29/06/2015

SOTD 29/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Salty Sea Sage (Soft)
Muhle 33K256 Silvertip Fibre
Durham Dorset & Personna DD (2)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Blue Stratos Aftershave
Armani Acqua Di Gio EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

28/06/2015

SOTD 28/06/2015


Long, hot bath ... post-fencing competition
Meißner Tremonia Bay & Rum (Hard) w/Vie Long 13065 Horse
Kampfe Star Razor New Model (c.1902) & GEM Stainless/Shimmed (1)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Pinaud Clubman VIBR

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

What a lovely razor! Myself, I didn't find it to be all that in terms of aggression. Actually, I thought it quite tamed the edge of a new GEM blade.

Very much enjoyed!

24/06/2015

SOTD 24/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Erasmic Shaving Soap
Ever Ready 400BN 'Badgerlon' w/Synthetic Knot
Jaguar Orca - Jaguar JT1/JT3 (2)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Cussons Aftershave (Vintage)

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

22/06/2015

SOTD 22/06/2015


Shower w/Bulldog Shower Gel
Old Spice Shaving Soap (Vintage)
Muhle Silvertip Fibre (23mm)
Jaguar Orca JT1 - Jaguar JT1 (1)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Old Spice Original Aftershave

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

Ouch! I had forgotten just how very sharp these Japanese steel, ice tempered, platinum & fluor-carbon coated blades are! I ended up with a neat gouge on my jawline, which I hope a little propolis gel covered with a plaster overnight will remedy. At least the blade was sharp, the cut neat.

Old Spice soap? Lovely.

Old Spice aftershave? I say it every time ... this has to be the best aftershave out there. Perfect!

The shave? Aside from the cut, baby smooth ...

20/06/2015

SOTD 20/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Nanny's Silly Soaps Ice & Slice (Olive Oil)
Muhle Silvertip Fibre (23mm)
Zinn Gem & Gillette Platinum Plus (Injector) 1
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
WItch Hazel & Selin Toner

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & XTG

What a beautiful razor!

I'm not going to say it was the best shave, because it wasn't. It was good. It'll take me another couple of shaves to really click with it, but it is good.

I really enjoyed the Nanny's Silly Soap, one of her olive oil recipes which is so thick, slick and just gorgeous ... menthol in abundance!

19/06/2015

Meißner Tremonia Test Candidates


The chaps at Meißner Tremonia sent me a right parcel of goodies to try out ... no instruction, no hints, no tips, very little to go on other than try them and see how you like them.

I have a number of soaps to try out, five new scents as both a new paste soap ("Natural White") and a hard, transparent glycerine based soap ("Natural Brown"). Bay & Rum is one exception here as the hard soap appears to be the same formula as their present hard soap, the rest of the hard soaps are the dark brown, transparent glycerine based soap ("Natural Brown"): coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, argan oil, all organic, also organic wood honey, organic cane sugar, organics glycerine, myrrh and benzoin sumatra. The paste soap ("Natural White") is a new formula: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil and argan oil, all organic, also organic acacia honey. I am very excited to see honey in these soaps which, along with cane sugar, myrrh and benzoin are all in there for skin conditioning, the removal of dead skin and  encouragement of new skin.

Shaving Soap - The Scents

Bay & Rum
Black Pepper & Coriander
Stone Pine & Cypress
Guaiacwood & Bergamot
Bitter Almond & Texas Cedar

Bay & Rum

I found the hard soap the same as their regular hard soaps in terms of loading and lathering. The scent is not strong, but all too often Bay Rum can be overdone. I am going to guess by the title "Bay & Rum" and by the inclusion of Jamaican Rum in the ingredients of the Natural White formula, that this is bay ... and rum. The bay is there, you can smell it, but there is not the usual strong tingle which we associate with Bay Rum soaps. There is a little tickle, but not that [I]lathering with nettles[/I] feeling that many overdone examples can give. The rum is there too, you can smell it, but it's not overly alcoholic or all pervading. It's a fine balance and in the hard soap, Thomas nailed this one, giving us a specifically pure run at a Bay Rum.

Natural White, the soft soap was actually slightly stronger in scent. This is a paste-like soap, certainly more so than their present paste soap and more akin to the likes of Wickham's or Nanny's in consistency, another couple of artisan soap makers whose products I very much enjoy. In a lot of ways, this soap feels much like Nanny's olive oil soaps.

I thoroughly enjoyed both versions of the Bay & Rum soap. It's one that personally, I think I'd plump for the hard soap version, but if it is released as a scent it might not be as per the existing hard soaps and perhaps only in the new Natural Brown and Natural White forms. I don't know.

Super!

Black Pepper & Coriander

Whooo-ee! This is not one for the faint-hearted! The glycerine soap most certainly projects the stronger scent from the soap dish, that pungent bite that snarls up the nostrils. Once lathered and on the face, it's not as intense but very much there. Both Natural Brown and Natural White were less intense than they are when smelled from the soap dish. The effect was not as irritating as I'd expected with no burning on the skin, certainly not like Bay Rum soaps but perhaps folks with sensitive skin will get a tingle. Post-shave wash-off and cold water splash didn't awaken any tingling effects either. The smell did linger, evident the following morning upon awaking after shaving the previous evening.

So, as a scent, if you like black pepper you'll like this. There is a post-shave scent memory of strong, black pepper and I think folks with Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet, DR Harris Windsor or even Hermes Terre D'Hermes, to some extent, will want a spritz of that after a shave with this soap. As a test candidate, I think I'd say the scent is simply too strong. Yes, that is coming from me, someone who really likes strong, single-minded scents; I think it's too strong. I get it. I can see why; I'm not sure that understanding would be widespread.

Invigorating!

Stone Pine & Cypress

I found both the Natural Brown and Natural White straight-forward to load and lather on the face, the glycerine soap requiring only a teaspoon of water dropped onto the surface of the same and a few swirls with a dry brush to pick up sufficient soap for what would have been right for a three pass shave. Same with the paste soap, really. I am now starting to split these in terms of performance: Natural Brown is a much stronger carrier of scent and in use, so much thicker lather is so easily made. Don't get me wrong - Natural White is a good paste, but Natural Brown really does stand out.

This is going into my rotation. Lovely green scent, perfectly pitched and not at all overdone, something quite easy to do with pine which can leave an overly soapy scent sometimes evoking scent memories of toilet spray. Not here, though. Perfectly pitched and knocked right out of the park. What a joy!

Folks who enjoy a splash of Pino Silvestre or a good spritz of Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme will really enjoy this soap as part of their routine. I went with Pino Silvestre as my aftershave and already had YSL Kouros on. It all worked well together. The soap on its own is a pleasant, young, bright green scent, not overly heavy.

Fresh!

Guaiacwood & Bergamot

Like Stone Pine & Cypress, this is a scent which they've got just right. Counterbalancing the deep, tarry, woodiness of the guaiacwood with the strong, rounded citrus of bergamot is just perfect. Natural Brown is most definitely the better carrier for these scents, the better formula and a much thicker and more protective lather created from, but I am really starting to get what it is that I should with Natural White. Compared to their existing line of a soft paste soap and a firmer, although slightly malleable hard soap, those are both also coconut oil based but have all manner of interesting clays added for slip and so on ... these soaps are pared back and most definitely have skin conditioning and regeneration in mind, given their ingredients over and above saponified fat. Natural White really is a nice soap. Certainly different from their existing soft soap, which really makes me smile at just how very excellent it is, Natural White is a lot more like all those regular [I]artisan[/I] soaps you can find under a myriad of names. It's good, simple soap, the addition of honey making the distinction and Thomas' real genuis at scent coming out to play with these test candidates.

I'm finding the scent plays perfectly with Puig Quorum. On paper, it's closer to Puig's Quorum Silver, but that is a little more green than their statute Quorum. Quorum features regularly for me and so this soap being a perfect partner is very welcome ... another one to drop into the rotation.

Deep!

Bitter Almond & Texas Cedar

This is phenomenal! I so hope this scent is released as is, because it is amazing!

I absolutely hate almond soaps. I cannot abide almond. I bought Cella once after everyone raved about it, applied it, washed it off and picked another soap, the Cella moved on immediately. As chance would have it, I actually swapped the Cella for the Kent Infinity Silvertex I first used with this soap, a brush I used almost exclusively for about a year and it's really well worn in, got its own hairstyle based on my swirl pattern, softer than a box fresh, fuller and with just a little splay; not too much as to look like a shagged out badger, but a little splay so it doesn't look quite so upright. I digress.

Anyway, the soap ...

What a scent! It's NOT the almond you know from Cella. It's not even the almond you know from Grandstaff, who uses it carefully and in a subtle way in his Holy Smokes soap. It is bitter. It is acrid, almost. It is like an alcohol in terms of its effect upon the nose and so much better as the hard, transparent brown soap which seems to carry scent like a [I]Will o'the Wisp[/I] up the nose.

The soap is a perfect partner to Tabac. They're not the same, but Tabac is the next step in the journey. The addition of Texas Cedar in the soap is inspired. Who would have thought bitter almond and cedar go together? Well, I've said it before that Thomas is a genius, something I said about his Strong & Scottish ... and I think he's done it again here. My heart is practically racing, I am so invigorated.

Phenomenal!

Formula

As test candidate soaps, the formula is right! The hard, Natural Brown soap is just something beyond - pick your best glycerine based soap and make it abundantly better; the soft, Natural White, that very soap that you are already used to, but better. The scents are what we're playing with here and this is absolutely right. No change. No changes needed at all, thank you.

Aftershave Splash - The Flavours

I was sent three scents to try:

Bay & Rum
Dark Limes
Strong & Scottish

I err on the side of more alcoholic aftershaves, leaving a drier, more taut feeling. I like that. What Meißner Tremonia has concocted here is an aftershave splash that both folks like me would enjoy and folks who like balms would enjoy - it's slippery, slick, cleansing, feeding and leaves a soft feeling without being overly tacky. Myrsol has a similar thing going on, notably with with Antesol and Plastic Shave flavours, but I rather felt they left a sticky residue and a tacky feeling. These from Meißner Tremonia don't.

Bay & Rum ramps up the bay scent and feeling if you've been shaving with the corresponding soap ... by a good way, too. It's not up there with pain inducing Pinaud Clubman VIBR, but it is certainly a cut above many. All too often with Bay Rum, it's Bay, Rum, Limes & Peppercorn ... and ... and ... and ... when actually just bay is a perfectly nice scent on its own. The addition of rum is lovely. I make my own for which the liquid part is rum and witch hazel. Meißner Tremonia are mixing up a concoction that is far more professional and adding in these single-minded, yet all engrossing scents, is very refreshing.

Dark Limes is as you'd expect, a perfect follow-on for their soap and a simple continuation of that mysterious lime. I don't have a lot more to say about this scent - it's right, just right.

Strong & Scottish is NOT like just splashing Scotch on your face - as an aftershave, it's peaty, very peaty, sweet and very slippery smooth to apply. Supreme post-shave feel, more like a balm but from an aftershave splash. That is high praise coming from someone who can't abide balms. It does have that sweet, almost medicinal twang, but it is NOT whisky. The soap is. The aftershave is not. I thought the subtle difference was very well done, because splashing on a fine Islay as aftershave does not really appeal to me, either.

Summary

I truly hope that the Natural Brown and Natural White soaps come to market - both really are very good indeed.

I also hope that some of the scents come to market, Bitter Almond & Texas Cedar in particular as soap is soap is soap ... unless it's Strong & Scottish or Bitter Almond & Texas Cedar, which are truly phenomenal! Some of the other scents could do with a tweak: both Stone Pine & Cypress and Guaiacwood & Bergamot were good, but I think they could become exceptional with another couple of ingredients in there to fill out the shape of the scent. Black Pepper & Coriander is too much. Bay & Rum is perhaps too little.

Aftershaves are indeed very good and as I said, they'll no doubt appeal to both folks who like aftershave splashes and folks who like aftershave balms, but perhaps that dual appeal is itself the compromise within and so, perhaps a more alcoholic splash would counterpoint their already available balm concoction.

SOTD 19/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Bitter Almond & Texas Cedar (Natural Brown & White)
Kent Infinity Silvertex
Ever Ready 1912 New Improved & GEM Stainless (5)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Tabac Aftershave & EDC

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG (Twice ... one pass per soap)

The chaps at Meißner Tremonia sent me number of flavours of a couple of their soaps in testing to try out ... no instruction, no hints, no tips, very little to go on other than try them and see how you like them.

Five new scents as both a new paste soap and a hard, transparent glycerine based soap. Bay & Rum is one exception here as the hard soap appears to be the same formula as their present hard soap, the rest of the hard soaps are dark brown and transparent, "Natural Brown": coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, argan oil, all organic, also organic wood honey, organic cane sugar, organics glycerine, myrrh and benzoin sumatra. The paste soap, "Natural White", is a new formula: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil and argan oil, all organic, also organic acacia honey. I am very excited to see honey in these soaps as a natural antiseptic and for encouraging skin regeneration.

Today, I used Bitter Almond & Texas Cedar.

Lads! This is phenomenal! I so hope this scent is released as is, because it is amazing!

I absolutely hate almond soaps. I cannot abide almond. I bought Cella once after everyone raved about it, applied it, washed it off and picked another soap, the Cella moved on immediately. As chance would have it, I actually swapped the Cella for the Kent Infinity Silvertex I used today, a brush I used almost exclusively for about a year and it's really well worn in, got its own hairstyle based on my swirl pattern, softer than a box fresh, fuller and with just a little splay; not too much as to look like a shagged out badger, but a little splay so it doesn't look quite so upright.

Anyway, the soap ...

What a scent! It's NOT the almond you know from Cella. It's not even the almond you know from Grandstaff, who uses it carefully and in a subtle way in his Holy Smokes soap. It is bitter. It is acrid, almost. It is almost like alcohol in terms of its effect upon the nose and so much better as the hard, transparent brown soap which seems to carry scent like a Will o'the Wisp up the nose. Tonight I did things a little different and used the soft, Natural White soap first, the hard, Natural Brown soap for the second pass. I absolutely love it! Both forms of soap, what a scent!

Fifth run from a GEM blade, absolutely lovely and dropped into this rather nice Ever Ready a really fly shave.

The soap is a perfect partner to Tabac. They're not the same, but Tabac is the next step in the journey. The addition of Texas Cedar in the soap is inspired. Who would have thought bitter almond and cedar go together? Well, I've said it before that Thomas is a genius, something I said about his Strong & Scottish ... and I think he's done it again here. My heart is practically racing, I am so invigorated.

Bravo!

Test soaps, the formula is right! The hard, Natural Brown soap is just something beyond - pick your best glycerine based soap and make it abundantly better; the soft, Natural White, that very soap that you are already used to, but better. The scents are what we're playing with here and this is absolutely right. No change. No change at all, please Thomas!

18/06/2015

SOTD 18/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Guaiacwood & Bergamot (Natural Brown & White)
Kent Infinity Silvertex
Ever Ready 1912 Bathroom Set & GEM Stainless (4)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Puig Quorum Aftershave & EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG (Twice ... one pass per soap)

The chaps at Meißner Tremonia sent me number of flavours of a couple of their soaps in testing to try out ... no instruction, no hints, no tips, very little to go on other than try them and see how you like them.

Five new scents as both a new paste soap and a hard, transparent glycerine based soap. Bay & Rum is one exception here as the hard soap appears to be the same formula as their present hard soap, the rest of the hard soaps are dark brown and transparent, "Natural Brown": coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, argan oil, all organic, also organic wood honey, organic cane sugar, organics glycerine, myrrh and benzoin sumatra. The paste soap, "Natural White", is a new formula: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil and argan oil, all organic, also organic acacia honey. I am very excited to see honey in these soaps as a natural antiseptic and for encouraging skin regeneration.

Today, I used Guaiacwood & Bergamot.

Like yesterday, this is a scent which they've got just right. Counterbalancing the deep, tarry, woodiness of the guaiacwood with the strong, rounded citrus of bergamot is just perfect. Natural Brown is most definitely the better carrier for these scents, the better formula and a much thicker and more protective lather created from, but I am really starting to get what it is that I should with Natural White. Compared to their existing line of a soft paste soap and a firmer, although slightly malleable hard soap, those are both also coconut oil based but have all manner of interesting clays added for slip and so on ... these soaps are pared back and most definitely have skin conditioning and regeneration in mind, given their ingredients over and above saponified fat. Natural White really is a nice soap. Certainly different from their existing soft soap, which really makes me smile at just how very excellent it is, Natural White is a lot more like all those regular artisan soaps you can find under a myriad of names. It's good, simple soap, the addition of honey making the distinction and Thomas' real genuis at scent coming out to play with these beta-products.

I'm finding the scent plays perfectly with Puig Quorum. On paper, it's closer to Puig's Quorum Silver, but that is a little more green than their statute Quorum. Quorum features regularly for me and so this soap being a perfect partner is very welcome ... another one to drop into the rotation.

Lovely shave with the late model Ever Ready 1912. The blade is now fully broken in, smooth as she goes and highly efficient, the only hint it's shaving being that lovely rasping noise, only slightly absorbed by the cushion of the soap.

Super!

17/06/2015

SOTD 17/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash & Scrub
Meißner Tremonia Stone Pine & Cypress (Natural Brown & White)
Ever Ready 500BN w/Muhle 31M50 Knot
Ever Ready 1912 Ray Cap & GEM Stainless (3)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Pino Silvestre Aftershave
YSL Kouros EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG (Twice ... once per soap)

The chaps at Meißner Tremonia sent me number of flavours of a couple of their soaps in testing to try out ... no instruction, no hints, no tips, very little to go on other than try them and see how you like them.

Five new scents as both a new paste soap and a hard, transparent glycerine based soap. Bay & Rum is one exception here as the hard soap appears to be the same formula as their present hard soap, the rest of the hard soaps are dark brown and transparent, "Natural Brown": coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, argan oil, all organic, also organic wood honey, organic cane sugar, organics glycerine, myrrh and benzoin sumatra. The paste soap, "Natural White", is a new formula: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil and argan oil, all organic, also organic acacia honey. I am very excited to see honey in these soaps as a natural antiseptic and for encouraging skin regeneration.

Today, I used Stone Pine & Cypress.

I used both the glycerine soap (the "Natural Brown") and the new formula paste (the "Natural White"). One soap per pass. I found both straight-forward to load and lather on the face, the glycerine soap requiring only a teaspoon of water dropped onto the surface of the same and a few swirls with a dry brush to pick up sufficient soap for what would have been right for a three pass shave. Same with the paste soap, really. I am now starting to split these in terms of performance: Natural Brown is a much stronger carrier of scent and in use, so much thicker lather is so easily made. Don't get me wrong - Natural White is a good paste, but Natural Brown really does stand out.

This is going into my rotation. Lovely green scent, perfectly pitched and not at all overdone, something quite easy to do with pine which can leave an overly soapy scent sometimes evoking scent memories of toilet spray. Not here, though. Perfectly pitched and knocked right out of the park. What a joy!

Folks who enjoy a splash of Pino Silvestre or a good spritz of Issey Miyake L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme will really enjoy this soap as part of their routine. I went with Pino Silvestre as my aftershave and already had YSL Kouros on. It all worked well together. The soap on its own is a pleasant, young, bright green scent, not overly heavy.

Very much enjoyed!

16/06/2015

SOTD 16/06/2015


Shower w/Bulldog Shower Gel
Meißner Tremonia Dark Limes (Paste)
Muhle 33K256 Silvertip Fibre
Schick Ultra Plus & Ultra Plus (1)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Meißner Tremonia Dark Limes Aftershave

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & ATG

Hmmm ... this Schick, lovely looker as it is ... all those Kenneth Grange lines inherited from Wilkinson Sword, this Schick reminded me of all the things I hated about cartridge shaving: smooth, yes, but yucky gloop strip and the pivoting head really is not my kind of thing. I've come to prefer following my own curves. Fixed head Trac II type razors are much more my kind of thing when it comes to cartridges. Curiously, the Gillette Guard with its pivoting head plays absolutely fine with me - they got something quite right there. This Schick, alas, not my kind of thing ...

Meißner Tremonia made up for it all, thought. Dark Limes is a stunning soap, chock full of all the goodness of their other flavours but with the addition of shea butter. Very soft, very slick; perfect for finishing with their very excellent aftershave.

I err on the side of more alcoholic aftershaves, leaving a drier, more taut feeling. I like that. What Meißner Tremonia has concocted here is an aftershave splash that both folks like me would enjoy and folks who like balms would enjoy - it's slippery, slick, cleansing, feeding and leaves a soft feeling without being overly tacky. Myrsol has a similar thing going on, notably with with Antesol and Plastic Shave flavours, but I rather felt they left a sticky residue and a tacky feeling. These from Meißner Tremonia don't.

The soap gives a superb post-shave feeling on its own, the aftershave really is the icing on an already very attractive cake.

15/06/2015

SOTD 15/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Black Pepper & Coriander (Glycerine & Beta-Paste Soaps)
Ever Ready 100T w/PurTech Knot
GEM Junior Bar & GEM Stainless (2)
Hot Rinse & Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Blue Stratos Aftershave & EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG (Twice, one pass per soap)

The chaps at Meißner Tremonia sent me a right parcel of goodies to try out ... no instruction, no hints, no tips, very little to go on other than try them and see how you like them.

I have a number of soaps to try out, five new scents as both a new paste soap and a hard, transparent glycerine based soap. Bay & Rum is one exception here as the hard soap appears to be the same formula as their present hard soap, the rest of the hard soaps are dark brown and transparent: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, argan oil, all organic, also organic wood honey, organic cane sugar, organics glycerine, myrrh and benzoin sumatra. The paste soap is a new formula: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil and argan oil, all organic, also organic acacia honey. I am very excited to see honey in these soaps.

I used both the glycerine soap and the new formula paste. I found both straight-forward to load and lather on the face, the glycerine soap requiring only a teaspoon of water dropped onto the surface of the same and a few swirls with a dry brush to pick up sufficient soap for what would have been right for a three pass shave. Same with the paste soap, really. I don't think I could split them in terms of use just yet - I have a few more to try and think that further use will help establish the difference.

The scent, though. Whooo-ee! This is not one for the faint-hearted! The glycerine soap most certainly projects the stronger scent from the soap dish, that pungent bite that snarls up the nostrils. Once lathered and on the face, it's not as intense but very much there. Both the glycerine and the paste soap were less intense than they are when smelled from the soap dish. The effect was not as irritating as I'd expected with no burning on the skin, certainly not like Bay Rum soaps but perhaps folks with sensitive skin will get a tingle. Post-shave wash-off and cold water splash didn't awaken any tingling effects either.

So, as a scent ... if you like black pepper, you'll like this. There is a post-shave scent memory of strong, black pepper and I think folks with Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet, DR Harris Windsor or even Hermes Terre D'Hermes, to some extent, will want a spritz of that after a shave with this soap. As a beta-product, I think I'd say the scent is simply too strong. Yes, that is coming from me, someone who really likes strong, single-minded scents; I think it's too strong. I get it. I can see why; I'm not sure that understanding would be widespread.

14/06/2015

SOTD 14/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Bay & Rum (Hard Soap & Beta-Paste)
Mohawk 5-341 w/PurTech Knot
Microtome Kamisori
Hot Rinse & Cold Rinse
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Meißner Tremonia Bay & Rum Aftershave

Bowl Lathered
Two Pass - WTG (Twice, one pass per soap)

The chaps at Meißner Tremonia sent me a right parcel of goodies to try out ... no instruction, no hints, no tips, very little to go on other than try them and see how you like them.

I have a number of soaps to try out, five new scents as both a new paste soap and a hard, transparent glycerine based soap. Bay & Rum is one exception here as the hard soap appears to be the same formula as their present hard soap, the rest of the hard soaps are dark brown and transparent: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, argan oil, all organic, also organic wood honey, organic cane sugar, organics glycerine, myrrh and benzoin sumatra. The paste soap is a new formula: coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil and argan oil, all organic, also organic acacia honey. I am very excited to see honey in these soaps.

As I mentioned, the Bay & Rum hard soap is not the same the rest of these transparent brown soaps that are to try, so guess it's as per their regular hard soaps, same formula with a new scent.

I used both the hard soap and the new formula paste. I found the hard soap the same as their regular hard soaps in terms of loading and lathering. The scent is not strong, but all too often Bay Rum can be overdone. I am going to guess by the title "Bay & Rum" and by the inclusion of Jamaican Rum in the paste, that this is bay ... and rum. The bay is there, you can smell it, but there is not the usual strong tingle which we associate with Bay Rum soaps. There is a little tickle, but not that lathering with nettles feeling that many overdone examples can give. The rum is there too, you can smell it, but it's not overly alcoholic or all pervading. It's a fine balance and in the hard soap, Thomas nailed this one.

The soft soap was actually slightly stronger. This beta-product is a paste-like soap, certainly more so than their present paste soap products and more akin to the likes of Wickham's or Nanny's in consistency, another couple of artisan soap makers whose products I very much enjoy. In a lot of ways, this soap feels much like Nanny's olive oil soaps.

I'm not sure I could identify the presence of honey in the paste soap. Another soap which does use honey is, say, Malt & Myrtle from The Gentleman's Groom Room in Dundee. I can smell the honey in that one, but not (yet) in these. It might be that I tune into it, might be that it's there as an ingredient to improve the formula and it's well balanced as to not interfere with the scents. I don't know, but there it is ...

I thoroughly enjoyed both versions of the Bay & Rum soap. It's one that personally, I think I'd plump for the hard soap version, but if it is released as a scent it might not be as per the existing hard soaps. I don't know. I'd like it be ... but then, I've got these new formula hard soaps to try and think it would work very well indeed as a hard, transparent, glycerine based puck.

So, shaved and on with the aftershave ...

I have good skin. It's not overly oily, certainly not dry, and in these warmer months I can get some issues if I don't keep my skin clear. Oil dissolves oil. Well made soaps which use good oils play well with me - Wickham's and Nanny's have both served me well on this front, but in these warmer months I do like something a little drying, and so I've taken to an equal mix of witch hazel and the highly alcoholic Turkish Cologne, Selin, as a toner.

... and onto the aftershave, something which soothes and something which feeds the skin.

First go with Bay & Rum from Meißner Tremonia's forthcoming line of aftershaves. The splash ramps up the Bay ... quite a way. It's not up there with pain inducing Pinaud Clubman VIBR, but it is certainly a cut above many. It's quite pure - it's Bay, certainly, Rum, too, the rest I simply don't know but the face feel afterwards was much akin to Myrsol Antesol. Well fed, ever so slightly tacky although not sticky.

As a scent across two soaps and an aftershave, I like that it is quite pure - there is no pepper, clove or lime in there, often found in some combination or other with other products. It's Bay and it's Rum. It's not Bay Rum, it's Bay ... and Rum.

Enjoyed!

12/06/2015

SOTD 12/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Strong & Scottish & Ever Ready 500BN w/Muhle 31M50 Knot
Ever Ready 1924 (Brass) w/Custom Handle & GEM Stainless (1)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel Toner
Meißner Tremonia Strong & Scottish Aftershave
Aramis Havana EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

Champion!

11/06/2015

SOTD 11/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Wickham's English Rose & Ever Ready 500BN w/Muhle 31M50 Knot
GEM Junior Elite & GEM Stainless (4)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Puig Quorum Aftershave & EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

10/06/2015

SOTD 10/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Wickham's English Lavender & Valet No.470 PurTech
GEM Junior (Bar) & GEM Stainless (3)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
YSL Kouros Aftershave & EDT

Face Lathered
One Pass - WTG

09/06/2015

SOTD 09/06/2015


Shower w/Bulldog Shower Gel
Wickham's Parma Violet & Muhle 33K256 Silvertip Fibre
GEM Junior Bar & GEM Stainless (2)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazle & Selin Toner
Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel Aftershave & EDT

Bowl Lathered
One Pass - WTG

Another simple one pass shave. Lovely job!

08/06/2015

SOTD 08/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Wickham's Spice Trade w/Valet No.470 PurTech
GEM 1912 Squat Cap/Swing Handle & GEM Stainless (1)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel Toner
Old Spice Aftershave
Paco Pabanne One Million EDT

Face Lathered
One Pass - WTG

Just the one pass with a fresh GEM blade. Absolutely lovely!

Old Spice really is the king of aftershaves. Scent aside, its performance is superb for a straight-up bottle of splash.

07/06/2015

Meißner Tremonia Shaving Soaps

I have had the sheer pleasure of using Meißner Tremonia soaps over the past couple of weeks and have tried most of the scents, gaining a good understanding of the character and appeal of these soaps.

Meißner Tremonia

I asked a German pal what the words meant, whether it translated. He told me that it was simply two words: Meißner, meaning "from the city of Meißen" (cf London/Londoner) and the surname of the proprietor, Thomas; Tremonia, latin "tres moenia" (literally, "three walls") and in context means Dortmund, the home city of these truly artisan soaps.

If my German chum was pulling my leg and Germans the world over are now uncontrollably laughing, well we can't accuse the Germans of not having a sense of humour.

You can read more about their processes, their products and their history on their website: http://www.meissner-tremonia.de

I shall concern myself here with their shaving soaps which come in two guises: hard soap and a softer soap, or paste. Performance-wise, I don't think there is a lot between them, but if I was to separate them then I would say the the paste is, well, creamier and the hard soap firmer and more protective. Both have a wonderful slip in use and a supreme post-shave feel. Loading and lathering it without issue, again, I would say the paste is easier to load and more immediate in the building of lather; the soap so much more worth that extra effort, not that much is required as these soaps work, and work well.

What do you get?

You can buy these soaps in three formats: paste, in purple glass jars with hard plastic lids; hard soap, again, in purple glass jars with hard plastic lids; hard soap refills for putting into the purple glass jars or into your own pots.

While the hard soaps don't quite fit the jars snug, it really doesn't matter as the soaps are just that little bit malleable and a good, firm press into the jar will have it stay put.

The formulas do vary from soap to soap, but in a nutshell what you get is a coconut oil based soap. Other ingredients vary according to scent and all manner of natural clays are used to assist with slip and provide wonderful colours and textures. One or two are quite specialist, such as the Pots of Milk soap which is chock full of goats milk and macadamia nut oil to give a luxurious feeding for skin, leaving it silky soft, another, Strong & Scottish uses single malt Scotch!

How does it play?

I use synthetic brushes and I live in a soft water area.

Synthetic brushes are known for dumping all their water in one go when lathering, and so, folks who use synthetic brushes tend to have a drier brush for loading and feed in small amounts of water while lathering.

Being in a soft water area does mean that I am cursed with lather! I can fill my bathroom by applying just a little too much water at the outset in many soaps, foamy suds billowing out of the soap pot with little more than a few swirls.

Upon giving these soaps a few swirls with a well dampened brush (no, not 60, 80, 100 or whatever ... just a few swirls), loading is done. These soaps do not punish folks in soft water areas by foaming up uncontrollably, no, these soaps keep foaminess under control and even if the proto-lather is just that little bit foamy, it all tamps down without issue in the bowl.

Build your lather as you do, with the brush that you like to use and you're rewarded with a thick and firm lather that is strong, over-paintable, slick, cushioning and matures through the shave, each successive re-lather better than the last.

I like the lather so much, I have taken to applying one final lather after my final pass and washing off, just for the post-shave feel.

Loading, lathering, in-shave performance, wash off and post-shave feel, all absolutely superb and quite literally second to none. Make no mistake - these are seriously good soaps.

What about scents?

Here's where it gets interesting ...

Meißner Tremonia don't do things conventionally! While you can find a Lavender Deluxe, a Pink Grapefruit and a Menthol, scents do seem to be on the side of the more exotic, like Indian Flavour, Himalayan Heights and Exotic Elemi, and the unusual, like Black Beer and Strong & Scottish.

Just to briefly run through some of the scents:

Pink Grapefruit - Well, it's pink grapefruit. Quite mild, not enormously citrus but with a pleasing and full grapefruit scent.

Exotic Elemi - Asian elemi resin and Javanese canaga blossom oil. It's another woody one, peppery with a citrus backwash.

Himalayan Heights - Himalayan Heights is pretty straight-up. It's cedar and salt. Himalayan, to be precise; both of them: the cedar and the salt. Cedrus Deodara from the foothills of the Himalayas: Nepal, Tibet, Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India. Salt, too, and a lovely light blue colour quite reminiscent of the glacial meltwater from above making its way through the tree line to the foothills. Yes, it's salty and yes, it's woody. Heady, and quite a favourite of mine.

Lavender Deluxe - Classic English lavender, flanked by rose geranium and cypress for a near heavenly scent absolutely deserving of the word "Deluxe". Not dry, not dusty, the lavender is pure floral and quite literally erupts upon opening the pot.

Salty Sea Sage - Just as if you like lavender, you'll love their lavender ... if you like sage, you'll love Salty Sea Sage! It's flanked with two, well three other key ingredients that distinguish this soap from the rest of the range: camphor oil and amyris resin, and citric acid. I think the camphor gives it that woody earthiness that would otherwise be lacking in a pure floral/herbal scent, the amyris rounding it all off. Like a clifftop walk, surf spray in the air.

Black Beer No.1 - Dark beer, lemongrass and rosemary. Probably my least favourite and one I felt didn't lather as well as the others. I get it, though. It's dark, deep, perhaps mysterious yet uplifting with a spritzy, herbaceous haze while you shave.

Indian Flavour - What a joy! Coriander, mint and lemongrass, Indian Flavour is a gentle touch of spice and a gentle touch of mint, cooling and refreshing, more akin to holding a cold bottle of Cobra against your head while the sun beats down and the sizzle of lunch wafts by ... the spice is in no way overwhelming, but simple and well pitched, the cool is not chilling, just cooling. Perfectly balanced.

Three that, for me, stand head and shoulders above the others ...

Moroccan Rhassoul - Moroccan Rhassoul is a natural clay mined in the Atlas mountains of North Africa and used in all manner of cleansing practices, as a mud mask or poultice, for example, and in soaps, shaving soaps, as the clay element which gives shaving soap its desirable slip. Thomas uses natural clays in their natural form, embracing their colour and scent. Moroccan Rhassoul can be found in this eponymous soap and their Puristic Style soap, so if their scents are not your cup of tea you can still enjoy these absolutely stunning soaps in a clear and unscented way. The scent in Moroccan Rhassoul is a clever play on a Bay Rum. Combining further scent and properties from copaiba balsam leaves and from cloves. Strongly beneficial skin properties may be had from both, but in combination their scents intermingle into a not quite, but most definitely different and no less intriguing kind of Bay Rum.

Dark Limes - Dark Limes is mysterious. I don't know how someone puts mystery into a soap but Thomas has. It is sour. It should be - it's lime. It is bitter. It is bittersweet, and I think that is the addition of bitter orange oil, which counterpoints and juxtaposes the sharp slice of lime as the two spin into a vortex of dancing scent. It's spritz and flavour, like the spray of the fruit skin as it is cut through as well as the spray of the fruit therein.

Strong & Scottish - A cursory scan over the ingredients reveals that this soap gains its earthiness from Scottish "whiskey" (presumably whisky ... no "e" in Scotch, unless you're in Motherwell) and juniperus oxycedrus wood tar, or juniper wood tar and not dissimilar to cade, which Thomas mixes with red clay to reinforce the earthiness resulting in a seriously heady, woody, ashy, peaty, burnt wood experience which is absolutely sublime. I had read about this soap being the worst scented soap ever, a scent which only its mother could love and a stink of stale ashtrays, all descriptions which I won't disagree with - yes, I get the ash, yes, I get that it is really quite unusual, earthy, mucky (not necessarily dirty) and I originally described the scent as having the same polarising effect as Pinaud's Lilac Vegetal. But, this is not a Marmite soap, one which divides opinion, but rather one with draws the absolute same opinion from all and it is the response from each that is of note - whether the person is reviled or whether the person is intrigued, even exhilarated. I am one who is exhilarated by this scent. As a sample in a plastic bag it gains the same effect as good drink in a snifter, the scent concentrated and alive for each of the constituent smells to be explored. This is not Marmite, this is oysters, this is caviar, this is that very special bottle of red wine that gives off a prolific farmyard smell upon breathing, this is Laphroaig. And on that final note, I don't think we're far from understanding the true nature of this soap - it is strong, it is peaty, it is almost medicinal. It is strong, it is Scottish. I get it ... and there it is: Thomas is a genuis; this soap is high connoisseur.

Not only, but also ...

Mint Ice Menthol - I should also give a warning about the Mint Ice Menthol: it's cold! It's so cold, it hurts! Imagine chomping through a pack of Trebor Extra Strong Mints, slugging down a glass of ice water and then ... then, cramming in a whole pack of Fisherman's Friends in one go! It's cold! And, truly deserving of those three cold words, mint, ice & menthol, each denoting a different kind of chill that you will enjoy from this soap.

... and not forgetting

Pots of Milk - Ample amounts of goat milk and cold pressed macadamia nut oil make this unscented shaving soap a real treat for the skin. Not one I've tried and having skin on the oilier side, most likely will not.

Puristic Style - Unscented, with cold-pressed organic argan oil and Moroccan rhassoul clay for a rewarding shaving experience. Another that I have not tried, but after using the Moroccan Rhassoul soap which uses the same clay, this is most definitely on my list.

... and it doesn't stop there!

If post-shave balms, pre-shave soaps, shower soaps or hair soaps are your thing, chances are you can have your favourite scent as one of those, too.

I would dearly love to see a Fougère or a Tobacco, but because this is Meißner Tremonia, I doubt we will. What we might well see is a Thomas' take on those, which will be an unconventional walk off that well-trodden path and a truly fascinating tour through the deeper woods of the mastermind behind these truly exceptional soaps.

I gather there is a Dark Limes Aftershave out there somewhere; if there is ever a Strong & Scottish Aftershave, consider me first in line! Although, it has been pointed out that simply sloshing a good Islay over post-shave would have the same effect and actually be cheaper measure for measure.

SOTD 07/06/2015


Shower w/Bulldog Shower Gel
Meißner Tremonia Dark Limes
Ever Ready 100T w/Muhle 31M50 Knot
Gillette Techmatic & Gillette Band
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Selin Toner
Jade East Aftershave
Armani Pour Homme EDT

Face Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

With a design that just smacks of the late '60s and the ingenious reel of blade, if you happen upon a good reel the Gillette Techmatic can be a perfectly good shave. Certainly fun to celebrate the design patent date.

Meißner Tremonia Dark Limes ... need I say more?

Superb!

05/06/2015

SOTD 05/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Black Beer No.1 (Hard)
Ever Ready 500BN PurTech
Gillette Twinjector & Gillette Twin (2)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel/Selin Toner
Tabac Aftershave & EDC

Bowl Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

Hmmm ...

I do love these soap, as you well know from the lavish praise I've been heaping on in the past few SOTD entries and even the light scented soaps have met with positivity, but this is one I just don't get. I do get Strong & Scottish, which really is high connoisseur, and this may well be the same (for beer lovers), but I just don't get it. I get black beer, I get that spicy, spritzy herbaceous note, but when it's all put together I just don't "get it".

Pleasant enough, I guess, as a scent. Performance-wise, it's the same great loader, latherer and protective shaver.

After I'd splashed on the Tabac, I forgot all about it (aside from the great post-shave feel) as the Tabac played so curiously complimentary and did what Tabac does naturally.

03/06/2015

SOTD 03/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Mitchell's Wool Fat Soap
Ever Ready 100T w/Muhle Silvertip Fibre
Leslie & Personna (4)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Witch Hazel & Selin Toner
Pinaud Clubman Aftershave Lotion
Ralph Lauren Polo EDT

Face Lathered
Three Pass - WTG, WTG (Slide) WTG (JFF)

Exciting, I think is the phrase ...

Such huge blade gap that the protective front bar doesn't really come into play at all, but the curve of the head is just correct to set this blade edge exactly where it should be; so long as that angle is maintained, a clean and safe shave can be had.

While it's no more aggressive than, say the 1924, while shaving you are very aware of the blade edge.

Enjoyed, but exhilarating. It's been some time since a shave got my heart racing.

01/06/2015

SOTD 01/06/2015


Bulldog Face Wash
Meißner Tremonia Salty Sea Sage (Soft)
Kent Infinity Silvertex
Waterford Crystal (Gillette Trac II) & Wilkinson II (2)
Hot Rinse, Cold Rinse & Alum Wash
Parfums Bleu Blue Stratos Aftershave & EDT

Bowl Lathered
Two Pass - WTG & WTG (Slide)

Bigger than I'd imagined, the Waterford Crystal razor is a Gillette Trac II compatible and a real joy to use. I did wonder just how slippery a glass razor might get, the fear being it would be dropped in the sink and become an expensive head, but it didn't happen. It's actually easy to keep a hold of, a good weight and delivers an intuitive shave, the neck being longer than most  Gillette Trac II type razors.

Onto the soap ...

Yes, altogether now: "another run with a Meißner Tremonia soap", tonight being time for their Salty Sea Sage in soft paste form. Wet brush, just flicked out, loading is perfectly straightforward and then into the bowl. My technique with synthetics is to start out dry and add water slowly to build up a good, strong lather. Lathering up needed, I would think, maybe a teaspoon of water adding in several goes. Thick, cushioning lather. I think the way to split the hard soap and the soft paste is to say that the paste is creamier, the hard soap more cushioning.

Scent? It's sage. Just as if you like lavender, you'll love their lavender ... if you like sage, you'll love it! It's flanked with two, well three other key ingredients that distinguish this soap from the rest of the range: camphor oil and amyris resin, and citric acid. I think the camphor gives it that woody earthiness that would otherwise be lacking in a pure floral/herbal scent, the amyris rounding it all off.

Much enjoyed!

I think I am going to buy the full soap of this scent ... more likely as a hard soap as I enjoy the Lavender Deluxe so much as hard soap and think it quite similar in many ways.