Col. Conk – Shave Bowl & Amber Shave Soap

Continuing with the shave products Edgar aka Mr. Pomade sent me, I am trying my hand at reviewing something new. I’ve never reviewed a shave bowl before so I figured that would be a good one to start with. I’m not sure why I have never reviewed one, because I’ve bought myself a few but for some reason I haven’t. So let’s check out the Col. Conk Shave Bowl, shall we?

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This bowl comes in a little brown cardboard box with a green oval sticker on the front. The dark green sticker has gold print on it and a gold border. The print is a banner that has “Col. Ichabod Conk” in it. Then just under the banner it says “fine grooming products.” Very simple packaging and outside label.

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Opening up the box you see a shave soap set inside a bowl wrapped in foam paper. I was super excited to see that it was there Amber soap! I love the smell of the stuff I got one with the last shave bowl that I bought and am almost out. Very excited it’s this soap, now I have a new one! I will be reviewing that soap along with this bowl since it came with the bowl. The shave soap comes in a circular plastic clam shell type package. There’s only one label on the lid of the package. It is also the same dark green and gold coloring like the outer label on the box. In the very center is a picture of Mr. Conk with a dark red background. Just around him in a green circle it says “contains avocado oil vitamin e net wt 3 3/4oz.” Under him in a banner is “Col. Conk Products 150 years of clean living” the *amber* is under that in the green ring. And in the gold ring on the very edge of the label it says “world famous glycerine shave soap” up top, and has the company info down at the bottom. Such an iconic label! It’s one of my favorite labels ever.

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When you unwrap the bowl from the foam paper you get to see exactly what it looks like. It’s a small tricolored bowl with a small opening at the top. It’s not cut across the middle of the bowl it’s more domed towards the top making it more globe like. I have a feeling this will help create some really awesome lather. The left side is a tortoise shell looking color, the middle is a greenish tannish grey, and the right side is pearly white. Really cool colors! I like the way this bowl looks.

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I decided to take a shot of all four sides you guys can see exactly how the colors are. I really like the tortoise shell side. The pattern is really really cool. Two sides come to meet the middle color and sort of a triangular motion. And I like that both sides aren’t the exact same shape or size. Gives this bowl a handmade look, and that something that I really like.

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The bottom is kind of your standard unglazed clay white color. Has the same banner stamped on the bottom with the name in it. You can kind of see how the colors are painted on the ball from the bottom as well which is a nice touch. Also glad that it’s not painted on the very bottom, I like that clay look.

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Now back to the soap. When you open the package you can see the clear pinkish red colored soap cake really well. Not that you couldn’t see it before, it’s in a clear plastic container afterall. But you do get to see the surface when you open it. It’s pretty flat with some remnants of the bubbles that formed when it was poured. The scent of this soap is one of my favorites of all my current soaps. There’s a great musky talc smell upfront. Reminiscent of Clubman, but different at the same time. Then you get a nice woodsy note the more you smell it. Such a great smell!

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I’m going to use my trusty Berkeley brush in testing both of these out. I have a Col. Conk shave brush that I got from Edgar as well, but I want to save that for it’s own review. I feel it’s better to have/use trusted staples whenever possible when reviewing a new product. It gives you a good base point to reference. So I soaked the soap like I always do, then when the time came I dumped out the water and loaded my brush. The loading was going smoothly as always with this soap. You notice a fairly quick increase of the thickness of the lather when loading your brush. Within 10 seconds you have a nice thick foam filling your brush up. I went ahead and loaded my brush another 20 seconds. I find that 15 seconds in each direction always works best for me when I’m reviewing a soap. It’s also the general way I load my brush when shaving with a trusted soap.

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I grabbed my bowl and put a few drops of water in the bowl and on my brush. I proceeded to work out the lather. After about 15 seconds I had tips forming at the opening of the bowl. This lather’s a little different from most of the soaps I’ve tried. It starts off kind of thin and wispy for about the first 25 to 30 seconds. Then the more you work it it starts to gets thick as you would expect it to.

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However, the unique thing is when it starts to get thick, it thickens up a whole bunch in a matter of seconds. It goes from thin, wispy, won’t stick you your brush very well lather, to nice thick whipped cream type lather in about 5 seconds. This is the only soap that I have tried where the lather does this. It’s not good or bad, just something that is unique to this soap.

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It goes onto your face a bit thinner that it is when it’s in the bowl. I’m not sure why it does this, but it does. The scent right under your nose is damn near perfection. I’m so glad this bowl came with this particular soap, as you can tell by my smirk. I like the feel of the lighter lather on my face from time to time. Just like with my pomades, I don’t want the exact same lather from my soaps every time. It’s nice to have a variety of feels and textures in a collection or rotation I think.

I use this soap without any oil because of how well it softens the whiskers on it’s own. It allows for a really nice smooth shave. I love how easy my razor glides across my face with this soap. Almost like I did use a shave oil, but I didn’t, it’s that smooth. I kept using my new razor for this shave too and I got a really close shave with it yet again. As always I was very pleased with this soaps performance. Still by far one of my favorite soaps out of the ones I have.

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As far as the bowl goes, I like it quite a bit. The aesthetic of the bowl is really nice and makes a great addition to a collection and/or shave set up. The size is perfect for my hands. I have fairly large mitts and this bowl fits perfectly in my hand. I can easily grip it and hold it tightly to work up a mean lather. The opening is a bit weird though. It’s a bit small so I find myself dinging it with my brush constantly. It also, very surprisingly, allows the lather to overflow out of it. My normal bowls do that but they’re not nearly as domed as this one is, so I expect it from them. This one I thought would contain the lather a bit more than it did. Lather coming out of the top of the bowl doesn’t bother me, I just didn’t think the opening would allow as much to come out as it did. I really like the rounded inside a lot. It’s not flat on the bottom like my other bowls are so I can get a lather worked up really nicely, and it is a smoother swirl than my other bowls.

You guys should definitely check this bowl and this soap out! I think this is my new favorite shave bowl. It’s really close to the perfect bowl for me. The colors of it, the shape of it, the size of it, everything. And I Artie gave you guys on my opinions on the soap. It’s a must-have for every wet shaver. To pick these up head on over to http://www.pomade.com
Edgar has them and many other awesome shave products up on his site. And he’s expanding his inventory every week so you’ll have other awesome stuff to chose from soon too.

Stay fresh fellas,

-JC

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