First, A Little History…
We will get to the actual review in just a moment, but first a word from our sponsors…Nah, just kidding! We’re actually going to take a few minutes to tell you a bit about the company that is behind this shaving soap. We kind of fancy ourselves as history buffs and like to know the story behind things. We hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane with us!
The creator of Tabac shave soap is the global perfume company Maurer & Wirtz. This company hasn’t always been the mack daddy of perfumes and beauty products though. They have really come a long when since the company was founded back in 1845.
A long time ago, in a country far far away, Michael Maurer and his stepson, Andreas August Wirtz, decided that it sounded like a good idea to set up a soapworks shop. Their very first shop was nestled in Stohlberg near Aachen, Germany. It didn’t take long for the newly formed Maurer & Wirtz Company to gain some serious footing and begin selling their soft soaps, detergents and perfumed toilet soaps. Their products quickly became the go-to purchase throughout Rhineland, Westphalia, Belgium and The Netherlands.
The way they made their soaps became so popular that they began production under a license in Paris to keep up with the demand. Around 1868 Maurer & Wirtz saw great success with their new shaving soap that was based on the original Stolberg recipe. The company was able to gain success across the pond in San Francisco with the product as well.
Maurer & Wirtz saw major growth in about 1889 that prompted them to open a new and improved factory that soon became an industrial enterprise. It was around this time that they made it into the big leagues and started using hydroelectric power to run their machines and increase production. The company continued to grow and expand throughout the remainder of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
After even further expansions, Maurer & Wirtz starting working on fancy soap lines that were produced in Vienna. This is about the time that the world got its first glimpse of Tabac shave soap. The size of the soap division grew so much and so rapidly that the company hiked back over to Stohlberg to increase production.
From about 1950 to today, Maurer & Wirtz has released many different lines of personal care products. They actually have three different main products lines as of today. There is the “Beauty” line that offers Tobac Original, Tabac Man, Mistral, Sir Irisch Moos and Tosca. The “Prestige” line is known for products under the labels of Baldessarini, Strellson and Michalsky . Lastly, there is the “4711” line that features top notch colognes 4711 Original Eau de Cologne, 4711 Acqua Colonia and Nouveau Cologne.
So, there you have it, guys! That’s a bit about Maurer & Wirtz from inception to current day. Now that you know where Tobac shave soap has come from, we think it’s time for that review we’ve been promising you!
General Thoughts on Tabac Shaving Soap
Tabac is another example of superior German shaving products. Like Merkur, and others we have reviewed, Tabac provides an above average shaving experience. Tabac shaving products were introduced to the market in 1959, and have since flourished in the shaving community. Tabac is widely regarded as a solid product in the wet shaving community. We wont necessarily say that Tabac is the “Cadillac” of the shaving soap community, but it is a great, above par brand.
However, with any product, there are some who love it and some who aren’t too fond of it. We consider Tabac shaving soap to be a bit more expensive than the majority of shaving soaps we come across. Although we consider this to be a great product, and we do recommend it, we also recommend you start with the smallest puck available before you buy a $30 tub.
The scent really tends to be hit or miss with those who try it, which is why we gave it a 3 out of 5 for scent. Although, that being said, those who do enjoy the Tabac scent are very loyal followers. It is certainly not our intention to send you lady killers out there smelling like you just applied “Sex Panther” (“it’s illegal in nine countries, 60% of the time, it works every time,” you get the picture). The soap rises off quickly and leaves the skin moisturized.Those who have had problems with razor burning in the past tend to be very happy with this product. The lather applies unusually slick and dense compared to others. This helps the razor glide through the hair effortlessly. Tabac shaving soap will do well for both straight razors, and safety razors. The scent is mild and not overpowering. We have come across many shaving soaps that tend to have an overbearing smell. Also, because of the scent, if you have sensitive skin, it is possible this product may cause some irritation.
With some other shaving soaps there can be a formula for those who are trying to get the right density.Tabac shaving soap tends to be very user friendly. Most anybody is able to pick this up and whip up a great lather. Although, for the really new people, there may be a slight learning curve.
Although we have previously stated this product will do well for both straight razor and safety razor users, straight razor users tend to be particularly fond of Tabac shaving soap. Shaving with a straight razor can be a prolonged process. Because of this, the lather needs to be able to stabilize on the face for a longer than average period of time. Although some say Tabac can dry out after a while, we are confident if you use the right lather formula, it should be able to hold for as long as you would reasonably need.
The Art of Triple Milling Lather
Tabac shaving soap is triple milled. Triple milling lather is a manufacturing process that ensures the lather consistency is the same throughout the entire use. This makes sure that from the first time you use it, to the last time, you will have the same density and lathering experience. This is a process developed by the French and is used in all types of soap, not just shaving soap. However, many gripes we hear about shaving soap is the quality depletes over the period of use. However, the triple milling process ensures this doesn’t happen.
Additionally, triple milling can sometimes cause the skin to dry out, we do not hear this often with this product. The triple milling process creates a much more rich and creamy soap. We feel this process helps the shaving soap keep its consistency throughout the life of the shaving puck.
The price of this tub might seem a bit off-putting at first, however, this 4.4 oz. tub will last for a very long time. This Tabac soap comes in a ceramic tub, which we thought was a nice tough. The original scent can tend to be a little overbearing, you might want to look for a scent that better suits you (and we do get mixed reviews on this, so please do give it a try and see if you like the scent).
Additionally, this product may have some getting use to. The tub is larger than some others we have reviewed, so there is going to be a bit of a learning curve when trying to get the right lather to water ration down. Overall, if you’re a fan of Tabac shaving soap, we would recommend this product, you get a lot of bang for your buck if you know how to use it right.
This is virtually the same product as the tub we reviewed above. We think it is important for you gentleman to be aware of all available options so you are able to plan for long term use. There is no sense in getting attached to a product if it’s not economically sustainable. The tub we reviewed above comes with a ceramic bowl that makes it easy to fit this refill puck. It is the same weight as the one that comes in the original, just the refill option.