For some reason, I haven't used a Black Ship Grooming soap for quite some time. Perhaps this solid performer has just been outshined by the elite line-up in my den, but even by today's standards, the artisan formerly known as ****** Woodwright was never a sub-par performer. One of my favorites was Captain's Pipe, but unfortunately that fragrance gives my wife a headache. I remain on Black Ship Grooming's mailing list, and they seem to have struck the sweet spot in that their periodic emails are frequent enough to keep me looking, and not enough to force me to unsubscribe. The most recent email featured "High Seas" and boasted their "new Limited Edition" soap base. That was just enough to entice me, so I ordered the set.
I won't even attempt to compare this to a prior base, since it's been so long since I've used one. As per my usual behavior when trying out a new base, I test lathered High Seas the evening prior to putting it into practice. The dry tub soap is soft enough such that I can dent it with my finger, but it will begin to crumble. It loads into the rather floppy badger knot of my vintage Kent brush just as easily as it does into a stiffer synthetic. I found palm lathering to be fairly intuitive, and the water requirements are clearly evident. You won't get a presentable lather until you hydrate it well enough. This is actually not a mark against it. There are some soaps I use routinely that yield a nice looking lather and perform acceptably with a modest amount of water, but they actually transform to stellar performers when you attempt to drown them. PAA's CK-6 is one of those bases. I've seen several shaving videos in which the CK-6 is just not wet enough, yet the user sings its praises. While they're enjoying the product, they have no idea what they're missing. This is why it behooves the wet shaver to test a product's limits prior to using it. But I digress. This new base from Black Ship Grooming makes its requirements known. When it ceases to have that spackley texture and becomes more uniform in appearance, you can add a touch more water, then stop. This lather can be broken with too much water, but you get plenty of warning. With very little work, it achieves a luxurious creamy, dense lather with an iridescent luster. The primary slickness is what I expect from any soap, but the residual slickness is approaching top tier level. The post shave is on par with most of the upper level artisans, and that is to say it's outstanding. I will note the inclusion of lanolin in this base is the only thing that keeps this from being a vegan product.
The fragrance of High Seas is deceptively light both off the dry tub and initially when lathered. It gathers strength in a peculiar fashion as the shave progresses. It's a fairly linear aquatic fragrance with the crisp green evergreen wood essence pushed to the forefront.
The splash is not your standard alcohol fare as the alcohol is present, but it's light. I suspect water is the main carrier in this splash, and I can see some sediment despite the frosted glass bottle. There is a light menthol presence which absolutely complements the fragrance. Otherwise the fragrance profile matches that of the soap, except the conifer is even more prominent and transforms to a gentle, non-medicinal tea tree in the dry down.
This was a very enjoyable, pleasant, shave courtesy of Black Ship Grooming Company's new base. I'm not sure why it's marketed as "limited edition" as I can't see why it shouldn't be a standard offering. "Limited" says "short-term" to me. Perhaps the artisan desires to keep the business model as primarily vegan offerings. If this is the case, he could simply call this lanolin product "special edition" and use it for such releases.