The review of this amazing Italian soap from Donato Ciniello will be fully reviewed this week, but until then here is some eye candy !
The review of this amazing Italian soap from Donato Ciniello will be fully reviewed this week, but until then here is some eye candy !
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Soap||Dr. Jons Anne Bonny|
|Razor||Rockwell 6c, Plate 4|
|Blade||Laser Ultra Triple Coat|
|AS||Clubman Pinaud Virgin Island Bay Rum|
|Bowl||Doug Smith Pottery|
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.
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.
A fragrance based around leather, jasmine, vanilla, incense, and sandalwood, with a fresh opening of raspberry and citrus; the newest release from Tom Ford? Serge Lutens? Slumberhouse? Wait, it’s a Revlon product from the Seventies made for women that can be found in most drugstores? Wait, what?
First, let me explain that fragrance tastes have changed radically over the past fifty years, if not longer. Consider even Old Spice, which was originally released for the feminine market. In today’s market, heady orientals are looked upon as “old fashioned” or better suited for an older generation. Niche fragrance houses are turning back the clock in this regard, bringing heady, rich fragrances back into popular eye.
Charles Revson released Ciara (a play on his initials, CR) back in the early Seventies as a high end, glamour scent for women. With today’s tastes, it’s very unisex, favoring masculinity in my opinion. Upon first application, you’re met with bright lemon and raspberry, soon followed with herbaceous sandalwood, drying down into dark, smoky vanillac incense.
A truly delightful scent at an excellent price. I’d advise searching for a bottle that still contains oakmoss, as I was lucky enough to find. If you cannot, it’s still worth it. Perhaps not as deep a scent, but still overall quite excellent. For more information, check out Fragrantica.
Today is always a day of reflection for me, the title alone of this post gives away this has to do with my father. This will not be a long or drawn out post, but a glimpse into my life, and a remembrance of a life taken way too soon. I have said countless times I was raised by my grandparents and great grandparents, which is accurate….my great grandfather taught me to shave, and started my journey in this amazing community. My Father was an officer, and thus was not around as much as he or, I would have liked. So instead of moving constantly as is the norm, I stayed with family. What I did learn from my father as ironically when his time was up my tenure began, I never achieved nor, wanted to become an officer, but I was very close to say the least. My father taught me what it was to be a man, a father, to have respect for myself and to put others before myself always and in everyway. To love my God, my country, and to listen to those much wiser than myself.
Fast Forward to 8 years ago; my father passed away from Cancer, something I wish even I could just remove from anyone and everyone. Renal cell carcinoma to be exact or, cancer of the Kidney, there is no cure, and it’s a highly aggressive cancer. He was just 51 by a few days when he passed surrounded by family and friends and even brothers in arms acting full bird Colonel’s and those he served with by his side. My fathers life was measured by accomplishment not by years….I find it hard to think most people to achieve what he did in 40 something years, to be reached by those living double his time here. Driven is a understatement, and I cannot overstate he was my best friend, and I miss him dearly. Today he would have turned 59, but his time had come now near a decade ago. Well I guess I lied this is turning a bit to the longer side.
To the point, I choose to remember those both living and not, by using birth year razors, of which I have nearly one for every person in my family going back to the early 1900’s. I did NOT use my father’s birth year razor today. His razor is a B-2 Gillette Super Speed Red-Tip replated in Rhodium by Razor Emporium. It is an amazing razor and Matt Pisarcik did nothing less then a stellar job. Razor Emporium was much smaller when they did this job so me and Matt spoke throughout the process of this revamp. Instead of that razor I decided to honor my father a different way, I used his favorite after shave and cologne ! I am a straight razor shaver, and to that point even my father would tell me be true to myself not a razor in his memory. Brut was his favorite scent…plain and simple he used disposable razors, canned goo, but at least he used Brut, which was better than the razor idea as the aroma of this Fougere scent reminded me of him all day long, combined with Paco Rabanne pour homme another wonderful, and fitting EDT to go with Brut. Finally before I sign off to answer the question of “what razor did I use” ? it was a vintage 1875 Abraham Brookebank 13/16 near wedge with original horn scales and a great example of a traditional barbers notch. I choose this razor not only because it’s a stellar razor even after 140 appx year ! this razor has seen more history than any of us, and in my mind shows that nothing is ever really gone, but should be cherished and treated with care, and loved like it was your last day to ever see it again, on that note I thank you all for sticking with me through this story, and while I miss my father I do find solace by dedicating this shave today in the memory of my father, and what he instilled upon me to this day.
Today is long over due, and I have been meaning to get this out there for at least a month now, but as they say “life gets in the way sometimes”. I’m really excited to talk about today’s soap as it is the “Other” Meißner Tremonia soap I have used. I had stated in my review of “Dark Lime” from Meißner Tremonia; I felt each of their soaps had a specific skin type in mind when they were made. I also complimented German products as some of the most stringently controlled and tested products in the world, be it a car, boiler, or shaving soap I do not feel they cut any corners. So lets get to it, and talk about some suds !
Packaging – As with the other offerings from Meißner Tremonia I felt like I was more opening a box that would contain jewelry or, some other precious item. The packaging was for a refill that as you can see in the photo above, is encapsulating the soap in a foam protective form fitted case. The actual box is like I said nothing to say lightly, this is thick; not your typical thin refill box. The label is fairly basic in design but says a lot… it is that German minimalist thing, less is more and the box, basically says Finest Shaving soap with Scotch Whisky and Wool Fat. Keep that in mind down this review a bit. The back also lists a very different ingredient list than “Dark Lime”, again I believe each soap is intended for a specific skin type. We will get to that in a moment. So as far as packaging goes; don’t throw these out, I can think of many things worthy of the protection these boxes can be used for or, recycle them. Either way we are off to a good start !
Scent- This is a very love it or, hate it scent I will not sugar coat that. This is where that back label starts to tell us a lot about what to expect for the scent. The third ingredient is Whiskey ! the other two before it are just an oil and a hardening agent stearic acid as well as both NaOh & KOH salts to make this a shaving soap. Further down the list, but more potent in aroma you see types of wood like Cedar wood, and Juniper wood tar and Lanolin ! These all play a role in the scent you will experience. I would describe this a believe it or, not “like” a smoker used in smoking barbecue ! Similar to a southern pit that is smoke, wood, and most of all whisky ! instantly I was thrown back as I expected to smell only Scotch Whiskey, and that just is not the case. So in this department, I have to say if you were to blind buy this you may be saying “what the heck did I just get”. Please do not think I am saying it is a bad aroma, actually, I am saying it is way more complex then just whiskey….this is a smokey, woodsy, and whiskey scented soap where these scents blend wonderfully to create what most whiskey lovers would probably find to make a very fine libation. Do not drink this soap……I promise a different result from actual whiskey will ensue.
Lather- Again different soaps for different skin types and this is evident again by simply reading the back label ! The lather is absolutely on par with some of the best soaps I have used. If I was to compare it to it’s same brand “Dark Lime” I would describe the two as complete opposites, “Dark Lime” was wonderful so don’t misinterpret my words, but “Strong ‘N Scottish” was more my type of lather ! Cushioning is an understatement, easily no matter what brush or, water type I threw at this soap it was fairly consistent; Thick, Creamy, and aromatic with the scents mentioned above staying with the lather throughout the shave. Also worthy of mention is the reddish tint to the lather, which is mild and easily seen while making the lather as a result no doubt to the red clay they use (again on the label) I found it unique. Post shave this lather left my face super soft due to the lanolin that is in this specifics soaps formulation. I believe we are all starting to see with this brand each soap is formulated differently, where as “Dark Lime” is great for oily skin, “Strong ‘N Scottish” is meant to leave your face fully moisturized. It does however omit the Shea butter that is in other offerings. Just my opinion, but I’ll take Lanolin any day.
Slickness/Glide- What can I say here….. it is fairly straight forward. I would have to say aside from Scent, this is the only other place YMMV. For me as a primarily straight razor shaver, Glide is without a doubt your number one concern. Meißner Tremonia has done an adequate job creating a slick soap…I can’t really say much more, except, make your lather properly ! Too much water or, too hot of water will make this a thinned out mess that is rendered sub- par, not enough water, and you will have an airy and again sub-par lather with little to no slickness. I always recommend start drier, and add water to your desired consistency. With a DE or SE razor….I would think you would get great results fairly fast, and without much thought. I am not a DE shaver nor, do I put little thought into shaving with a straight razor held to my neck ! I make sure the lather is slick as can be, and this soap absolutely delivers ! Just take your time to “learn” the soaps nuances, once you dial it in there are few soaps that I find commercially that will come close to Meißner Tremonia “Strong ‘N Scottish”.
In Conclusion- No matter how slick or great a soap performs, you need to enjoy using it; on the most basic of level. That most basic level are two things “Do you like how it smells” you don’t want to gag through your shave, and “Does the lather hold up” no razor burn ! So based on this, same as with other offerings by literally every soap maker, there is a place in someone’s den for a Smokey Woodsy and Whiskey soap ! I would personally find this a great winter or fall fragrance as it just feels like that to me. Many could argue it reminds them of barbecue, and they would be 100% correct. Scent is subjective and to my senses I found this soap to meet the mark that I would say it’s worth a try, but remember the dominant notes ! this is not a mint julep !
Secondly the lather, as said above and again every soap has its own ways, and this is no exception. I found this soap when started a bit drier and worked into a rich & creamy lather with tons of glide was simple ! 2-3 minutes and I was on my way to a BBS shave !
My last thoughts to convey are pairings being this is such a unique blend of scents is what to use for an aftershave. Well you have a few options. My first reaction is to make sure you know Meißner Tremonia makes after shave splashes and lotions. They unfortunately do not say “Strong ‘N Scottish” or, “Dark Lime” though what they do offer will compliment their entire range of soaps as all the after shaves have a wood note combined with beer or, wine etc. or, even a unscented version. I am a fan of unscented with this particular soap as its just that unique. If you wanted to get adventurous a fine musk or, even a Bourbon infused bay rum will work well with this….Just don’t rub Scotch whiskey on yourself….. try explaining that to the police !
Would I recommend this- YES , but please judge the soap against itself not it’s name as this is a very complex soap with way more than whiskey in its vein.
You can find Meißner Tremonia at these distributors
To a traditional wet-shaver, the act of shaving often is much deeper than just a mundane task; of removing stubble from your chin or, how fast can “I get this over with”. For the great majority, it is a very personal, and unique experience to each of us; be it the connection to our forefathers, or mothers as the case may be or, as deep as a connection to remember the loved ones; we have lost over the years. Today I dedicate my shave to my late Great Grandparents that raised me. Today they would have been 100 and 101 years old….I actually have razors older than that……yeah we collect as well 🙂
I of course had a mother and father, but I was so close to my Great Grandparents, and Grandmother I lived with them, I have a penchant for traditional ways, and continuing the “old” ways lest they go the way of the forgotten road. Now to get to the chase, and also to be a bit personal I lost most of my family by the time I was 28, a mere 10 years ago….this is how I choose to honor them, and remember all they have taught me.
Traditional shaving is not for everyone, but those who connect; it is a intense love for the art. All this said there is no need for me to elaborate on the gear……it is trivial. I would however again say this is dedicated to my family who both were born May 5th, 1914 & 1915 ! one year apart on the same day. What were the chances.
Happy Monday everyone ! Unlike many things in this world straight razors; are one of those things, when properly cared for get better with age. I’d add wooden stringed instruments, and paintings to that list as well. There is just something to the feel of a vintage straight razor that is nearly 100 years old, and delivers a close and comfortable shave. The old time construction just lasts and they had pride in their craft; My Vintage Boker 1056 is no exception.
Our Vendor of the month St. James of London is another one of those products that takes pride in their craft since 1953 ! A Creighton’s made brand, this cream whilst brushless; when you use a brush excels and even IMHO creates an exceptional lather that left me with a ample cushion and tons of glide. I find the aroma unique as it is called Cedarwood and Clary Sage; which is very obvious, but there is a citrus note that really brightens things up, as well as a grounding fragrance that is masculine and exudes confidence.
Great shave today, Enjoy your days all, and of course Shave On ! – Aaron