A quick survey of various shaving discussion boards will quickly reveal that no other shaving soap has ever attained such a level of buzz and devotion as Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap. Words like “legendary” and “iconic”, so often bandied about these days for just about any product or brand, might actually not be so far-fetched when it comes to Mitchell’s.
I’ve used the stuff for years. It makes a very good lather, although there are soaps that make a better one from the perspective of lubrication and skin protection. Nevertheless, Mitchell’s ranks among my top-two, along with the extremely difficult to source Gold-Dachs Spezial. The reason for my devotion, in both cases, is their extraordinarily smell.
Smell is a very powerful thing; our most primitive and valuable sense as we emerged from the primordial goo. Today, we try to play down odors; we use deodorants, disinfectants, perfumes, and all sorts of ventilators, to “eliminate odors” as the air-freshner commercial like to promise. But any man who has caught a whiff of his first girlfriend’s Chanel #5 40 years after he broke up with her, will attest to the power of smell in rekindling memories and emotions.
Mitchell’s aroma has the power to calm, soothe, and bring a smile to my face. I glance at it’s ceramic container in my shower and look forward to my shave. It’s that good.
But Mitchell’s needs lots of care. I used to follow conventional logic and let the soap dry overnight by leaving its container uncapped. Inevitably, if I didn’t shave the next day, the soap was already cracked and deeply fissured. I once put it into my cabinet for some months, and flies laid their eggs in the cracks, with rather disgusting results when I subsequently went to use it. It seems that Mitchell’s aroma is irresistible to both humans and flies.
So, now I follow the advice from various discussion sites, to always cap the container and leave the soap moist after a shave, as well as just keep shaving with it till it’s finished.
With some hesitation, I ordered a puck of Kent Shaving Soap a few days ago, assured by the various discussion boards that it was simply Mitchell’s under private label. They were correct. I couldn’t find a Canadian vendor for Mitchell’s so ordered the Kent from Fendrihan. It’s the real McCoy.