I managed to pick this up at a discounted price on black Friday and I’ve been using it quite a bit since then. I love Phoenix Artisan Accouterments (PAA) soaps! This is the second PAA shaving soap that I have used so I have gotten some good experience and familiarity with them.
The scent of Gondolier is a nice cologne type smell. It reminds me a bit of rose water. It is moderate in strength and not overpowering. My wife acquired the AS for me as a Christmas gift. The AS sent is identical with just a bit more strength. I really like the scent, so much so that I’ve been using this soap almost daily.
The PAA soap base is one of the most thirsty soaps I have ever encountered. There are some definite benefits to this. For one, I can create enough lather in my bowl for 3 passes by loading the brush just once for 30 seconds. The soap just seems to love water. Even the bloom water, after applying to my face, creates lather enough to almost shave with. What I have found is that initially, when I have lather in the bowl, it looks pretty much like any other soap. But after about a minute, the soap seems to gain density. Adding some water and whipping will create the most wonderful yogurt like lather. The soap has a property which I call an anti-newtonian property of absorbing water without thinning. You add water, whip it up and it just grows fuller. It’s the strangest thing to lather your face and do a pass with the razor and then see that the remaining soap is a bit dry so you add water and the bowl is almost as full as before! Well I’m exaggerating a bit but the effect is there.
With the soap being on the more dense side, you might think that it does an excellent job of cushioning. And you would be right. This soap is as slick as any I’ve tried but it really excels at cushioning. And with this it seems to cause the hairs of my beard to stand up well so they can be easily cut by the razor. This means a safer shave due to using a lighter touch with the razor. The soap just encourages you to use good technique.
Because of the properties I described above, I would say the economy of PAA soaps is quite good. It may take you a while to figure out how to work with the great thirst of the soap and get the most out of it but once you do, I believe you can make the tin last quite a long time.
Post Shave and AS
The post shave feel of my face after using this soap is very good. And this is not surprising when you look at the many ingredients of the soap, the various butters and other things really leave my face feeling good. The AS also has a few ingredients not typical of the average AS (like aloe) and offers a very soothing finish along with a longer lasting scent. And although it lists menthol as an ingredient, I did not feel hardly any sting when applied.
This soap goes to the top of my list. There are other soaps out there that come close but none will surpass it, at least none that I have tried so far. This particular scent is a good entry point for PAA. I can’t imagine that anyone would not be instantly enamored of this beautiful rose like scent.
|Razor||Rockwell 6c, plate 4|
|Blade||Racer Platinum Class|
|After Shave||PAA Gondolier After Shave Cologne|