For a long time I kept hearing about this soap “Smolder” …, and Cinder and a few others by an artisan soaper that was called the Blades Grim… I have to date an idea who this is, but still no definite name of this artisan.. I honestly thought to myself what is all this hype ? I’ve never heard of seen or, at minimum read a SOTD with this soap or manufacturer. One day it was just “There”. Come to find out this soap and company in general to the best of my knowledge is a private label that actually makes soaps, straight razors ( Gold Dollar) and other shaving goods for multiple places, of which I won’t get into out of confidentiality of those “other” private labels. Truth told who CARES ! we are here to talk about this one soap not the company nor, anything, but my thoughts on “Smolder” as always YMMV so please try the soap see what you think, and know if it’s not for you; there are about 1,000 people who it is for, and if you love it even better ! So onto the review.
I love and hate this at the same time …. let me explain. It is a thin metallic gold/bronze screw type tin. Great for travel as it is so thin and takes up such little space. The graphics are catchy, the name of the soap is on the backside of the tin. Great ! so far I find zero fault. Then I went to use it. I opened the tin, and like a lot of soaps it is in a coffee filter style wrapper in the tin. This serves a few purposes, this is a croap so it absorbs excess moisture and it protects the product whilst being decorative. I went to remove said croap from the wrapper only to find it saturated ! with condensate and oils. I was upset as a soaper I know this meant this croap was rushed into the market, and not allowed a minimal evaporative cure time so it did not turn my brand new croap into a croap/coffee filter nightmare. I finally gave up as I could not remove the swollen croap from the tin, and keep the croap intact so I had to cut the croap in half and pick away the coffee filter that was saturated, and falling apart into the product. I after this lost about a 10th of the product due to it just being all over my hands stuck to the filter… and just a basic mess. I did thank God being a semi soft soap to reform it into the tin… so not all was lost, but not off to a great start. Also a good tip off was the sale price of appx. $4 USD and it took literally almost 2 weeks to arrive…. not good considering I paid $6 ground for under 1 lb. in freight within the USA ! Onto the rest of the show.
This is the biggest place “Smolder” shines, if only for the aroma I recommend this soap as the blending is phenomenal ! The soap is very easy to pick out the notes … It is very citrus dominant in the Orange family, and sweet; in perfumes we use Tonka bean I assume they used the same and Star anise is last…. this has a sweet licorice type aroma and is the undertone to the rest. The combination also builds a unique almost burnt effect to the aroma, but in a very good way. The scent also sticks around during the lathering process which is nice as you can enjoy this highlight of the soap throughout our shave. I actually really like the uniqueness of this scent I wish there was an aftershave…. oh yeah I made one LOL ! it’s a 50/50 mix of Lucky Tiger and Florida Water. This is a great compliment to this soap and actually great for your skin too. So for aroma I think this soap is great, and my wife loves the aroma too which is always a plus.
Okay I have used this soap a few times now, and have face lathered, bowl, and even hybrid lathered this soap. Here’s the deal you will get a great lather initially but I have found stability issues. If you like quick thin coats this is a great lather as it will retain slickness, and allow you to get a great shave, but you better shave fast as I had what I call the ghosting effect every time I used this soap ( seeing skin through the lather ). Now here is the flip side that I will get into below…. if you like as I do a thicker more explosive lather you can also easily achieve this with “Smolder” but you sacrifice some not all of the slickness just add less water no real secret tips LOL ! I find the soap to be very protective, dense, and fragrant but you have two roads thin and slick, but it seems to lose stability at this point or, a middle road of decent density and while the glide is effected will deliver a very fragrant and fairly slick shave. I would not personally use this soap with a straight razor, but as with anything YMMV this was my experience though and adding glycerin or, a good pre-shave may help here.
Well this will be short as I pretty much explained it above as it is so closely tied in with the lather quality itself. I don’t mean to come across to negative or harsh…. I am a slow shaver I enjoy taking my time, enjoying the tactile feel, the reflection of he day to come, and on average take about 10 minute-15 minutes to shave… so that is about 3-5 minutes per pass… that is relatively slow. A thin lather may give me the slickness I need, but the lather falls apart and skin is left in the end exposed, in fairness 90% of my soaps do NOT do this, to me that means this for slickness falls into my bottom 10%. If I was to make it a bit thicker, it is perfect and very stable with zero breakdown.., but the slickness is just not the same I would say you lose about 50% of that thinner lather glide. Still a great shave can be had. I have little complaints about my shave, but if I had to do it over ….I would add glycerin to the lather to add slickness and in the future that is exactly what I am going to do.
“Smolder” by the Blades Grim…… this was a tricky one for me as there are some aspects I really enjoyed like the aroma and portability as it is so low profile , and I realize why some would really like this croap… I like them for the same reasons. At the same time the quality of this soap from the horrible ordeal of what I know was a croap shipped to soon, and the loss of soap as I needed to cut the soap out to remove the coffee filter; to the unstable lather ….when I wanted slickness. This all makes me say can I in good conscience recommend this soap. Well this is the best I can come up with, and I know it is not the best answer I can give, I paid $4, and for $4 this is a great croap ! On their website it goes for $14.99 and I can tell you I would not buy this at that price. My take is loose the coffee filter, add some ingredients to add to the slickness at a thicker consistency I hate to use it but clay is a good choice, and keep the aroma and packaging the same; I would buy this over and over. As it is; if you can get a good deal on it I say go for it, but be aware you “may” have a few bumps in the road, but for the price I paid I really have very little regrets. Thanks for taking the time to read this and as always this is my opinion and YMMV. – Aaron