Vintage Merkur bakelite slant, the first good synthetic brush, and Floris No. 89
The Mühle synthetic brush shown was one of the first really excellent Mühle synthetic brushes, and Mühle was a pioneer in improving synthetic shaving brushes. This was one they called “synthetic badger,” and it does indeed feel a lot like a badger brush—more so than the HJM line that came out shortly afterwards or the Plissoft style that Plisson and others use. (For a comprehensive look at the development of synthetic shaving brushes, see these articles on Sharpologist.com.)
This synthetic doesn’t hold on to so much water as the Plissoft synthetics: one good shake of this brush is ample, whereas Plissoft synthetics require 2 or 3 good shakes. The brush easily loaded and worked up a fine lather. Floris No. 89 (89 being the street address of the home store) was cited in one of Fleming’s novels as a favorite of James Bond, by which one can presume it was Fleming’s own favorite, or one of them. The soap, made long before reformulations affected the best British brands of shaving soaps, is excellent, and the lather was everything you could ask.
The vintage Merkur white bakelite slant made quite a stir when a couple of caches of NOS were discovered some years ago. It remains one of my best slants in terms of feel and performance, and I easily got a trouble-free BBS result in three passes.
A good splash of Floris No. 89 aftershave, a spray of Floris No. 89 EDT, and I am ready for the weekend.