Fragrance

Review: Extrò Felce Biancospino

Sit back, and enjoy as this review has been a long time in the making, but what’s great is I have had an easy 6 months using the product. To start off this review we need to take a journey to a short ride from Turin, Italy to the Extrò shop to meet Donato. Donato Ciniello is the owner operator owner of Extròcosmesi, and easily one of the best men I’ve had the pleasure to know. Extrò makes everything from Shaving soaps to EDT, Refreshing eucalyptus splashes, as well as promoting other blade smiths, and artisans within his storefront. The great news is Donato will ship anywhere in the world for amazing rates, and very fast shipping. From Italy to me here in New York, USA takes about a week to 10 days. That’s huge ! Great prices and fast shipping 👍🏽👍🏽 that’s a win. Hopefully that is a good back ground on Donato and Extrò so let’s get onto the product

Felce Biancospino

Fragrance– for those of us that are blessed enough to speak Italian this translates into Fern Hawthorn. I find that it has an equal amount of each fragrance, nothing overpowering the other. They work symbiotically together to produce a beautiful bouquet of what I would call an aged forest, full of greens as well as fragrant trees and bushes. Their is zero flaw in the fragrance. Over the past 6+ months it has been stable and consistent with no unexpected spots.

Lather– Years ago we were confined by tallow shave soaps in the Wet Shaving community. Donato has been ahead of the pack for years using different vegan oils and bases. This particular Crema da Barba uses Shea Butter which is known for the post shave smoothness associated with Shea. This would be considered the quintessential Italian softer Croap or, somewhere between a cream, and a hard soap. I found an easy 30-45 second loading led to ample lather for equal more than 3 passes. This will be factored by your water being hard or, soft. If it’s any indicator I have hard water which in theory should be a negative, gives me zero problems. I will say though this soap does prefer colder to warm water. I’ve used my scuttle many times, but I temper the water to be enjoyable, but still create ample thick and slick fragrant lather.

Post Shave– As I have said above the main factor in the post shave is the Shea Butter Donato uses. People have used Shea for as long as smooth skin has been preferred (a really long time). I use the matching aftershave as a layering, but the true softness comes from the soap !

Conclusion- Easily put this is one of my favorite soaps to use. I prefer the earthy Fern and Hawthorn fragrance. It’s very natural in scent, and very protective. Felce Biancospino has the added benefit of containing Shea which gives a natural soft post shave feel. When combined with the aftershave you have a beautifully layered shave that’s fragrance lasts for quite sometime depending on your skins individual properties. There are very few soaps or, brands that equal the mastery of Donato Ciniello so, when you get a moment check out his website, and you heard it here on WSR that this is a solid purchase from a great European Artisan.

https://www.extrocosmesi.it

Facebook:

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Shopping—Retail/Extrocosmesiit-1727013654268658/

Soap: Extrò Felce Biancospino

Brush: Alpha Brush & Shaving co. T-400 Silver tip badger

Razor: Vintage Gillette President

Blade: Personna Med Prep

Aftershave: Felce Biancospino

Scuttle & Scotch Porter beard balm

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

 

 

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

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

Love those Almonds !

Today’s shave reminded me of a few general rules of traditional shaving. Firstly a great soap does not have to be ultra expensive. The second is that you need to enjoy every part of your shave, from the soap to the method of hair removal. Lastly your shave should be memorable !

Today’s shave hit every one of those three simple criteria. Natura Essenziale alla Mandorla is a modest Italian soft soap that cost around €5 and has a wonderful sweet almond aroma, and ample glide and cushion. This is also a vegetable based soap.

I enjoyed literally every moment of today’s shave, from the prep using hot towels infused with almond essential oil to my 6/8 Thiers-Issard Bison Straight razor, to my post shave of Chella Cool by Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements. I took my time, and overall I’d say the experience lasted one and a half hours.

Finally yes it was memorable on many levels. The soap reminded me of my friendship with a great friend I proudly call my brother. About a half hour before I was able to add another wonderful author to our page, and to the shave itself the individual components of soap, brush, razor and post shave delivered a close, no super close shave that made me proud that I stuck with using a proven soap, a freshly honed razor, and a vigorous aftershave that left my face feeling great, and smelling like I was going to conquer the world.

What I suppose I am getting at, is make your personal shave count. The art of traditional shaving is so much more than one part, but the sum of all the parts combined. On this wonderful Saturday I wish you all happy shaves, and as always stay smooth.

Orange 🍊 & Amber Delight

I look forward to different days of the week; I usually have a theme for the day. Today happens to be Thursday so it’s from a “Tube”. Tubes ROCK ! They are usually compact, slick, and easy to travel with, compared to their rigid tub counterparts.

Today was going to be great as I had chose Musgo Real “Orange Amber”. This is a great transition scent as we move between summertime, and autumn. So let’s get a closer look at this classic. Musgo Real was originally made in 1920 by the Portuguese Musgo Real co. the clock has turned, and the Claus Porto Co founded in 1887, acquired Musgo Real and is now formulated by Ach. Brito

Appearance: 5/5

Musgo Real no.1 Orange Amber is a 100ml tube of shave cream. The tube utilizes a aluminum based orange packaging, that seems to be of a little thicker wall. The Orange is bold with the Musgo Real logo; a crown 👑 and a very utilitarian no.1 Orange Amber embossment. Simple and to the point making this a humble visual to the cream inside. This is a higher end cream despite its packaging and falls into that price point of $22 for 100ml or, 3.5 ounces.

Performance: 4/5

This mini review can be finished in two words; Lanolin and Glycerin. This is the base of this top shelf cream. This allows the cream to have amazing glide, as well as being moisturizing, and to leave your face feeling not only healthy, but smooth as we say a baby’s bottom. The only detraction in my experience is the moderate lather it produces; many would argue this is not an issue, but I like a little thicker lather. Brush used: Envy Shave custom Silver tip Badger.

Fragrance: 5/5

This is a subjective topic as always YMMV, and one person wonderful is another’s awful (Lilac Vegetal for instance). The aroma wafted up to me as I lathered the cream with my brush. A combination of orange and musk along with a pronounced Amber, benzoin smell. I don’t usually pick up on the aroma that quickly, but this was well formulated.

Post Shave: 5/5

Wonderful as the lanolin has done its job perfectly. My face felt like a dream with a BBS outcome, but no redness or, irritation anywhere after 3 passes, and a mild touch up. I really debated if a post shave splash or, balm was needed. I ended up using Fine Accoutrements Italian Citrus, with a drop of Aqua Velva musk.

I hope this little overview of Musgo Real’s no.1 Orange Amber cream in the tube was somewhat helpful. I purchased this cream from Straight Razor Designs Musgo Real Orange Amber Happy shaves my friends, and stay smooth.

  • My daily driver- SS 303Phoenix Bomb Tip handle with a Merkur 41C OC
  • Blade: Gillette Silver Blue (1)
  • Soap: Musgo Real no.1 Orange Amber
  • Brush: Custom Envy Shave Silver tip Badger
  • Post Shave: Fine Accoutrements Italian Citrus & Aqua Velva Musk
  • Fragrance: Bvlgari Aqua Amara

I’m going to the ClubGuy !

Okay who loves the classic Pinaud Clubman clean scent ? The only problem I have had was matching that scent to any other soaps than the scentless or, mildly scented like the original Arko stick or, to Ingram cream. Such a great scent over 100 years old and as time passed, well it stayed relevant, but harder to pair leading up until today in 2018. Well the folks at Phoenix Arizona Accoutrements about 5 years ago made made a tribute soap, aftershave, Star Jelly, and sport deodorant to pay homage to this classic ! Really you only need is the soap, and use your original Clubman aftershave. To bring your shave to the next level though I would alternate with the ClubGuy aftershave which has rose water, aloe, and menthol; if your looking for the modern feel of a classic aftershave.

This is also part of a GIVEAWAY ! Watch the linked video, to know the easy way to get entered into winning this great set ! Stay smooth my friends – Aaron

ClubGuy product spotlight 🔦💡

A Session With The Pirate Lady

SOTD with Anne Bonny by Doctor Jons.

Continuing with my journey into wet shaving, not long after I had started enjoying my wet shaves with TOBS Sandalwood, I began looking around at other soap makers to try.  I soon discovered Dr. Jons and their soaps looked appealing so I first tried Hydra.  I found Hydra to be an enjoyable soap to use.  The original Dr. Jons formula was quite soft (although not like a cream) and I quickly found the best way to lather it was to scoop out a small amount and press it into my bowl.

Hydra is a very mild citrus scent which I enjoyed.  But, after finishing a sample tin, I decided to try another Dr. Jon flavor and the most obvious choice was Anne Bonny.  I was intrigued by what I had read about the tradition of bay rum as a shaving scent and Anne Bonny had taken it a step farther by adding black tea.  The first time I opened the tin and took a whiff I was quite stunned at the incredible aroma.  It is truly intoxicating!  Sweet but with that black tea added in to tone down the sweetness.  If you enjoy a good cup of tea you will no doubt love this scent as well.

Review

I think this is the third tin of Anne Bonny I have used.  The first two were in the half size which Dr. Jons has since discontinued.  That’s too bad because I enjoyed purchasing those sizes as a first attempt to sample one of their scents.  But no problem here as I am a huge fan of Anne Bonny.  Another thing I like about Dr. Jons is that their soaps come in a metal container (a real tin) and not plastic.  In my opinion there’s too much plastic being used by the artisan shave soap makers.  This latest version of Dr. Jons even comes with a threaded top so it’s a bit easier to get open.

Lather

All of Dr. Jons soaps are a vegan formula and do not use animal products (such as tallow).  But don’t let this put you off.  The lather of Dr. Jons is quite excellent and in my experience it is as good as or better than any tallow based soap.   The volume 2 version of their soaps are quite a bit harder than the original.  I quite like this and I have found it actually easier to work with.  I am able to bloom the soap with a bit of water right in the tin and then use that water on my face after finishing a shower.  Some reviews I’ve seen say the soap is thirsty but I have not found this to be the case.  In fact, I try to dry out my brush as much as possible before the first load as well as empty all the bloom water from the tin.  And if you use too much water I have found that the lather will thin out rather suddenly so add water very cautiously at first until you get a feel for the optimum amount.  It does take me about three or four thirty second brush loads to get the amount of lather I prefer.

Performance

I have found the soap once lathered on to be quite nice and slick. Cushioning is good as long as you get the water right.  One point where this soap excels is the post shave.  The feel after a good three pass shave with touch up is exceptional and one of the best I have experienced.

Another outstanding point is what I refer to as economy.  The soap just seems to last forever.  Even with my practice of loading and creating more lather than is typically needed, it lasts a long time and this is especially true of the Volume 2 version.

I should also add that the artwork on Dr. Jons products is really well done and very cool, especially Anne Bonny.

I have not tried Dr. Jons AS and this is something that is on my list.  For this week’s shave I tried using Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum and this works to a fair degree although it is much milder than the Anne Bonny scent.

So in summery, great soap and lather with outstanding post shave feel, good economy for an average cost and an incredible scent which is without equal.

Details
Soap Dr. Jons Anne Bonny
Brush Semoge 1250
Razor Rockwell 6c, Plate 4
Blade Laser Ultra Triple Coat
AS Clubman Pinaud Virgin Island Bay Rum
Bowl Doug Smith Pottery

Solstice from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements

This awesome homage to the South West with what I’d call the aroma of the locale is back, and ready for your shave dens. Available individually, A great Bundle Package (link below) to save some money, Royal Star Jelly !, an EDT, body soap, and bar shampoo, to name a few, Absolutely, take a moment to read about Solstice, and watch the product spotlight video’s from Douglas, and find out for yourself why Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements, and Crown King rule ! Shave on my friends, and stay smooth.

Solstice by PAA

Solstice product spot light 💡

Solstice Bundle SAVE here 💵

-Aaron

https://shavingbuddy2.herokuapp.com/shave/5a56629804610900041c0a01</a

<a href="https://shavingbuddy2.herokuapp.com/shave/5a56629804610900041c0a01https://shavingbuddy2.herokuapp.com/shave/5a56629804610900041c0a01&lt;/a5CCD562B-828B-444F-838D-787FC60E512B