Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Caffeine’ Category

Boar-bristle brushes are great — and the Lupo razor is pretty nice as well

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Yesterday’s shave with my Omega 21762 reminded me how very nice boar-bristle brushes can be, so I brought out my old favorite, the Omega Pro 48 (10048), to enjoy some more boar-brush pleasure. Applying the lesson learned yesterday, I again took my time loading the brush, again going for a degree of overloading (at least, a bit more than I customarily do), and I was again rewarded with a luscious lather.

Meißner Tremonia’s Warm Woods has a fragrance that to my nose is very like the fragrance of Saint Charles Shave’s Woods. Perhaps there’s some standard “Woods” scent profile. At any rate, though I cannot describe the fragrance, I like it, and I agree that it’s a warm fragrance. And MT’s lather is always excellent.

The RazoRock Lupo (here on a Tradere handle) is a fine razor. It has a lot of blade feel and is quite efficient, but it is also not inclined to nick and I would rate it as very comfortable. I don’t like the rounded ends because they make it impossible to stand the razor on its side, but I’ve been told that that problem has been corrected: the ends now are flat.

Three passes did what very efficient and very comfortable razors do: very efficient = totally smooth result; very comfortable = a pleasurable shave with no damage done at all.

A splash of Saint Charles Shave Woods with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and I’m all set for the day.

The tea this morning will be Murchie’s Baker Street Blend, once I return from my fasting blood draw: “Lapsang Souchong, smooth Keemun, rich Ceylon, Gunpowder, and floral Jasmine.”

Written by Leisureguy

11 August 2022 at 8:15 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Omega’s gentle boar brush and Goodfellas’ smile Legione Slant

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The shaving soap this morning is doubly vintage, with “vintage” meaning “no longer available.” First, Mickey Lee Soapworks has closed its doors; and second, Bee Witched, with its beguiling (see what I did there?) honeycomb fragrance, was a one-off and available only briefly.

I’ve been avoiding my Omega 21762 brush for a while because I didn’t much like it the last time I used it, but this morning, when its use was dictated as part of my “gentle brush” series, I loved it once more. That is an example of something mentioned in yesterday’s SOTD post: that we often attribute to the object or experience attributes (such as “beauty”) that originate within us. An object’s “beauty” does not reside in the object but is contributed by the viewer (which is how the same object can simultaneously be beautiful and not beautiful: Person A sees it as beautiful, Person B does not. Their judgments are more statements about themselves than about the object.)

I think that the last time I used the brush I perhaps was in a grumpy mood, and when in such a mood, one tends to attribute the mood’s cause to whatever one encounters. It’s a kind of motivated reasoning, which I mention in an earlier post and is discussed in greater detail in this Psychology Today article. In essence, motivated reasoning is what happens when a person has (consciously or not) already become attached to a conclusion and then sees only those arguments that support that conclusion. The brighter the person, the more easily they can find ingenious arguments that lead to that (perhaps unconsciously desired) conclusion.

In this analogous situation, a person who feels grumpy looks at the world through a grumpy lens and sees everywhere reasons to support their grumpiness. 

Because the brush today seems so good, I tried to figure out why I didn’t like it before, and that’s one possibility that came to mind: that I was feeling a bit off, and so things seemed out of kilter (or at least short of kilter).

Another, more pedestrian possibility: I just didn’t fully load the brush in the previous shave. I had some faint memory of a thin lather last time, so today I did an extended loading, well beyond the point at which I would normally stop — and the result was a soft luxury of lather gently applied by a wonderful brush. 

I so much enjoyed the brush today — with the extended loading — that I now think my earlier condemnation was off the mark and had little to do with the brush and much to do with me (mood and loading decision). I’ll use the brush again soon, but a general rule might be that if you find a brush unsatisfactory, try loading it more fully (i.e., longer).

Well-lathered, I picked up my Goodfellas’ smile Legione slant (which strikes me as having an odd name, complete with odd capitalization choices) and set to work. This razor is an excellent slant. It’s very like the Parker slant except with a good handle. Three very comfortable passes left my face perfectly smooth.

A splash of Hâttric with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel finished the shave, and I feel ready for Grocery Shopping Day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Ceylon Kenilworth: “A true ‘Orange Pekoe‘ size leaf, producing a bright, oaky taste with body and strength.” (The article at the link explains the meaning of the term, which has nothing to do with the color orange.)

Written by Leisureguy

10 August 2022 at 11:16 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Creed’s Green Irish Tweed seemed especially present this morning

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A cup of the same coffee will taste spectacular one morning and meh another. We know how tastes can vary from one to person another (thus “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”: one person viewing the Jackson Pollack painting at the right (click to enlarge) will be struck by its beauty, while another will see nothing in it (and generally will see the problem as being the painting rather than his perception). 

But tastes vary in the same person from time to time, perhaps because a person is not really the “same” from one day to the next. Moods are clearly changeable, and most recognize that they are substantially different from the person they were a decade ago. (Indeed, one of the things that I like about is that when I read a letter I wrote in the past I can see how much I’ve progressed — or not, as the case may be, but generally progress in some areas.)

It’s those changes in ourselves that make the morning coffee seem occasionally transformed so that it transcends what we expected. The same will occasionally happen in the morning shave: we expect the usual pleasant experience, and instead our socks are knocked off.

That was my experience with Creed’s Green Irish Tweed this morning, both the shaving soap and the EDT.

Shaving soap first: The Mühle silvertip in the photo above has a very gentle knot, though a wisp more substantial than the G.B. Kent BK4 I used yesterday. It loaded easily and the fragrance of the lather was (this morning) almost overwhelming: it was so rich and present — and good — that I loaded the brush longer than I normally would, and so the lather on my face was thicker and richer than usual — and with that fragrance that this morning seemed so intense.

Perhaps because I was already entranced, my Rockwell Model T seemed exceptionally good. I run it at 4, and this morning it left nothing to be desired, so for this shave I could not understand why the Model T2 was needed. Three passes did a perfect job.

And then I sprayed a tiny pool of Green Irish Tweed EDT into my palm, added a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel (very helpful when using an EDT as an aftershave), and now still enjoy the fragrance as I write. I fear, however, that I might have used the last of my supply, and though this morning’s experience of it was exceptional (extinction burst?), I probably won’t replace it. The 100ml bottle shown is US$450.

The tea this morning is Murchies Assam Tippy Golden: “A dark, rich tea with full-bodied, malty flavour, with a hint of sweetness and a silk smooth finish.”

Written by Leisureguy

9 August 2022 at 10:39 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Eucalyptus & Spearmint, a gentle brush, and one of the best slant razors of all time

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My Kent BK4 is a very gentle brush, thanks to its large, long-lofted, loosely packed knot. Withal, it was easy to load from Dr. Jon’s handcrafted Eucalyptus & Spearmint shaving soap, a Vol 3 formula. It was a fine lather, which I applied over a thin layer of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, which I use daily in my prep. The lather’s pleasant and stimulating fragrance was a very nice start to the day.

The RazoRock Stealth is a remarkably good slant, and I regret that it is no longer made. I treasure mine because it is supremely comfortable with absolutely no sacrifice of slant efficiency. It’s a pleasure to shave with this razor, and the result is a remarkably smooth face.

A splash of Chatillon  Lux’s Gratiot League Square aftershave toner, and a new week begins with a totally pleasurable experience — and a clean-shaven and fragrant face.

The tea this morning is Mark T. Wendell’s Hu-Kwa Tea: “Hu-Kwa is a uniquely crafted black tea from the island of Formosa and is considered by many tea connoisseurs to be the benchmark against which all other Lapsang Souchong style teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

8 August 2022 at 8:54 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Lavender again, with a gentle brush

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The brush above was purchased from Strop Shoppe some years back, when Strop Shoppe was still in business. (They went out of business a while back, and Craig K has an interesting article in Sharpologist that explores some reasons for the demise of the business.) The brush’s handle is snakewood, and the knot, with its long loft, is very gentle indeed.

Despite the softness of the knot, it was easy to load with Mike’s Natural Hungarian Lavender shaving soap, and they — soap and brush — created a very nice lather indeed. With three passes of Fine’s Marvel razor (here on a bronze UFO handle) all traces stubble were removed, comfortably and easily.

A splash of D.R. Harris Old English Lavender Water (with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel) finished job, and I sit how now with a smooth, soft, and fragrant face.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Lemon Tea: “the flavour of fresh lemon on rich Ceylon, Darjeeling, Keemun, and Nepal black teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

6 August 2022 at 9:30 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Lavender and a surprise

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One good thing about having a fair number of razors, brushes, soaps, and aftershaves in rotation is that their qualities don’t faded with familiarity but burst forth into high relief when I finally encounter them again. Memory is seldom so strong as direct experience in the moment, and what is remembered as pleasant can be experienced as “Wow!” when encountered again.

I felt this to some degree with the little Yaqi Target Shot synthetic, which has an excellent knot of well-packed fine but resilient fibers, and easily worked up an extremely good lather from Mystic Water’s Jeff’s Lavender. (The sequence of possessive reminds me of the George Starbuck sonnet “On First Looking in on Blodgett’s Keats’s “Chapman’s Homer” (Summer. 1/2 credit. Monday 9-11.)” (See this post for the text and more on Starbuck.)

But the main surprise this morning was the razor. I know that the Maggard V2 open-comb has an excellent head (a clone of the Parker 24C/26C head), and I know that I particularly like it mounted on a Maggard MR7 handle, as it is here. I have good memories of how well this combination shaves for me, but memories are the ghosts of experience, and this morning I had the real thing — the experience, not the memory — and it was surprisingly good. I expected the good experience, but I did not expect the surprise, a surprise related to the pleasure of recognition.

Three passes and my face was totally smooth — and here’s another shoutout to Grooming Dept for the excellent new (now not so new) formulation of Moisturizing Pre-Shave. It’s wonderful.

A splash of Lavanda finished the job, and the day begins. 

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Vanilla Jasmine: “A balanced blend of black, green, and oolong teas, with an enticing aroma of vanilla, jasmine, and magnolia.”

And a new batch of tempeh is underway: 1.5 cups of chana dal have been cooked, and 1.5 cups of Kamut (organic khorasan wheat) is cooking now: new tempeh ready on Monday.

Written by Leisureguy

5 August 2022 at 9:32 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Institute Karité

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I realized when I last used my Institut Karité that I had too long neglected it — not to its detriment, but to my own: it’s very good stuff. Very mild, “clean” fragrance — like a good soap, which after all is what it is — and a good thick and lubricating lather. (The shaving soap, like the aftershave, is 25% shea butter.) With the Wet Shaving Products Prince, lather came easily and felt good on being applied.

The razor is an Edwin Jagger head on a Maggard Razors handle, an excellent combination. I say it’s an Edwin Jagger head — it certainly looks like it — but Edwin Jagger decided, in what can be best described as an act of generosity, that it would not mark the head with any brand identification whatsoever. Perhaps they thought the design itself would serve as brand identification, but then, of course, China sees the excellence of the design and they send in the clones. Still, I’m pretty sure this is a true EJ head, and it shaved very well indeed: very comfortable and very efficient.

After 3 passes, I rinsed, dried, and applied just a small dot of Institut Karité’s aftershave balm. What a fine way to start a day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Victoria Garden: “Notes of jasmine, lavender, sweet pea, and bergamot are combined with strawberry and vanilla in this smooth and well-rounded blend of green and black teas.”

Written by Leisureguy

4 August 2022 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Barrister & Mann Reserve Spice, with a Wolfman handle holding an Edwin Jagger clone

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The fragrance of Barrister & Mann’s Reserve Spice has a note I cannot identify but like a lot — it lifts the fragrance above the ordinary. The lather itself was excellent, thanks to my use of a synthetic knot, in this case the very fine Edwin Jagger synthetic.

The shave itself was wonderful. I really like this Wolfman handle though it’s somewhat longer than I normally prefer, and the Mühle/Edwin Jagger head design is first rate — which, of course, is why it’s so often copied, in this instance by Charcoal (who nowadays don’t really make an entry-level razor like this, but only high-end razors).

A splash of Reserve Spice aftershave with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel and I am ready for the day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Lemon: “Featuring the flavour of fresh lemon on rich Ceylon, Darjeeling, Keemun, and Nepal black teas.” This is an exceptionally nice tea.

Written by Leisureguy

3 August 2022 at 8:49 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Lavender morning with Vanilla-Jasmine

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I learned that Barrister & Mann recommends a synthetic knot be used with their Reserve soaps, and certainly synthetic knots work well with the soap, so I follow that rule. This morning the synthetic I chose is the Kent Infiniti, a brush that I at first didn’t cotton to all that much but over time have grown to appreciate.

The lather was excellent, and Phoenix Artisan’s Ascension razor, available in a variety of colors and materials, is an extremely good little razor. The aluminum version is pictured, and that works perfectly well and is pleasantly light in weight. Three passes easily and comfortably stripped off all the stubble.

A splash of Chatillon Lux’s Champs de Lavande aftershave toner, and I’m ready for the day. We’re going over to Salt Spring Island, so not much blogging today.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Vanilla Jasmine: “A balanced blend of black, green and oolong teas, with an enticing aroma of vanilla, jasmine and magnolia.”

Written by Leisureguy

2 August 2022 at 7:54 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Ousia and a reprise of the iKon Stainless Slant

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Ousia is an interesting concept. From Wikipedia:

Ousia (Ancient Greek: οὐσία) is an important philosophical and theological term, originally used in ancient Greek philosophy, then later in Christian theology. It was used by various ancient Greek philosophers, like Plato and Aristotle, as a primary designation for philosophical concepts of essence or substance. In contemporary philosophy, it is analogous to English concepts of being and ontic. In Christian theology, the concept of θεία ουσία (divine essence) is one of the most important doctrinal concepts, central to the development of trinitarian doctrine.

The Ancient Greek term ousia was translated in Latin as essentia or substantia, and hence in English as essence or substance. . . has more:

In classical Greek philosophy, ousia (a noun derived from the present participle of the Greek verb “to be”) most often expresses one or another of four closely connected concepts: (1) what something is in itself, its being or essence; (2) an entity which is what it is, at least with respect to essential attributes, on its own and without dependence on any more fundamental entity of another type outside itself (in Plato’s middle dialogues, the forms; for Aristotle, substance; for the Stoics, the material substrate); (3) for Plato, being as opposed to becoming; and (4) for the Stoics in some instances, existence as opposed to nonexistence. Depending on the context, ousia may be translated as “being,” “essence,” “reality,” or “substance.”

Employed in ordinary Greek to speak of a person’s wealth and possessions, the word ousia was put to philosophical use by Plato in his early dialogue Euthyphro to state a requirement on definitions. Asked what piety is, Euthyphro answers that it is what is loved by all the gods. Socrates responds with a clear statement of concept (1), saying that Euthyphro has mentioned merely something that qualifies piety externally and has failed to give the ousia of piety, what it is in itself that leads the gods to love it.

The transition from concept (1) to concept (2) occurs most clearly in the Phaedo, a dialogue of Plato’s middle period. There the character Socrates introduces several forms, including the just itself and the beautiful itself, and speaks of them as the ousia of other things, in the sense that other things become just or beautiful, for example, only by participation in, or dependence on, the corresponding form. Each such form is an ousia according to concept (2), a being or reality that is always the same and unchanging, an object of thought rather than sensation.

In the Republic a similar picture obtains, but there . . .

Click to enlarge

And there’s much more, but now to the Ousia of the moment: a special edition of Grooming Dept’s Kairos-formula shaving soap that includes lamb tallow and emu oil. And, like so many Grooming Dept soaps, it’s wonderful.

Scent Notes: – Fennel, Crystallized Mandarin, Ginger, Immortelle, Tobacco, Vanilla, and Vetiver.

As soon as I lathered up, I made a mental note to bring this soap out more often. Wonderful lather, today made with Mühle’s Gen 2 synthetic. 

(I know that Grooming Dept’s website is now out of stock on most of his soaps (though some are still available), so I suggest you check the dealers who carry Grooming Dept products. They often have stock that the website doesn’t, including soaps and the wonderful Moisturizing Pre-Shave.)

I just used iKon’s stainless slant, but it is so good I had to return to it again right away, and for a Monday shave. For me, now that I know its best angle, this is a thoroughly enjoyable razor, which excels not only in comfort and efficiency but also in materials, manufacture, workmanship, and (for me) aesthetics.

Three passes did a superb job, and a splash of Pashana, with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel, finished the shave to perfection. 

And since today is the first of the month, I got a FutureMe letter from a year ago, and I’ve written a response to be delivered a year hence. This is a pleasant ritual that helps me see progress (or a need for it) in various areas.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Royal Grey: “Currants and cream with a twist of bergamot, a modern take on the timeless Earl Grey.”

Written by Leisureguy

1 August 2022 at 9:34 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

The weekend, a great slant, a fine soap, a superb aftershave — what’s not to like?

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The iKon stainless slant, now sold with a B1 coating, is certainly a classic among slants, and once I learned its preferred angle (handle well away from face, razor riding on the cap’s edge), it became totally gentle on my face, milld and comfortable in feel while being breathtakingly efficient at removing stubble. 

This morning it was gliding on a luxury lather from Grooming Dept Luxury shaving soap, which uses the Kairos (tallow-based) formula. Three enjoyable passes and my face was left smooth and soft (the latter thanks not only to the soap but also to Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave).

A splash of Chatillon Lux’s aftershave toner — a wonderful formula, but he seems to have discontinued his aftershave line — finished the job. I really like the fragrance and feel of this toner, which I chose this morning because it so often accompanies luxury. (“Vide poche” means “empty pocket.”) 

In that connection — luxury = empty pocket— I happened across an article on how 40% of Americans cannot handle an unexpected $400 expense. I totally understand, because it took me literally decades to figure out how to handle money to the extent that I am prepared both for expected expenses and an occasional unexpected expense. (See this post.)

It helps, of course, that, unlike those living in the US, unexpected medical expenses are not in the picture. My recent acquisition of a pacemaker via an unanticipated surgery, with brief hospital stay, did not impact my budget at all. I noticed that when I went in for my 6-week clinic visit and they checked out the pacemaker and gave me a monitor so they could remotely track my pacemaker’s daily activity, the total cost of the visit was $3.50 (parking). 

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Lavender Cream: “the robust black tea base is rounded out with calming flavours and aromas of lavender and vanilla.”


Written by Leisureguy

30 July 2022 at 9:43 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Hubble v. Webb leather-themed shave

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Hubble v. Webb

A very fine shave this morning, beginning with the excellent lather that my Rooney butterscotch Emilion brought forth from Wholly Kaw’s Project Leather, which does indeed boast a leather lather fragrance.

The razor this morning is the RazoRock Game Changer .68-P. (I misidentified the .84-P in an earlier post as the .68-P. Apologies for that, and this morning’s razor really is the .68-P, as you will see in a close inspection of the photo.)

Three passes left my face perfectly smooth and ready for a splash of Geo. W. Trumper’s Spanish Leather aftershave (with two squirts of Hydrating Gel mixed in).

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 22: “a superb blend of green Gunpowder and Jasmine, as well as Keemun and Ceylon black teas. All the flavour of our world famous No. 10 Blend, with a touch of bergamot to brighten the flavour and Ceylon to strengthen the brew. With slightly more pronounced citrus and floral tones than No. 10, this makes a great cup of tea.”

Written by Leisureguy

29 July 2022 at 8:58 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Fresh Laundry II and the redoubtable iKon Shavecraft #102

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The first version of Grooming Dept Fresh Laundry was a donkey-milk duck-fat lamb-tallow soap. Fresh Laundry II, which I used this morning, is somewhat more pedestrian, using his regular Kairos formula, but still is an excellent shaving soap that produced an exceptional lather with the assistance of my Wet Shaving Products Monarch.

Ikon’s #102 slant is one of my favorites, and it did not disappoint. Three comfortable passes wiped my face clean of every trace of stubble, and then a splash of Chiseled Face’s Easy Street aftershave (with the double-squirt of Hydrating Gel) finished the shave.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Cherry Blossom, a green tea no longer listed on their website, but a very nice tea withal.

Written by Leisureguy

28 July 2022 at 9:00 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Coffee this morning (but only in the shave)

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Although I see coffee’s fragrance cropping up often in shaving soaps and aftershaves, tea doesn’t seem to show up nearly so often. 

Strop Shoppe did have Russian Tea, a spice-fragranced shaving soap. Dapper Dragon had a Green Tea & Bergamot, though green tea generally seems to be used as an ingredient rather than a fragrance. “Tea tree” is not tea at all, of course, but smells rather of camphor.

Perhaps it’s just that coffee has a stronger fragrance with tea, while sharing many of the same positive associations. Coffee also tends to be more strongly connected to “morning beverage” than tea (at least in the US and Canada).

Resuming my shave, Mystic Water’s Cuppa Joe produced a good coffee-scented lather with my Plisson European Grey, and the Rockwell T2 TTO adjustable did a fine job. I verified my impression that, though this razor is comfortable, it is not so comfortable as the Adjust (which is substantially cheaper). So far as efficiency is concerned, the two are pretty much a match.

And with that efficiency, three passes left my face very smooth — and I continue to note the benefits of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave. If you’ve not tried that, I highly recommend it. I get nothing from the company (other than the excellent products I purchase as a retail customer), so that’s not an affiliate link. It’s just an excellent product that I like a lot, and I’m sharing my discovery with you. (When I went to the site to get the link, I noticed that, with three exceptions, the entire batch of new shaving soaps is now sold out. When Grooming Dept releases a new shaving soap, you must act quickly if you hope to get a tub.)

A splash of Phoenix Artisan’s Spring-Heeled Jack (with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel) and the day begins quite nicely.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Anniversary Blend: “a combination of Assam, Keemun, Ceylon, Yunnan, and Gunpowder single origin teas.”

Update: Coffee note.


Written by Leisureguy

27 July 2022 at 8:23 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Grooming Dept Pasión and the wonderful iKon stainless-steel open-comb

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Pasión is a remarkable shaving soap, and not just for the fragrance (Pear, Ginger, Tuberose, Narcissus, Hay, Honey, Amber, Leather, Patchouli, Musks). The soap is Grooming Dept’s Kairos formula but with lamb tallow instead of beef tallow and including emu oil. The lather that result, using my (pre-Vulfix) Simpson Persian Jar 2 Super, was every bit as good as promied.

iKon’s stainless steel open comb, sold now with a B1 coating, is exceptionally comfortable with no sacrifice of efficiency. Three passes produced perfect smoothness.

A splash of Speick aftershave, augmented with two squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and I’m ready for the (very hot) day.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s No. 10: “a mild, sweet combination of Gunpowder and Jasmine greens and Keemun and Ceylon black teas.” I gather that the unconventional idea of blending green and black teas was John Murchie’s own invention.

Written by Leisureguy

26 July 2022 at 8:22 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

The wonderful Monday morning shave — with a note on the pre-shave I use

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Monday mornings are the best, a sentiment that comes from the excellence and pleasure of shaving a two-day stubble. The Monday shave seems to start the week right, pleasure powering pleasant anticipation of the week to come.

Sandalwood Rose is a very pleasant fragrance in Mystic Water’s shaving soap, which produces a superb lather, this morning with Mr Pomp’s assistance. And Lo Storto, Fatip’s fine slant, did a wonderful job.

I noticed an exceptional softness to my skin as I did the final rinse, and it made me realize that this softer, better result has been present for a while — in fact, from the time I started my new tub of Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave. I don’t know whether he has improved the formula since that first tub I got almost a year and a half ago, or whether the tub I had been using had in its dregs become diluted with water from my wet fingers as I scooped out a little to the point that it was no longer so effective, but — whatever the cause — this new tub seems more noticeably effective at both moisturizing and assisting with the shave by improving glide and protection. I highly recommend the pre-shave.

A splash of Stirling Soap Company’s Vetiver, with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and I’m ready for the day if not the week. And today marks 6 weeks from my pacemaker surgery, so I can resume Nordic walking — yay! 

The tea this morning: Murchie’s Baker Street Blend: “Lapsang Souchong, smooth Keemun, rich Ceylon, Gunpowder, and floral Jasmine.”

Written by Leisureguy

25 July 2022 at 7:54 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Another old-time shave

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More old-style shaving. The Omega Pro-48 might have a fairly modern handle (though plastics date back 113 years — bakelite, the first synthetic plastic, was introduced in 1909 after having been invented in 1907) — but the boar-bristle knot is ancient — and still extremely effective and pleasurable to use. This is one of my favorite brushes.

Yardley discontinued making shaving soaps decades ago — bar soap is the only soap they now make — but the company, established in 1770, is still going strong (though with no shaving products at all). But this soap has weather well and still produces its lavender fragrance as I load the brush and work up the lather — and a very good lather it is, too.

Three passes with Fatip’s Testina Gentile, a wonderful little razor, whisked away the stubble, and a good splash of Lustray Coachman (with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel) finished the job.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Vanilla Jasmine: “black, green, and oolong teas, with an enticing aroma of vanilla, jasmine, and magnolia.”

Written by Leisureguy

23 July 2022 at 8:35 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Þe Olde Traditional Shave

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The letter Þ (thorn, which signifies the sound “th”) is usually replaced with the letter y — thus instead of “Þe [the] Olde Shoppe,” we see “Ye Olde Shoppe.” (Which means that in this instance, because “Y” is standing in for “Þ,”  “Ye” is pronounced “the.”) But it seems to me that being truly olde and traditional requires using Þ and not Y.

This morning’s shave struck me as olde and traditional for a few reasons. One is the design of my RazoRock 400, an homage to Þe olde Rubberset 400 but with the advantage of a modern plissoft synthetic knot. 

The shaving cream, too, is now (alas) one of Þe olde favorites, now no longer made. It was a bargain: a really excellent (and curiously effective) shaving cream that came in a 1-pound tub for a stunningly low price. I paid $13.75 for my tub, though over time the price inched upward, so that at the end a tub cost around $19. But one pound! And it was good — not just then, but also now: my tub still is first rate, and I got a wonderful lather this morning.

It’s a little too soon to put the RazoRock Game Changer into “Þe olde” category, even the first version, the .68-P, which is what I used today. [Oops! As sharp-eyed readers have noticed, the head in this photo is not the .68-P but the newer .84-P. Apologies for my error. – LG] But perhaps the razor acquires a tinge of antiquity just by being a double-edge safety razor that uses a blade whose design is well over a century old(e). 

“Swedish” Gillette Blades

Three passes left my face remarkably smooth. (Proof: I just remarked on the smoothness.) This splendid result is due to the harmonious synergy of prep (Grooming Dept Moisturizing Pre-Shave, J.M. Fraser shaving cream whose (wonderful) lather was created by the Rubberset 400 tribute brush), razor design (an extremely comfortable and efficient head and a splendid handle — the Barber Pole), superb blades from some time back (called “Swedish” Gillette blades because rumor had it that they were made there, the name Gillette itself a tribute to King Camp Gillette, who started the whole double-edge razor thing 121 years ago), my own skill from long practice and experience, and Victoria’s wonderfully soft tap water. (It took me way too long to realize (a) the importance of soft water for a good shave and (b) how greatly water quality varies from place to place.)

I ended the shave with another olde product, Pinaud Clubman: “The Pinaud brand and its Clubman line of fine men’s toiletries have been the go-to brand for men’s grooming products since their 1810 debut at the House of Ed Pinaud in Paris.”

A splendid start to the day. I’ve just been exchanging comments in a Quora thread with a man who has a beard so he can avoid the effort of shaving, having decided to live his life on the principle of least effort. Does he thus live in squalor? (Cleaning requires effort.) I wonder. 

What he overlooks is that in many cases — dancing, skiing, swimming, playing pickleball, et al. — effort is not so much beside the point as precisely the point: some efforts are pleasurable in themselves, and shaving rightly done is one of them: an enjoyable ritual that begins each day with a positive and self-affirming experience. 

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Earl Grey Cream: “a blend of fine Ceylon, Darjeeling, and Keemun teas, lightly scented with real oil of bergamot and sweet vanilla.”

Written by Leisureguy

22 July 2022 at 8:27 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Klar Seifen and the Wee Scot

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Klar Seifen comes in a small package — despite the impression created by the photo, that’s not a giant razor, but the regular-sized RazoRock Old Type — so I went with a small brush: Simpson’s Wee Scot. It’s marvellous little brush from pre-Vulfix days, and this morning it easily made a bountiful, creamy lather, with enough in the brush for the entire shave (and more).

The Old Type, despite its great comfort, is curiously effective, and with three passes I produced a smooth face, to which I applied a splash of Klar Seifen Klassik with a couple of squirts of Hydrating Gel.

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Victorian Garden: “Notes of jasmine, lavender, sweet pea, and bergamot are combined with strawberry and vanilla in this smooth and well-rounded blend of green and black teas.”

PS: A final reminder: in just under 3 hours from now — at 11:00am PDT — Grooming Dept’s latest batch of shaving soaps will become available for a short while (until they sell out).

Written by Leisureguy

21 July 2022 at 8:12 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

Waterlyptus is a great summer shaving soap

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Catie’s Bubbles’s Waterlyptus has a wonderful fragrance, the watermelon’s sweetness ameliorated by the eucalyptus note. And the lather also is wonderful, this morning created with my Yaqi 22mm Cashmere brush.

The Vikings Blade Chieftain (not the same as the Baili BD191) is quite a good razor, though it is not so comfortable as the RazoRock Adjust (which is the same as the Baili BD197). I noticed this morning that the Chieftain has more blade feel and is more inclined to nick than the Adjust. Still, I would rate the Chieftain as quite comfortable overall, and it is very efficient, leaving my face smooth after three passes.

A splash of Saint Charles Shave Refined aftershave with a couple of squirts of Grooming Dept Hydrating Gel, and I’m ready for the day. 

Note that at 11:00am PDT tomorrow Grooming Dept will release for sale their most recent batch of shaving soaps with quite a variety of fragrances. (They are marked on that page as “Sold Out,” but in fact that should read “Not Yet Available.” They will become available tomorrow.)

The tea this morning is Murchie’s Hatley Castle: “A historic blend reflecting the Edwardian tastes of James and Laura Dunsmuir who had this tea delivered during their residency at Hatley Castle” (see photo).

Written by Leisureguy

20 July 2022 at 9:35 am

Posted in Caffeine, Shaving

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