Author: robykeys82

Wet Shaver enthusiast, keyboard player, jazz-lover!

Spanish purchases

Recently I spent a whole week in Madrid on holiday. Between a tapa and another, between a glass of Sangria and a huge paella for two, I was able to try and purchase some Myrsol aftershaves as well as Spanish Floid in the two main versions: Mentolado Vigoroso and Mentolado Suave.

Regarding the Floids:

  • The Mentolado Vigoroso, as the name suggests, is strong on menthol and provides the greatest cooling effect.
  • The Mentolado Suave is softer and gentler, but most of all is the one which is closest to the old, dear and unfortunately gone Italian Floid, the Genuine, which recently changed its formulation, becoming a cheap version of an Old Classic. The Suave has that talcum note which thousands of us loved and love so much!

Regarding the Myrsol AS, unfortunately I did not find the highly praised Agua De Limon, but nonetheless I purchased some really good stuff:

  • Agua Balsamica: to soothe the skin after the shave, with rosemary, thyme and lavender.
  • Antesol: a pre-post shave lotion. Has a wonderful old barbershop feeling, with elegant powdery and citrusy notes. My favourite of the bunch.
  • Formula F/Extra: I suspect the F stands for “Floid” here, since this resembles the iconic Spanish AS very much, a bit more elegant and refined. I remember seeing an advert saying: if you like Floid, try this!
  • Plastic Shave: the pink transparent fluid is flowery with top notes of rose. Still have to try this one, but smells promising.

SOTD: Razorock The Dead Sea

I bought this set, as well as some other shaving gear during a short vacation in Viareggio, Tuscany. It has been a long time since I’ve last used a Razorock product (mainly Zi Peppino, bought in NYC in 2013… sweet memories 🙂). The Dead Sea comes in a large glass jar and the look of the label is quite fascinating. The formula includes Dead Sea salt, lanolin and aloe vera. The scent is a complex and cleverly done blend of lemon, rosemary, cannabis, saffron and sandalwood.

I used my Vulcano badger brush and my loved 5/8 Jaguar straight razor. Two passes and a perfect shave with no irritation, nicks or cuts.

The matching aftershave was a great ending to a great shave! Regarding the scent, while the soap, when lathered, is mainly citrusy with hints of rosemary and sandalwood emerging from time to time, the AS is a bit different, with the sandalwood as the main character. It reminded me of Geo F. Trumper’s Sandalwood, which is their signature scent: while I don’t like Trumper’s rendition (way too strong for my taste, and “old-smelling”), The Dead Sea smells nicer and not overpowering; my beloved one also liked it very much (something which should always been taken into account 🤣).

The glass jar contains 200ml of cream which will last for months, and the price of 19,90€ is a good one for such a quality product. The AS cost is 15€.

Barrister & Mann – Le Grand Cyphre. First impressions.

I’m taking advantage of some days off to try, at last, some samples my lovely wife brought me from her last trip to the US. One of these sample was Barrister and Mann – Le Grand Cyphre. Even if I have only a limited bunch of their soaps, I’m a huge fan of the brand and I consider it one of the top 3 US brands in the Wet Shaving world.

I was intrigued by this scent, which is described as

Inspired by smells indigenous to the island nation of Cyprus, Le Grand Chypre (“Leh Grond SHEEP-ruh”) combines notes of bergamot, lime, labdanum, oakmoss, and a touch of patchouli to produce an elegant, citrusy heart. We wrapped it in notes of peach, rose, frankincense, cedar, cinnamon, and other supporting smells to create an elegant, slightly fruity, freshly floral design perfectly suited to the refined shaver.

Indeed, it is quite a complex scent. Personally I get the erbacious notes first and then a strong citrusy component (bergamot and lime).

For the first test shave I used my custom Don Donato 8/8 straight razor, a small Pure Badger brush by TOBS and my shaving bowl courtesy of Rocco Contini.

The lather is easy to obtain, as it always happens with B&M soaps, and provides all the protection needed when you shave with such a razor.  My 3-passes shave was a real treat, leaving my skin really soft and smooth.

The only part of the shave I liked a bit less was related to the Aftershave. I don’t know if this is due to the fact I’m using a sample, but the AS scent smells quite different from the soap and it’s darker and earthier, while the herbacious and citrusy notes seems to be lacking. Nothing terrible, but overall this ruins the overall experience with this combo. I’m not saying these aren’t good products, it’s just a matter of personal taste related to the AS.

So far, Cologne Russe remains my favourite B&M product by a long margin! 🙂

Quick info

I am aware I have not been posting here for a while, but life became a bit busier than it used to be. However, I did not forget the articles I announced months ago. Just a little more patience, and I’ll be back! 😉In the meantime, have a look at the other great articles and reviews from the other guys here at WSR!

Stirling Soap Company: Episode 1 – Ben Franklin

The first article in a series dedicated to Stirling Soap Company is about a soap which features one of the most awkward descriptions in the whole Wet Shaving community:

This soap smells like an older gentleman’s pantaloons at the end of a hot July day in Philadelphia, drafting important documents with no air conditioner. It’s actually a very unique scent that reminded a few of my testers of a root beer float. An instant favorite.

Many customers wrote to the owners asking for clarifications, because later they added to their website:

NOTE: The description is tongue-in-cheek. It smells like a wonderful blend of Frankincense, Benzoin, Nutmeg, and Clove. It doesn’t actually smell like sweaty old man pants. As of 3 March 2015, we have been averaging about 2-3 inquiries per week as to why we would make a soap that smells like an older gentleman’s trousers…


That said, let me start with some memories… 4-5 Years Ago my fianceè (who now is my wife) bought some Stirling soaps as part of a larger bunch for my birthday. The three soaps were Executive Man (which I liked), Coniferous (which I loved) and Texas on Fire (same as Coniferous, maybe even better!). I was nicely surprised by the lather produced by these soaps, a very creamy and thick lather, which, combined with the original and, in certain cases, uncommon fragrances, made a great combo for the wet shaver enthusiast in me. Years later, I had the chance to grab some samples thanks to a friend visiting the USA, and I was able to get some of the most praised soaps like Ozark Mountain and Stirling Gentleman, among others, and, of course, Ben Franklin. For all soaps, the formula is the usual Stirling one, with Tallow, Lanoline and Shea Butter, which provides a great slickness and tons of creamy lather.

The sample is a generous one, I think it will last for at least 15-20 shaves. I personally like the round shape, which allows to keep the sample on one palm and lathering with the brush directly on the soap surface. Of course, the other common option is to pick a small piece of soap, put it in your favourite bowl and theh lather inside the bowl. Be aware that these soaps are quite thirsty, so don’t be shy when adding water!

So, what can I say about the scent? This is definitely a soap which needed some time (i.e. shaves) to be fully appreciated. I spoke about my sensations with my brother-in-shaves Aaron and we both agreed that the scent reminds of an old, English artisan’s boutique; an ancient, warm, spicy, old-world reassuring scent. A scent in which the frankincense, the benzoin and the nutmeg are clearly noticeable, with a slight hint of lime (this was suggested to me by Aaron, at first I didn’t pick it up), too.

Two fragrances came to mind when trying Ben Franlin: Sartorial by Penhaligon’s, for that old-shop feeling, and Barrister and Mann’s Beaudelaire (which is much stronger, however).

Tested with both DE and Straight razors, with both Badger and Boar brushes, the soap performed great every time.

Since I don’t have any Stirling After Shave, every time I use one of their soaps I need to find a good matching aftershave (which, I must confess, it’s a task I love 🙂 ).

For Ben Franklin, I found these to work great:

  • Extròcosmesi FràRinik
  • Krampert’s Finest Bay Rum – Acadian Spice
  • Captain’s Choice Bay Rum

Overall, Ben Franklin has become a new favourite of mine, thanks to its unusual but really pleasant scent and its awesome performance. I wouldn’t define the scent as a crowd-pleaser, though. IMHO it’s a scent for those who like to sit back, relax and let their minds wander, thinking about past times.

Links:

Ben Franklin Shaving Soap

Krampert’s Finest

Extrò Cosmesi

 

 

The true November Shave – Extròcosmesi 2/11 Soap and Solid Perfume Review

(Featured Image courtesy of Alessandro Horvath, Italy)

I know, I know, this wasn’t announced and some of you may be wondering “Where are the Stirling reviews?”. You’re right, but in the meantime I spent a wonderful Sunday in Settimo Torinese, near Turin, Italy, with Donato Ciniello and many Extròcosmesi friends, and grabbed my 2/11 Soap and Solid Perfume combo (plus a limited-edition Pirates soap+as combo, which I’ll review in the next weeks). I guess I’m biased, here, since Donato is a true friend to me, and I literally love his products (with probably 1-2 exceptions, in a range of almost 30+ soaps), but as soon as I smelled the soap, I instantly knew that another masterpiece was added to my shaving den.

A bit of background here: 2/11 (sorry US people, European notation used here :P) is known as All Souls’ Day, hence the graveyard theme of the label. Moreover, the main scent note of the soap is Cypress, and we all know that cypress is, well… the graveyard tree by definition. For those who love cinema, and the spaghetti-western genre in particular, there’s another curious fact in the soap art. A grave with the name Arch Stanton (*). Does that ring a bell? 🙂

The product comes, at least in the first batch edition, in an elegant glass jar, and it can be considered like a croap, more on the hard side. It’s almost black colour is another plus, to me.

The product description reads (translated from Italian):

“First edition of the 2/11 shaving cream. enriched with neem oil, Q10, elastin, shea butter. The soft lather it produces has an intense cypress scent. This shaving cream does not contain essences; the fragrance is given by the essential oils of cypress, rosemary and lemon balm.”

Is the description spot on? Absolutely Yes. Is the product as good as it seems? Absolutely YES, YES, YES!!! Q10 and elastin had already been used in another favorite of mine, Extròcosmesi Bay Rum soap, which gave me some of the best shaves with my straight razors, leaving my face as soft as the bottom of a baby.

2-11 RM

Very easy to lather with the brush directly on the surface (even with my Simpson Duke 3, which from time to time gives me trouble), the scent literally explodes once the soap is lathered. The cypress is definitely there, as well as the lemon balm, which personally made me think of Captain’s Choice Lime AS, while the rosemary is more in the background. Slickness and cushion are great, as almost every Extrò soap, as well as the post-shave feel. It’s very difficult to find any con, with products of high level like this.

The matching Solid Perfume is, for now (AS to be expected soon), the logic pairing after the shave. The scent is very close to the soap, personally I find the lemon balm to be more present. Longevity is good, although I wish it was a bit longer. I have to be frank, I prefer the old good classic bottle of AS to this.

Overall, another winner by Donato Ciniello, who is one of the greatest Italian artisans in the Wet Shaving scene.

Price: 21€

Available at Extròcosmesi, Settimo Torinese, Italy.

Extròcosmesi Website

(*) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Sergio Leone, 1966.

 

 

Review: Local Gent Shaving Co – Tobacco Lounge Shaving Soap

As anticipated, this soap has been waiting to be reviewed for a long time. Oh, I wish I had tried it earlier! Once the plastic film containing the soap was removed, the scent came to life, strong and manly (I left the soap to dry after my shaves and it acted as a home fragrance).

The artisan describes it as: “The Tobacco Lounge was a true creation of inspiration. Love having a nice cigar from a Spanish cedar lined humidor while relaxing in a old leather club chair? Then this soap is for you! we have created a custom blend to give you a fresh and sweet musk to create those sweet highs and smoky low notes with the feeling of being in a classic cigar lounge. Does not get more manly than that!”

The cigar and tobacco notes are there, a soft and sweet musk note is there, too. Regarding the last sentence, well, we might object that there are other soaps in the market (I think of Midnight Stag by CFG, for instance) that are definitely manlier than this.

For those who like to make comparisons, this soap reminded me of a great soap, Cognac and Cuban Cigars by Henri & Victoria. The overall scent is quite similar.

How did this soap performed, scent apart? I tried it with both my 5/8 Jaguar (my straight razor of choice) and my Muhle R89. With the Muhle I used two blades, a terrible one (a Personna, clearly a defective one, since they are usually very good) and a favorite of mine, an Astra Green. With soaps which come with no container (a slight con, here) I usually either put them in a bowl or in my left hand and perform the lathering directly on the soap surface.

In every shave the soap provided a great protection to the skin, ensuring the right amount of glide and a great post-shave. Even with the terrible blade, the soap helped me to avoid nicks and cuts.

My suggestions for an AS to pair with this soap are the following:

  • Extrò Tabacco
  • Figaro Dopobarba Splash (100ml edition)
  • A Bay Rum (St. John’s, Acadian Spice, Captain’s Choice Bay Rum and CO9T)

Overall, I must admit that I had no high expectations about this soap, but I was proved wrong. It performed very good and outperformed some other soaps I bought during my honeymoon (I won’t mention them), soaps of more praised brands. I think Local Gent Shaving Co. deserves more recognition, since it’s not a brand I’ve seen often in the various FB groups.

Ingredients:

Water, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide,Sodium Hydroxide, Bentonite Clay, Fragrance and Essential Oils

More reviews to come…

In the next weeks I’m going to review a bunch of Stirling Soaps (see picture) as well as the only remaining soap to try from my honeymoon wet-shaving shopping (October 2016), that is, Local Gent. Shaving Company – Tobacco Lounge. If you’re asking why did I wait 2 years to try it, well… I don’t know! 🙂 Probably the scent from the puck is not strong and inviting enough, but…who knows? Maybe I’ll be proved wrong 🙂

The Stirling bunch includes some of the most loved scents in the whole range, like Ozark Mountain and Stirling Gentleman, while Ben Franklin looks like an outsider which could be a nice surprise to me. We’ll see! 🙂

Pinaud Clubman Reserve AS Series #3 – Brandy Spice review

When I found out that some Italian resellers had the full Clubman Reserve line, at first I wanted to try only the two fragrances we’ve reviewed so far, i.e. Whiskey Woods and Gent’s Gin. Brandy Spice was not on my list, mainly because I’m not really keen on Brandy and then because of the description, which, as we’ll see shorty, mentions apple. Apple is not something I like particularly, either as a fruit to eat or as a scent. Luckily, my Italian friends who already tried it (thanks Guido and Rocco!) told me: “Get it!! It’s the best of the bunch!”. And so I did, and Man, I’m really happy ’bout it!! 🙂

I’ll go straight to the point here: my friends were right, and Brandy Spice is the best of the bunch, by a long margin. While Whiskey Woods and Gent’s Gin were respectively good and very good in terms of scent and longevity, Brandy Spice appears to be of a higher standard in both departments.

The presentation is similar to the other two products, the only complaint being the plastic used for the bottle. The presentation notes are the following: “The Brandy Spice scent combines Brandied Apple and Citrus Zest with mixed spice and Musk to finish each shave on a smooth bold note.”

The description is, as usual, spot-on. The brandied apple is there to give a fruity character to the overall scent, the spices are light but still noticeable, while the Citrus Zest, to my nose, is well hidden in the background. The combination of all these notes gives Brandy Spice a classy and unique character, with a powdery finish which personally I love. The longevity is good, although I wish it would be greater.

After some weeks of use, comparing the new Reserve line to the Classic Pinaud line was a logic consequence to me; I think the new line is more modern and could be more suitable for young people (aged 20-35) than some of the fragrances in the Classic Line (I’m thinking about Clubman Special Reserve and the Classic one, in particular). That said, I don’t see the two product lines as opposed one to each other; on the contrary, I see them as two great alternatives, depending on your mood, time of the year, weather and all of those subjective factors which makes you decide for a specific product of your rotation 🙂

Finally, let me spend some words about possible matching soaps. After a careful look in my den and days of experiments I found out that two soaps appear to be good choices when it comes to form a pair with Brandy Spice:

  • Ghost Town Barber by Chiseled Face Groomatorium
  • Jozef (Special Edition) by Lebelle Soaps

These two, despite being different beasts, have a slight background sweetness which, IMHO, matches quite well with the fruity-spicy character of Brandy Spice.

And this ends our journey inside the new Pinaud Clubman Reserve realm. Stay tuned for more reviews to come in the next week (Preview post coming soon).

Pinaud Clubman website

Chiseled Face website

Lebelle Soaps

Here are the links to the other articles of this series:

Pinaud Clubman Reserve AS Series #1 – Whiskey Woods review

Pinaud Clubman Reserve AS Series #2 – Gent’s Gin review

Pinaud Clubman Reserve AS Series #2 – Gent’s Gin review

The second AS in our three-part series about Pinaud Clubman Reserve products is Gent’s Gin. Like the name suggests, the dominant accord is Gin. I’m not an expert of gins at all, but from time to time I like to enjoy a good Gin Tonic 🙂 So when I first smelled this, I knew I was in familiar territory.

The bottle is, for all the three new entries, the classic plastic Pinaud bottle. This gives the product an old, classic Barbershop feel. That said, presentation is very nice, in pure Clubman style, with the classic gentleman clearly visible and a nice presentation which reads “The Gent’s Gin scent combines Lime and Red Cedar with Fresh Juniper and a Gin accord to finish each shave on a smooth masculine note. ” The color is a light blue, similar to the one of Pinaud Lime Sec aftershave. But while the Lime Sec is probably one of the worst AS I tried (smelled very synthetic to me), Gent’s Gin is not. Indeed, it’s definitely a very good aftershave!

I find the description on the bottle to be spot-on; the notes of lime are there, and so are the woodsy notes from the Red Cedar. But the dominant scent is the one of Juniper, and I like it very much! Combined together, all these notes provide a light, fresh and masculine scent. My only complaint is that the longevity is on the short side. After the 45 minutes / 1 hour mark the scent is gone.

Suggested season: Spring/Summer. I think it goes well with citrusy and fresh colognes.

The first soap which came to my mind when I thought about a suitable combo was, of course, Stirling Gin & Tonic. However, my sample of this soap run out weeks ago, so I tried different products and I found out that Edwin Jagger Lime and Pomegranate cream appears to match quite well with this aftershave. I’m not saying the scents are similar, not at all; but I think there’s a common “mildness” in scent between these two products which make them a great pairing.

Speaking of Gin-themed products, I can’t help mentioning Captain’s Choice North, which, despite being described as “North will bring to mind those deep coniferous forests of the Canadian wilderness. It has a full-bodied evergreen scent with top notes of juniper and a hint of vanilla.” is, at least in the bottle I ordered sometime ago, a very very strong Gin-like aftershave, where the Juniper note prevails by a long margin.

Gent’s Gin is a gentler product, while I like to define North as “Gin in your face”, very straightforward (and very good, if you like Gin, of course). I think both of them are worth a try, if you like Juniper and anything related to Gin.

Links:

Pinaud Clubman website

Edwin Jagger website

Stirling Soap Company website

Captain’s Choice website