Review: Long Rifle Soap Co. Tallow Shave Soap and Bar Soap
(2017) It has been a while since we have focused on the clubhouse side of cycling. Our hiatus from wet shaving can be blamed on the longevity of products in the industry. Once the shave container of the last product revealed the bottom, we knew we should order from a Wisconsin-based company to begin the process of chiseling the body for the 2017 cycling season.
Long Rifle Soap Co. resides in ‘America’s dairyland.’ We felt Wisconsin’s ties to two big cycling companies: Trek and Saris Cycling Group, makers of the CycleOps trainers, were sufficient in its proximity. When Sunday rolled around, after the weekend’s cold weather rides, we excitedly tore the packaging off to give it a go.
Saranac Soap ($8 USD)
Two memories came rushing back upon opening the box from Long Rifle Soap Company. The first involved the Saranac bar of soap, purposely purchased because of the name. After living many years in the Adirondacks, one scent is hardly ever captured well. On humid days in the summer and fall, the balsam trees in the Adirondacks give off their sweet smell that immediately turns the head of those who catch it. It is a beautiful aroma that disperses as quickly as it is picked up. I’ve found that standing in the same area where the scent was most likely experienced yields little in recreating its pungency.
Saranac Lake is a small town in the Adirondacks that brags about having the coldest temperature readings in the winter. On January 5, 2016 it was the coldest spot in the lower 48 with a reading of 21 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. It was also the location of a brief downtown criterium race that ran for at least three years. As with many towns in the Adirondacks, Saranac Lake exemplifies the spirit of the North Country through hard work and a symbiosis with the land. It also features a hiking challenge called the Saranac Lake 6er requiring hikers to hit all six nearby mountains, usually in a single day.
The Adirondacks themselves are a beautiful area that would take several lifetimes to explore by hike or by bike. It is deep in the woods that the Long Rifle soap’s scent can be found, and it has been replicated beautifully. I used to purchase pine scented soap bars to mask the hockey smell and found those bars to miss the mark somehow. With Long Rifle Soap Company’s "Saranac," it’s a sweet balance that comes and goes just like the balsam pine scent deep in the woods. It’s not too powerful to give the feeling of being in a cloud of cedar, nor is it so subtle to be barely detected at all. It also does not leave a residue as many commercial soaps do. With at least six oils to hydrate the skin, it’s the perfect way to rehydrate a winter’s abuse and prepare for the spring classics in the area.
Bay Rhum Pour Tallow Shaving Soap ($18 USD)
Once the cobblestone grit has been scrubbed off with the bar of soap, the next order is to shave off the week’s worth of stubble that has been purposely neglected for weekend ride insulation. Removing the lid of the Bay Rhum shave soap, another memory of childhood returned immediately. I think bay rum is my favorite scent of all shave soaps, and Long Rifle’s offering came through wonderfully.
One of the earliest recurring memories of childhood is, without a doubt, the father/son trip to the barber once a month. My dad would take me to the same barbershop with elderly barbers who would style the hair then give stale Bazooka Joe bubble gum squares. One part of the snip that I had a love/ hate relationship with was the final swoop. The collar would be pulled down, hot lather was applied to straighten up the line in the back, and the straight razor did its duty. Yet the moment that marked the end of the shave included a brush with talcum powder across the back of the neck, around the ears, across the forehead, and the dramatic barber chair spin with the rearview mirror produced in one motion.
The smell of talcum powder came rushing back when I huffed the Bay Rhum shave soap. If there is any question as to whether I liked the scent, consider I go out of my way to inhale this tin just to recapture that moment. But how did it perform?
After setting up the sink with a warmed scuttle and pre-shave oil, the shave brush was swirled around for a few moments to load the Bay Rhum shave soap. Developing the lather was quite enjoyable as the scent got released with each swirl in the scuttle. Every lap around the dish gave thicker and thicker lather that went on the stubble nicely, causing the grains to stand up for easier scraping. With the long stubble present, the shave soap made quick work while wafting a relaxing scent. It was good to be shaving with quality products.
For many people, childhood experiences can be remembered with products like what these two scents represent. Pair that with the third feeling of independence a bike gave us, and much of childhood has been blanketed with bike rides, outdoors, and a trip to the barber. These are but two products available through Long Rifle Soap Co. Here’s the challenging part: with little samples sent along to suggest other offerings, try to not get sucked into all these products. If you want to sport the beard and find yourself on the podium this year, don’t worry. Long Rifle also has beard oil to make sure you look your finest. Until then, cleaning up after gritty spring rides is a great buffer between the weekend bike ride and the start of the work week.
Long Rifle Shave Soap Co. products can be found at longriflesoap.com. Shave soap comes in shave pucks or pour containers.