Declaration Grooming + Chatillon Lux Parfums | Santal Auster
Ever-Ready 100T | Elite Razor Manchurian
Ever-Ready SE | Gem PTFE
Chatillon Lux Parfums | Santal Auster Parfum Extrait
I'm often perplexed when an artisan decides to introduce a new soap base when their current base is already performing at a very high level. I'm cautious to overstate this for concerns of being labeled a fan boy, but the new base from Declaration Grooming, named Icarus, is on a whole other level. I dare say this could be a leader board changer.
Declaration warned about potential "gaminess" from the base due to the combination of goat's milk and lamb tallow in addition to the bison tallow. To remedy this, it was recommended the puck be permitted to breath a bit prior to trying to get a fragrance assessment. I took a whiff right off the freshly opened tub, and I could barely detect any animalic notes. I suspect that if I hadn't been forewarned about it, I wouldn't have even detected that. Instead, I was met with a very pleasant soft warm sandalwood.
The temperature here in East Texas was around 80°F, and it only had about 2 hours to cool off in the house before I used it. I can't say the firmness of the soap is much different than their other base, but it did retract a tiny bit in the tub.
I loaded with a moderately damp badger knot, and there were no surprises. It was easy and intuitive as I felt the weight of the knot increase and the tug against the surface of the soap as I achieved max capacity. I do miss the marshmallow cream/stringiness of the prior base's protolather, but Icarus loads in a more traditional manner.
I scalp-lathered, testing the water range with my usual hard water. A usable lather was quickly forthcoming. I have sensitive skin and tend to get brush burn if I do much scrubbing with a badger knot, so my method involves brief scrubbing to bring in the air, but most of the lather building is done with painting and slapping. Despite a quick usable lather, I wanted to test the water limits of this new base. Ultimately, I couldn't find it---the limit, that is. More water just brought more lather. I ended up using enough water that would have killed most of my other soaps with the one exception being Barrister's Reserve.
Heavily watered Icarus yielded a dense paintable base with a light sheen, but not iridescent. The elite-status slickness was immediately apparent with the first swipe of the blade. Again, I'm reservedly stating this, but I may not have another soap that is as slick as this. There are certainly none in my den that surpass it. My feelings about the residual slickness are the same. There are absolutely no concerns about revisiting areas that are devoid of visible lather.
After just one pass, I was able to determine that the post-shave was going to excel as well. My skin already felt soft and supple. I completed a 2-pass plus touch-up head and face shave, and as per my usual routine when assessing a new soap, I smeared the pulled lather on my scalp and face and left it while I cleaned up my gear. There were no ill effects from the prolonged exposure, and my skin felt perfect. Despite the outstanding residual slickness, the final rinse was clean and easy. The post shave was reminiscent of that provided by Catie's Bubbles' Luxury line. A post product was completely unnecessary, but I enjoy the process, just the same, so I applied an aftershave.
Chatillon Lux Parfums' sandalwood fragrance for both the soap and the splash is quite pleasant in an elegant simple fashion. This is a singular sandalwood note, and in terms of sandalwood, it's anything but single-faceted. This sandalwood smells quite natural, and it's a rather forward fragrance but not choke-a-mule (or goat, in this case) TOBS-strong. With the initial application of the splash, I experienced a brief flash of sulfite scent followed by the same sandalwood I detected in the soap.
I can't speak to the longevity of the splash's scent, because I immediately layered on top a single pump of the simply outstanding Santal Auster extrait from Chatillon Lux Parfums. I've only been wearing it for 3 hours, now, so I can't provide an exhaustive assessment, but this is sandalwood on steroids. Santal Auster is a lovely, elegant, and classic fragrance with the expected creamy, and faintly powdery sandalwood, but much, much more. The unassuming, almost singular creamy woody note, swells within an hour and becomes more complex, giving way to a controlled resinous accord. As I write this, a muskiness sidles in, revealing a sultriness I was not expecting.
It should come as no surprise that when Declaration Grooming and Chatillon Lux collaborate, good things happen. However, with this release, I believe they've achieved new heights with each of the artisans having flexed their respective creative muscles, thereby turning out two products that have far exceeded my expectations.