Razor: Fatip Piccolo Special Edition
Blade: Gillette Wilkinson Sword
Brush: Paul Daniel Synthetic
Soap: Declaration Grooming Massacre of the Innocents
Aftershave: Declaration Grooming Massacre of the Innocents

I’m always a bit hesitant posting thoughts on a new base with my first use. While you may think soap is soap, a huge amount of R&D has happened and continues to happen in the wet shaving space that effects how a shave soap loads, lathers and performs depends on how you use it. I’m finding more and more these days that you really don’t get a proper evaluation of a soap until you’ve loaded/lathered/shaved with a base several times.

However, this new set arrived in my den yesterday and I said, the heck with it, I want to shave with this and post right now. I’m like a kid at Christmas. So please keep this in mind when reading, I haven’t gotten the base fully dialed in yet, I know my impressions are going to change a bit when I use this more.

The feature for this shave is Declaration Grooming Massacre of the Innocents in their new milk steak base. First off, the wow factor on the packaging is here. This is 100% my style. I love the artwork, labeling and packaging. Another nice touch, instead of adding menthol to the splash you get a small menthol vial separately. If you don’t like menthol, leave it out. If you love it, add the whole thing. A really nice touch. I like the chill of a menthol aftershave but I always find it interferes with scent. As such, I have left it out of the splash for now. Speaking of scent, this offering is based off of Parfums de Marly Herod. Scent notes are cinnamon, pepper wood, osmanthus, tobacco leaf, labdanum, incense, vanilla, cedar, vetiver, patchouli, iso e super, cypriol and musk. It is a wonderfully blended cologne scent. I get that wonderful tobacco/vanilla vibe with some added complexity of some spice, earthiness and musk. Think in the wheelhouse of a Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille or Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb. I am seriously considering picking up Herod based on this offering. Scent strength is on the stronger side of medium. I think I would have preferred it dialed up a touch more in the aftershave, but it is pretty close to perfect. Another concern I had heard from their previous Icarus base (which admittedly I still haven’t tried) is that the base adds something strange to the scent. I can say with this base, I don’t think that is an issue, there isn’t any scent in this that I would say doesn’t belong.

Performance on the soap is still a bit to be determined for me. First impressions are very good. The base is on the softer side and loads very easily….. a bit too easily in fact. I definitely overloaded. With a heavily loaded brush, it took me a bit to get the lather dialed in for the shave. Initially it felt heavy and dry. I kept painting in water and working it and eventually it loosened up for me into a very glossy and slick lather. Volume was on the lower side but that could be a result of how I had to lather based on the over load. Once I had the lather at this point, I can say slickness was elite level. I could barely hold on to my razor. Residual slickness was also great, buffing was no issue. Cushion felt quite good as well. I got a fantastic shave. Post shave felt really nice as well. I can say I was very impressed with the base but honestly, I don’t think I had it anywhere close to dialed in. I expect it gets better from here.

The aftershave was also a big win for me as well. As mentioned above, scent was just a touch lighter than I was hoping but it is still kicking around a couple hours later. Performance was excellent, my skin was left nice and hydrated with absolutely 0 burn or irritation. I’m unsure if this is a new formulation as well because I haven’t heard much about Declaration Grooming splashes. I think people need to talk about them more because the performance of this was on point.

I’m very impressed with this offering from Declaration Grooming and look forward to dialing it in further. I could see adding more of this to the den in the future. The only question is, which scent do i pick up next?