Wickham's 1912 Odyssey Shaving Soap

Little introduction is needed for Wickham's 1912 soap which continues its reign as certainly one of the finest artisinal shaving soaps with each new scented release.

Marketed in simplistic packaging, a wide plastic tub with waterproof plastic labels wide enough to accept even the largest of brushes that seem vogue of late and not overly filled, permitting the shaver to build a proto-lather on the soap without that lather untidily billowing out of the tub. In use, the soap is thick, slick, protective and with a good wash-off leaves the skin feeling just right - not dried and certainly not overly fed. The ingredient list is short, succinct and reassuringly devoid of a worryingly long list of unpronounceable chemicals.

Wickham's 1912 has a good scent library building and this latest scent, Odyssey, is in honour of Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme and like the fragrance, it delivers a superb up-front pack of citrus backed with soothing woods.

I use a Wickham's 1912 shaving soap more often than not when shaving and I am well versed in its use. Lathering from the off is most certainly without issue - load up your brush with a few swirls and build up the lather however it is that you like. The soap could well be considered soft as it is most certainly not a hard soap, but it's also most certainly not a soft soap that even a slightly firm brush might put up too much; in fact, my method is to face lather after building a proto-lather on the soap which allows a thick cream to be established without overly soapy suds frothing up.

The soap is a delight to use, but what of the scent?

Give yourself a quick run-down on the scent characteristcs of Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme and you get Citrus Aquatic, a scent built on soft, heady florals and spices over comforting woods that wafts in once the fresh splash of citrus has waned.

Odyssey delivers this ...

The citrus is yuzu and bergamot, not as whirling or powerful as one or two of Wickham's other citrus-fronted soaps but balanced and in harmony with everything that follows. The crest of the waves, which ebbs to reveal woods - vetiver, notably; cedar and sandalwood. The heart is built around and air of darker florals and herbs, lily and tarragon, spicy nutmeg at the core with tobacco and musk both trailing out of the woods and lingering behind the florals. What's perhaps missing is that elusive fruitiness in the actual fragrance, which once noticed disappears immediately.

Citrus Aromatic indeed. Odyssey, too, the evocation of sandy shores, driftwood, brisk, fresh sea air, new launches and the hope of what is to come.

I'll an unashamed powerhouse fanatic and I must say that while I have owned Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme, it wasn't one which thrilled me much nor one I've kept. Wickham's ode in this shaving soap is much more impressive to my nose, perhaps the scent just more suited to that medium, it's purpose to excite the senses while shaving but not necessarily linger on much beyond, certainly not beyond the application of aftershave. It is a very well balanced scent for the soap and one which delivers exactly what is expected.

Unlikely myself to go on to Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme as my scent for the day to compliment this soap; I am very happy to say that it does compliment certain classic scents from my collection: Cacharel Pour Homme or Aramis Aramis. For a lighter touch, Alvarez Gomez Agua Colonia is most complimentary and any number of Turkish colognes follow absolutely right: lemon, lime, fig, tobacco.

Scores? While entirely personal, we do like scores ...

Soap - 10/10 as I simply cannot fault 1912 in any way
Scent - 9/10 for a very well balanced soap which does carry all the subtlety of the fragrance it honours but I would just like to have found that wisp of lotus which I think give the actual fragrance its elusive character

Combined, perfect!