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 !
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 – Taylor’s Of Old Bond Street [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 Van Yulay 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 retain 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 not 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!!!]
How do you bring the comforts of home while traveling for business or pleasure? Simple, bring your gear with you! The trick is to pack them in a way that won’t take up space and provide some variety. Why limit yourself, or worse, shave with that ‘Goo & Plastic’ while away. First, decide what you would like to bring and where are you going. If you’re going someplace warm & tropical, perhaps Coconut Cream Soap or something that smells like The Beach (wink wink). For me, there’s nothing better than a nice mentholated freeze when visiting someplace hot & humid. I have tried many travel cases & toiletry bags and found that eBags is the absolute best for traveling with your shaving stuff. My shaving gear packs nice and flat without sacrificing space in your luggage. At only 2-1/4″ thick, you’ll be amazed how much shaving stuff you can pack into it! My travel bag wasn’t cheap, but it works well for me, as I’m able to fit all my gear with room to spare.
Remember, variety is the spice of life and as you can see, I travel with a number of soaps, lotions, splashes and razors. All you need is to find the containers to ‘right-size’ the amount needed for your journey. Let’s start with soaps. My TOBS Sandalwood is always with me and the container tubes work just fine for travel. Tabac is another go-to soap that’s Always with me when on the road. Since the a Tabac jar is glass and very heavy, I simply added shavings that I pressed in a Tupperware container. I also travel with the matching AS & Cologne, which I placed into miniaturized containers. By the way, eye dropper containers work great for cologne and AS , as well as little vials pictured. I think vials can easily be found with the local crack dealer (only kidding!). The eye dropper contains my Tabac AS and the vial has Tabac cologne. Both are secure and have never leaked. Another tip is to bring your favorite AS/Cologne in travel sprayers that can be found in any fragrance specialty store. I found mine in Perfumania in the mall for a few bucks. I have two that I have brought along for my journey. The red sprayer has Al Fin and the clear has Penhaligon’s . I sometimes travel with more than two razors, but for this trip, decided on just two. Below is a list of what I’m traveling with this week:
Homemade Oil (in bottle w/ black cap)
Proraso Green (small round container w/screw top lid)
Tabac (in Tupperware)
Soap Commander Courage (Sample)
WSP Black Amber Vanilla (Sample)
Trumpers Eucris (round container w/ screw top lid)
Aftershave & Cologne:
TOBS AS Gel (Sandalwood)
Soap Commander Balm (Courage)
Al Fin (Red Travel Sprayer)
Tabac AS (eye dropper container)
Tabac Cologne (tiny bottle)
Osage Rub (mouthwash travel bottle)
Menthol Monday ! A day I always look forward to, and today I will be talking about not only my SOTD but a first impression on a new soap by Catie’s Bubbles with those crazy French names….. this one is his first attempt at a menthol soap he called it Glace’ Herbe or, cold herb maybe, and more specifically methylated Vetiver. So onto the SOTD, and we’ll briefly touch on my initial thoughts of Glace’ Herbe.
I had a great shave today, and used a fairly unused razor out of my den the 1948-1950 Aristocrat. What makes mine unique is that it is an odd variant as it has the handle of the 48′-50′ Aristocrat the notched center pin also of the 48′-50′ Aristocrat, BUT it on the inside base it fully says Pat NOS on Package where in 1948 it became PAt. NOS. on PKG ! so this tells me this is an early model probably closer to the 1948 mark as Gillette was notorious for reusing parts from the previous generations in order not to be wasteful. I mean really, you didn’t think they were throwing out that precious post WWII metal ! The 1947-49 Aristocrat was extremely popular; so there was a lot of spare parts when they revised the model. Okay that was my history lesson of the day… you can also find this great info on www.razoremporium.com and go to the razor archives section there is a full history of the Aristocrat there that is nothing less than excellent. I paired this relatively milder year Aristocrat “hybrid” with that pesky little Sputnik blade that I was using a few days back. This was now its fourth use, and you know what ? it will get a fifth as it shows zero signs of any degradation. I would usually move on after four uses but Getting Sputniks are not as easy as some other blades, yes I can get them but it may take 60 days for them to show up directly from Russia which BTW has awesome stamps on the package.
Onto my initial impression of Catie’s Bubbles Glace’ Herbe ! Well it hit me the other day I participate in Menthol Monday every week, and was starting to get “bored” as I don’t have a large methylated collection. It then struck me….. the fool I am, I had bought earlier in the month a sort of special order over stock. That was Glace’ Herbe I was lucky enough to be able to be in the right place complaining at the right time to get one of the 5 overstocked tubs; he had from this “run”. So my initial thoughts….. I think he has a hit here to be honest. What resonated to me was that it was so upfront…. no real hard complexities to decipher which may be a turn off to some, but this is Vetiver no more and no less… it almost has a nutty aroma to it which a good high quality vetiver grass has and should have. So in that department I give a lot of credit. I say this as to have a single note soap or, fragrance in general and to pull it off well is harder than mixing 5 or 6 scents to make a blend. As to the menthol I was also happy I would say it is pretty middle of the road, comparable to Proraso in intensity but not in feel. Where Proraso is just straight sneak up on you cold Glace’ Herbe was more natural feeling if that makes sense not that it was better or worse, but I believe Chris probably used a method of adding the menthol that makes it smoother in feel …. that is the best way I can describe the coolness is smooth. Now as far as slickness or cushion I also have to say this IMHO was better than a few other soaps I have from Catie’s Bubbles. I do not mean this as any offense; as I happen to really like all of my Catie’s Bubbles soaps very much, but the lather on Glace’ Herbe is different, and for me in a good way. There was a lot more cushion and the lather was denser than previous soaps I have used which had adequate cushion or, some call it depth or, I even sometime refer to it as the explosive nature of the lather. This lather really explodes ! a very little goes along way. Finally I used my favorite 2-band badger brush my New Forest “Tubby 2” which is just about as soft a brush as you can get with more than ample backbone and amazing flow through.
With such a great shave I wanted to nail the finishing touches, and unfortunately I fell I think a bit short. I think Fine Fresh Vetiver would have been a better choice to marry up to the earthy and nutty Vetiver of the soap, but all I own is Clean Vetiver; don’t misunderstand it was close but a touch sweet compared to the nutty nature of the soap. To remedy this and the similarity was astonishing to me was the balm I used by How to Grow a Moustache “Vetiver” which is a double distilled “true” Vetiver and not cheap to make; the scent was nearly identical so I ended up exactly where I wanted to be cold and smelling like nutty soil…… yeah that makes a lot of sense right 🙂 !! no one ever claimed traditional shaving doesn’t lead you down interesting roads of scent.
On that chilly note I hope you all had great mornings whatever you decided to use be it “Menthol Monday” or, anything that caught your fancy for the day. Have great days all ! – Aaron