Stirling Scots Pine – Sheep Shave

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Stirling Scots Pine – Sheep Shave

Stirling Scots Pine Sheep Shave

Pre-shave Thoughts

After a bit of spring cleaning at Anthronicle with several new features added to the site including our Shaving Soap Ingredients archive, Shave Blog Directory, and Shaving Headlines Service, I am excited to be back to working on Shave Experience articles.  I’ve reached for Stirling Soap Company Scots Pine Sheep Shave Soap to feature in today’s shave along with a series of other fine components that should make for a solid outcome.

During my pre-shave hot shower, I cleansed and prepared my face and whiskers for the shave with Kiehl’s Facial Fuel.  To date, it is my favorite face cleanser because it cleans my whiskers of grime and oil without over drying my face. Facial Fuel has label appeal by boasting the inclusion of caffeine and various vitamins along with menthol.  During use, I sensed a mild menthol effect with a similarly mild citrus-like clean scent.  Overall, Facial Fuel works well for me as an everyday cleanser, and I appreciate that it does it’s cleansing job well with no real drawbacks.  Upon leaving the shower, my face felt hydrated, healthy, and shave ready with about three day’s of stubble growth.

Shave Components

The Lathering

Upon picking up the Stirling Scots Pine soap, the kelly green plastic, screw top tub is immediately recognizable as the Parkway 100mm container that has become standard issue for most soap making artisans as of late.  My other Stirling soaps have the older metal packaging which I find to be less durable and easy to rust even when delicately cared for.  The Parkway tub is an upgrade that functions satisfactorily.  The kelly green coloration is a nice touch that differentiates the Stirling Soap from other white, black, and translucent tubs that are nearly universally used.  I appreciate that Stirling Soap Company also sells refill pucks making their plastic tubs and waterproof labels a reusable, one-time purchase.  The waterproof/resistant labeling is basic with the standard Stirling foggy/blurry tree.  I find the font to be sub-optimal as the text appears muddled, especially at smaller sizes.  The back label adequately lists ingredients and provides contact information.

Interestingly, Stirling Scots Pine is made using mutton tallow and is void of any coconut oil, choosing to stabilize/boost their lather with castor oil instead.  The soap ingredients also include almond oil, shea butter, coconut milk, and lanolin all of which should provide a superior post-shave skin feel. Mutton tallow differs somewhat from beef tallow in its fatty acid composition and should make for an interesting experience.  I also appreciate the inclusion of the almond oil in the formula as I find it an especially good skin conditioner.  It’s unfortunate that some artisans/manufacturers have removed it from their formulas in an attempt to appeal to the .6% of the US population that suffers from a tree nut allergy.

The scent of Stirling Scots Pine off the puck was a robust pine tar fragrance which reminded me a bit of when I played baseball in my youth.  Loading with the RazoRock Synthetic Badger Brush was a simple task and after about 20 seconds of vigorous swirling, a dense soapy paste formed between the damp fibers with a small amount clinging to the container.  After applying a touch of water to my freshly showered face, I rubbed a bit of the puck foam into my stubble with my hand, then began a face lather.

With a few paintbrush-style strokes, I covered my face with a thin layer of soapy paste, then began a swirl stroke on my neck and underneath my chin which makes a great pocket to whip up lather. I like to start the mix thick, then add water as I go rather than starting with a soggy brush as I think it gives me a bit more control on the product-to-water ratio. With several dips of the brush tips into the hot tap water reserve, a dense, creamy lather formed with relative ease in about 30-45 seconds of face lathering.  The scent of Stirling Scots Pine during the face lathering process mellowed slightly but was still gave off a fairly heavy pine resin aroma.  The RazoRock synthetic badger brush felt soft to the skin but provided a good firmness that transferred the lather well from brush to face.  I prefer the firmer feel of this pseudo-Muhle Silvertip Fibre knot compared to the fluffier, less-firm faux Plisson knots that seem to be all the rage at this time for good reason.

The Shave

I completed my standard two pass shave, one pass straight down my face, then one straight up from neck to cheekbone.  I rounded out the shave with a bit of freestyle touching up to slay the stray whisker.  The Merkur 34c HD performed at top efficiency paired with the first rate Polsilver Super Iridium blade.  In all honesty, the Merkur performs well with just about any blade I use, but the Polsilver tends to always deliver a comfortable, tug-free shave.  The razor glided smoothly atop the solid, dense Stirling Scots Pine lather which stayed in place and provided exceptional protection during the shave.  I appreciated the Merkur classic razor head as it is highly maneuverable and easy to get into all the nooks and crannies of my face.

After the initial razor stroke and in-between passes, the Stirling Scots Pine lather left substantial residual slickness on my facial skin allowing for repeat strokes and buffing.  The thick, dense lather structure combined with its extreme lubricity made for a comfortable, enjoyable, and easy shave.  In-between passes, my face felt soft and nourished, remaining shave ready.  When I re-lathered, I did give a few swirl strokes under my chin to whip just a little more air into the lather that was sitting in the brush.  I could have certainly just have painted it on and probably would have been just fine with the lubrication it provided, but I prefer a little more lift to the lather for my second and final touch-up passes.

The Stirling Scots Pine scent really shined during the shave.  The bold, resinous, pine tar scent mellowed substantially into a more muted green aroma that gave a smoother, more relaxing scent experience.  I noted a hint of green mint deep within this scent late during the shave, an almost spearmint-like aroma.  This was nothing like a bright peppermint or candy cane type crisp mint scent.  Rather, it blended well with the deeply rich, earthy evergreen base.  Overall, the scent of Stirling Scots Pine during the shave was quite enjoyable and unique to any other soap I have experienced to date.

The Rinse

Upon rinsing my face clean, I could tell that I had achieved a very close shave without any wounds to report.  The Stirling Scots Pine lather rinsed free leaving my face feeling supple, moisturized, and protected.  The pine scent all but completely dissipated with the rinse with just a small hint in the air as I toweled off.  The post-shave skin feel was quite remarkable, rivaling any tallow soap that I have experienced to date.  While feeling quite moisturized, my face did not feel heavy, nor waxy.  Moving into the finish, no moisturizing aftershave components felt necessary.

The Finish

I finished this shave off with a healthy dose of Captain’s Choice North aftershave splash.  Upon opening the typical stickered, glass apothecary bottle, I caught a whiff of spicy clove.  Upon application, I felt a slight alcohol sting that evolved into a soothing warmth as a boozy, juniper berry scent filled my nostrils.  The warmth subsided after about a minute or so with the fragrance mellowing to a spiced, more bay rum aroma.

The combination of witch hazel and glycerin in Captain’s Choice aftershaves provides soothing nourishment to the face, even though, after the Stirling Scots Pine lathering experience, none was really necessary.  While Captain’s Choice North is one of my favorites from the Captain’s Choice line, I wish it had a bit more evergreen scent and the juniper hung around longer.  It burned off in about 30 seconds.

After about an hour’s time, the North fragrance had completely dissipated.  While this is fairly normal for an aftershave, I appreciate that some artisans are formulating to make their aftershave scent last a bit longer into the day.  In all, Captain’s Choice North is a fine scent and good performing aftershave that I enjoy.  While it paired well with Stirling Scots Pine, I wish I had a more evergreen-based aftershave on hand as that would have really enhanced this particular scent experience.

Post-shave Thoughts

I quite enjoyed Stirling Scots Pine Sheep Shave Soap.  It performed on par with the best tallow soaps I’ve experienced to date with a remarkably dense and lubricating lather and robust, but enjoyable scent.  The mutton tallow ingredient is out of the ordinary and was a fun experience.  As usual, the Merkur 34c HD was a pleasure to shave with and functioned quite efficiently with the exceedingly sharp yet comfortable Polsilver Super Iridium blade.  The Razorock Synthetic Badger brush loaded and whipped-up a fine lather while feeling pretty good on the face.  Finishing the shave off with Captain’s Choice North worked well if lacking only in a bit more longevity and evergreen character.  In all, this was a fine shave experience that resulted in a close, wound and irritation-free shave.

I think this was a solid first go at adapting my writing style to the new Shave Experience 2.0 format. Let me know what you think of SE 2.0 in the comments section below.  What has your personal experience been with Stirling Scots Pine, Captain’s Choice North, or any other component of this Shave Experience?  As always, thanks for reading, and have some great shaves!

 

Shave Experience 2.0 Summary Table

To get the most out of the Shave Experience summary table, familiarize yourself with the philosophy of the Shave Experience, the definitions of terms used in the table, and the mechanics of the 1-3 ratings in our Shave Experience 2.0 article.

PRE-SHAVE RAZOR BLADE
Packaging – 2 Aesthetics – 2 Skin Sensation – 2
Ingredients – 2 Handle Ergonomics – 2 Edge Comfort – 3
Skin Preparation – 3 Maneuverability – 3 Edge Sharpness – 3
Skin Sensation – 2 Weight, Balance, Feel – 3 Design Effectiveness – 3
Scent – 2 Auditory Response – 2 X Factor – n/a
X Factor – n/a Skin Sensation – 2
Design Effectiveness – 3
X Factor – n/a
SHAVING BRUSH SOAP/CREAM AFTERSHAVE
Aesthetics – 2 Packaging – 2 Packaging – 2
Handle Ergonomics – 2 Ingredients – 3 Ingredients – 2
Weight, Balance, Feel – 2 Lather Formation – 2 Initial Scent – 2
Lather Production – 3 Lather Composition – 3 Application Scent – 3
Lather Flow – 3 Lather Lubricity – 3 Body Chemistry Scent – 2
Lather Distribution – 2 Lather Endurance – 2 Scent Longevity – 1
Skin Sensation – 2 Initial Scent – 2 Skin Sensation – 2
X Factor -n/a Lathering Scent – 2 Skin Nourishment – 2
Shaving Scent – 3 X Factor – n/a
Scent Longevity – 3
Skin Sensation – 3
Skin Nourishment – 3
X Factor – n/a
SYNERGIES TOTAL SHAVE EXPERIENCE SUMMARY
Scent Pairing – 2 Pre-shave – 11/5 = 2.20
Razor & Blade – 2 Razor – 17/7 = 2.43
Skin Sensation – 2 Blade – 11/4 = 2.75
Skin Nourishment – 2 Shaving Brush – 16/7 = 2.29
X Factor – n/a Soap/Cream – 31/12 = 2.58
Aftershave – 16/8 = 2.00
Synergies – 8/4 = 2.00
Overall Shave Experience – 110/47 = 2.34

 

 

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2017-03-18T09:51:51+00:00By |

9 Comments

  1. PaulyG March 18, 2016 at 11:00 - Reply

    I really like the new format. The reader can get into the details with the table if they want, or just read the flowing text to delve into the experience. I like how you focus on the flow of the shave rather than a bulleted list of characteristics. Makes for a much better read. Well done!

  2. Shawn Christenson March 18, 2016 at 11:29 - Reply

    Outstanding review, a pleasant read with a lot of info spread throughout. Stirling is making some great soaps. Other tallow soapers need to keep an eye out as they way over charge (B&M) when Stirling is a better performer. If you like sheep ingredients, check out Haslinger Sheep’s Milk. MWF performance with a better lather.

    • Oliver Scarcliff March 18, 2016 at 12:14 - Reply

      I’ll have to put Haslinger on the list. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  3. Thomas March 18, 2016 at 11:54 - Reply

    A lot to digest here, love the new format. It seems a bit more polished, not that your previous articles were lacking. Good stuff. I love Stirling soaps, hate bay rum so can’t comment. Polsilvers are great but too expensive for me, I just use Personnas with my razors. Never tried a Merkur or that Razorock brush as I prefer vintage and badger. Thanks for the review!

    • Oliver Scarcliff March 18, 2016 at 12:15 - Reply

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on the shave components. Glad to hear you like the new SE 2.0 format!

  4. Mark A. Todd March 18, 2016 at 15:03 - Reply

    While I have always enjoyed your attention to detail with regards to the shave experience, this addition of your grading system has made reading Anthronicle a real game changer. The reader can gather oodles of info or dive directly to your overall experience rating. I look forward to seeing products and gear I have in my den, in order to compare our “rating” head-to-head. Thanks again Oliver for your dogged dissection of your den sessions!

    • Oliver Scarcliff March 18, 2016 at 17:00 - Reply

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate that you value the depth that I am attempting to bring to the Shave Experience and look forward to your feedback when I “rate” a mutual shave component. There is no doubt that we each bring our own perspective to the shave den. When perspectives differ, valuable discussion can be had. Have some great shaves, Mark!

  5. Tim March 1, 2017 at 20:24 - Reply

    I could do without the tallow; it’s be nice if they did some non-animal fat versions of their soaps, as the scents sound great.

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