Some stories defy time, oceans, countries, and words. This meeting between Luca Farina, and an older proud barber in Italy is one of these. Take this journey; feel the pride, and love this unites us for all time. – Aaron
Sometimes, if you leave the main street, you can discover a fairy-tale spot…..
I was walking through the streets of Domodossola when, looking down a little side street, an old barber-shop’s sign caught my eyes. It piqued my curiosity and I moved closer. I found myself in front of an old barber shop, where time seemed to have stopped at the 50s. Inside a white-haired barber said: “Please take a seat, if you have patience, I’ll serve you, Mister!”
Tommi welcomes me with his friendliness and his 87 years of age. After preparing the necessary items, he starts brushing, very slowly, the shaven soap on my face with an Omega 48, while explaining me, step by step, what are the right moves to do a good shaving. Then he tells me about his life. He started working at 10 years of age as barber’s apprentice. At 22 he opened his own shop. He says: “I even had 3 very good employees. At that time there was so much work, we shaved more than 100 beards a week”.
Then he explains me how he cuts and smoothes hair with the tip of the scissors; that he has travelled a little the world; that he has been an actor of dialect theatre, that he writes books and poems. “When I’m writing a book I feel alive” and he let me read a piece of the book he is going to finish. He tells me about his famous and important clients and I perceive his great love for his job.
At the beginning of this year he had an artificial hip implanted. Its shop remained closed for 3 months and he thought he would not open anymore, but back from the hospital, he told himself: “What can I do at home?”. And he opened his historical shop again, where you can find him working with his scissors and razor.
You can spend a lot of time listening to Tommi’s tales and you go away happy, well shaved and with one of his books (autographed) under your arm.
-Farinik. by, Luca Farina
I was introduced to SJOL a while back e.g. 3-4 years ago. St.James of London is made by Creightons the same as Trufitt & Hill, Geo F. Trumpers, and the last of the three “T’s”. I was instantly blown away that such an affordable product was so darn good ! Back then it was Cedarwood & Clary Sage; today I used an scent that would deceive.
Today I used a tube I stead of my larger jars of SJOL Black Pepper & Lime 🍋 it reminds me of a warmer place like the Caribbean, but also that spicy black pepper warms and invites those around you a bit closer, then they realize that initial Citrus also has a musk to it that is seductive and alluring. This unlikely scent is a winner for the winter ❄️! For the spring and the summer. This jewel of a scent will evoke a different response and memory each season.
What can I say about the rest ? It’s a Semogue 830 which is so well broken in could pass for pure Badger. If you do not have this brush; it is a staple for every traditional Shaver. The PAA Double Open Comb has done right by me. The DOC is affordable and attractive at that price point, just remember this is a buffing razor so buff away folks for that BBS shave. The Boulder from American Stonecraft I used as my lather bowl is worth this many of these $$$ and is a luxury; all these products work equally as well face lathered for free. That’s all I have to say, but if you contact Brittney McDermott or, Todd Fisher I am sure they would love to talk about St. James of London and match you up with the perfect cream and other products that fit your style perfectly.
Soap: St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime”
Brush: Semogue 830
Razor: PAA Double Open Comb
Blade: Gillette 7 O’clock SharpEdge
After Shave: Royall Muske
Post Shave: St.James of London “Black Pepper & Lime” gel
Fragrance: Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet 💐 — with Roberto Monanni and 6 others.
What does a bearded lady do during her spare time while traveling with the carnival? Well, she makes shaving soaps, creams, aftershaves and colognes. Riley Fouts, aka Madame Scodioli (the Bearded Lady) has created a unique persona and even more unique products. First, I’ll tell you that I find this scent intoxicatingly exotic and mysterious. Friends, this is among the best I have ever used. This soap scent is unlike anything I have tried thus far. As soon as you open the package the fragrance fills the room with this sweet, yet masculine scent of cedar, patchouli, saffron and vetyver. The ingredient list didn’t mention whiskey, but I understand Madame Scodioli likes her whiskey and may have added a few drops. I believe I caught some tobacco as well. Needless to say, this is one heck-of-a fragrance! I was home alone during my testing and evaluation. Upon my wife’s arrival, she asked “what smells so good”? I told her it was this new soap and aftershave that I’m reviewing. She said the house smells wonderful and that she loves the fragrance. Therefore, I think your significant other may love this as well.
The Step Right Up Soap
The ‘Step Right Up’ soap is available on Etsy and comes in a square or round puck. As mentioned, this Glycerin based soap has an amazing fragrance. I was able to create a nice lather, but it took a little time to dial-in on the amount of water to use. The lather was luxurious, fragrant and had a decent slickness to it. A nice shave and will definitely be in my rotation. The scent had nice staying power and was evident throughout the shave. I definitely was sniffing my brush throughout the shave and ended up with an exceptional experience. By the way, I used my Gillete Red Tip with a Voskhod blade and my new Nathan Clark Silver Tip brush for this review. Now to the aftershave….
The ‘Step Right Up’ aftershave is a perfect match to the soap. The AS comes in a wonderful old time 5.0 oz. amber glass jar with screwtop lid. Like some of our other favorite vendors, it comes with a useful reducer in the neck for reducing spillage. It has a woodsy-exotic masculine fragrance that consists of cedar, smoky patchouli, sandalwood, musky saffron and finished with a touch of vetyver. I just love this lotion. It goes on smooth and is just soothing. No sting from alcohol, no alum, just a real nice lotion with an intoxicating fragrance.
The aftershave can be found here:
The Madame Scodioli Scents are as Follows:
Aged Bourbon: Kentucky Single Barrel
Dust Shaker: Mahogany + Sandalwood
Fiji Mermaid: The Briny Deep
Fortunato: Pine, Smoke + Whiskey
Gray Skies: Nag Champa
Hierophant: Sage + Sweetgrass
Laudanum: Tobacco + Black Tea
Step Right Up: Cedar, Saffron + Vetyver
Timshel: Tobacco + Vanilla
Widdershins: Frankincense + Myrrh
Thank you for taking the time to look at my review. Hope this was helpful.