About the artisan from the website: Stirling Soap Company was founded in January, 2012 by owners, Roderick and Amanda Lovan.
We started our company after a trip to Scotland left us craving all things natural and pure for our bodies (not to mention the food, beer, and scotch whisky!). After only a little research we discovered that "soap" bought from the local super-stores could not even be considered real soap. A little more digging into natural, artisan soaps led us to the discovery that if we really wanted to make the switch, we'd better make a lot more room in our budget. Who has money to shell out for natural soap to use on a daily basis?
So this brings us to our business statement: You shouldn’t have to pay eight dollars a bar for natural soap that is good for your skin and safe for you and your family. We truly believe that at Stirling Soap Company. When we finally learned that the majority of what passes for “soap” in stores is technically not soap according to the FDA's definition of soap, and that it is full of lab created chemicals and detergents in the interest of making it cheaper to manufacture, we decided to look into natural soaps. While we were impressed with the quality of the soaps we found, we knew that there was no way that we could use them as everyday soaps at the prices they were being offered.
So, we set out to make a soap that was not only natural and healthy, but also affordable.
We went through numerous recipes and numerous suppliers early on while testing batches. We fought over crafting styles, pouring methods, cutting and storing. We maxed out credit cards buying yet more ingredients to find the perfect blends that would make the best soap. We took our own notes as well as the feedback from our testers and came up with the best possible soaps that one could hope to create at a price that is affordable to all. What we settled on is what we offer you here on this site.
Our soap offers the same natural ingredients as the more expensive handmade soaps. THE SAME. While you will certainly be able to find a bar of chemicals at your local store for less and use it in the shower, it will not leave your skin feeling as wonderful as our handmade, natural soaps. Plus, our soaps will not dry and strip your skin like the chemical bars you find in stores. The majority of our soaps are 100% natural and suitable for everyone. In the interest of maintaining affordability, some of our soaps will contain synthetic fragrance oils. All fragrance oils are guaranteed to be safe and vegan-friendly.
We also wanted to be as environmentally conscious as possible. When possible, we have used labels which are 100% post consumer waste content. The only exceptions we have made are for products or labels that could be damaged or rendered unreadable over time if not kept in plastic containers or marked with waterproof labels (take lip balms, heel & palm balm, witch hazel & aloes for example). The wrapping on our bath soaps and refill/sample-size shave soaps is made of biolefin, a plastic that naturally reduces to biomass in 2-5 years (unlike normal plastic that takes hundreds of years to biodegrade). All of the ingredients in our soap are safe to the environment as well as to you and your family. We also use sustainable palm oil that does not contribute to deforestation or the destruction of animal habitats. Don’t be surprised to see finely shredded newspapers, shredded boxes, or shredded junk mail used as packing material when you receive your package. We're sorry for the mess! That's just our way of reusing material to be friendly to our environment as well as keeping overhead down.
We really hope that you will understand that while you can buy a bar of detergent at the store for a dollar, you can’t put a price on your health and that of your family. Our soap will not only lessen your dependence on moisturizing lotions, it will leave you feeling clean, refreshed and alive. We have more than a dozen bars of soap in our shower at any time and love every minute we spend in there. Try our soaps and we have no doubt that you will wonder how you ever used anything else!
Packaging: Stirling’s packaging is really unmistakable if you’ve ever seen one. Their soaps come in a green tub with side labels and a top label. The side label lists the ingredients, has the artisan’s logo, the name of the soap, and the phrase “small batch artisan soap” nicely laid out. The top label has the base ingredients, soap name, companies’ website and weight of the soap. On the bottom of the container is also a sticker noting the batch number.
Scent: The scent of this soap is very well blended. The scent originated from the Strop Shoppe (as noted on the label with the street sign, also showing Stirling Soap). Stirling was able to bring back the scent with permission from the folks as The Stroppe Shop. The scent notes, as listed by Stirling, are “a fresh and masculine blend of juniper, bergamot, jasmine, and patchouli.” Off the puck I get mostly jasmine and juniper top notes with the bergamot and patchouli coming in later. The scent strength, for me, is about a 5 or 6, and stays the same once lathered. The scent does open up a little more once lathered.
Performance: Stirling performance is outstanding. It is very easy to lather, creates a voluminous, slick lather that will rinse off easily from any razor chosen. Stirling is a tallow-based formula and can easily create a Santa Claus beard type lather is one chooses to build that kind of lather. I would say it is a high structure, high density lather. The residual slickness of this soap is also top notch. I had no issues going over some areas again to get a closer shave using just residual slickness.
I scooped out significantly more soap than I normally would as I used a boar brush I am still breaking in, and I planned on doing a head shave after my regular shave. This was easily enough for three passes on my face and a full two pass head shave, with a little lather left over.
Post Shave: Stirling is a wonderful soap that also provides a wonderful post shave feel. I did use some witch hazel post shave, but this is a soap that doesn’t really need anything outside of that to leave ones skin feeling well moisturized following a shave. Stirling does offer matching splashes, but I have yet to get one personally. In all reality Stirling soaps can be used without some post shave product, but using a post shave just adds to the enjoyment.
Price: Stirling is an absolute bargain at $13.60 for 5.8oz. That comes out to $2.35 an ounce. This is one of the cheapest artisan soaps I know of.
Final thoughts: Stirling soaps are something I can not recommend highly enough. The performance is outstanding, the scent is one that I highly recommend, the post shave feel is also wonderful, and it is almost impossible to beat the price for a top quality, artisan made, soap. I initially passed up Stirling soaps when I first started down the rabbit hole, but eventually picked up my first tub after hearing how great of a product it is. I can honestly say I am disappointed in myself that it took me so long to get their soaps. Do you have any Stirling soaps? What is your favorite Stirling scent? If you have not tried Stirling, why not? Do you plan on trying some in the future? Let us know in the comments below.