Fragrance

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.

A touch of Italy

What a great day for a shave, what a great scent that captures “summer”, and the essence of Italy. Bergamotto di Calabria is a wonderful citrus scent with underlying florals and white musk in the base note. The lather like all of the offerings from Extrò made by Donato Ciniello are very easy to dial in, and have both great cushion and glide. I used my New Forest “Tubby 2” Brush which is an all around great face lathering brush with gel tipped Silvertip badger 🦡. The Tubby 2 is a beast of a lathering brush, pretty even in loft and handle (which is quite large in diameter). Unfortunately these brushes were discontinued back in appx. 2015-16. I’m very blessed to have been able to get a few of these artisan brushes.

As an overall statement and a minimal review, I’ll finish with just saying the small pleasures in life are embodied in this shave. I also need to thank Jeff Conrad as well for his generosity and love for wet shaving. Shave on my friends !

A blast from the past

Today’s shave was very enjoyable ! I went with a floral fougère today, made a few years back; from none other than Soap Commander “Renewal”.Being this soap has a few years on it the bouquet has changed a little bit, in my opinion I like it now. The reason being is the bottom notes of oak moss and Lavender are more prominent, and the “floral” scents are present, but they do not overpower the “fougère” base. This is not a review as much as a revisit of a great LE soap. I felt that the lather was exceptional, as all of Soap Commander’s products are in this department. Totally lush, protective, purely slick, and not a worry at all anywhere during the 3 pass shave that led to a superb shave. As they say sometimes things get better with age, and “Renewal” has aged very nicely indeed.

Shave on my friends, and have a great weekend !

Razor: Merkur Progress adjustable (4)

Blade: BIC Chrome Platinum (1)

Brush: Omega Pura Setolla Ovangkol wood

Soap: Soap Commander “Renewal”

Post Shave: Thayer’s Lavender Witch Hazel & Soap Commander “Renewal” balm

Fragrance: JPG “Le Male”

Petal Pushing like New!

As I look through my shave gear for the days start, I’m drawn to a familiar scent unidimensional and soft. Long before PAA we had Petal Pushers Fancies Run by Fran Towle and Douglas Smythe. I still have a bit of that Petal Pushers Fancies “Sandalwood”; today I am going to use it ! I still feel it’s one of the best Sandalwood scents made by artisan hands. So I grab my WSP 2-band Monarch , start soaking my brush, and anxiously wait for what I knew would be a great shave.

WSP 2-band Superfine Monarch

While I am on this line of thought, I said to myself, why not keep everything uniform, and most of all enjoyable. So I grab my Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Prismatic which is a modern take on the vintage Kirby razor made by Leresche. I absolutely love this razors performance. The angle of the blade even while fully tightened, leaves a true open blade experience, while the continuous solid guard bar is a rest or, a pivot to find the proper angle of attack. This razor also has perpendicular grooves on the top cap as all Kirby vintage razor have, that serve either as an indicator of proper angle, as all lather and hair will be gathered if the angle is correct; if you leave behind lather, and it smears around that indicates the blade is at the incorrect angle. I also find it helps those of us who “buff” their shave, as it moves the lather quite effectively. I must also mention as well the PAA DOC or, Double open comb. I did not use this today, but for those who really love to buff their shaves, that is your razor of choice. Both of these razors do not have any equal and are only available from Phoenix Artisan

The PAA Prismatic

The PAA DOC

The shave was finished with what is possibly my favorite Sandalwood aftershave lotion by Fine Accoutrements “Santal Absolut. This is a replica of the original “Art of Shaving” Sandalwood which is not only an amazing scent, but can be used as an all day fragrance. The lotion screams that you love Sandalwood, and has no apologies in its performance.

Fine “Santal Absolut”

What can I say it was so enjoyable to use everything I’ve written about. If all shaves could be like this I’d be in Wet Shaving Heaven. I hope everyone has had a great weekend, and as always shave on.

What is your Shaving Heaven ? Be sure to leave a comment below.

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 FrĂ Rinik
  • 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 đź‘‘ 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