Saponificio Varesino 1945 70th Anniversary Shaving Soap

7 Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (7)
Saponificio Varesino 1945 70th Anniversary Shave Soap

An Italian soap manufacturer that’s been around since 1945 and specialises in vegetable formulations.

Used with: Gillette Nacet (3rd shave)

I pressed a few of the shavings from my sample into a bowl and lathered with my badger brush. Despite not adding any water I was quickly able to build a good thick lather and had plenty for my usual routine. Slickness was poor, with my face feeling more like I’d used a regular soap, that sort of stickiness. It also left a residue on my razor, brush and sink. That said, I didn’t pick up any nicks. My neck was pretty good. Not especially close but the only real rough patches were limited to my jawline. WTG my face felt good. ATG wasn’t bad, but wasn’t especially close and there were a few areas that rougher than I would have liked. Nowhere got close to BBS. Post shave feel was good, nice and soft. Although quite subtle, I picked up the fragrance throughout, though I sometimes had to hunt for it. Not sure how to describe it, it’s pleasant though. Quite fresh. Not floral but slightly herby. A pretty good shave.

Used with: Feather Hi-Stainless (4th shave)

I stuck with the same shavings but covered them with water for a minute, using the run-off as a pre-shave. I then loaded for thirty seconds with my boar brush. It was easy to build plenty of lather. Slickness felt good but it I did pick up a few small nicks, though none made it through the cold water. My neck didn’t feel bad, but wasn’t especially smooth and I had some rough patches low down and on my jawline. WTG my face was good. ATG I had a bit more resistance than I’d like in some places and some rough patches, but it certainly wasn’t bad. Nowhere made it to BBS though. Post shave feel wasn’t bad. I can’t say I registered the fragrance particularly. A good shave.

Used with: Sputnik (2nd shave)

Those little shavings barely look like they’ve been used, so I covered them in water as I wet my face then used the water as a pre-shave. Thirty seconds loading with my badger brush produced plenty of lather. Slickness felt pretty good. I picked up a couple of tiny nicks but they didn’t survive to the end of the shave. The finish on my neck was very close and paying attention to the trouble spots paid off as I had the barest hint of roughness on my jawline. That said, it was a little raw. No problems WTG on my face. ATG wasn’t as good with a fair bit of resistance, even in places I expect to be smooth. Nothing too significant though. Post shave feel was pretty good, nice and soft but a touch dry. I got a whiff of the fragrance throughout, but it’s very subtle and you have to hunt for it. Pleasant enough. A very good shave.

Used with: Treet Platinum (1st shave)

No additional soap was needed, I simply loaded from the dry shavings with my badger brush and thirty seconds loading was enough to provide me with plenty of lather. Slickness didn’t feel too good, but I only picked up a few nicks (a marvel for this blade) and those were sealed by cold water. Great finish on my neck. While the usual trouble spots weren’t perfect, the roughness was significantly lessened. No problems WTG on my face, but ATG was a little disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but there were a few places where resistance was heavier than it could have been as well as a tiny rough patch. Post shave feel wasn’t bad but didn’t blow me away. The shavings sit in an open bowl, so it’s not surprising it struggles to provide a lot of scent, but I did get a decent whiff at the start, though I don’t remember it after that. Despite some misgivings, still a very good shave.

Used with: Personna Med Prep (1st shave)

I used the same shavings once more, loading for thirty seconds with my badger brush. I just about had enough lather, but could have used a bit more. Slickness wasn’t good, with a ‘sticky’ feeling but I only picked up a couple of nicks while touching up. My neck wasn’t bad, though it didn’t feel especially close and I had some roughness in the usual places. WTG my face was fine. ATG was okay and pretty consistent but I did have some areas where resistance was more than I would have liked. Nowhere got close to BBS. Post shave feel was average and quite dry. I got a whiff of the scent at the start, like a fresh breeze, but don’t remember it after that. I was again left with a fair bit of residue. A pretty good shave.


Italian soaps are well established in the shaving market with many having been around a long time, the only differences with this one were the vegetable-based formula and lack of almonds.

This version is more expensive than the others soaps in their line-up, but I suspect that’s more to do with the packaging. They’re comfortably middle-of-the-road on pricing. So not bad bang for your buck.

Performance was generally pretty good, even though I loaded off some ridiculously small shavings. I was assuming I’d have to use more of my sample at some stage but ended up having some left.

Lather was never an issue and I was always able to build a good coating. Slickness never blew me away and the feeling it left after the shave was hot and cold. In fact, that goes for the whole experience. While I had some good shaves, they were evened out by some mediocre ones.

I was also left with a lot of residue after a couple of the shaves. I’m not sure what the cause of this was. On other shaves it was fine. It was so bad after the first shave I was considering not using it again.

This probably wasn’t a fair test of the fragrance, which was quite pleasant, but never very strong (sticking my nose in the packet, it’s probably stronger than most other soaps I’ve tried). What I could smell didn’t drive me nuts though.

I’d like to try other SV products, but I wasn’t as enamored with this as some are. It did the job pretty well, but no better than a lot of cheaper products.

Filed under: Soap, Software

These reviews are updated based on ongoing experience, so ratings and opinions may change.

Last updated: September 3, 2016