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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Taylor Of Old Bond Street Lemon Lime Shave Cream in a Bowl

June 23, 2017 0

TheLemon and Lime Shaving cream from Taylor Of Old Bond Street (often abbreviated to TOBS) was the first Taylor of Old Bond product that I’ve tried.  Taylor Of Old Bond is popular name in wet shaving. I had heard good things about it, so I was happy that it lived up to its reputation.  It is a light greenish colored cream and has a very soft consistency. 

Taylor Of Old Bond St. Lemon & Lime Shaving Cream in a Bowl
As with most creams that I’ve tried, the TOBS Lemon and Lime shaving cream was easy to lather and it didn’t require a tremendous amount of water.  For me, a wetting my brush under the tap and then giving it a rigorous shake leaves it damp enough for use.

The thing that like about The Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream bowls is that I can apply it one of three ways:
Swirl the brush in the bowl – like it sounds, just run the brush over the shaving cream in the bowl to load it.  Unlike a soap I don’t swirl it for too long.  Otherwise, I wind up loading too much and wasting the excess.
Applying Cream to the brush: I may scoop about an almond sized amount and place it on the brush.  Then start face lathering.
Dot the face: This is where I take small amounts of cream, dab them around my face, and then and then use the brush to lather.

The TOBS Lemon and Lime is also available in a tube.  As expected, it smells the same and performs the same.  So the only drawback (if one could even consider it a drawback) is that I don’t have the plastic TOBS bowl to load it.  I suppose I could always take my old bowl and fill it with the cream in the tube. But that’s neither here nor there.
The scent of the Taylor of Old Bond St. Lemon & Lime reminds me of a can of Sprite or Sierra Mist.  Personally, I really like the aroma.  But, having brushed the cream over my lips on occasion, I can certainly say that it doesn’t tastes as good as the soda … even if chilled.  To my nose, the scent isn’t overpoweringly strong.  Though, it is noticeable when applied and I am aware of throughout the duration of my shave. The cream washes away easily and I find that the aroma doesn’t linger after the rinse.  I think it provides a good, protective, and slick lather.
TOBS Gives me a protective and slick lather.
Taylor Of Old Bond Street’s Lemon & Lime Shaving Cream is packaged in a plastic bowl.  I really like the containers.  Though, I don’t find them to be very durable.  I’ve dropped a couple on my tile floor and wound up cracking the bottom.  This is also a cream that should probably should be stored in a cool dry place.  I had it shipped to me on a summer day when it was in the mid to high 80’s and found that when exposed to the hot temperatures it tended to get bit runny.  It didn’t affect the performance and when allowed to cool down, it got back to a nice consistency.

One of my Taylor Of Old Bond St Bowls didn't survive a fall to my tile floor.
Overall, the experience with the Taylor Of Old Bond Street Lemon and Lime shaving cream has been great.  I find the aroma to be very appealing, it’s easy to lather and apply, and it offers good protection.  So, I could see why Taylor of Old Bond St. is a favorite name among wet shavers.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Closer Look at the Rad Soap Co Gentleman's Shave Bar

May 29, 2017 0
I like going to farmer’s markets and craft fairs to discover the different handcrafted items.  Particularly, I like to see the bath and body product artisans.  Especially if there is shave soap and other men’s products involved.  

Gentleman's Shave bar by Rad Soap Co.
I was at the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market in Troy, NY some time ago and found the stand for RadSoap Company. They had a good amount of products on display but one in particular grabbed my attention.  It was a bar of soap packaged with a paper band around it that pictured the Rad Soap Co. logo, a barber pole, and a moustache.  It only listed the ingredients and the words “Mens Shave Bar” on it.  It was a 3oz cube of soap that smelled nice and was reasonably priced (around 5 dollars at the time). So, it was yet another wet shaving impulse buy. The packaging didn’t have any directions or even a detailed description.  But the company’s web site did provide a little more detail.  
The Soap Fit Perfectly in my Old Spice Shave Mug
On the site it is listed on site as Gentleman’s Shave Bar and is described as: “A thick lathering shave bar crafted with Bentonite Clay.” The website also noted it is scented with Plumeria and Lime and goes on to further describe it as “… a moisturizing and smooth-lathering bar of soap to gently cleanse and prep the skin for shaving” as well as it not containing parabens, sulfates, Phthalates, harsh chemicals, gluten, GMOs, animal products, or nut oils.  The packaging has since been updated since I purchased mine.  I'm not certain if the formulation has changed, but the ingredients listed on the site match what is printed on the label of the bar I purchased.

Ingredients listed on the packaging
The directions/suggested usage from the site:
  • Gently massage bar onto moistened skin, or badger brush creating a thick lather.
  • Apply lather generously to desired areas.
  • Shave desired areas as you would with a shaving cream.
  • Rinse clean with water.
One of my Shave Of the Days when trying out this soap.
This block of soap fit nicely in my Vintage Old Spice Shave Mug. For my first go at this soap, I used my Col Conk badger brush. I wet it and set about swirling it over the block of soap.  While it started to foam, it didn’t yield that yogurt-like consistency that I was hoping for.  After about a minute of swirling it over the soap, I attempted to face lather.  But, much like loading the brush, it didn’t build into one with that dense, yogurt-like, consistency.  It produced a generous and bubbly lather seemed to fade after applied. After about 45 seconds, I noticed some thinning out of the lather. It did have a modest slickness to it, which is probably just a trait it has for simply being a bar of soap.  Even though the razor glided over my slick and soaped up face, I could feel that wasn’t offering the quite the protection that I was hoping for.  Though, I did finish my shave and without irritation, nicks, or cuts.
It produced a generous amount of bubbly lather
Figuring that it might have been bigger knot, I tried lathering this soap another time with a smaller brush.  But the results were still the same.  Finally, I tried massaging it onto my face and then lathering with a brush in Arko Shave Stick-like fashion.  Unfortunately, this didn’t work at all for me.  I got a small amount of bubbles on the face and a little that ran down my hand as well as brush handle.  So, I had to abandon this lather and move on to a different soap to finish the shave.

After about 45 seconds after applying, the lather seemed to thin 
I like the Rad Soap products.  The company is a purveyor of natural products and they have a Natural Insect Repellant that my mother really likes.  But, for me, the Gentleman’s Shave Bar didn’t offer the thick, stable lather that I was hoping for.  The soap smells nice and it didn’t leave me with a feeling of residue on my face.  So, personally, I’d most likely use this in the routine as preshave soap to help soften my stubble rather than a shave soap. 

Have you tried any of the Rad Soap products? Please leave a comment and let us know.