Review

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! 🙂

SOTD 6 November 2018 – Gillette Tech and TOBS Avocado – Van Yulay Bowl First Use

I know I am late posting this, but just did not have time to upload the photos to my Mac and so on. So here it is…

  • Lather – TOBS Avocado
  • Prep – 3P
  • Razor – Gillette Tech
  • Blade – Feather
  • Brush – Alpha T-400 batch #1
  • Knot – 26mm HMW
  • Bowl – Van Yulay Honeycomb type

I prepared properly with a nice face wash, no special soap, and then applied a nice layer of 3P whilst I soaked my brush in tepid tap water (no really cold water here – I am in Thailand on business at the moment). I slapped in about a teaspoon of the TOBS soap into the VY Bowl and started lathering. I tell you this is going to become one of my regular bowls. I have had it a while, months in fact, and had not used it once. Today was THE day. The bowl not only has the ridges to help lathering but also a repeat of the same honeycomb on the rim at the bottom so there is NO chance you can drop this bowl even with wet hands. It is a resin material too so I am sure almost unbreakable. The honeycombs inside also rain a little water so you don’t have to dip so often and all in all it was a superb bowl and I lathered up with a super thick, teeny-weeny bubbled lather and started shaving. A simple 3-pass – the usual WTG,XTG and ATG.

The Gillette tech and feather blade combo just mashed through the growth – seriously this inexpensive razor just does what it says on the tin – it is superb, just heavy enough, grippy handle – all in all a very satisfying shave. The TOBS Avocado cream soap is one of my go to soaps too – I love the fresh, green, vegetable fragrance which to me smells like cucumber and not avocados although it does have the slickness of an avocado mash.

The story behind the Tech… – I bought a set of two Bakelite shaving stick tubes from a lady in Australia – she now only sent me the tubes but also a leather case to keep them in and nestling inside a little compartment was the Gillette tech. pictured here [I emailed her and told her and she said “good luck, no charge!!” – so this razor was FREE!!!

The Pro Proraso Brush

Today was a simple, but extremely enjoyable shave. I’ve used Trufitt & Hill products many times, but not with a very awesome, and super affordable brush; the Omega Pro Pros aka, the Omega Proraso Boar 🐗 which is the brother to the #48 professional, but with more backbone, and a lower loft. This brush happens to be part of Omega’s professional lineup. The handle whilst being thermo plastic has a great hand feel which is fairly large in circumference, as well as a nice loft, and damned if this brush isn’t filled to the brim with dense natural boar hair.

I always soak any brush for 3-5 minutes for the hair to absorb as much water as possible, and the follicle to expand as much as possible; making it softer, and more likely to splay, and really pick up and whip up a substantial lather.

The dimensions are IMO very nice coming in at,

Height : 133 mm 

Loft : 65 mm 

Base : 64 mm 

Knot : 28 mm

Making the Proraso Professional fairly balanced between loft and handle, though the handle is full in hand, and that fully stuffed 28mm knot is dense, and full of backbone. After about a dozen or, so shaves you’ll notice the break in and will load the hardest French tripple milled soaps with ease.

The rest of my shave went without a hitch. I appreciate you taking a moment to look at this short review of a top notch brush, at a $10-15 price point. Keep smooth my friends.

  • Pre: hot shower with Musgo oakmoss soap
  • Prep: Proraso White
  • Soap: Truefitt & Hill Trafalgar
  • Razor: Fatip Nero
  • Blade: Bolzano (1)
  • Brush: Omega Proraso Professional
  • Aftershave: Pinaud Gents Gin
  • Lotion: Trufitt & Hill Trafalgar Balm
  • Fragrance: Burberry Brit
  • 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

    The 3 day crisis of 2018

    Wow rarely do I go 3 days without shaving, when I say rarely I mean never. This happened, and yes I feel the shame; yet the interest of a certain product made me excited to shave.

    So earlier this year we had a group razor and soap made, it was a phenomenal deal. The razor made by Riccardo Tonarini, is fully custom 8/8 set in Olive wood with a T10 bolt 1/4 hollow and French tip. The grade steel escapes me, but something like “awesome” comes to mind.

    So the 3 day challenge; I was ready to go like a kid on Christmas morning. Soap 70th Anniversary Saponifico Varesino… Check. Totally rocking Alpha Shaving & Brush co.’s T-400 Silvertip Badger brush…check. WSR Custom 2018 LE razor… BIG CHECK. So when your dealing with a razor this large being careful is sage advice. Luckily I made it though the shave with zero effort. Riccardo Tonarini my hat is off to you Prego Mille !

    Now I’m as they say BBS smooth, made it through the 3 day crisis of 2018′ and have gained more experience using large blades. This is where I leave all of you for now so as always thank you, and stay smooth !

    -Aaron

    The HeirComb-Beard and Hair Comb

    When you think of the different aspect of Beard care what first comes to mind? Moisturizing? beard oil or balm? Today I’m going to talk about the grooming aspect of beard care more specifically, I want to talk about beard combs. If you google beard combs online you’re gonna find a lot of brands that sell their own version of beard combs and what they claim is that their beard comb is the only comb you need to buy. I don’t necessarily believe that, not because I think their product is over rated or because it’s not worth buying, but rather a beardsman may need a different comb to fill different needs. I have several wooden beard combs all different sizes that get the job done. I like all my wooden combs for different reasons, but, I don’t use even one of them to comb the hair on my head. The wooden beard comb is not really meant to accomplish that. I also have a couple of handmade combs that I’ve tried using for moustache styling but get really warm when I’m using my wife’s blow dryer to warm the wax spreading it throughout my stache. I have a whole drawer full of beard combs that I use throughout the week. Why so many beard combs you might ask? The simple answer is, because I want to! I love beard combs and I can’t seem to get enough of them. I recently had a chance to try a comb from Heircomb.com If you read the about section it tells the story about how their company was founded when he came across the metal comb passed down to him from his grandfather. His grandfather used this metal comb everyday. Through thick and thin with all of life’s ups and downs, good time and bad times he always carried his comb. Years of living life day in and out and learning from your mistakes helps you grow as a person and gain wisdom. Eventually his grandfather passed his metal comb full of wisdom and glory down to him to carry on passionately throughout life gaining his own wisdom until one day passing it on again.

    Obviously I’m referring to the comb in more of a symbolic and not organic manner. His grandfather used his comb during the AH-HA and OH-NO moments in life. Passing his comb down is his way of saying without words, this is what I used everyday as I was becoming the man I am today, now it’s your turn. I get it 100% and I’m along the same train of thought when it comes to passing things down to my children. My eye glasses, watch and wallet are all small items to me but are the things I want to pass down to my children. My wallet represents my passion and strength in providing for my family and the sacrifices I made along the way. My watch represents all the minutes I’ve counted until the time I can be home with my family. My glasses represents trying to see the obstacles in my way of raising a family with good morals and judgement. They also represent seeing visions of the future when I retire so I can spend more of my time with my wife. I can add a comb to my list that represents pretty much what I described above. Heircomb states on their website, “Restoring American Pride…..Pride in our Family, Pride in Ourselves, Pride in our Country, Pride in our Products” and I think that’s a powerful statement. Our children today are living in a society that provides whatever they want when they want and tells them that they don’t have to work hard to get the things that they want. The pride of craftmanship, stewardship and just making a living through hard work and pride for what you do is slowly slipping away. Heircomb is simply saying, let’s make America great again even if it’s through smaller increments at a time so lets start with a smaller token that is useful in everyday life that you can take pride in, Enough about emotional stuff!……..let’s talk about the Heircomb shall we?

    I was very excited for the chance to try their ‘THE HEIR’ beard and hair comb. The comb came packaged in a sturdy cardboard box. The comb itself was sealed in soft plastic resting against a foam insert with the American flag printed right on the front. The first thing I noticed when unpackaging was the weight of the comb. It was neither to heavy or to light. The ‘THE HEIR’ comb is laser cut from T304 stainless steel. T304 is the most common used stainless steel in a lot of products including forks, knives, steel wires, medical and personal care instruments, automobiles, machine parts, so on and so on. The T304 steel comes from the family of 300 steel grades. The T304 is very soft and durable with a lot of long time reliability, better finish and durability, as soon as I held the comb in my hand I knew I was holding something special and one day could be passed on to my son or daughter. Measuring in at 5″ x 1 1/4″ ‘THE HEIR’ fits perfectly inside your pocket and is just the right size for beard management. The signature ‘H’ cutout located at the top gives this comb its own flair. The comb is dipped in their premium “Satin Black” polyester coating creating an effortless glide through your beard and the hair on your head. I used this comb every day for seven days straight and loved every minute of it. Every time I got a chance to I was in the bathroom combing my hair and beard. The polyester coating provides a static free ultra smooth glide that’s very important. The last thing you want is to be out and about or at work with your hair sticking up from static cling. That’s just no good for anyone! Each stroke of this comb through my hair and beard felt good on my skin, like a mini massage for my scalp and face. This increases circulation helping to promote hair growth. I really enjoyed using ‘THE HEIR’ beard and hair comb and I know you will to, all you have to do is try it for yourself and you will be happy you did. Thanks for reading!

    -TheNaturalBeardsman-

    You can also find me on Thebaldnation.com and my new website Thenaturalbeardsman.com

    You can find Heircomb.com on these other social media platforms.

    (1.) Instagram
    (2.) Facebook
    (3.) Heircomb.com

     

     

     

    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.

    Creamo Cream as Pre Shave

    Creamo Cream as pre-shave.Creamo Cream is a very different kind of shave cream.  It is in a class of creams known as non-brush based shaving creams.  You don’t use a shaving brush to lather it or apply it.  In fact, it doesn’t really lather at all.  The cream that is produced is more like what you would get from lathering up a bath soap.  The thing to remember when using Creamo is that it requires a lot of water.  And what it really excels at is slickness.  You can use it to shave without anything else and in fact I do use it for a full shave some times when I am in a hurry and will be satisfied with a one or two pass shave.  But I don’t find this nearly as enjoyable of an experience as using a more traditional brush based soap or cream.

    But the other way that I frequently use it is as a pre shave.  Applying Creamo Cream as a pre shave really makes that first pass very smooth.  The scent of the original classic Creamo is a fairly strong orange scent which I also enjoy.  And since Creamo is very thirsty, applying a layer of soap over it will keep it from drying out.  All in all using Creamo as a pre-shave for one of your favorite shaving soaps that you have lathered up will give a very nice shaving experience.  Try it and see what you think.

    Review

    In this particular instance I have used Creamo as a pre-shave for Barrister and Mann’s Sandalwood Latha.  This soap is unfortunately out of production.  But I have used it quite a bit and really enjoy it.  The scent is a somewhat sweet and very rich sandalwood based soap.  It is more like a cologne I think and I kind of believe that it is the smell I would get if I were inside the Taj Mahal.  The Latha soap itself lathers up fairly easily and is not thirsty.  It can become a bit thin if you get too much water in it.  It is fairly slick and generally good in all aspects.

    I purchased another tin when I heard they were going out of production with it. In this case I also purchased the AS splash with it. This splash is a non-alcohol based splash and I have found it to be extremely soothing.  And unfortunately I don’t see that B & M makes another AS splash like this either.  For what it’s worth I really enjoyed using the Latha series Sandalwood.  It has been an incredible daily shaver.  I wish I could find something similar.

    Blade

    This blade, Ladas Super Stainless, was a new choice for me.  It is quite sharp but a bit harsh.  I tend to like the platinum coated blades more than the stainless ones.

    Details

    Soap Barrister and Mann Latha Sandalwood
    Brush Semogue 630
    Razor Rockwell 6c, plate 4
    Blade Ladas Super Stainless

     

    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

    A nice morning shave in India.

    29 August 2018 Travel SOTD Chubbiness

    What better way for a gentleman to start his day than a nice leisurely shave?

    I found myself in Mumbai, India with a few hours to spare on this fine 29th August morning. Given my new “travel light” policy I had with me only the following:-

    • Razor – DE – Merkur Futur
    • Blade – single Feather Hi-Stainless
    • Brush  – Kent H12
    • Soap – Small pot of TOBS Avocado
    • Bowl – $2 bowl from Franc Franc

    First lets look at the razor. There is little doubt that the mercer Futur is one of the best available mass produced DE razors. It is fully adjustable from a full crop trimmer (#6) down to a feather duster (#1) and all points between. I had shaved two days ago so a #3 was my setting of the day. It is a smooth matte finished razor, all stainless and easy to take apart for cleaning. I took the opportunity to take mine apart and give it a thorough wash and dry after I completed my shave. Some say the head on a Merkur Futur is too big to get under the nose properly – personally, I don’t find that at all. Be careful when adjusting the setting that you don’t cut your fingers on the blade – grip the head by the short edges and adjust the handle with your other hand – well away from the blade.

    Now the brush (disclaimer: I DO NOT sell this brush and have no association with Kent Brushes) The Kent H12 – is a mock horn handled brush with a massive 31mm knot. It is a beast and lathers like a dream. A good loft, medium backbone and pillowy soft gel tips. It is a fantastic brush to shave with and it went to work on the soap in no time at all. If you can get a Kent brush – do so!! I am lucky this was bought for me by my sister as a Christmas present last year. She lives about a mile from the Kent factory!! One day I am going to have to go in and see if I can get a tour of the workshops.

    Blade – Feather Hi-Stainless – what else can I say except that these blades are the bomb – aces high. Don’t buy anything else and give your face a treat. Easily the sharpest and best blades on the block

    The soap – TOBS Avocado – brought a blob of the Taylors of Old Bond Street avocado soap in a small container – enough for my week away – 2 shaves worth. This soap is great, has a nice vegetal small with, to my nose, overtones of cucumber. It lathers like a dream and is super slick. When I get a new razor to try this is always my go to soap because it has consistent performance and is super slick.

    The bowl – a nice, textured, bowl from a store called Franc Franc in Hong Kong. Nothing fancy, does not matter if I forget or break it and it just works. A serious lather bowl for 2 bucks! What is not to like?

    The shave – a nice 2 pass WTG then ATG. A touch up across the wattles as pass # 2.5 and finished. BBS and happy for the day. Hot rinse, cold rinse and out!! No burn, no drama. And light…