I have been interested in Tcheon Fung Sing soap from the first moment that I stumbled upon them. About a year ago I was doing some research into the various brands of soft Italian shaving soaps on the market when I happened upon a reference to Tcheon Fung Sing soft Italian soaps. I thought that it was odd that a supposed Italian soap had what was obviously a Chinese name, so naturally I was intrigued. As it turns out, the founder was one of the first Chinese folks to immigrate to modern Italy. He started off by selling razor blades and eventually worked his way up to owning and running a soap company. His granddaughter is the current force behind this amazing line of shaving soaps, she has worked to maintain his name and the quality products that they produce. Today TFS not only produces their own line of soaps, but also has a market presence via RazoRock’s La Famiglia line and Barbiere di Figaro’s Italian soap line. One of the relatively new offerings from TFS is their hard shaving soaps. These soaps are scented in the same way as their soft soaps, but offer the longevity and stability that can only be found in hard shaving soaps.
I have used TFS soaps in the past, specifically the RazoRock Nonno Michelino and RazoRock Cumba Cheech, but I was never really wowed by the performance. The soaps smell great and lather well, but they aren’t anything particularly fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, TFS makes some very good soaps, they’re just not amazing soaps. I believe that part of the reason that I feel this way is because I had built them up so much in my mind that by the time that I actually tried them they had no where to go but down. In spite of this, I was interested to see how their hard soaps stacked up. I found so little information about the TFS line of hard shaving soaps that some of the mystery and attraction that I had initially felt for the TFS soft soaps managed to transfer over and draw me inexorably toward their hard soaps. I decided to look beyond my preconceived notions and give TFS hard soaps the benefit of a fair trial.
Last Friday afternoon I put an order into BullGoose Shaving for a puck of TFS Bergamotto Neroli hard soap. BullGoose, being an amazingly dedicated vendor, had my order posted later that day and in my hands on Monday. (I can not say enough good things about BullGoose Shaving. Fast delivery, amazing customer service, excellent shipping rates, and a large selection of great products. They may not always have the lowest prices in town, but they have absolutely top notch service.). The soap comes in a nice sturdy wax paper with the usual labels, but it is also delivered in an odd little mesh drawstring bag. I’m not sure as to the reason behind the mesh bag, but I kind of like it. Opening the soap revealed a hard soap puck with the words TFS ORIGINAL stamped on the face. The puck its self feels like a semi soft chalk, or possibly a hard cheese. I planned on grating the soap to fit properly into a Kingsley dark wood bowl, so the odd texture of this soap concerned me, but that concern turned out to be unfounded. Grating the soap was easy and the shavings even turned out to be quite soft and pliable. Once I had my soap grated and formed I took it into the bathroom for a quick test lather.
As I’ve stated, I like TFS soft soaps, but they never really blew me away, so while my hopes were high, my expectations were somewhat subdued. Before wetting the soap I took a big whiff of the TFS Bergamotto Neroli. This soap’s scent is most often described as being similar to an orange creamsicle. I can tell you that I did not get this smell from it at all. What I did smell was much closer to Fruit Loops cereal than to an orange creamsicle. This was a disappointing revelation as I rather like orange creamsicles and I rather don’t like Fruit Loops. Wetting and lathering the soap produced a subdued Fruit Loops scent with an amazingly thick and copious lather. I shaved with the TFS Bergamotto Neroli hard soap this morning and I am happy to report that it is very slick, cushioning, and has pretty good skin care properties. Overall, in spite of the odd scent, I really like this soap. I plan on trying out the Zagara & Gelsomino in the hopes that its scent is equal to the RazoRock Cumba Cheech. Until then I will be quite happy to continue to use my new Fruit Loops scented goodness.
Ratings (1-10, 1 being the absolute lowest and 10 being the absolute best):
Scent Quality: 6
Scent Strength: 7
Lather Quality: 9
Skin Care: 7