Dedicated Western hemisphere 'soapers' should be pleased we stock a rare & quietly-esteemed German soapmaker's hard shaving soap (their only shaving soap), Zartgefühl's 'goat's beard'...an extreme enigma, ZB's an outlier in all of latherfueldom; the low volume 'PITA' fuel which one can still come to adore.
This ain't an easy thing to lather, keeping it polite, and its export's occasionally more transient than Hoffman and Voight's "Midnight Cowboy" pairing. But cast next to the relative ease of most soft creams, these two demerits are fair criticism of many a good hard shaving soap. Extra difficulty and slickness, along with knowingly buying water and shorter shelf life, constitute the main difference 'tween "cream" & "soap"; all shaving cream's still soap to a chemist, you know.
I've never used a product which imparts more hydration to the beard during the shave than this one-it is like it isn't soap. Soap's universally drying, no? Could have fooled me here. This is why I've returned to it often. Ignoring everything except the finished face, the result's softer and more conditioned than anything I've tried in 25 years. And thus the Ziegen Bart enigma presents itself; in the wet shaving world, where love of processes is a vital cog in the 'hobby' of facial maintenance, how resolute is one's devotion to results, and how much will one tolerate in process to improve them? If only this stuff gave glorious mounds of effusive, stable lather no matter what you did (like Sampson's All Natural, Proraso, Tabac, and many others, hard soaps included). But she's the soap lady who compels you to jump through the most hoops for the most reward, and that describes what attracts me in all manners of life this side of the daily driver.
I was a ski bum in Aspen's '94-'95 season, living 'downvalley' with two "trustifarian" Californians who'd each somehow managed to graduate college, the text at left between comma #1 & comma #2 not great at dissuading one from generalizations they may have heard of the 'University of Spoiled Children'. Both trustifarians were named Jeff, and Jeff #1 refused to refer to his native state beyond its first two syllables; that's how the hip referred to it, you see. New to this phenomenon, I began referring to myself "from floor" (~ = Florida) whenever asked to best assimilate (nobody'll accuse me of brilliance at makin friends). Also new to Aspen itself, I'd asked Jeff (#2) early on what was the difference in skiing Aspen Highlands' uppermost steeps with the rest of the valley's offerings for young dependent-free daredevils such as the former version of myself. Jeff #2's perfect prose "Well, with Aspen and Snowmass, it is like you'reon the mountain...but with Higlands, it is like you're in it." would mean so much more to you if only you could hear the accompanying mid-90s Keanu Reeves accent.
That story, taking far too much of your life away forever, sums up "goat's beard's" hydration; it feels like the effect's going in to rather than merely upon skin, like any good facial serum. An extraordinary property in this realm, and I'm wholly convinced it is the cause of Ziegen's Bart's special post-shave feel.
I mentioned lathering's not so simple, right? Start with enough to get that knot all pasty on a soaked-but-thoroughly-shaken brush, and then re-introduce the water bit by bit and you'll do pretty well. If your brush is too wet at the onset you'll never get there. Please watch the supreme leader's YouTube video atop this page along with the contrary opinion just below...Simpsons "Classic" CL1 is my favorite brush for this stuff because you can load its head like a toothbrush, but I've had great luck with VP Leonhardy #1593, and a devout user espouses a narrow-headed stiff horse brush. Remember that all lather fuels will have an "ideal" formulation of the fuel/air/water elements introduced by you, and a range in that zero sum game where you can still get good results. For pass #1, this stuff works best to be thick of fuel and low of air and water; get it any drier or suffocated and the razor would not glide and you'll be impressed. For pass #s 2+, you can make it more airy and wetter and it will be creamy and slick and transient, but I find that's fine after the first pass... for this soap, anyway. I have also found our "Rein Dachs Klassik" house brand knots do well with this small-target hard soap.
Lather difficulty and transience are extremely high. Solid slickness, but not slickest by any means (in our shop, probably the Dovo or Osma get the win there). It certainly can be slicker than many fine fuels on its good days (or, more accurately, on yours). Hydration's absolutely unsurpassed; the new reference. Cushion, once you get that lather dialed in, isn't bad - but almost any good cream (Trumpers and Proraso/ Omega twins chief among them) are much, much better. Odor? Yeah, it has something installed; pretty hard to pick up...I get citrus/sandalwood combined, and faint. Hey, so it is a one-trick-pony,...buy it for the moisture and the skin condition afforded thereafter, or not at all. Not everything need be well-rounded for unequivocal brilliance; Reggie Miller was a one-trick-pony if ever there was one, but what a trick, and the idiots who did not vote him into the HOF on try #1 need to spend more time with their eyes on games instead of websites with gobs of stats-denoting text.
This being a "hot pour" soap as they call it, hacking off samples with a little chiselling tool isn't exactly elegant, but will work nontheless. Fish out the soap sample with something inert like wax paper or a strong wooden dowel and malleate it into one continuous target patch of your favorite lather fuel bowl (don't touch it w/ your bare fingers, of course) and get to the good livin'.
Couldn't have said it better myself!