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 !
Today’s shave was very enjoyable ! I went with a floral fougère today, made a few years back; from none other than Soap Commander “Renewal”.Being this soap has a few years on it the bouquet has changed a little bit, in my opinion I like it now. The reason being is the bottom notes of oak moss and Lavender are more prominent, and the “floral” scents are present, but they do not overpower the “fougère” base. This is not a review as much as a revisit of a great LE soap. I felt that the lather was exceptional, as all of Soap Commander’s products are in this department. Totally lush, protective, purely slick, and not a worry at all anywhere during the 3 pass shave that led to a superb shave. As they say sometimes things get better with age, and “Renewal” has aged very nicely indeed.
Today’s shave was long overdue although I have n excuse as I have been ill with Bronchitis and mostly lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself and coughing hard. I had about 7 days growth so it is time AND a nice shave always makes you feel good no? So I set myself up as follows
Razor: Drew Dick 9/8” In Black Acrylic scales
Soap: Crows Nest Murky Waters
Bowl: Van Yulay blue resin
Pre-shape: Proraso White
Aftershave: Clinique Extreme moisturiser and St. Johns Bay Rum to follow
The shave was awesome – watch the video as it says more than I can ever write. Needless to say I ended up with a DFS and a great fragrance all round.
The one thing I do want to point out specifically is the soap: Crows Nest Murky Waters. This is a soap I picked up very luckily by being online and in a FB shave group at the very moment that the man that makes it started taking orders for a new batch. I think he said he had only 30 of each soap on hand and I snapped up two – Murky waters and Tortuga. That was more than a year ago and I have not seen a batch sold since – he does have a website – crowsnestshaving.com so you might try e-mailing the guy and urge him to start making again. The soap lather easily, is rich and stable. Just look at my pictures and in the video. The fragrance notes are:
“A situation or circumstance that is foreign, unclear, and unfamiliar and altogether dangerous as a result.
Swirling together in a dark pool are tones star anise, cinnamon, wood, and amber.”
It is a very simple combo but my oh my does it work. Spicy but not too much, woody, but not too much – it just works. I am after a Jack Daw soap too in order to complete my trio of Crows nest soaps and I emailed the guy yesterday – no answer yet!!!
Dudes – I find myself in India again and in need of a good scrape. I have a few days growth and I had the feeling as I was packing for this trip that the only beast capable of removing it apart from my straights and kamisoris is the Merkur Futur.
Let us take a look at the razor first. The thing about the Merkur Futur is that it is adjustable over a large range from mildly aggressive to insane aggressive level. Lets have a look at some photos and numbers. The Futur is adjustable over 6 settings (some claim a setting above #6 and below #1 but this is kind of splitting hairs. I cannot get my own Futur above #6 but I can certainly get it below #1 – for clarity sake I will call the settings 1 thru 6). According to my web searches, and I have not measured them myself, the blade gap settings are:
Blade Gap (mm)
Here are some photos – I can tell you that when you are first about to shave with a Futur that #6 looks more like a 1/4″ than under 2mm. Maybe it is the fear factor. Nevertheless the range of blade gaps put the Merkur Futur at the top of the range when it comes to aggressiveness. I have photographed the razor set at #1 and #6 loaded with a Feather blade. The Merkur Futur also won’t break the bank at around $60-70 for the version shown here in satin finish. The polished versions and gold plated versions are a little dearer.
P.S. Despite the big head on the Futur it is easy to shave under the nose – it is a myth that you cannot…
I decided to go full on kamikazi and set the razor at #6. Loaded with a brand new Feather blade with was sure to do the trick. You know what it is kind of scary… My soap of choice today was again the Thai Ginger Zest from Man Of Siam. This soap is growing to be one of my favorites and today did not disappoint, a gingery, zesty fragrance that gets better as the shave goes on. I soaked my brush and left the soap to bloom with a teeny bit of hot water on top. I loaded the tips – this is important guys – don;t over mash your brush into the soap. It will achieve two BAD THINGS 1. Overloading with soap and 2. Brush damage. Look at the photo below – load the tips only.
The tips duly loaded I lathered up. I forgot to bring a lather bowl this time so I hand lathered and then transferred to my face for a final whip. The lather is smooth, small bubbles and shiny slick. Pass #1 on setting #6 – unbelievable – using the Futur with a decent blade is like rolling a cool stone over your face. There is barely any feeling of cutting whiskers and yet they disappear like magic. Rinsing is a dream too with the large blade gap. 4 days growth almost gone in an instant. Pass #2 was again on #6 and ATG and pass #3 – I set the gap down to #3 and I tell you there was no hair left to cut. As I did the pass I realised that it was all gone anyway so all I was doing was removing lather. All in all a great shave and a super experience with the Futur. it remains my dearest DE razor and despite it’s scary reputation there is NOTHING to worry about. Treat it with respect and it will not bite you.
It says it like it is. When I first started wet shaving I had a mustache. One day it got filled with egg yolk and it was time to get it OFF. This is the first time I ever shaved a mustache – it went quite well I thought!!
A couple of observation on what was a great shave – the Drew Dick did it’s work very well but there is a story there… I forgot to strop. So I started shaving, only the third time with this razor and it is tugging and painful – whoa!!! Then I realized I had forgotten to strop!! I normally strop 25/25 linen/leather before every shave and naively thought it was just part of the ritual… now I know differently. I stopped the shave and stropped – phew back to normal!!
The soap – essence of a nice forest clearing, ferns, green cut leaves and dew on the grass – that sort of smell you never get sick of. I love it. This is a hard soap and my technique is to scoop a bit out of the jar, it is a nice GLASS jar, and put it into my bow to bloom with some warm water. I add my brush to the mix and let them soak. The soap lathers easily but it is thirsty – a nice slick and fragrant shiny lather. Superb.
The Brush – a Shave Nation big Blue, and big it is weighing in at over 7oz. The knot is superb and yes those are gel tips. The handle is matt finished aluminium and anodised blue. It is grippy even when wet due to the sand blasted finish and the finger notch in just the right place.
Now back to the soap – it performed superbly and I was left with a nice hydrated skin and a great scent all day. I think MdC really nailed what is meant by fougere – better than B&M Reserve Fern in my opinion. Is it worth the money? In my opinion yes it is. The soap is hard aI mean HARD and will last a long long time. I use about a “almonds” worth for each shave so at this rate and given my rotation it will be years before the MdC wears out.
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!!!]
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.
SOTD 14 Oct 2018 OSP 1882, Thiers-Issard Le Dandy, Alpha T-400 Brush
I was inspired by Geo Fatboy @geofatboy to break out the Theirs-Issard. I coupled it up with a beautiful soap from James Riley one at OSP (Obsessive Soap Perfectionist – soaps made on London, UK). A great blade and a great soap. A nice brush with a 26mm High Mountain white knot – I decided not to do a straight video today and instead had my son take a load of photos during the shave – how does this work for you guys?