When I ran out of my original samples from Barrister & Mann, I commented on Twitter that I loved all the soaps so much, and my only problem was what fill-sized soap I should purchase first. Of course, the wonderful folks at B&M were listening, and decided to throw me a curveball. They suggested a soap that wasn't even included in my sample pack: Lavanille. I won’t go into the whole story behind the fragrance associated with this soap, but it’s a very interesting one. If you want to learn more, you can read the background information on Barrister & Mann’s website. Regardless, I had no idea what to expect from this incredibly complex soap. With notes like cedar and leather, I thought I would love it, but with notes like lavender and vanilla, I was afraid B&M would miss the mark for the first time. And don’t even get me started on oak moss. My waffling obsession with Musgo Real Oak Moss soap confuses me every time I use it. Needless to say, I was very unsure about this soap when I ordered it.
As I’m writing this article, I have my tub of Lavanille sitting next to me on my desk, and, periodically, I will unscrew the cap and take a whiff just to keep this scent fresh in my mind. It is incredibly complex and absolutely intoxicating. The combination of florals, woods and dark scents evokes an era far from today’s world of body sprays and mass produced copies of copies of copies of cologne. The Barrister & Mann Lavanille stands out by offering the opportunity for men to smell like gentlemen instead if dudes. I think Obi-Wan Kenobi said it best when he called the Lavanille “an elegant shaving soap for a more civilized age.” Okay, maybe he didn’t actually say that, but he would if he smelled this.
As far as actually shaving with this soap, I won’t dwell on that too much. As usual, the performance is as exceptional as any Barrister & Mann soap that I have reviewed so far. Please be sure to read my reviews of the Roam and Seville soaps. To quickly sum up, lathering is a breeze, but be sure to use a lot of water (B&M describes their soap as “thirsty” and they aren’t exaggerating) and the combination of glide and cushion is superb, as expected.
Two quick points about Barrister & Mann as a company. First, I’m incredibly impressed that after two blog posts and a few comments on Twitter and Instagram, they were able to recommend a soap that I absolutely love. This level of personal attention is a great reminder why buying from independent artisans is a couple levels above buying some can of goo on the shelf at your local supermarket. Second, Barrister & Mann recently announced they would be discontinuing production of loose pucks of their shaving soap, opting only to sell shaving soaps in their high-quality tubs (which I personally prefer). The email announcing this decision was remarkably transparent and written with great care shown for B&M’s customer base. I also received a follow up email addressing some confusion the initial email had caused for a number of customers. These are two examples of the excellent customer service and love for the business Barrister & Mann has shown me in the last several months. While I have seen this in many other companies too, it is, unfortunately, not always the case. However, it is another reason why I recommend Barrister & Mann, and why I will continue to be a customer.
I’d love to hear about some of your favorite shaving soaps or other companies tirelessly devoted to their customers. Leave some comments here or reach out through social media!