Finally… Roam!

ROAM

I started collecting wet shaving supplies in late spring of 2014, so I missed the first release of this scent. Needless to say, when I saw it was being released again, I jumped on it. This scent is extremely complex & interesting. My first reaction was that this scent is the love-child of Stirling’s “Texas on Fire” and Barrister & Mann’s “Diamond”. It is definitely as advertised; a smokey earthiness rounded out with a sweet herbal notes.

The soap lathered beautifully and took plenty of water. Since I had been postponing my shaves in anticipation of this soap arriving, I had a little more than 4 days of growth to take off, so I set the razor at “7”. I had never used an adjustable at that high of a setting before, so I was sure to take my time. The only issue was some slight tugging on the first pass on my mustache area. Other than that, this was a very smooth shave. After three passes, I only needed to touch-up one area on my neck, and I was BBS. I only had one little nick on my neck, which was a pleasant surprise considering the “7” setting.

After washing off with hot water, and a cold towel, I splashed on a healthy dose of the aftershave. There was a slight sting to let me know I there was alcohol, but it calmed down quickly. One interesting thing about these scents is the differences in the soap & aftershave. The soap is heavy on the earthy notes & smoke. While these are all present in the aftershave, after a little bit of time they give way to some sweeter herbal tones like the thyme and grass.

Overall this was a 9.0/10. I am very glad I picked this up when I had the chance. Barrister and Mann have a knack for making complex scents that you wouldn’t expect to work.

First Shave of 2018!

Atomic Bay Rum

I had been anxious to try out this scent from PAA as soon as I saw it was released. I’m a sucker for a nice bay rum, especially if it is lacking clove. Luckily for me, I was given this soap and aftershave combination for Christmas.

Before getting into any specifics on the scent, I need to address this brush. When this was delivered, I thought there was a mistake. The box seemed too heavy to contain a single shave brush. Upon opening the box, I learned there was no mistake. It is simply a hefty brush. It is a lot larger than I expected, but it works. The heft and size of the handle pairs nicely with the very large knot, which quickly whips up and holds a ton of lather.

Now for the best thing about this shave… the scent. When I opened this gift from my parents, my wife was quick to crack the seal on the aftershave and take a large sniff. She immediately said she loved it, and continued smelling it for several minutes before I could get it away from her. Upon my first whiff, I thought yep, this is a nice bay rum. Then I went back too see how it would compare to other bay rums in my collection. One unique thing about this scent is how forward the rum notes are. Usually bay rums are very bay-forward with the rum playing the role of “backup singer”. This has the rum up front with the bay following close behind. Another thing that makes this scent stand out is the barrel aging. In addition to giving it some soft wood notes, it rounds & mellows everything out, much like aging bourbon.

Despite the scent being amazing and the Crown King lather, this shave was pretty bad. I whipped up very nice lather and worked in a little more water. The lather was one of the slickest I’ve made in quite some time. I used it for two passes, and when applying the lather for the final ATG pass, I noticed a very small nick under my nose. I didn’t think much of it as one little nice isn’t so bad. After finishing the final pass and one small touch-up on my left sideburn, I washed everything off with warm water. Then I splashed some icy water to seal everything up.

When I put the aftershave on, I felt a burning and stinging like I have not felt in a very long time. At first I thought this was a bad batch of aftershave, but the mirror told a different tale. My neck & mustache area were chewed up something awful. I haven’t looked like that since my first attempt at using a shavette. I had forgotten how unforgiving Feather blades can be when they are fresh out of the wrapper. I had used a bit too much pressure and was punished justly for it. I suspect that a few more shaves on this blade and it will be perfect.

Overall this shave gets a C-. If not for this amazing scent and the CK performance, I’m sure this wouldn’t have gotten a passing grade.

A brisk morning in Nashville!

LLC

When I saw this soap being offered with a matching aftershave, I had to pick it up. I have a container of this soap in the original “white-label” offering. It was one of the things I picked up when I placed my very first order from Maggard. I heard good things about B&M, and the scent seemed intriguing, so I added it to the cart. I loved the scent, but I couldn’t get a good lather with it. Full disclosure; at the time I couldn’t get a good lather with anything. I was under-loading the dreaded Escali brush, and not using nearly enough water. Nor was I building the lather long enough. By the time I upgraded my brush and learned how to build a nice lather, this soap was discontinued. I have only used it once since then due to fear of running out. That fear has lessened this fall with the comeback in a new base, and an aftershave.

I started out by running hot tap-water over the brush, shaking it out, then loading for about 30 seconds. This is a large knot, so it doesn’t take too long to load. I built the lather directly on my face while adding hot water until it was just right. This lather was very slick. Aside from being a great performer, the scent of this soap is amazing. When I think lime, I think hot summer days, not crisp fall mornings. However, B&M have made limes work for this time of year. The lavender and lime play well with each other to give a fresh, bright scent. This is rounded out with the cedar wood that gives some woody (obviously) savory notes. This is what makes this scent great for fall. The wood notes pair well with the blanket of leaves on my lawn (which I was reminded I need to rake them up as I picked up the newspaper this morning).

The shave itself was nothing short of fantastic. It has been a while since I have used any of the “Fat Boy” razors in my collection, and that is a shame. They are great shavers. I set this on “4”, and with a new blade it made short work of a day’s growth. It glided through three passes and left me needing very little touch-up.

This aftershave is great! I splashed on a healthy dose and had very little sting. There was just enough bite to let me know it was alcohol-based. I was disappointed with the scent. It was all lime & lavender. I was not in the mood for a floral-citrus scent today. However, after some of the alcohol evaporated, the cedar started to come through, pushing the initial notes to the back. After it dried, the scent mirrored that of the soap, and didn’t dry my skin at all.

Another amazing shave thanks to Barrister & Mann! I suggest picking this soap & aftershave up while you have the chance. It will not let you down.

 

I’m Back!!!

STIRLING

I was becoming quite shaggy, so I made a visit to my barber. As always, I was given a great haircut, and I needed a great shave to complete the day. What else was I going to use besides a barbershop scent?

There are a lot of “firsts” in this shave. This was one of the first DE razors I ever purchased. It was before Maggard was numbering their brand of DE razors, so I don’t know what the model is. This razor is quite aggressive, and the blade can wobble a bit. If I don’t have it just right, I can get a lot of cuts & irritation. However, when the blade is straight, I make a quality lather, and I take my time, I am rewarded with a BBS shave with minor irritation.

The soap was the first ever soap I purchased from Stirling. This was before the green tubs were an option, so I put the puck into an empty TOBS container. The soap is a classic “barbershop” scent. It is very powdery, clean, and fresh. It took a while to get there, but my patience was rewarded with a ton of slick lather. I had forgotten just how much water this soap can handle.

I was pleasantly surprised by this brush. Every time I have used it, it has shed hairs like crazy. After loading, I noticed a bristle on the top of the soap. As I was lathering, I noticed another bristly on my cheek. I was expecting a constant stream of boar hair to come out of this brush. However, after those two came out, this brush didn’t give up another bristle.

After three passes and a few touch-ups, I was BBS. After a few hot water splashes, a rinse with cold water, and drying with a clean towel, I applied a healthy dose of the aftershave. It stung a bit at first, but that is usual for this razor. After the alcohol evaporated, my face was left smooth, soft, and smelling great. The next time I buy this aftershave, I am going to get the menthol added. I think this scent would go great with some menthol.

Overall, this was a great shave that complimented my fresh haircut nicely. If you enjoy clean scents, give this one a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Pineapple

I received an email from Stirling showcasing their new boar brush, and at under $8, I had to try it. When it arrived, I knew I was going to use it on a Stirling soap to break it in, but which one? Given the heat and humidity recently, I decided on iced pineapple. The menthol would help with the heat, and maybe the scent would make me think I was on a tropical vacation instead of toiling away in the lab.

The soap performed exactly like I have to come to expect all Stirling soaps to. It lathers rather quickly, but can be thirsty, so don’t hesitate to add more water. There is plenty of cushion, but it is very slick. Blades just glide effortlessly when using Stirling soaps. The scent of the soap is pretty great, too. Just pineapple. Though fruity, it has a fresh crispness to it that is quite pleasant.

The brush is very interesting. The handle is heavier than I expected, which was a nice surprise. Where this brush excels, is the shape of the handle. It fits perfectly in the hand and isn’t awkward at all. It makes loading and lathering a dream. I was surprised by how many hairs this brush shed. After loading, there were maybe twelve bristles in the soap, and about as many on my face after lathering. I was afraid that in a few shaves I would have a bald handle. It continued to shed for two or three more shaves, but I don’t think it lost any on the most-recent use. If it doesn’t lose any more bristles and softens like I suspect it will, this will quickly become my go-to boar brush.

I finished this shave off with Pinaud Lime Musk. It has a pleasant sweet-lime scent that pairs well with the pineapple. My wife always makes fun of me for using products that smell like food. However, when I kissed her good-bye as I was heading out the door, she stopped me and told me how much she liked the way I smelled.

Overall this shave as an A-. I was smooth as ever, with no irritation, cuts, or nicks. If I hadn’t had to spend some time pulling boar hairs out of soap and lather, it would have been an A+.

The Dog Days Are Upon Us!

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 10.23.58 PM

Since the forecast this week has every day in the 90’s with no sign of cooling off, I had to resort to a lot of menthol in my shave (along with some refreshing fruit notes). It seems to do the trick; for a little while, at least.

There is nothing much to say about the razor and blade combination. Just your basic slim adjustable on “3” with a blade from Amazon. This razor and blade are always a solid choice.

The soap scent is one of two stars of this show. The eucalyptus and peppermint play off each other to cool me off and wake me up. The watermelon gives it a fresh summer feel that isn’t too fruity. I worried about the watermelon being too forward in this mix, but it isn’t at all. Also, it seems to be more watermelon rind than fruit to me, which was a pleasant surprise.

The performance of the soap is lacking. Usually with Catie’s Bubbles soaps (this one included) I get a ton of protective slick lather. This was not the case with this shave. I get lather that seem quite thick, but it isn’t slick at all. I’ve played with the amount of water, and even over-loaded for approximately ninety seconds. I suspect that this brush, for whatever reason, doesn’t play well with this soap. Perhaps I need to spend some time breaking the brush in? Or, I should probably just stick with the badger brushes that I know to work well with this soap.

The post-shave is a little different on this shave. I thoroughly rinse my face with hot water, then dry with a fresh towel. In my hands, I mix equal parts snakebite and Myrsol C, then splash on my face. The snakebite is intensely cool which is perfect this time of year. It stays cold for almost an hour, so when I head out the door for work, it doesn’t feel like I’m running into a swamp face-first. The Myrsol has in interesting scent that reminds me of watermelon rind (similar to the waterlyptus) and cucumber. The only downside to these splashes is that they are alcohol based, and with the bad lather, I had quite the burn. Once that subsided, everything was fine, though.

Overall, this shave is a C. There were no nicks or cuts, but due to the sub-par lather, I had a ton of irritation on my neck, which I was reminded of by the aftershave. The soap is very interesting, and is worth checking out if any of those scents interest you.

 

Easy like Sunday Morning

Filter July 2, 3017

While it has been quite some time since I have posted anything here, my time away has been well worth it. I bought a house with a beautiful woman, and a few short weeks after closing on the house, we made the leap from “in a relationship” to “married”. ┬áMy time is now occupied with yard work and house maintenance and not shaving and grooming.

Yesterday I woke up feeling quite under the weather, and spent what time I was awake fending off a fever and body aches. Today I woke up feeling much better, and I thought that a hot shower and a nice shave might push me right into feeling good.

This soap, much like everything I have tried from PAA, lathered easily and quickly. I loaded the brush for about 60 seconds, then built the lather directly on my face. I had several days of growth, and I wanted to make sure that the whiskers were nice and soft for the shave. The scent of this soap is very interesting. Like the name suggests, it is mentholated lime. It is like a citrus ice cube on your face. However, the sage undertones give this soap a savory-ness that I’ve not not smelled in other lime or citrus soaps.

The shave itself was quite enjoyable. This is probably my tenth shave with this shavette. I have another parker shavette that isn’t the “heavy” model, and I have not had good luck with that razor. I saw this shave in a barber shop while on my honeymoon, and thought that additional weight in the handle and arm might make this feel more like a straight razor and less like a shavette. Luckily, I was right. It is still a shavette, for sure, but the additional weight makes it a little easier to control the angle. Surprisingly, after three passes, I had no nicks or cuts.

I washed off the remaining soap, and splashed on the witch hazel. After that dried, I applied my homemade bay lime aftershave. I must’ve went a little heavy on the black peppercorns in the batch, because it was a little more spicy than I remembered. It seemed to pair well with the citrus of the other products I used though. My only complaint about this aftershave is that the scent disappears too quickly.

Overall this shave was a solid “A”. BBS and feeling much better than yesterday.