Review

Review: Extrò Felce Biancospino

Sit back, and enjoy as this review has been a long time in the making, but what’s great is I have had an easy 6 months using the product. To start off this review we need to take a journey to a short ride from Turin, Italy to the Extrò shop to meet Donato. Donato Ciniello is the owner operator owner of Extròcosmesi, and easily one of the best men I’ve had the pleasure to know. Extrò makes everything from Shaving soaps to EDT, Refreshing eucalyptus splashes, as well as promoting other blade smiths, and artisans within his storefront. The great news is Donato will ship anywhere in the world for amazing rates, and very fast shipping. From Italy to me here in New York, USA takes about a week to 10 days. That’s huge ! Great prices and fast shipping 👍🏽👍🏽 that’s a win. Hopefully that is a good back ground on Donato and Extrò so let’s get onto the product

Felce Biancospino

Fragrance– for those of us that are blessed enough to speak Italian this translates into Fern Hawthorn. I find that it has an equal amount of each fragrance, nothing overpowering the other. They work symbiotically together to produce a beautiful bouquet of what I would call an aged forest, full of greens as well as fragrant trees and bushes. Their is zero flaw in the fragrance. Over the past 6+ months it has been stable and consistent with no unexpected spots.

Lather– Years ago we were confined by tallow shave soaps in the Wet Shaving community. Donato has been ahead of the pack for years using different vegan oils and bases. This particular Crema da Barba uses Shea Butter which is known for the post shave smoothness associated with Shea. This would be considered the quintessential Italian softer Croap or, somewhere between a cream, and a hard soap. I found an easy 30-45 second loading led to ample lather for equal more than 3 passes. This will be factored by your water being hard or, soft. If it’s any indicator I have hard water which in theory should be a negative, gives me zero problems. I will say though this soap does prefer colder to warm water. I’ve used my scuttle many times, but I temper the water to be enjoyable, but still create ample thick and slick fragrant lather.

Post Shave– As I have said above the main factor in the post shave is the Shea Butter Donato uses. People have used Shea for as long as smooth skin has been preferred (a really long time). I use the matching aftershave as a layering, but the true softness comes from the soap !

Conclusion- Easily put this is one of my favorite soaps to use. I prefer the earthy Fern and Hawthorn fragrance. It’s very natural in scent, and very protective. Felce Biancospino has the added benefit of containing Shea which gives a natural soft post shave feel. When combined with the aftershave you have a beautifully layered shave that’s fragrance lasts for quite sometime depending on your skins individual properties. There are very few soaps or, brands that equal the mastery of Donato Ciniello so, when you get a moment check out his website, and you heard it here on WSR that this is a solid purchase from a great European Artisan.

https://www.extrocosmesi.it

Facebook:

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Shopping—Retail/Extrocosmesiit-1727013654268658/

Soap: Extrò Felce Biancospino

Brush: Alpha Brush & Shaving co. T-400 Silver tip badger

Razor: Vintage Gillette President

Blade: Personna Med Prep

Aftershave: Felce Biancospino

Scuttle & Scotch Porter beard balm

SOTD 7th December 2018 & Man Of Siam Thai Ginger Zest Soap Review

Hi – you know how it is when you travel, especially as I do a lot, and find yourself in a shaving wilderness – scouring the pharmacies and stores in the vain hope that you might, just might, find something other than Wilkinson Sword or those terrible Japanese and Korean brands of shave gel? Well I found myself in Thailand and as I do I started my quest for shave products – local stores – nada. Pharmacies – nada. Not even a pack of razor blades only the same old dull disposables. So – back to the hotel and onto Google – the usual searches for soap, razors and so on. I googled “Shaving Soap Thailand” and about 5th from the top a result catches my eye: Man Of Siam – I quickly go to the site and note that they have shaving soap made in THAILAND – wow!! I am here for another 4 days so I quickly email the site and get a response from Jack, the site owner (strange name Thai bloke eh?…Actually, the He is a She named Nittaya…) that they have stocked out on the Thai Ginger Zest but they do have the other soap Cadwgawn . I quickly do a deal with Nittaya to buy both soaps and have them shipped to my home in Hong Kong once they are BOTH back in stock. . So – it was with baited breath that I received them this week. Safely packed and shipped all the way from Thailand. I wanted to try them both but opted for the first one I noticed, the Thai Ginger Zest. My other shave line up was:

  • Rigarazor 8/8 near wedge
  • Van Yulay Black Bowl
  • T-400 brush with the old faithful 24mm silver tip head
  • Proraso preshave cream

Prepped with the proraso and bloomed the soap a little – it is quite a hard soap definitely not a cream. Maybe what they are calling a ‘croap’. Prep over, razor stropped and I am ready. I swirl the brush in the soap for about 40 seconds to load the tips then get down to lathering up. Wow – the lather is easy to make (soft water in my place but Nittaya tells me that hard water is okay too). Within 30-40 seconds I have a nice bowl full of delicious lather. I lather up and its a winner – the fragrance is not overpowering, nice ginger zing with a citrus grapefruit background note. First pass is WTG and is so close that I decide to do a second ATG and then a third ATG. I am sat here with a nice fragrance doing this review. All in all the soap is a winner and I can’t wait to try out the Cadwgawn.

Asia, where I live, is a nightmare for wet shavers who like quality products an we have to rely on Amazon and eBay or those trip to the US or UK where we can buy stuff from real shops! Man Of Siam is a welcome oasis in the desert and I will be back!! Follow the link and see for yourself Nittaya’s range of quality shaving gear from Muhle and others as well as these superb Thai made, all natural ingredient, soaps.

 

LINK: Man Of Siam

 

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
  • 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.

    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

    I’m going to the ClubGuy !

    Okay who loves the classic Pinaud Clubman clean scent ? The only problem I have had was matching that scent to any other soaps than the scentless or, mildly scented like the original Arko stick or, to Ingram cream. Such a great scent over 100 years old and as time passed, well it stayed relevant, but harder to pair leading up until today in 2018. Well the folks at Phoenix Arizona Accoutrements about 5 years ago made made a tribute soap, aftershave, Star Jelly, and sport deodorant to pay homage to this classic ! Really you only need is the soap, and use your original Clubman aftershave. To bring your shave to the next level though I would alternate with the ClubGuy aftershave which has rose water, aloe, and menthol; if your looking for the modern feel of a classic aftershave.

    This is also part of a GIVEAWAY ! Watch the linked video, to know the easy way to get entered into winning this great set ! Stay smooth my friends – Aaron

    ClubGuy product spotlight 🔦💡

    A Session With The Pirate Lady

    SOTD with Anne Bonny by Doctor Jons.

    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.

    Review

    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.

    Lather

    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.

    Performance

    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.

    Details
    Soap Dr. Jons Anne Bonny
    Brush Semoge 1250
    Razor Rockwell 6c, Plate 4
    Blade Laser Ultra Triple Coat
    AS Clubman Pinaud Virgin Island Bay Rum
    Bowl Doug Smith Pottery

    My new daily DE razor !

    A few years back it was common to mix, and match 3 piece razors to fit your personal needs. These razors called “Frankenrazors” were sometime very unique, and at times left me scratching my head; why alter a perfectly engineered razor ! Well it turns out they were all onto something. We or, at least I don’t see too many mix and match combinations any more, so what better time for me to try it out. I created my new daily Shaver, and a perfectly matched blade too boot.

    So anyone that knows me, has heard me complain about the Merkur 41C (1904) Open Comb. While a great razor I always had to “shim” the razor, and mainly avoided its use all together. This was the replica of the first Gillette razors…. I would contend that I’ve never seen any early Gillette razor look like this, but it is an exact match to the Lutz razor !

    I liked the head, but the handle was too light, and it offered a sub par shave for me. In comes the Stainless Steel 303 Bomb Tip from Phoenix Arizona Accoutrements. This is a game changer adding 66 grams for the 3.5″ handle; it’s made to fit most razors and all PAA razors. The balance was now more bottom heavy allowing the razors handle to do all the work without pressure or, too much pulling. 303 SS Bomb Tip 3.5″

    On to the Merkur 41C 1904. Im sure this razor has a population of enthusiastic users that now hate my descent from its true form. That’s okay because it’s all about comfort, enjoying your shave, and what works for your face. So if you like a super mild razor or, have a thin beard type this razor may be all you, so give it a try it may be your go to razor ! Merkur 1904 Open Comb

    Solstice from Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements

    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.

    Solstice by PAA

    Solstice product spot light 💡

    Solstice Bundle SAVE here 💵

    -Aaron

    SOTD: 7/27/2018 Octavia Noir

    Today’s shave was one of those shaves you didn’t expect, but you were damn happy afterwards. I love Gingers Garden soaps, and Irena couldn’t be a better person or, for that matter soap maker. Today I used for the first time Octavia Noir that was a Glycerin soap. That said a lot of traditional shavers, have been taught Glycerin based soaps don’t shave as well as tallow or, butter based soaps. In this case Irena knows what she is doing, the lather that ensued was not only dense, and protective, but had a wonderful aroma of deep amber and darker floral scents, while still being very approachable in these warmer months. Octavia Noir to say the least is a winner by a long shot. I used a vintage 1909 Gillette ABC Pocket Edition scroll razor, with a Wilkinson Sword by Gillette blade, as well as my favorite brush my 2016 WSR group brush with an ultra premium silver tip badger knot, by Envy Shave. This made quick work of my stubble, which always makes me happy. The glide, from the soap made for a simple true BBS shave. I finished off with not an exact match to the soap, but a favorite Floid Menthalado Vigoroso. When it’s 95 degrees out; this is the after shave you want to cool you down. To that I wish you all happy shaves, and a wonderful weekend. Here is a link to Ginger Garden which I highly recommend for any products she offers. Gingers Garden