“I just experienced the most satisfying shave in all my life.” That was the mantra repeated throughout my day after test driving a Classic Kokum Butter Shaving Puck that a barber friend of mine had recommended to me over a poker game one weekend. “A shave so memorable it stays with you…” he promised and boy was he right. I had dismissed his statements as gin inspired exaggeration, but something in what he said stuck; kokum butter. I didn’t know anything more than that, but a barber gave it his blessing, and I by golly I was going to check it out, so I googled “Kokum Butter Shaving Cake” and bought the first one I stumbled upon. A week later I found myself dumfounded and excited, almost stopping strangers on the street offering up my chin to be caressed and admired…I was a kokum butter believer and I was ready to spread the new gospel.
The shaving puck is by a small company out of New England called Petal Pusher Fancies. If you don’t already know of them you need to, they are creating quite a buzz in the world of male grooming and for good reason. Simply put, they have created one hell of a cream shaving puck. The ingredients are organic, vegan and printed right on the box so there is no mystery to what you are putting on your face. Kokum butter is the main and active ingredient. This unique butter comes from the fruits of the Garcinia Indica Tree in India. The fruit kernels produced by this tree yield an emollient white butter that creates an unbeatable cream, glide, and a controlled slip that I can’t find in any shaving “soaps” these days. Truth be told, most soaps on the market are not soap at all but detergent bars loaded with chemicals. These are not your glycerin melt and pour soap cakes, nor a nature boy clay based clump of earth either. This is a hearty bar of artisan, handmade shaving soap that will last forever, and aid in giving you one of the most amazing shaves of your life.
The puck is 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch in width so sadly, it will not fit in a traditional shaving scuttle. However, if a classic scuttle is your vessel of choice you can always heat the bar with hot water, cut in half, and wedge it in the bowl. I personally prefer a deep, wide mouth scuttle for I find It is much easier to build a greater amount of lather and contain it. After heating my mug under the running tap for a minute or two in preparation, I dropped the puck in, and added a little hot water. With a seasoned swirling action, a skill that is only acquired from years of using inferior products, I was soon creating a genuine cream lather.
This particular bar happened to be a deep purple in color. Sandalwood powder is used to achieve this rich aesthetic. It certainly sets a visual tone to the ritual. The second note that hits you is the scent of the bar, neroli. For those of you not familiar with this aromatic, it comes from the essential oil of the bitter orange tree. It’s nice and earthy, masculine yet meditative, a scent a chap might have found while off in an exotic part of the world working for the East India Company. I am a bay rum kind of fella by nature, this is what I always seek out, but for the sake of a more objective review I chose to try the neroli, and I am glad I did. Don’t get me wrong, I made sure to pick up their Steam-River Rum puck as well.
After I applied a hot, rich lather to my skin, and the shaving mirror was in full extension, I was in the zone. True wet shavers know the zone I speak of, and Buddhists know this zone as satori. I made a conscious decision not to reapply the cream between passes in order to test the integrity of the kokum butter in shielding the skin, as my barber claimed it would. Each pass was true and glide my blade did…amazing.
- 10/10 Glide
- 9/10 Scent Strength
- 10/10 Lather Quality
A week later I stopped by the barbershop and shared my experience with my pal. He was in between customers and sitting in his chair like a guru. After an over exuberating telling of my tale both he and his partner shook my hand, patted me on the back, and welcomed me to the secret club. Kokum butter, who would have thunk?
Ingredients: [Tallow Free & Vegan] Pure Kokum Butter, Organic Mango Seed Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Pure Essential Oils & Natural Plant Extracts.
The Soaps come in four scents: Coconut, Neroli, Steam River Rum (their version of Classic Bay Rum) and Sandalwood.
[Addendum from Mantic59: my interest was piqued from Douglas' glowing description so I got a puck of the Neroli for myself to try. My reaction was not quite as dramatic as Douglas'--then again I admit to being kind of jaded after trying many, many shaving soaps and creams--but it's a very good product in my opinion. Unlike Douglas' "rich lather" description, my first try with it made a (deceptively) thinner, "softer" lather in my hard water. It still gave me an excellent shave, though! After experimenting a little I discovered that treating it like Mitchell's Wool Fat Soap improved the look of the lather considerably. It's growing on me.]