I remember the first time I came across Fine Accoutrements, the brainchild of Todd Cerami, aka Mr. Fine. It was promoted through Facebook and I was immediately smitten by the label on the product. It had a sense of modern nostalgia, and I was immediately interested in buying the product. I did some research on it before I bought it by asking around to see if anyone had purchased it yet. It turns out there had been an R & D phase where he had sent out samples for people to try and the products got rave reviews.
The American Blend aftershave, I believe, caught on first. This was the first aftershave I purchased from Todd, and I really loved the scent. Todd has said in a few posts and even on his website that his aftershaves are inspired by the simple recipe of Alt Innsbruck, a relatively small company based out of Austria. After I had tried the American Blend aftershave and a few others of his, I had to see what he was attempting to recreate in his own line by splashing Alt Innsbruck on his face and I immediately got it.
I believe Todd wanted to recreate the scent strength and the cooling nature of that product. You know what? I know he nailed it on both parts.
American Blend is, no question about it, his signature scent. Fine Accoutrements has made others over the years; Platinum, Clean Vetiver, Fresh Vetiver, L’Orange Noir, and a even a super strength Snake Bite – double the menthol. There are a couple he put out in a limited quantity – particularly the Blue formula and a Lavender mix. He has said those just didn’t quite hit the mark and he pulled them shortly after they were released.
When he and RazoRock, another fantastic, well respected company announced they were collaborating on a shave soap based on the American Blend aftershave, the community had become very excited about it. I remember when I saw the soap for the first time on Traditional Shaving Evangelist’s YouTube channel, I was dead set on getting a tub.
I did get a tub of it, and I started to notice something about the reviews regarding the product. There was this sense of overall disappointment, but the customers were still thrilled there was a soap to pair with. The main concern was the lack of scent strength. I think even Todd knew it was off the mark. I think there were other products that came after that- most notably Barbersoul by How To Grow a Moustache, a knockoff of Barbasol – a very popular shaving cream. I think the momentum switched to Barbersoul (later eventually renamed as CAD – a tongue & cheek tribute to the ongoing struggle to keep producing this product due to a cease and desist order from the courts) and I remember The Shaving Ginger mentioning that CAD was the soap that American Blend could have been had the formula been right. Everything else about it though was awesome – the matching label, the fact that it was in a tub form rather than in a box like the old school Williams soap, it looked great in my Shave of the Day pictures. Then, in a flash, it was gone.
I had my tub for a while, but out of my need to try other products, I traded it away for something else.
I don’t know all the details but after several months of wondering if the American Blend soap would ever make a comeback, it has! It’s a triple milled, stronger scented soap that is low in cost for the consumer as it is in a small box rather than the ever popular tub form that we all see from the manufacturers. This is a nice twist of the story, as what Todd did, was stay consistent with his own vision rather than stick with the status quo. He chose to go the old fashioned way with his aftershave bottles and so what better way, but to package it in the box where you would have to take it out of the box and put it in your favorite mug or container?
I got the new and improved American Blend soap yesterday, so I will try it this morning. I am sure that this time, there will be no disappointment on my part as it is a triple milled soap and my hope is that it lasts a long time.
The only problem? I have an old bottle of American Blend, not the newer one to pair it with. I guess I’ll go with Mr. Fine’s Clean Vetiver instead as it never has let me down in performance. Ever.
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