Today was my first day using any type of shaving soap (had the L'occitane and Floris for a while but haven't used them yet) and I have a few observations that I would like to share.
Firstly the MB soaps themselves smell very nice. Given the widespread consternation my gushing over the Nancy Boy products caused I will be more restrained here, but I do like the olfactory experience these soaps provided.
Given that I have only received them today, I haven't got much beyond smelling most of the different varieties but as far as the scents go I would say that the real standout quality of these soaps is the combination of different fragrances and the way they combine. The scents are expertly layered and it is this dynamic interplay of different aromas that makes them special. The Elements of Bamboo soap is the weakest smelling of the four I ordered (still nice though) but the other three are STRONG. Christmas Forest Frgarance almost made my eyes water (in a good way) and Dragons Blood and Celestial Waters are both first rate. The soaps themselves represent excellent value for money and even with shipping to the UK I only paid $35 for the four soaps, the cost being roughly the same as the CADE shave soap (maybe slightly less) They come in a standard plastic tub, but each has a different graphic on the tub representing the various fragrances, not as nice as the CADE metal bowl, but given the value of these soaps there are no grounds for complaint.
Onto the shave, this was my first time using a soap, for a fair assessment I will need a lot more time to try them with different brushes and different techniques. With that said, for a first time experience I got good results from these soaps. I am still using my beleaguered BK4 (for those who advised me to send it back, I thankyou for the advice, and I am sure that a more sensible person would have followed it, but I am an idiot. I will stick to this brush until my Superior and Shavemac brushes arrive and I also have a PJ so there will be more to choose from soon) and I didn't think that the Kent, being so soft, would be ideally suited to soaps, but the Celestial Waters lathered very nicely. The lather itself was much less cushioning than I am used to, but there was definitely much more slip than with a cream so the shave was still smooth. The use of a soap allowed me to get a much better shave with the Slant Bar, but without the added protection of a cream I should have been more delicate than I was. Still, there were no nicks and cuts, and certainly no loss of blood, and any fault can be traced back to my technique (or lack thereof.)
Still, given that this was my first time using a soap the results were very encouraging, and I am certain that the quality of the soaps themselves played a huge role in how positive an experience this was.
As for the Celestial Waters, it has a perfumed, floral scent. I would have expected something slightly lighter and slightly more fresh given the name, but this is what I would describe as a Meadow scent, the balance of wildflowers is nice with the honeysuckle scent coming to the fore. It has considerable staying power too and I like it a lot. It's moisturising qualities obviously aren't the same as a cream, but my skin is reassuringly soft and given the havoc the Nancy Boy Facial Cleanser has been playing with my skin the results could have been a lot worse.
Before I can give a definitive review of these soaps I will need to spend more time with them, and on improving my techniques. But overall, the initial results are promising, for my continued use of soaps in general and Mama Bear in particular.