Home » Product Reviews » Shady Past by Folsom & Co. – A Review

Shady Past by Folsom & Co. – A Review


When I heard that Folsom & Co. was coming out with a new aftershave called “Shady Past,” I just about died laughing. The word “shady” brought up all kinds of memories. I remember when I first heard the word; it was through a friend of mine and the effectiveness of that word was in how it was said, you know, “That guy’s shaaaaady.”

I immediately said to myself, “When that bottle goes on sale, I’m getting it.” So I did. This morning, I used it for the first time and I do have some initial impressions of it right off the bat.

To start out, this is my first official review of a product. I wish I had that style of a straight ahead, no nonsense review to really serve the reader, but I have to say that I will throw in metaphors because that’s the way I am. I like to get creative in my explanations of things as one of the things from my past is that I have been writing poetry and songs for years. Metaphor is how I speak and write, so forgive me for this, I am going to be bringing up little things here and there to really drive home my descriptions and what I think about when I use the products.

Whenever I start getting interested in something, I immediately look at how I should do it based on what everyone else is doing. I want to do it right and I don’t really want to look like an egomaniac while I’m sharing about this stuff. The problem is that I have this habit, and that is this: The moment I learn how to do something, I then learn to break those rules. This comes from years of creative writing and the process of learning how to hone my skills as a creative person. So really, these are reviews that are part journal, part story and in the end, I want you to know that what I’m doing here is sharing my experience of not only how the products feel and smell to me but also my inner experience.

Tobacco Soaps and Aftershaves?

I started out this morning, excited about what I would be using. I knew that I would be using my RazoRock Tobacco #1 soap because I had heard about the notes of the aftershave.

In the description of Shady Past on Folsom’s website, it mentions that nicotiana tabacum is grown for a “myriad of reasons, but none more beautiful than perfumery.” I agree. It really makes things interesting for me because I really don’t like tobacco. Unfortunately, one of my Grandparents died from lung cancer when I was at an early age, and cigarettes never really appealed to me, although I have to admit I have smoked.

I didn’t realize tobacco was in shaving soaps or aftershaves until I started researching about products that were out on the market. There are so many soaps with this scent and this is just a sample list: Zi Peppino by RazoRock, Sweet Tobacco by Country Club for Men, Roam by Barrister & Mann (almost more of a liquid smoke type scent), Cavendish by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements and most famously, Tabac, a long time favorite of the Wet Shaving Community. Tobacco is also used in many aftershaves: Southern Oud by Country Club for Men, the matching Cavendish aftershave by Phoenix and particularly one that is near to my heart, Alt-Innsbruck.

Alt-Innsbruck is pretty amazing. If you haven’t tried it, go ahead and get it. It is made from the tobacco flower, which is floral and sweet. It is made in Austria, so it is a bit pricier than some others, but it is well worth it. Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements makes a similar aftershave named Al Fin and that is really incredible as well.

Back to Shady Past… it also has the scent of amber. Folsom’s product info on their website says the following, “In ancient China, the fossilized tree resin was burned in festivals and used for celebrations. Today, amber is replicated in fragrances. There are also notes of cardamom and ginger for support.”

What I loved about this product was that it was cooling. I really didn’t expect that at all- I thought the scent would take over and not the feel. This is important to me because it was filled with surprise. I like that in a post shave.

The scent itself really took me on a nice trip because it reminded me of Southern Oud. I unfortunately had an accident with the Oud, it opened up in my bag on the way back from California recently and I lost it. It was nice to smell something a little familiar.

Do not get me wrong, this is not a clone of Southern Oud. This aftershave is in a class all by itself. After the cooling, the face feel is just special. I love the way it felt and I did two splashes as I usually do with aftershaves that I really like.

Shady Past has a vintage feel but it’s very unique. I immediately enjoyed the whole experience of using the aftershave on my face as I had no reaction to it and again, the cool feeling was surprising but very comfortable. I will compare it to the feel of Alt Innsbruck due to the cooling factor. It basically feels the same way when applied. I’m not kidding.

From this first experience of this aftershave, I can safely predict that John Costa, the founder of Folsom & Co. has a special gift. I know that his products have the potential to go the distance in this business if he chooses to go with it and keep his products consistently great. His quick and free shipping and also his very professional website really gives him an edge in this business of “Shipping is free when you purchase this much!”

Closing Thoughts:

Shady Past has been a great introduction to the Folsom & Co. brand. I look forward to purchasing the rest of the line and will share my thoughts on those as I get them in. Stay tuned for a more detailed feature about Folsom & Co. as John has granted me an interview.

I highly recommend having Shady Past in your shave den. Don’t worry, it’s OK. Let’s say you are out on the town and if someone softly whispers into your ear, “What is that scent on you?”

You can safely say, “Shady Past,” and from that point on, you will have that person’s attention for the rest of the night.


If you are an Artisan and would be interested in speaking with me about your company and products, do not hesitate to contact me and I would be more than happy to feature you in an upcoming story. You can join me on Twitter/Instagram at wetshavingtimes. Also, there is a group with the same name on Facebook where you can post shave of the day pics, videos, reviews, whatever you like.


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