really nice citrus / woodsy blend. It is described as woodsy, citrus, and floral with notes of cedar, sweet orange and ylang-ylang. I really enjoy the scent but I can tell you, it is quite light. I’d say this is a 2.5 / 10 on the scent strength. I can say it is the type of scent I tend to be a bit nose blind to, so I asked my wife to check and she said it was a medium scent strength. She liked it quite a bit and could pick it up more than myself. I would caution you, if you like big and bold scents, this isn’t it. But if you gravitate to lighter, fresher, and definitely office-safe scents, this is a great one. It is simple but clean and fresh. It is also described as having skin-safe ingredients and is scented with a 100% essential oil blend if that happens to be important for you. I can see this being a workhorse in your shaving den as you can follow it up with many different fragrance options. As I mentioned above, it is labeled as a soap but this is very much in line with their previous cream. It is quite soft, scooping is a must and performs very much like their previous cream base. Performance-wise, it doesn’t take or hold a lot of water and it is super simple to lather and dial in. It doesn’t feel like that super hydrated base that many artisans gravitate to these days, but where it shines is how easy it is to work with. More than enough slickness and protection, and the post-shave isn’t drying or problematic at all. I’d say if you like traditional shave creams like a Prorasso or a Taylor of Old Bond Street, this will be an elevated experience over those while keeping the very simple ease of use.
While I was a bit disappointed with the scent strength in the soap, I have happy to say the oil and pre-shave both punch it up a notch. Neither is strong but both are very apparent and enjoyable. I’d say they hit around medium scent strength. I’ve never been a pre-shave oil guy, but I’ve been giving it several uses to test it out. I’ve found that it has helped me fill the gap on the scent strength and the combination of pre-shave/soap/balm has left my skin feeling very hydrated and comfortable, even with a bit of sun/wind damage. It is a winning combination. And speaking of balm, that is a big win here. I’ve never been a balm guy but if I reach for a balm this is exactly what I’m looking for. It is creamy but thin and light. It doesn’t sit on the skin and absorbs very well. Given the scent profile on this, I can see using this a lot with a variety of spring/summer soap scents.
All in all, I’m quite happy with this relaunch lineup. I can definitely see using this quite a bit this summer as I’m starting to transition back to work in the office from working from home. This would be a great intro shave set for someone new to the hobby, or those that appreciate fresh, clean, and simple scents. Sadly John informed me Pacific Coast Kahuna isn’t scheduled for a comeback, but maybe, if enough people drop him a line, we can get him to change his mind :p
Happy to have another Canadian shave company up and running….. #SaveTheKahuna and all for now,