Tabac Original Shaving Soap

Tabac Original

Up next, we have a German product. Tabac is considered to be a staple by much of the shaving community, with a product based upon a scent which could be considered the most famous men’s fragrance in Germany, kind of how Old Spice is often considered the “default” cologne in North America.

While Maurer & Wirtz have expanded upon their fragrance line, their shaving soap is still only offered in the original configuration. It’s a scent they describe as “a sophisticated composition fragranced with peppery-spicy notes and elegantly rounded off by exotic woods, musk, ambergris and a floral complex.” Now I’ll admit, my nose is not all that well trained. When I’m dealing with such a complex scent, I can’t really pick out all the individual aromas. To me, it smells “cologne-y”, and “fairly nice”. It not something I like enough to plan on picking up a bottle of the matching cologne, but I’ll shave with it once in a while.

As should be expected from a fragrance company which decided to start making shaving soap, the scent of the soap itself is reasonably strong. It definitely hits you when you open it up. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it doesn’t transfer well to the lather. Whereas the soap itself smells rather strong (while dry) when it’s opened up and is sitting on the counter, the lather isn’t nearly as strong when sitting on your face, a few millimetres from your nostrils! What was there, however, didn’t seem to fade much.

It lathered up easily enough, nice and thick, as well as a bit more voluminous than most other soaps. However, the slickness left a bit to be desired. As per usual, that was fixed by adding more water, but in this case I needed to add too much to be able to keep the lather as thick as I would have liked it. It did at least leave my face feeling more moisturized than most soaps, and was quite irritation free, even when leaving it on my face for a while (as part of the test to see how well the scent holds up over time).

  • 7/10 Scent Pleasantness
  • 7/10 Scent Strength
  • 7/10 Lather Quality

The 125g re-fill can be had for $18.00, or $27.99 if you also want the ceramic bowl. Which considering the surcharge a lot of shaving supply companies charge for just the bowl, isn’t all that bad. It’s also available in a stick, for $14.99.

Overall, I can’t really say I’d recommend this product. 6/10, a decidedly middle of the road rating. The scent isn’t outstanding, IMHO, nor does the shave itself blow everything out of the water. There’s better shaves to be had which smell nicer for cheaper elsewhere. Since they don’t do samples, I can’t even say that I recommend giving it a shot anyways, in the hopes that you might like it. Although I do notice that Garry’s Sample Shop currently has some in stock, maybe if you’re curious you might want to give it a shot from there, so you’re only dropping $3 if you end up not liking it instead of $15.

Ingredients: Potassium Stearate, Sodium Stearate, Potassium Tallowate, Potassium Cocoate, Aqua, Sodium Tallowate, Parfum, Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Sodium Hydroxide, CI 77891, Limonene, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Citronellol, Courmarin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Evernia Prunastri (Oakmoss) Extract, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Isoeugenol, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Eugenol, Citral, Evernia Furfuracea (Treemoss) Extract.

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  1. Attila says

    Good review. Right on the money too. I just bought the stick myself and had the same experience. Not even close to the performance of my favorite, Mike’ Natural Shave Soap.

  2. says

    I like Tabac; I used it exclusively for most of 2008. I shave mostly with creams now, but I’ll occasionally pull it out for a nostalgia shave. Here was my first wet shaving video attempt; I used Tabac. (Please forgive the sloppy technique, I’ve much improved since then).

  3. says

    One thing someone did bring up is that Tabac is apparently rather resistant to the effects of hard water. Since I’m lucky enough to have rather soft water, I wouldn’t know, but I’ll take his word for it.

  4. gorgo says

    I have extremely hard water and Tabac has outperformed all others I’ve tried for whipping up as big a mound of cream as you’d want. So consider that report to be true because it is. I don’t disagree with anything else Mantic said, though. I’m on my first ever puck of Tabac and ain’t sure I would pay for it again.

    • says

      Psst, mantic didn’t write this review, I did. :)

      As for the hard water issue, might I suggest trying a distilled water shave? It’s usually about 2 bucks a gallon at the grocery store / drug store, and that’ll last a whole lot of shaves. (Note you need to be getting distilled water, not mineral or spring water, as mineral water is hard by design – tastes better)

  5. Gabriel says

    Wow, considering the fame of this soap among the shaving community i though it would get higher score. Tabac by some is considered the gold standard.

    What other soaps do you think are superior in lather quality?

  6. evnpar says

    With such an offensive scent, I wouldn’t want it to linger any longer than necessary. It smells too much like the “butt cream” that I used on my children when infants to prevent diaper rash.

  7. Danny says

    I think Tabac is great. I would give it 8/10 personally, but I really like the aroma. The lather is rich and the price is very reasonalbe. I’ve seen it for less than what’s listed above. It is definitely an aquired scent; not for everyone. I respectfully disagree with author and will keep Tabac as a part of my rotation.

  8. Sunrise Sam says

    Amazing how different our experiences are with soaps/creams.
    In my case, the smell reminds me of the 1970s, love it. It lathers very easily and as far as I’m concerned it’s worth it for the unique scent alone.

  9. Mike says

    I use the Tabac stick , TOB stick , Ogallala stick and the DR Harris stick. All are very good- but I find I use the Tabac about 40% of the time- lathers easily, good cushion and I love the scent.

    For creams I’m an Eshave guy, followed closely by Proraso, then Trumper and finally T&H.

    Finding you favorite soaps and creams is half the fun of wet shaving

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