D.R. Harris & Co. of London has been producing some of the finest luxury personal care items for over 200 years. Their line of shaving products is well respected among traditional wet shavers as being some of the best available. The Marlborough stands out as one of the unique offerings among the more traditional fragrances, such as sandalwood, lavender, rose, etc., in which shaving creams and soaps are usually offered. This article takes a closer look at one of my favorite shaving soaps, D.R. Harris Marlborough.
Presented in a traditional hand-turned wooden bowl, D.R. Harris Marlborough is a dense, triple-milled hard soap that is tallow based. When you first open the package, the scent of Marlborough is immediately noticeable and quite a bit stronger than most other hard shaving soaps. Although I typically prefer products with subtle fragrances because they are gentler on the skin, Marlborough is one of the exceptions to that rule. The fragrance is a rich and masculine base of woods with an intense note of fresh cedar combined with the warmth of sandalwood. Despite the strong and persistent character of Marlborough, I never find myself tiring of the great aroma of this soap.
The soap is white in color with no evidence of added colorants and is very hard and dense in texture. The puck itself is thicker than other soaps, making it one of the longest lasting shaving products available on the market today. The soap lathers easily; however, I find that firm and densely packed brushes such as Simpsons and Rooney are the most ideal for creating lather with this soap due to its harder surface texture.
As you swirl your brush on the soap and start to generate lather, the fragrance of Marlborough immediately releases in to the air making this one of the most aromatic soaps I have ever used. This is a definite plus for those who enjoy heavier scented soaps. The lather starts out bubbly in texture, and as the brush infuses the water and soap it immediately takes on a dense and creamy texture. When applied to the face the soap coats the skin well and maintains its body throughout the shave without breaking down and becoming runny or drying out on the skin too quickly. The fragrance component of the soap remains strong, but never begins showing any sign of irritation on my skin.
Being one of my favorite products, I have used Marlborough many times with both straight and double edge razors. The blade tracks smoothly along the skin because the lather from this soap does a great job of keeping the surface lubricated and protected from the cutting edge. After the shave, the soap rinses cleanly from the skin leaving it feeling well nourished and moisturized.
D.R. Harris Marlborough is a great representative in the category of luxury-class traditional shaving soaps. While I really enjoy the bold and woodsy aroma of this soap, some men may find it to be a bit overbearing, especially if they are not fond of this type of fragrance. For those that like it, however, they may not find another shaving soap that rivals the quality of Marlborough. It is priced in line with most other hard milled soaps offered in wooden bowls at $35 USD. The wooden bowl is available in your choice of a light beech or dark mahogany stain, or if you choose you can skip the bowl and purchase the refill puck alone for $18 USD. Despite its high price point, a puck of D.R. Harris Marlborough will easily last four or more months of regular use, making it one of the best bargains for a superior quality shaving soap.