I would like to stir some folks up and encourage them to compare Mystic Water to Martin de Candre.
Yes, you heard me right. I recently tried MdC for the first time and have come to the conclusion thatósimilar to my thread in Razor Blades about Feathersóit is truly wonderful stuff, one of the best products around, but NOT in a category by itself by any stretch of the imagination. Please understand, I am not knocking MdC, it is terrific stuff. And the economic argument does not interest me, I spend a lot of money customizing guns others do not think need it, but Iím happy doing it. If it floats your boat and you want to buy it, buy it.
With that in mind, I also recently tried Mystic Water Shaving Soap and was blown away by it! These two trials were so close to each other it simply was natural that I would think about this pairing. I will not keep you in suspense, Iíll give you conclusion up front.
Mystic Water = Martin de Candre
It was more or less a dead heat between the two. Of course YMMV, blah, blah, blah.
One thing I will not do is give number grades to the qualities of this soap, I am not able to tease out small differences with that much precision, nor do I think many others are. Also, I think when we have a preference we tend to use too much hyperbole in expressing it. There may, in fact, be huge differences between MdC and Williams, I will grant you that. I seriously doubt there are huge differences between these two products, and many others in the very top tier of lather products. Of course, one manís huge is another manís slight difference, but thatís how I feel about it. So, without further ado Ö
Procedure: Two identical kitchen bowls for lathering, one Semogue 2000 and one Omega #10098, both boar brushes, in similar stages of breakin. If anything the Semogue is slightly better than the Omega, and I used the Semogue with the Mdc. I did not think about it, but lest anyone feel the brush favored one soap or the other, I used my Ďslightly betterí brush with the MdC. After whipping up gorgeous, dense, yogurty lather with each, I proceeded to face lather a little bit MdC on the right side of my face, MW on the left, three passes plus touchups. Blade was a NOS Schick Plus Platinum on shave #2 in a DE89 head mounted on a Bobís RazorWorks XXL handle. After shave treatment was Thayerís WH followed by Pinaud Classic Vanilla.
Scent: Not Rated. Donít be disappointed here, this is the ultimate YMMV and the scents are wildly different. The MW was the excellent Lilly of the Valley, the MdC was, well, MdC, there is only one scent (or unscented). I prefer the MW, but that is neither here nor there for anyone else. Some love the MdC scent, Iím kinda Ďmehí with it, but itís not bad. I am in love with the MW Lilly of the Valley scent, others canít stand flowery scents like that. You figure it out. No winner, only difference, both considered to be outstanding scents by many.
Latherability: Tied, absolutely. Now that I know how to lather Mystic Water properly (believe me, that knowledge is hard-won in my case), I got equally dense, long-lasting, protective lather from both in about the same amount of time.
Lather Efficacy: Very slight edge to the Mystic Water. Both are equally dense, but the MW is ever so slightly slicker, IMO. I stopper the sink and rinse with the sink water between passes, where obviously the soaps were mixed. Because of that my face gets progressively slicker during the shave. From the first pass, I felt the MW was slicker and that impression became more pronounced as the shave progressed. Before the MdC fans scream BLASPHEMY, remember both are superlative lathers, both are very slick, both give a tremendous shave. Remember my comments about slight differences and hyperbole? I donít think the difference is meaningful in any practical sense, but for my money, the MW had the slight hedge here. Razor glide, comfort and shave results were pretty much identical.
After-shave skin feel: Tied, IMO. I will admit to not being the best judge of this, however. I do not have problem skin and I get good results with many products. I notice outstanding results with some, and these two are in that category, among others. But I cannot tell any difference. I would invite someone with more sensitive skin who is more in tune with this characteristic to post their thoughts, but to me this was a dead heat. I would be tempted to give the edge to the MW, but I fear that may just be cognitive bias introduced by my reading of the two ingredient lists. I really cannot tell any difference, my skin feels fantastic on both sides.
Well, there you have it! One manís impression of two fantastic soaps. I like the Martin de Candre, I cannot say anything bad about it at all. Clearly it is a world-class shaving soap in very rarified atmosphere. It is not the uber-soap some would have you, IMO, but it is incredibly good, and I can find no reason to question the costóespecially since the product weight is larger and it lasts so long. I donít know if they are inconsequential, but the price per shave difference is certainly less consequential than the product price tag would have you believe. It is a fantastic product, use it and be happy!
On the other hand Ö. The Mystic Water soap, for me, was every bit the equal of the MdC, and I believe it to be ever so slightly slicker and I much prefer the scent. MW Lilly of the Valley is now one of my staples. I am grateful to Bkfist for the generous sample of the MdC, but I wonít be buying any, I am quite certain of that.
Because that sample was a gift, Iíd like to PIF it to the first person who responds who fits these conditions:
You must be familiar with and enthusiastic about Mystic Water soap, be getting great lathers out of it-and have decided it will always be in your rotational lineupóAND, you must never have tried MdC before. Do not claim this if you are still learning to lather MW or are not an avid fan of it. I want someone who appreciates MW first so we donít get someone having any issues with it, like I did at the start. And you should not have tried MdC. I donít want any bias introduced there. If you fit the bill, post here, if you are the first to post claiming it after you hit <ENTER>, PM me your address. Iíll send you the rest of my sample.
Iíd love to hear othersí impressions of these two soaps in a head-to-head comparison.