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
Just follow the link to a better shave every time !
Mark Herro Aka Mantic59 again takes your shave to the next level ! Thanks for everything you do Mark 🙏🏽
The Asylum Rx like many new production razors, are modern “SE” or, injector light styles. The Asylum Rx, IMHO sets itself apart in many ways from looks to the shave itself.
Our friend on the WSR Facebook Page who is equally as unique in a good way, has an opinion, and he is not afraid to voice it ! In steps Ronald Davenport, a Renaissance man in many ways, and a observant practioner of observation, as well as trial and error; will find every nook and cranny of his ever growing wet shaving collection; often posting these musings on the Facebook page. In steps Ronald in his own words about the Asylum RX !! Thanks for your contribution good sir !
Welcome to the newest feature on the Wet Shaver Review ! Every week one or, more of our team will choose a #sotd that resonates with us, to share with the whole wet shaving community. This week my pick comes from Holland by Bram Van Den Berg; I hope you enjoy this #sotd #review as much as I did ! Thank you Bram for your contributions.
Man, do I have a start of a great day!
The sun is out, temperatures outside are really nice and the dogs are in a very, very good and relaxed mood. What more can I wish for, right?
Well, a good shave would me a nice addition to the day!
And man, did I get one! grin
Yesterday I got a package in with a few new soaps and aftershaves. And one of those was this Extro Bergamotto di Calabria.
When I opened the jar for the first time and gave it it’s first sniff…
I knew this was going to be good!
As you all might know, i am a sucker for good citrus-scented soaps!
Directly out of the jar, you smell a nice blend of citrus fruits where the orange scent is the most dominant one.
So far, a good start.
Lathering is, as with any Extro soap, a really easy task.
The stuff lathers like a beast with my huge Rod Neep brush!
The lather is really nice and thick and really really slick and it smells like….heaven!
If i want to compare the scent to some other Italian soaps that I have used throughout the years, the best comparison is with the TFS Bergamotto Neroli and the TFS Zagara e Gelsomino.
It isn’t as overly sweet as the Bergamotto Neroli, but isn’t as mild as the Zagara either. A very nice middle-ground between those two.
From all the citrus scents, the orange is still the most dominant, even when the stuff is lathered.
A lovely sweet scent with a slight tangy note to it. Love it! grin
Shaving with this stuff is, as expected with the Extro soaps.
A very nice slick and a very nice and protective soap.
Nothing to complain here.
Now, the aftershave is where the whole thing comes together like PB&J.
First, give the bottle a good shake, so you can mix up all the ingredients properly!
The aftershave compliments the soap so good! As with any Extro combo I have tried so far.
The aftershave has the more bitter/tangy citrus scents and the orange moves to the back.
An amazing combo of a sweet soap and a more bitter and tangy aftershave to make a really nicely rounded combo!
Something that really fits the great sunny weather!
And the best part of it all is, I have a pomade that matches this scent profile!
So to compliment this all, I am wearing Nostalgic Handmade Super Waterbased Clean Cut Citrus today!
I’m going to enjoy the sunshine now! Bubaaaaaai!
Have a great day ladies and gentlemen!
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.
An in depth video review of Tabacco by Extro’ Cosmesi. We will discuss both the soap & after shave created by Donato Cinniello, brought to me from Paolo Tondi of TVB Shaving. If you love Tobacco scents and top end European artisan shaving look no further than Italy and Extro’
- Soap (croap) – Extro’ Tabacco
- Brush: Marfin no.69 custom Italian Briar Silver tip badger
- Razor: Vintage Dubl Duck GoldEdge straight razor
- After Shave / EDT: Extro’ Tabacco
What the heck am I talking about ! “This fool, is throwing multiple letters at us now” How dare he !…. I can see it already LOL ! Well I learned that this acronym the Five P’s should be pretty much in one of the Gospel…., and if you read close enough you’ll see them, but I doubt they are called the five P’s. Okay I’m done with the riddles so stick with me. Proper, Prevention, Prevents, Poor, Performance. There I said it. and I failed at doing so, hence this post. Oh and I’ll get to that “never assume” part soon enough.
The best way I can paint this picture in our world of shaving is by example. Now the first word
- Proper – well this can mean a lot of things in our world from not holding a razor blade on the sharp edges, to how we care for our skin post shave. There is a proper way, and for each of us this is where the most YMMV actually comes to play. So this “P” is a personal journey… I can only say use common sense or, ask someone’s advice and they will tell you the proper advice, and way to do something. The one thing traditional shavers love to do is talk about the “Proper” way things are done.
- Prevention- Take care of your gear ! the reason and for our benefit, a lot of those vintage razor we buy and spend a bit of time cleaning up or, sending out for repair, refurbishment; was a direct result of the previous owner not using simple preventative measures. Dry your razor before storage, use a light oil to lubricate moving parts, strop that straight razor, oil that strop !!! either by hand or, neatsfoot oil !, and finally yourself ! yes I said YOU ! before you shave do you take all the steps to prevent a poor shave ? Have you mapped your facial hair growth ? do you benefit from a pre-shave oil or, cream ? Does your skin work better with a hot shower or, cold water and a great lather ? If you plan the end result before you start, the road map to shaving Nirvana is not out of reach; actually this step pretty much makes everything else go smoothly including your face.
- Prevents- well read above you’ll prevent the next step.
- Poor- Well, I over 25 years of traditional shaving have heard everything from the razor, to the blade, to water, and a foggy mirror blamed for a crappy shave ! Well sometimes we learn more from the bad then we do from the good. A poor shave should always be analyzed. First step… Check were you proper to your needs, did you set your self up for success (Prevention)… you just experienced poor….so what went wrong assuming everything went smooth above. Did you try a new blade, a new technique like J Hooking or, buffing ? was the Astra SP you love on shave 2 still being used 10 shaves later ? Well you just found out that was preventable….. was it a new blade ? try another of the same brand, were the results still poor ? Move on you just learned what to prevent in the future, write a little note mentally stay away from brand “X” it does not work in “This” razor, but is great in another. Set yourself up for great, not poor.
- Performance- Well this is the last “P”. There is an old saying “a good mechanic” does not blame his or, her tools (being politically correct here), when a job turns out poor. These previous mindful steps will determine your performance. Only you can decide how optimal your shave or, in the bigger picture your life is performing. I bet if any of us, myself included; took 5 minutes before a shave, and actually thought from the end to the beginning and then begging to end we can force ourselves to find those little way or, tweaks that will bring that “performance level” up at least a bit.
Next time you shave, or better put have a mediocre shave, was it one of these 5 “P’s” that was the culprit, and if so did you learn from it. Finally these last few words.
NEVER assume anything….never assume, because a Personna Med Prep just came in and the blue wrapping is fully sealed; that the blade is sharp. Maybe it’s a dud, try another one, inspect the blade and razor. If you’re a Straight Razor shaver never assume just because the razor is shave ready that it is….I say this as more than once my opinion of shave ready was different from the person who sharpened it up. Trust me on that one 95% at least of straight razors are not shave ready; what they are is sharp enough to cut a single arm hair…..all hair is not created equally. Recently I bought a straight razor…..beautiful as all can be, and I paid for what I expected to be a sharp blade. Well it shaved, but left irritation, razor bumps, and weepers every time I used it; “It must be me”. So I did my check list….and I was just baffled. Finally I said after a few horrible bloody shaves, let me put this razor on a 12K stone than some CrOx and mindful strop it well; this is called refreshing a blade, a minor form of honing. Don’t assume anything !! this razor is now the most comfortable in my rotation. It did not have a rolled edge or, really any wear as it was a new razor…. it was preference ! one mans sharp is another’s dull…..from a business sense it’s better to be dull, and go sharper then be too sharp on sensitive skin, I do “get” that. So in Proper Prevention when I order a razor now everyone knows I prefer the blade on the ultra sharp side, and never be afraid to tell your distributor your preferences in all things you will both benefit from an honest relationship on expectations. Same holds true for you DE and SE shavers… do NOT assume that a Feather Blade because it is “So sharp”, because you read it on a Facebook forum is the right blade for you…..or that the newest heavily marketed razor that claims to shave like a much more reputable brand is going to work for you. This is called marketing, and trust me you can convince yourself a piece of thin aluminum is great for you if you hear, and see it enough times. Do NOT assume anything, critique things with your own good judgment not mine, nor Facebook as people have motives, not all, but some, and you jut don’t realize it. In the case you do enjoy that product..Soap, Razor, Blade, After Shave……. do not forget your 5 “P’s” use what you like and use it properly, and you will have great performance almost all the time. Shave on and thanks for listening to the rant !
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
Today I am very excited to get this review out to everyone. I have literally put this brand “Meissner Tremonia” through the fire using everything from, Double Edge razors, Straight razors, and even water typing with distilled versus tap water to really give this soap……well, a really hard time to be blunt.
I have found that in many fields Germany is the gold standard…. I promise you if it is made in Germany they thought about every detail, and it was done purposely…and from first hand trying, do not disagree as you will not win, so I really really tried this brand to its maximum. Originally I was going to review both M&T soaps I have “Dark Lime” and “Strong n’ Scottish” together, but they are so very different this was not possible. These are distinct soaps with IMHO two very different skin types they are intended for. So enough fluff let’s get to the business of it shall we !
Packaging- Well only in Germany will you get a refill puck that is packaged better than most jewelry boxes. The soap weighing in at 95 grams comes in a very industrial almost Gothic appealing box with I believe a phoenix (bird) and the words Feinste Rasierseife….. or, Finest shaving soap if my German is correct. This 95 gram puck is securely held in place by a black Styrofoam form, that is molded to fit snugly around that finest soap. I am getting away from “scores”, but I will say this is top-notch packing , I would have zero reservations about the protective nature of this, which in turn tells me how much this soap actually means to “them”.
Appearance- This is a unique puck to say the least. It has a unique matte finish that I have never seen in any soap before this. It intrigued me as it reminded me of a patina …also the company name almost seemed to be carved into the soap and branded with the name and logo. The puck was perfectly rounded and actually I felt bad to use it as it was so nice to look at. I knew after a few uses that logo and finish would be gone. The best way I can describe the look is almost like stone.
Scent- Well the name says it all Lime ! no huge surprise there. Where it is interesting is there is a floral bouquet that is mingling behind that upfront lime, in the next sections I will get into how things interact, but not a whole lot to say then a very apparent lime note that has a back note of bitter floral accords. I suppose that may be part of the dark ; other than the color of the puck itself.
Interesting points – This is a true lime soap, I mean this as in the ingredients it lists the actual lime oil, not a fragrance oil, but the essential oil of lime. This is important to note as lime has a natural degreasing property and also a tannic and unique feel that makes your mouth pucker, and your skin as well. Also in the soap are Talc, and black clay ! The talc was very unique and I believe for appearance the clay however, was to add slickness back into the soap. The clay along with the added glycerin make it so this has a stable lather and feels great on your skin bringing moisture back into your face.
*** a little trick*** – this soap is probably best for those with oily skin. Make your lather as normal, and lather up. actually use this lather to “wash” your face, then rinse, and there you go the oil has been stripped from your face and your ready for that shave.
Lather- As I said above I really put this through the ringer and here is the bottom line. This soap is great it is stable and it works in all water and with all brushes I threw at it ! I will say the lather was most comfortable with my harder water, using my Thater 4292/4 2-band brush and also at a lower temperature appx. 80 degrees. Yes I actually went that far with this ! Next would be spring water at room temperature with a Boar brush, again these are my findings YMMV and opinions of course differ. The lather also not that it effects anything is unique in color almost a light grey coloration and tolerates water well….I would not call this a water hungry soap by any means and is tolerant of little water for those who prefer a more paste like lather over a more cushioned lather. Now what is a lather without a razor ?
Glide- Here is the one place I would remind every one of my first few sentences. The Germans do things on purpose so my next words are intentional and meaningful so listen carefully as this is not an insult. The soap itself is not very slick, That is due to the natural lime oils and the degreasing nature of lime. Now that said I used DE Razors and Straight razors (my preferred) method. Now I just said the glide was mediocre, I have had worse…much worse. To my surprise my straight razor had zero hang ups and the blade was supported by the excellent cushion this soap produced, so where it lacked in being crazy slick it was ultra cushioning…..looks and feel were very deceiving. I did find I preferred a straight razor over a DE, but by no means did I have any issues with any razor and having a smooth and comfortable shave. The other positive is how well this soap rinsed clean, I personally hate soaps I have to rinse my face for what feels like 10 minutes to get it clean, this soap again due to the degreasing nature of lime, rinsed in moments ! See I told you the Germans know what they are doing 🙂
Post shave feel and final thoughts – The post shave feel again in my opinion is geared towards that person that tends to have oily skin, This soap does not contain any humectants other than glycerin and a few essential oils that do not appear to be saponified. I would say this soap is by no means drying, but do not expect a Lanolin type post shave feel either, I would put the post shave at an even keel with any other soap on the market that is not marketed for that lanolin “feel”. As I above said, really do however love how clean rinsing this soap is, to me that alone is a selling point, especially when time is a premium in the morning.
My final impression of this soap was overall positive. Is it my Holy Grail soap…..well no, do I really like certain aspects absolutely ! It has a wonderful aroma of a true lime scent with undertones of darker floral tones and uses some interesting ingredients like Talc & Clay for slickness, and to add to your overall experience. Would I recommend “Dark Limes” from Meissner Tremonia absolutely ! mine came from the only US distributor I am aware of though they do sell online. If you live in the USA visit www.straightrazordesigns.com as they have this and a few other flavors as well ! I can’t wait to talk about their Strong N’ Scottish soap !
Until then enjoy your shaves, keep your blades sharp and Shave on ! – Aaron