Product Review: Barrister and Mann "Roam" Shaving Soap

I ordered a pack of samples from Barrister & Mann several weeks ago, and had been really looking forward to trying some of their soaps.  I had begun to wonder if the only high quality shaving soaps came from Europe when I started hearing some good things about this Cooperstown, NY, USA based company, but I had to try for myself.  Because the Barrister & Mann soaps are made in small batches, the samples available are dependent on their current production schedule.  Once I received my samples, which were individually packaged and easy to sort, I had to decide which one to try first.  So I went back to Barrister & Mann to read some descriptions.  Here is the description posted for the "Roam" scent:

A real cowboy

"Inspired by the rugged individualism of American cattle ranchers, we blended the aromas of real pipe tobacco absolute, smoke, leather, herbs, damp earth, and grass into a bright, robust scent reminiscent of life on the open range. Timeless and virile, Roam hearkens back to the days of the Old West."

Giddy-up!

Below the descriptions of their soaps, Barrister & Mann advises in bold that their soaps are very "thirsty" and they require more water than other soaps.  No big deal.  I'm glad they told me.  I was also excited when I saw that the ingredients included both tallow and lanolin.  Any time I've used a soap with both of these ingredients, I've had an exceptional shave.

So, following Barrister & Mann's instructions, I made sure to soak my brush and the sample before lathering just to make sure I was using enough water.  The first thing that hit me was that smell.  Oh, that smell!  This has to be the single best smelling shaving soap I have ever used.  If I closed my eyes, I could picture myself sitting by the campfire on a cattle drive from Cheyenne to Oklahoma City.  It was just beautiful.

The lather was pretty easy to build because I was sure to use enough water.  The only tricky part was the fact that I face-lather, so it was a little messy at first, but that's part of lathering.  Once I got the lather built, I had enough for two passes and them some on my brush.  I tested this soap with two different brushes too: a Wet Shaving Products Silver-tip Badger brush and a Semogue 1305 Boar brush.  I personally think the Semogue 1305 was the better brush for this soap.  The stiffer boar bristles were able to pick up a little more soap and build a little more lather.  The beauty of face-lathering with a soap like this is the constant infusion of smell into your senses.  It really made this part of my shave a delight. 

Once I began shaving, the second beauty of this soap shone through.  The glide was incredibly slick, but with plenty of cushion too.  I used a Merkur 37C Slant Bar which is a pretty aggressive razor, and I barely felt it.  Not only was the shave incredibly smooth, but my face was too.  Even when I was going to bed at night, I noticed I barely had a 5 o'clock shadow.

 

 

 

 

Pros

The quality of the lather and comfort of the shave.

The smell!

An incredible value.  I didn't even mention that a whole puck is only $16.00

Cons

The shape and size of the sample made it a little tricky to use.

The need for some extra water can make the lathering process a little messier.

Conclusion

I give this soap a 9.5 out of 10.  This is a fantastic shaving soap made by Barrister & Mann.  I would use it again and again just to smell it.  The quality of their fragrances is unparalleled.  That being said, the performance of the soap is superb as well.  I did have some issues with using the samples; so my suggestion, especially if you face-lather, is to buy a whole puck of whatever scent sounds good to you and try that.  You won't be disappointed.  Shaving soaps can be purchased directly from Barrister & Mann.