Monday, October 30, 2017

A Closer Look at the Dreadnought Spartan DE Razor

October 30, 2017 0
The Dreadnought shaving line launched in the United States in mid-2012.  That same year, the Dreadnought Spartan Double Edge Razor was the named winner of the 2012 Readers’ Choice Award for “best wet shaving razor.”   I got mine around the spring of 2013 and it's been in the rotation ever since.  Admittedly, since I've picked up some more razors over the years, my Spartan double edge hasn't been coming up to the top of the order as regularly as it once did.  

Dreadnought's Spartan Double Edge Razor
The Dreadnought Spartan is a three piece razor with a polished chrome plating finish and features the Dreadnought logo on the cap.   It measures roughly 3.75 inches from end to end and weighs approximately 2.6 oz (according to our scale).

The Edwin Jagger DE89 (left) and Dreadnought Spartan both measure about 3.75"  
There are some wet shaving forum threads and even some YouTube videos noting that this the Spartan DE razor is the same razor as the Edwin Jagger DE89, except that it has the Dreadnought logo printed on it.  While they are the same style, size, and weight I have not personally seen Edwin Jagger or Dreadnought state who manufacture’s the Spartan.  So, this is something that wet shavers will have to draw their own conclusions on. 

Edwin Jagger DE 89 weighs 2.6 oz, which was the same weight as the Dreadnought Spartan
Regardless of who makes it, I do like this Razor.  I personally find that it is not an aggressive razor.  As with most mild razors in my den, I find that I can use it with just about any razor blade.   So if I’m going to be trying out a new DE Blade, I won’t reach for my iKon Tech or Muhle R41.  Rather, I’d reach out for something like the Dreadnought Spartan.   

Have you tried the Dreadnought Spartan Double Edge Razor?  Please leave us a comment  below and let us know.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Body Shop Synthetic Shave Brush

September 24, 2017 0
On vacation I realized while en route that I had my shave soap, razor, blades, headblade, alum block, and aftershave.  However, absent from the list was a shave brush.   Fortunately, The Body Shop Store at the Philadelphia International Airport happened to have a nice, wood handled, synthetic shave brush at a decent price.  While I use a synthetic brush on occasion, I do tend to prefer a badger brush.  I was on the verge of putting this back on the shelf thinking the local Target would have Van der Hagen Badger Brush.   Because it was reasonably priced (I think I paid about $12.00), my girlfriend (now fiancĂ©e) insisted I get it just in case I couldn’t find a badger brush when we reached our destination.  Wouldn’t you know it … Target didn’t have it in stock.
The Body Shop Synthetic Shave Brush
One of the positives with a synthetic brush is that it didn’t stink when using it the first few times.  I was just able to wet it, load it, and off I went.  The bristles on this brush are rather soft and the wood handle, even though light, feels pretty solid.  It measures roughly 4.25 inches (approximately 108 mm) in height with the knot measuring about 20 mm.  The Body Shop Synthetic shave brush weighed about 1.5 oz according to our scale.   Dimension and weight-wise it was in the ballpark of my Vulfix 2006 brush; which measures about 97 mm in height with a knot of about 19mm and a total weight of about 1.6 oz.  
The Body Shop Brush is roughly the size and weight of my Vulfix 2006 Shave Brush
I tend to soak it or rinse a synthetic brush in hot water for about ten seconds or so to wet it.  It holds water differently than my badger or boar brushes; so I only gently shake out excess water.  For me, shaking a synthetic brush a little too rigorously doesn’t leave it with an adequate amount of water to build a workable lather.   The Body Shop’s Shave Brush doesn’t splay as easily as, for example, my Fine Accoutrements Badger Brush. So, I have to use a little more effort when loading the brush or face lathering.  And perhaps it’s my technique, but with this brush I find it easier to load and build a lather with a cream rather than a soap.   
Takes me a little more effort with a synthetic shave brush, but still able to build a nice lather 
For me, synthetics don’t seem to hold soap as well as other brushes.  It’s not a terrible thing, given the price.  But as with other synthetic brushes that I’ve used, I will tend to reload The Body Shop Shave Brush for my second pass on my head and face.
The only downside is that water seemed to get under the finish; leaving a ring at the base of the knot.
While I like the synthetic brushes that I’ve tried thus far, I don’t typically reach for them first.  If I’m pressed for time in the morning (which is often the case with me), I just reach for a badger brush due to ease and familiarity.
The Body Shop Shave Brush: an impulse buy since I forgot my shave brush while on vacation 
For the price, and considering the circumstances, I thought The Body Shop Synthetic Shave Brush was a good buy.  It was lightweight and kind of compact so it didn’t take up too much space in the dopp kit; it performed ok; and it was reasonably priced.  The only downside that I encountered is that it looks like water can seep into the finish near the base of the knot.  It doesn’t seem to be progressing further than what’s pictured, but this could change of the course of more uses.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Captain's Choice 45th Parallel Aftershave Splash

August 20, 2017 0
While the shaving soap and cream had been out for a while; Captain’s Choice recently released their 45th Parallel Aftershave Splash to round out the line.  On their website they noted: the 45th Parallel North is halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, while 45th Parallel South is halfway between the Equator and the South Pole.  Home to orchards in the north and oceans in the south, 45th Parallel captures perfectly the essence of this scent and the spirit of adventure embodied by Captain's Choice.

45th Parallel: Almond and Cherry scented 

To my nose the Bay Rum, Cat O’ Nine Tails, Lime, North, and Sandalwood have, what I could only describe, as a similar “base”.  Each one seems to have a spiciness to it that seems to characterize a Captain’s Choice Aftershave.  I find that the 45th Parallel is a departure from their other aromas in the Captain’s Choice Aftershave catalog.

My Collection of Captain's Choice Aftershave Splashes

In a post on their Facebook page, Captain Choice notes that their 45th Parallel is infused with scents of almonds and cherries.  Personally, I think would make a nice complementary pairing to RazoRock Classic or P.160, Cella, or Col Conk’s Almond Shave Soap.  Captain’s Choice also has a 45th Parallel Shave Soap, Shave Cream, and Aftershave Balm as well. 

Captain's Choice 45th Parallel Shaving Soap
With the 45th Parallel Aftershave, I experienced a brief sting along with a cooling and soothing burn to it.  The sting and burn is similar to that of the other Captain’s Aftershave Splashes - not including Cat O’Nine Tails of course.  As with the others, the 45th Parallel Aftershave is formulated with glycerin to help retain moisture.  Though, I personally still feel the need to use a facial lotion after using any aftershave splash (or even balm) to satisfy my skin.
45th Parallel paired nicely with RazoRock's P.160 (my opinion)

Scent-wise it seems to dissipate quickly after applying.  While some scents linger, the 45th Parallel is one that doesn’t last long for me.  Soon after applying, I find that it’s pretty much gone (or perhaps my nose just gets adjusted to it quicker).  I don’t find this to be a bad thing.  While I like the sweetness of it, I think I could get sick of it lingered around for too long.

45th Parallel is also available in an aftershave balm
Overall, I really like the 45th Parallel aftershave.  The sweet almond scent is very pleasant.  Even though the aroma doesn’t last long, I get a satisfying sting and burn that I often enjoy with an aftershave splash. 

Have you tried the 45th Parallel or any of the Captain’s Choice Aftershaves?  Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Strop Shoppe Black Tie Special Edition Shave Soap

July 26, 2017 0
It’s been about a year since The Strop Shoppe closed their doors and, of course, I’m writing about the Special Edition Black Tie soap just as I’m down to the last few ounces and can’t get any more.  I suppose this post is just a means of saying goodbye to this particular soap in the den.
The Special Edition Line contained tallow.
The Strop Shoppe’s Special Edition line contained tallow, or rendered beef fat. It had a relatively soft consistency and tended to be a bit thirsty of a shaving soap.  Personally, I didn’t mind; a little more water and the soap yielded a rather thick, protective, and slick lather.  To that end, it reminded me a bit of the lather quality of an Arko Shave Stick but with a less “soapy” scent.” Just like all of their soaps, they were packaged in a plain, black and white, durable (I’ve dropped this many many times without it cracking) plastic container.   The Special Edition tubs contained 140 ml of soap.
Really like the voluminous lather it produced
The Strop Shoppe had mentioned in their product description that the air of sophisticated confidence exuded by Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart were the inspiration for their Black Tie scent.  The aroma is described as having notes of pepper; leather and musk give weight to the woodiness of patchouli and the freshness of citrus.  Personally, it reminds me of a masculine cologne.  It isn’t very powerful of an aroma and I find that it washes away when rinsing it from my head and face.
Sadly, all that's left of my Special Edition Black Tie Shave Soap.  Probably 1 more shave and it's gone forever.

It was sad to see The Strop Shoppe close their doors.  But a number of quality shave soap makers have been appearing in the wet shaving community as well.  Even though I can no longer get my hands on Special Edition Black Tie, there is still a wide selection products from of shaving soaps vendors to try.  Perhaps I may stumble across a scent close to this.  Until then, my hoard of The Strop Shoppe shaving soaps will have to last.

Monday, July 10, 2017

King Of Shaves AlphaOil Cooling Menthol Shave Oil

July 10, 2017 0
Some time ago, I received a box of shaving supplies as a gift.  This wasn’t one of those wet shaving subscription boxes, but a very generous selection of shaving cream, gels, soap, and aftershaves selected by my girlfriend to support my hobby.  One of the items was the King Of ShavesAlphaOil Cooling Menthol Shave Oil.
King of Shaves AlphaOil Menthol Shave Oil
The directions on the bottle indicate this oil can be used by itself or with a shave foam/gel.  The King of Shaves website indicates it can also be used as a Beard Oil. I don’t have a beard, so I can’t say how effective a mentholated oil is for maintaining a beard.  But as a shaving supplement, I prefer to use this Menthol AlphaOil as preshave oil.  Admittedly, I have yet to use it with a shaving foam or gel; but I find that it works just fine with a shaving soap or cream.

The King Of Shaves AlphaOil Cooling Menthol Shave Oil is a clear blue-ish color and (to my nose) smells like an olive oil mixed with Fine Accoutrement’s Snake Bite Aftershave. Personally, I don’t find it to be the most appealing of scents.  But when using only a few drops I think the aroma is barely noticeable and it gets overpowered by the soap that I’m using.  Because of the menthol, I get that distinct mentholated cooling feeling a few seconds after applying.  I don’t find that mentholated sting to be very intense; it isn’t like Captain’s Choice Cat O’Nine Tails aftershave.  But it does yield a nice, cooling, feeling.

The King of Shaves AlphaOil bottle is a 15ml (.5 oz) container.  It’s a small size and I find that it’s a good size for my travel dopp bag.  My girlfriend is a big Doctor Who fan and she is amused that from the side it could resemble a Dalek.  

GF thought the bottle loosely looked like a Dalek

The downside is that for a shave oil it is generally priced at a premium.  As of this writing, a .5 oz bottle of AlphaOil sells for roughly 8.00 USD.   By contrast a 2 oz bottle of Taconic’s Unscented Preshave Oil for about $15.00 (about 3.75 USD per .5 oz) and Art Of Shaving’s 2 oz Unscented  Preshave Oil for about $25.00 (about 6.25 USD per .5 oz).  Though, if the Mentholated AlphaOil is something that one uses regularly, some sites have been known to sell them in bulk and some have had flash sales on them.   I really like this shave oil and try to keep an eye out for any deals that I can find.

The Mentholated AlphaOil is a clear, blue-ish color
Have you tried the King of Shaves AlphaOil Cooling Menthol Shave Oil?  Leave a comment below; let us know what your thoughts are.