#1
(This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 07:33 AM by SharpSpine.)
The well loved Felce Aromtica soap from Saponficio Varesino just didn't work well for me. It seems to have many ardent fans, however.

Packaging: Excellent work on this aspect, and not just for this soap either. The entire brand has done very well with their packaging. Classy look and nicely consistent across their different offerings.

Scent: This soap initially was amazing and simply blew my socks off. Such a bright fougère that even has a little bite to it. It is a strong scent and this is why my love for it quickly faded. It wasn't very many shaves into it that this scent changed from a pleasant to a nauseating experience. If my love for the scent remained at that initial puppy love level then I would have never stopped using this soap despite the lack of other characteristics I deem desirable.

Lather: This is a hard soap and I could never get a thick, cushiony lather from it in my very hard water. I tried all the tricks short of grating it (though I did practically grate a puck of Dolomiti with no improvement) and couldn't keep the air out and the soap solids high. I will say that the thin lather I would get was extremely slick so maybe if I used a straight razor it would be better. My desire for a slick lather with some good density (cushion) was not satisfied with this soap.

Skin Care / Moisturizing: Not surprisingly with the type of lather I achieved from this soap I also did not notice much post-shave skin care or moisturizing benefit. I don't put much weight in this personally as we all have different facial chemistries and this is what aftershave splashes, balms, lotions, milks, etc are for.

Slickness: As mentioned above, the lather I got was very slick. No markdowns here. It was easy to go over areas multiple times due to the residual slickness.

Quality: Saponificio Varesino undoubtedly makes a high quality product. The soap pick itself has a nice branding stamp, the packaging is lovely, the logo and designs are quite beautiful. Good ingredients are also used so there is no slouch on there either.

Value: While many people espouse the amazing lather and performance of this soap, I just didn't see it. Despite all my efforts in risky when I loved the scent I could never develop what I consider a stable and acceptable shaving lather. At approximately $25 for 5.3 oz of soap (about $4.75 per oz) this soap falls into the medium-high cost category. I'd have no problem paying this for a soap base/formula that worked well for me. Unfortunately, this soap isn't for me but it doesn't mean that it isn't for you.
>>> Brian <<<
Happy beeps, buddy! Happy beeps!
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#2

Member
Chorley, Lancs. UK
Thanks for your detailed review and I agree on all the points you make.

I wanted so much to like this soap but it just left me wanting. Nearly everyone raves about the soap so I thought it was just me.
I do enjoy the scent but I found it be to very subtle, in fact only just there, which is different to most reviews which say it's strong. I thought I might have got a duff batch so I contacted SV through their website to explain but I've never had a reply so I'm not really impressed with SV.

I was thinking of trying the 70th anniversary soap but I'm thinking I'll have the same issues as you've highlighted so I don't think I'll bother.
Mike.
"Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming. - D.Bowie"
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#3
(This post was last modified: 12-05-2015, 07:04 PM by Hobbyist.)
Well this is bad news for me if I have the same experience. I just bought Manna soap and AS, Tundra soap and AS, and a wooden SV bowl all brand new from a BST. Regardless, I am still very excited to try SV and maybe with my "soft" water and a good synthetic brush I will not have the same issue. However, maybe Turdra will perform better anyway since it is the improved Beta 4.1 formula. I have also heard great things about Manna. Shave the Man on youtube does a great review on products and gave SV very high marks.
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#4
Have you seen the suggested lathering tips for Tundra Artica from SV themselves? Even they seem to know that their soap is difficult to lather. I don't know many people who will boil water just to let it sit on the soap for 5 minutes.

"cover the soap with boiling water for 5 minutes, school, save the "enhanced" water (a part of the film forming ingredients are contained within it) to use it to moisten your face, before lathering,
load the brush for about thirty seconds,
face lather."
>>> Brian <<<
Happy beeps, buddy! Happy beeps!
#5
(This post was last modified: 12-16-2015, 02:20 AM by shega. Edit Reason: clarity )
SV has not been a winner for me, despite my eagerness to love it.

I jumped on the SV train within days of the very first post announcing it at another forum, when it was just an Italian member praising the soap with a video (a very charming video I might add). I ordered directly from Italy, and when it arrived I hoped it would challenge my MdC. But it didn't. I couldn't figure it out! All the praise it was getting, and it was a mediocre performer with an outstanding postshave feel. But perfomance is far more important to me than postshave feel. In my experience the scents are almost nonexistent. I sold both my tins.

Then the 70th anniversary edition came out and I jumped again, thinking this new formula would solve the problem, and all the reviews praised it in a way that I am learning to ignore now. When it arrived, the scent was as faint as a scent can be, bordering "unscented" and the lather was the same as before: mediocre performance without the postshave properties of the Felce Aromatica. I just couldn't believe it. It actually irritated my skin. I will stick with MdC and Valobra tallow.

Bit by bit, I am learning to avoid the hype train...
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#6
Amazing how YMMV, I've had great results from all SV soaps... must be my water!
(I think I know who No.1 is!)
-Chris
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#7
(This post was last modified: 12-16-2015, 07:27 PM by Hobbyist.)
(12-06-2015, 01:49 AM)SharpSpine Wrote: Have you seen the suggested lathering tips for Tundra Artica from SV themselves? Even they seem to know that their soap is difficult to lather. I don't know many people who will boil water just to let it sit on the soap for 5 minutes.

"cover the soap with boiling water for 5 minutes, school, save the "enhanced" water (a part of the film forming ingredients are contained within it) to use it to moisten your face, before lathering,
load the brush for about thirty seconds,
face lather."

Yea I read that too. I wonder if it's because they are Italian and meant very hot but didn't know how to say it. Who the heck is going to boil water. They also say not to put the soap without the PET container inside of the wooden bowl. Well, my stupid PET won't fit in it unless I cram it so hard it will be stuck. I got in about 1/3 of the way and almost couldn't get it out. I don't know if the wooden bowl is smaller than normal or the PET is larger than normal. Needless to say it's the last time I buy anything like that from a BST because now I have a brand new never used wooden bowl with tag and liner and all and can't use it like they say. I am just going to put the puck in it without the PET and take my chances, but they say it can damage the wood. I don't see what the difference would be with other wooden bowls, which I don't own any of but it looks like most of them you just put the soap in them without anything else around it right?

As for the performance, I was able to get Manna to work out. My first attempt didn't turn out too good on the lather, but the slickness was exceptional. I was about to sell it and then was talked into trying it again by blooming it. I bloomed it with hot water for about 3 minutes and then used a synthetic brush and loaded the heck out of it for about 1 minute. I was able to get a good enough load for 2 good passes which is all I needed, but for that long a load you would think more lather would be produced. This time the lather turned out entirely different and had that nice thick cushion to it. I enjoyed the shave but the scent was nonexistent to my nose. All in all the performance is good and slickness is phenominal, the scent is lacking, it's a little difficult to load and lather, and I won't buy again most likely but mainly because of the scent. This was my first triple milled soap so I don't know if this is how they all are or just SV.
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#8

Member
Central PA, USA
(This post was last modified: 12-16-2015, 07:01 AM by Tom Janz.)
(12-16-2015, 02:55 AM)Number Six Wrote: Amazing how YMMV, I've had great results from all SV soaps... must be my water!
Same here. I own every one of their products, even a few of their LE's and I love every single one of them.
I get amazing performance, and the scents are simply outstanding.
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#9
(12-16-2015, 06:16 AM)Tom Janz Wrote:
(12-16-2015, 02:55 AM)Number Six Wrote: Amazing how YMMV, I've had great results from all SV soaps... must be my water!
Same here. I own every one of their products, even a few of their LE's and I love every single one of them.
I get amazing perforce, and the scents are simply outstanding.

The scents are wonderful on the two I bought, Tundra and Manna. The only problem for me is when I lather it I don't smell it much if at all. On the puck though it is great.
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#10

Member
Connecticut
I initially shared your experience with these soaps Brian.  It didn't seem to matter how long you spent loading on the puck, it never felt like I had anything loaded in the brush because all it did was froth up and look like it had way too much water and air in it to ever become something good. After-all, how can you make lather if you never feel like you can pick up enough soap to have a good go at it.  One day after being frustrated with the soap I decided to continue adding water in small increments to see what happened, well I am happy to report that, the small additions of water while building the lather is when all the magic happens.  These small additions can be incorporated while loading on the puck, while building on your face or in a bowl.  The result is one of the finest lathers I have ever seen/used. Give it another go.  The only other soap I have ever seen this counter-intuitive phenomenon happen with is Mitchell's Wool Fat.  Maybe I'll make another video... Confused2
Nathan
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