I had been anxious to try out this scent from PAA as soon as I saw it was released. I’m a sucker for a nice bay rum, especially if it is lacking clove. Luckily for me, I was given this soap and aftershave combination for Christmas.
Before getting into any specifics on the scent, I need to address this brush. When this was delivered, I thought there was a mistake. The box seemed too heavy to contain a single shave brush. Upon opening the box, I learned there was no mistake. It is simply a hefty brush. It is a lot larger than I expected, but it works. The heft and size of the handle pairs nicely with the very large knot, which quickly whips up and holds a ton of lather.
Now for the best thing about this shave… the scent. When I opened this gift from my parents, my wife was quick to crack the seal on the aftershave and take a large sniff. She immediately said she loved it, and continued smelling it for several minutes before I could get it away from her. Upon my first whiff, I thought yep, this is a nice bay rum. Then I went back too see how it would compare to other bay rums in my collection. One unique thing about this scent is how forward the rum notes are. Usually bay rums are very bay-forward with the rum playing the role of “backup singer”. This has the rum up front with the bay following close behind. Another thing that makes this scent stand out is the barrel aging. In addition to giving it some soft wood notes, it rounds & mellows everything out, much like aging bourbon.
Despite the scent being amazing and the Crown King lather, this shave was pretty bad. I whipped up very nice lather and worked in a little more water. The lather was one of the slickest I’ve made in quite some time. I used it for two passes, and when applying the lather for the final ATG pass, I noticed a very small nick under my nose. I didn’t think much of it as one little nice isn’t so bad. After finishing the final pass and one small touch-up on my left sideburn, I washed everything off with warm water. Then I splashed some icy water to seal everything up.
When I put the aftershave on, I felt a burning and stinging like I have not felt in a very long time. At first I thought this was a bad batch of aftershave, but the mirror told a different tale. My neck & mustache area were chewed up something awful. I haven’t looked like that since my first attempt at using a shavette. I had forgotten how unforgiving Feather blades can be when they are fresh out of the wrapper. I had used a bit too much pressure and was punished justly for it. I suspect that a few more shaves on this blade and it will be perfect.
Overall this shave gets a C-. If not for this amazing scent and the CK performance, I’m sure this wouldn’t have gotten a passing grade.