When I first started my journey into traditional wet shaving, there were three brands that initially hooked me. These were the products which showed me the possibilities of what shaving could be, transforming it from a daily chore to an experience of the senses and a lifetime skill. Fine Accoutrements was one of those three brands. I had been a fan of the Guerlain “Vetiver” EDT for some time prior, and once I used Fine’s “Green Vetiver” aftershave, I was ensnared. You can read my full review of that aftershave here. (And in case you were wondering, those other two brands were Barrister & Mann and Cella).
Several months ago, Fine Accoutrements created quite a stir in the wet shaving community. They announced the release of their first shaving soap, based on their “American Blend” aftershave. As the story goes, this soap uses the same formula as Tabac with the addition of Fine’s own wonderful fragrances. As soon as I heard that these two components were being brought together, I knew I had to try it. Unfortunately, I waited a few days to order, and the soap was already sold out. Early bird gets the worm and all that. Well, when Fine’s second release was announced with even more fragrances, I didn’t hesitate. In fact I picked up three soaps with matching aftershaves, including the “L’Orange Noir”.
If you hadn’t told me that this formula was based on Tabac, I might have guessed regardless. Tabac has a certain unique sheen to it when lathered that this soap possesses as well. You can almost see the oils providing that sensational glide. This soap is incredibly slick and wonderfully cushioning. Few soaps have given me a better shave. I wouldn’t describe this soap as thirsty. You can build a decent lather without working too hard on balancing water and soap. But for those shavers willing to take a little extra time working in that extra water, your patience is certainly rewarded. This soap gets better and better as you build and build.
The beauty of Fine Accoutrements’ aftershaves is seated in their simplicity and rooted in Alt-Innsbruck’s mid-century recipe. I personally think these are the best aftershave splashes on the market. With only four ingredients (alcohol, water, fragrance, and menthol), Fine’s aftershaves provide a clean, refreshing, and cooling post-shave experience. “L’orange Noir” is no exception. I do recommend using an oil-free moisturizer with any alcohol-based aftershave, like this one. Unlike aftershave balms, aftershave splashes have the potential to dry your skin a bit. Using a moisturizer will help keep your skin in balance.
In the past decade, few colognes have been more popular than Terre d’Hermes. The glorious blend of citrus and vetiver is suitable for the office, date night, or lazy Sunday afternoons. Fine Accoutrements has captured that fragrance perfectly in both this shaving soap and aftershave. I can wear this fragrance year round, and it especially shines in late spring through early fall. I have also paired this aftershave with Penhaligon’s Querus which layers extremely well.
At first glance, it may seem like Fine Accoutrements is simply a copycat, piggybacking of the success of other brands. But the truth is far from that misunderstanding. Fine is providing the wet shaving market with what it wants, and is doing it masterfully. For years I (and I’m sure others) have been a fan of Terre d’Hermes, but I wished I had some shaving supplies to use with it. I have also loved Tabac, but longed for other fragrances. Fine Accoutrements has met my desires. I can have a complete and rewarding shave with the soap, aftershave, and fragrances I love. I highly recommend purchasing both the “L’Orange Noir” shaving soap and aftershave.
Have you tried this or any other of Fine’s new shaving soaps? Let me know what you think in the comments below.