Since I’ve gone on record a few times about Taylor’s creams already, I’ll just make this one a discussion about scent only. Please look at some of my other reviews of the Taylor’s creams for full and painstaking detail about other details.

(For those of you just joining us, Taylor’s creams are reference level products. Easy to lather, smell good, have solid protection during the shave, rinse clean. They are mid-priced, but the least expensive of the classic English cream products.)

The Eaton College scent is a mild one. It is probably one of the less “forward” scents that Taylor produces. It strikes me as one that evokes an English gentleman of yesteryear. Not in a negative light, but it isn’t a cutting edge scent. It has that vintage quality to it. One could imagine catching a faint wisp of it arising from an open window of an old Bentley. It pulls of the surprising trick of being a primarily floral scent, while at the same time not seeming feminine in nature. Not sure how that is done, not being a perfumer by trade.

If you’re in the mood for a mild, classy scent that calls to mind an expensive cologne from the days of yore, this might be the very thing.

Cheers, and happy shaving!

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Details and Unboxing:

This keyboard was purchased from Amazon and delivered for less than $40. It is a Chinese made keyboard in a very small layout, featuring Outemu brand switches of the “brown” type. These have Cherry-compatible keycaps. Said caps are white with grey legends.

The keyboard construction has no bezel, so the key caps “float” above the exposed switches. The chassis is minimalist in nature and is very light. The whole device weighs very little, but seems structurally sound. When biased by gentle pressure, rigidity along the long axis of the keyboard is quite good. The chassis features an aluminum top plate with an anodized surface, while the lower is off-white plastic.

Badging on the keyboard is kept to a minimum. There is a small “Magicforce” logo on the right hand side in chrome relief.

The keycaps have a nice feel, although the contrast on the lettering could be better. When I pulled one of the key caps, I found that the thickness of their construction was fairly significant. The switches beneath looked essentially the same as a real Cherry switch.

Because of the minimalist key complement, there is a function layer that can be used to access secondary or tertiary functions for some keys. Thus, the number row can be used to access the F1-F12 functions by holding down the FN key, then tapping the key in question. Because of this, many of the keys have more legends on them than you may be used to. That, I suppose, is the tradeoff for the form factor, and is not limited to this keyboard in any way.

Overall, the white and silver presentation looks classy, but not in a self-conscious way. The detachable cable has a routing mechanism that forces the cord to exit in the center, back of the keyboard. Many keyboards with detachable cables allow multiple points of egress for the cable, but that will only be a concern for a small number of implementations. The cable itself is a vinyl-clad white unit with Mini USB to standard USB routing. The look of this keyboard would be quite at home in front of a Mac computer, I believe, as the color scheme and design aesthetic are somewhat akin to that brand. That said, the keyboard is set up as a PC device, with all the standard functions one would expect from that format.

Packaging was simple but solid, with a dense, small box. The box was high quality, in my estimation, and the information was provided by a slip cuff that went around it on the outside. Included in the box was the keyboard, the cable, and a mini-booklet with details of the purchase. Oh, and a plastic key puller. I’m getting quite a collection of those now.

I think that the Magicforce’s visual presentation doesn’t give any hint of cheapness or shoddy manufacture. Everything fits, seems sturdy, and functions. The bottom of the keyboard has rubber feet and rubber-clad riser feet on the back that move under enough resistance to feel well-designed. The overall size of the device means that, for a given gauge of plastic, it will feel more rigid. Simple leverage makes this a fact. Thus, without a lot of material or a heavy device, this little ‘board presents as rugged. Not too shabby.

A Little History:

In recent months, it has become easier and easier to find mechanical keyboards at prices that would have been impossible in years past. Up until recently, the mechanical keyboard shopper could look forward to spending upwards of $100 for a new mechanical ‘board. Sometimes a lot more than that, depending on the manufacturer and the key switch they selected.

While these premium priced ‘boards are still afoot, and still have their proponents (like me), a new wave of mechanicals has hit the market, and their prices are extremely attractive. How did this happen, and what does it portend for the market?

The Thing About Patents:

The dominant switch in the mechanical keyboard market has been the Cherry MX switch for a while now. Yes, there are buckling spring keyboards being made, but they’re only available from one company, Unicomp. And, they aren’t making any effort to cater to the users who want “new hotness” in terms of style and form factor. Matias makes an ALPS-type switch, but they’re expensive and targeted to a narrow market. Topre switches are wicked cool, but good luck finding a keyboard featuring that technology for anything less than a king’s ransom.

So, Cherry MX switches. That’s what all the “cool” keyboards use, and what all the aftermarket parts are created for.

Some time ago, Cherry’s patent ran out on their switch design. Subsequent to that, other companies were free to create duplicate or slightly redesigned versions of their switches. The market has seen several companies take up this challenge. Among them are Greetech, Gateron, Outemu, Zorro, Kailh, and others.

None of these models have been panned by the critics. In fact, some say that the Gaterons are better and smoother than the Cherry switches, perhaps due to some changes to the formulation of the plastic used on the slider mechanism.

All of the Cherry clone switches can be used as replacements on a PCB that is printed to take Cherry switches, as their pins are in the same place and they are the exact shape and size. All of them can utilize Cherry-style keycaps, as well. They have, in the main, kept up with the color-coding and weighting of the Cherry switches. This means that a brown switch from Gateron or Outemu will have manifestly similar typing feel to one made by any of the other companies. It may, in fact, be difficult to tell much of any difference in some of the switches. The weighting may be a bit heavier or lighter on some switches, and some of them may click louder than another, but the idea behind the color of the switch stays intact.

Keyboards using these knock-off switches are typically half or less than half the cost of the Cherry equivalent. While Cherry-equipped ‘boards are still over $100 in most situations, you can find Gateron equipped devices in the $60 range, and Outemu switch ‘boards for as little as $30.

What does the proliferation of the inexpensive mechanicals mean for the market? What does it mean for Cherry, the manufacturer of the more expensive switches?

Well, I am no strategist in this regard. I can’t tell you what market pressure does to business with any accuracy. Common sense does indicate that, if the quality of these devices proves to be similar to their more expensive competition, it will certainly have an impact. Cherry will have to either find a way to compete in a value proposition, or find ways to make their switches better at the price point they currently command. My sense is that the smart play for them would be to look into ways to justify their current price point. Perhaps an MX-compatible line of new switches that is smoother, longer-lived, and just better. If they are capable of such a thing, that’s what I’d go for. Let the upstart companies take the cheap keyboard market, and allow the luxury-price buyers feel that they’ve been able to buy something better. Let that feeling be borne out by clear and discernable improvement.

For the consumer, this development means that mechanical keyboards are within the reach of far more people. Someone who simply can’t afford the price of a premium keyboard, like a Realforce or a HHKB, can plunk down thirty or forty dollars and have a keyboard with real mechanical switches. In addition, they can have said keyboard in one of the new, interesting form factors that they may be itching to try.

It will really depend on whether the typing feel/sound of these inexpensive ‘boards delivers upon the promise of a mechanical keyboard or not. If the feels are still there, and the devices prove to be built well enough to survive the vagaries of being at a desktop and in use for a significant amount of time, I think that this inexpensive market will stick around.

If the price curve follows the launch strategies of a lot of these companies, they may be operating for little to no profict at this point, creating their place in the market by brand association. If this is the case, which it often is for Far East manufacturing, they will gradually get more expensive over the next year or so. There will be enough good reviews of their products, and enough brand recognition, that they will be able to overcome the reticence of the buying populace. They will have established trust, and that will allow them to dial in a bit of profit. I’d expect prices to climb ten or fifteen percent, if what I’ve seen in the past is borne out.

Then again, my career as a prognosticator has been a pretty rocky ride, so take any of my soothsaying with a grain of salt. Or a whole shaker of it.

The Functional Review:

The keyboard that I’ve got for review today is the Quisan Magicforce 68 key model. It has no backlighting, wireless, or anything fancy. As you may imagine from the key count, it is a small device, without quite a few blocks of keys you might be familiar with. The switch used in my version is the Outemu Brown switch. I understand that many of the least expensive of these new mechanicals use the Outemu switch. They are said to be “almost as good” as Cherry by most observers. Quisan makes several iterations of this keyboard, and they utilize a few different kinds of switches. The price of the keyboard fluctuates depending on their choice in this regard, with the least expensive being the Outemu.

Otemu brown switches are tactile, quiet switches. They do not feature a click in their travel, but this doesn’t assure an altogether silent typing experience, as the key caps themselves will make a noise when taken to their full travel, as well as a sound when the key resets to top center. Much of the noise can be dampened on this type of switch, if you install a small rubber O-ring on the key stem. I find that, the O-rings somewhat take away from the tactile feel of a mechanical, and though they are quite effective at making the keyboard quieter, I don’t enjoy typing on a ‘board thus equipped as much.

Brown switches typically yield a bit of a “clack” sound in use. There is no high-frequency component, so it will typically not be terribly annoying. Overall sound is low to moderate. Your officemates will be aware that you’re typing, but will likely not be motivated to plot your death. At least not because of the typing chatter. The stunt you pulled during the meeting last Thursday is a different matter. I’d watch my back. Just sayin’.

I’m quite familiar with the Cherry MX brown switch, as I have used a DasKeyboard thusly equipped for my primary work keyboard for years. I would say that the brown switch is one of the fastest of the switches I’ve tried, allowing fairly effortless typing at speed. Because of the lightness of the Cherry version, I have at times found that I will have to acclimate a bit. If I’ve been at a keyboard that forces very authoritative key presses before I go back to my desk, I’ll sometimes have mindfully ease up a little to get the best results. Using the Das, I’ve never found that my typing caused a lot of consternation among nearby colleagues. It’s just a sound. It’s actually a fairly calming and industrious sound, to me. Probably twenty percent louder than a standard membrane ‘board, with more “clack” than the “thunk” of a rubber dome.

For some time, the Brown switch has been my favorite among the Cherry offerings. I though it was right on in terms of feel and speed. Thus, I had to try one of the inexpensive keyboards with the same switch “idea”. (I will say that I’ve had some level of opinion drift in this of late, as I have warmed up to blue and red switches a lot more recently.)

Does the Outemu switch feel identical to the Cherry? I would say it does not. It feels slightly heavier, at least in this keyboard. There may be a bit more “grit” or roughness in the travel, but this is a fairly small distinction that would be hard to feel without A/B testing.

In terms of key feel, the tactile bump of the switch seems to manifest in a very similar way. It seems like it may be just a bit higher in the key travel than its exemplar. With the higher percieved weighting and the tactile event taking place closer to the top of the travel, I feel like the Outemu switch may have a slightly stronger tactile feel. Not a huge difference, but that’s what I have for you in that regard.

The key sound is always somewhat dictated by the compsition of the key caps and the structural resonance pattern of the keyboard chassis. Because the brown switches don’t have any auditory component to add, this is pretty much all chassis and key cap interaction. That said, they don’t sound out of character for a brown switch. The minimalist chassis does have a bit of a “ring” on some key presses toward the center of the ‘board, but it feels solid enough. Some of the stabilized keys, such as the backspace, do have a bit of stabilizer judder, such that they have a high-range component that the other keys lack. The spacebar will always sound a bit different from the other keys, but it is not unduly loud on this implementation.

It didn’t take me any real time to get comfortable with the typing mechanics of the Quisan. All the keys work, and the general dynamics of the typing experience are good. It feels agile and precise while touch typing, and has plenty of return force on the keys to feel like you can’t “overrun” the ‘board if you are a quick typist.

Because I’ve been typing on a lot of keyboards that have a higher activation force than the Cherry browns, the slightly stiffer key feel here with the Outemus is actually nice. I find that it improves the typing feel. I type somewhat hard, however, so your results may vary. Some people like a softer key feel, others want to have that sense of slight effort. It’s taste.

If you like the brown switches you’ve tried in the past, I think that the Outemu switch will probably feel like something you can deal with. There is definite key feedback, as one would expect from a mechanical keyboard. This is not some pale attempt at doing a thing. They’ve given you a mechanical keyboard. For less than $40. It’s quite something. I’m pleasantly surprised.

I’ve typed out everything up until this point in the narrative with the Quisan on the first day of its arrival. I have found it to be rewarding enough in use to suit my purposes. No difficulties have presented themselves in terms of the layout or the ergonomic feel of the keyboard. It being so small, you do have to figure out exactly where it needs to be on your desk, but it seems to remain in place well enough, despite its flea-like weight.

From here, I’m going to use the ‘board for a week or so to get you a more thorough understanding of how it wears in. Although I won’t be able to tell you if the mean time between failure that the key manufacturer states is in any way accurate, I’ll be able to make sure that it doesn’t start degenerating quickly. Mainly, I’ll just be able to refine my veiwpoint a little and make sure none of my early thoughts were wrong-headed.

In the Fullness of Time:

1) After the first day of typing, I can say that the form factor is pretty darned nice. For pure text typing, like one would do if you were writing papers, reports, posts, letters, fiction, etc., the smaller form factor is not a big deal. If you’re doing a lot of things that require the function row or the numeric keypad, your results may vary.

I like the looks of the ‘board. It just looks neat and tidy. The size of it is amusing every time I glance down. I’m having no problems with the ‘board moving around beneath my hands, and it feels perfectly solid. No give, bounce or wiggle when I’m typing. It should be noted I have pretty big hands, and I rip phonebooks in my off time. Thus, if there is a problem with chassis solidity, I might be the guy you want to bring in to check things out.

The key feel is quite good. As stated earlier, I do feel that the Outemu browns are higher effort than the “real” Cherry MX switches. They are also a little more tactile. They may not be quite as fast, but it’s close. Maybe too close to call. I can crank out the words. I just did a thousand words essentially in one burst, with no issues.

The sound is quite good. Not too loud, but nice and communicative. The acoustics of the open, slab style case aren’t proving to amplify the sound. I gave a close look to the key caps, and they’re actually quite thick, considering the price of this ‘board. I believe they are ABS, but they are better than a few keysets I’ve seen coming off of ‘boards that weigh in at more than $100, so I can’t complain.

The main element where there’s that tell-tale of cost cutting is that there are some squeeking sounds that come out of the board here and there. It seems that it is mainly the space bar and a few of the other stabilized keys. I will put a few drops of lubricant on the hinges for those keys to see if that quiets them down. That’ll be covered in the next progress report.

All in all, after a day, I can say that I could totally live with this keyboard. If I were doing the hipster thing and writing my novel in the coffee shop, this would allow me to do so unimpeded. At this form factor, it would easily slip into the backpack with my laptop and go along with me. It may not be the absolute final word in keyboards for all time and space, but it’s so much better than any laptop keyboard that it isn’t even a fair comparison. This is a real mechanical, and it does the mechanical keyboard things. At a price that I had to see to believe. More to come.

Further On Down The Road:

Day Two:

After finding that some of the squeaky larger keys were making the sound of the keyboard a little less than ideal on the first day of typing, I pulled the caps of the offending keys off and oiled the stabilizer inserts. After having given it a fair number of keystrokes to work the oil in, I have found that the sound of the spacebar and other keys that were having the original malady have much improved.

There is still just a bit of a resonance inside the chassis of the keyboard. The form that this takes is a very light “ring” sound when the typing action is taking place. At least, when I’m hammering on the ‘board. Other than perhaps taking the whole chassis apart and finding some way to damp the affected area, there is probably not much that can be done. Luckily, this is a very low level sound, and not much of a problem. Unless your surroundings are pretty quiet, you may not even notice. If you’re not heavy handed, the device might not even make that noise.

I do think that oiling the stabilizers on the keys so equipped is a good idea, and has improved the sound. The oil I used is called Super Lube, their high viscosity, high dialectric synthetic oil. It has PTFE in it, so it should provide long duration slickness. It’s food grade, non-volatile, and doesn’t have a smell. I’ve used it on any number of different things, and it always performs great. This has been no exception.

I stick with everything I said in the earlier part of the review. The keyboard performs well. The switches are a little heavier than their counterparts, but otherwise have a similar feel. It is a “fast” ‘board, as you can really get going if you have a lot to type. I continue to find the small form factor to be a non-issue for most situations. The key positioning and spacing all feel natural. I’ve actually really enjoyed typing on this keyboard, and I’m kind of sold on it.

It’s a little surprising, since so much of my keyboarding life has been with the full sized ‘boards. I have enjoyed the ten-keyless designs, but this is a sigificant amount smaller than that. You kind of have to see it in person and up close to really grasp how much smaller it is. Because there is no bezel or surround at all. it is exactly the size of the standard alpha block on a normal ‘board. That’s it, really. Just two additional columns of keys for the directional keys and a few formatting functions. That’s it. Everything else is where you’d expect it to be.

Because I’ve been enjoying the experience so much, I’ve been typing way more than I absolutely need to. I stayed up too late last night as a result, and that typically means that it’s a pretty good experience. Tiny keyboards? Kind of a convert. Cheap mechanicals? No longer nearly as skeptical. Dang.

Cheers, and happy typing!

(Post Script: Because I had some key caps hanging around, I replaced the modifier keys with black caps from my old Coolermaster Quickfire Rapid, as well as throwing on a red spacebar I had left over from yet another build. Thus equipped, it has a sort of custom look to it. Perhaps not as classy or as “Apple Chic” as it was, it feels more like a tuner’s ‘board now. No functional differences could be found after having done this, but I think the ‘board has more character now. Besides, the modifiers I took off of the Magicforce ended up as a great little pep-up set for another cheap keyboard I was hotrodding. Way too much fun.

Ease of Lathering: Easy. This is another soft soap, as is quite common with artisan shops these days. It was easy to press into a bowl with just my finger, and responded to the brush with alacrity. Upon face lathering, I was able to coax a good bit of water into the mix, and ended up with a very rich, luxurious end result.

Protection: Very nice protection is available here, letting the razor go safely about its business. No complaints at all.

Residual Slickness: Quite a deal of slickness is left over after the lather is scraped away, yet the soap is not difficult to rinse or oily upon the completion of the shave. The razor glide is very good. I didn’t notice any dryness after the shave, so the formulation appears to have more than enough rich oil in there. This is a tallow and lanolin soap, and also has a high amount of coconut oil. These ingredients, while not absolutely necessary, certainly do a nice job in keeping your face happy and protected.

Scent: There’s not a lot to talk about in terms of scent. This is a menthol complex soap, and there doesn’t appear to be any scent added beyond the light native scent of the ingredients. Which is just fine. It does have that somewhat antiseptic scent of menthol and soap. If you prefer to add scent post-shave, this would not have any impact on whatever you’re planning along those lines.

Production/Value: This soap occupies a nice price point, right in the mid priced area for the artisan makers. With the high quality ingredients, it’s certainly a warranted and fair price. No concerns here.

Notes: With a name like “Polar Vortex”, one would expect that this soap has a marked cooling effect during the shave. One’s expectations would not be left unfulfilled. Although this is probably not among the highest menthol soaps available, it certainly provides palpable cooling during the shave, with the sense of it growing with each pass. The menthol sensation carries through for a few minutes after the shave, even with an aftershave splash and a balm applied. I would say that it might be just the thing for people who want more menthol, but not ALL THE MENTHOL. Of course, you could finish with a mentholated aftershave, if you wanted a further chilling effect. To me, it was just about perfect. Cool, but not “face in the snowbank” cold. This is a good soap. I think that any of the First Canadian soaps, if they use this same base, should perform very nicely for you. Worth a try.

Workout Report:

Posted: May 17, 2017 in Workout Reports

I’ve been largely successful with staying on task with my workouts over the last few months. Sure, I have to take the occasional day off, or push a workout by a day or two when I’m not feeling it, but the iron is not being left without a friend.

I’ve noticed that my capacity for exercise has grown, and I am seeing some visible and palpable changes lately. My arms are coming back, as are my shoulders, and all the rest. Strength-wise, I haven’t pushed for heavy weight like I have often done in the past. The intensity has gone up quite a bit, but I’m not in a hurry to get to the glories of the past.

To be honest, when you have a time in your life when you REALLY lifted, it takes a long time to get back into that kind of shape. Many months. It can be a little dissapointing when you find yourself carefully working up to the weight you used to warm up with. Still, I weigh about 60 or 70 pounds less than when I hoisted that kind of weight, and that plays a part. Also, I was in my 20s, and that’s a long, long time gone.

I’m happy with the progress. I want to do more, and I want things to go faster, of course, but I’m content. Progress is being made, and I’m feeling the difference and seeing it in the mirror. Things will move at their pace. The important thing is that I’m not aggravating any old injuries, and for that reason alone, it’s worth going carefully forward. You get a lot more out of steady work in the gym, every week, than you get out of occassional heroism. That’s what I’d been getting, because I couldn’t keep myself healthy. Yeah. I have to be smarter than that.

Perhaps the most important thing that I’ve gotten out of these steady workouts is the mental element. Nothing in the world puts me in a better mindset than hoisting things. That’s just how I’m built. I love a lot of things about this life, but the chemicals that dump into my blood when I’m lifting are better than anything a doctor could give me.

These last months have had a lot of emotional challenges for me to contend with, and hitting the gym has helped me get through a lot of days when I just struggled otherwise. I know this, and have known it for the longest time. The sad thing about this is, the times when we need that mood lifter more than anything, we will often find it so hard to include it in our lives. I’ve learned that, unless I’m physically too exhausted or hurt to lift, I should do it. No matter how I’m feeling emotionally. Do it.

Lesson learned? Sigh. Maybe. For now.

Cheers, and happy lifting.

Like My Daddy Done

Posted: May 17, 2017 in Shaving Articles
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In the traditional wet shaving world, the orthodoxies often run counter to what the average guy on the street used to do. It’s often all about a very complex series of passes, three or even more. While these methodologies work great, sometimes I like to vary how I do things to see if there are other viable ways to do it.

It has turned out, just about every time, that there are many ways to get the shave done. Just as there are a whole litany of tools available, there are a lot of ways to employ those tools.

My maintenance shave has been well documented here, in that it’s a with the grain pass, then an across the grain pass in the more “friendly direction”. That is to say, for me, going ears-nose direction (toward the center of the face) for most of the shave. Low on the neck, it would be the outward direction, as the grain of the beard changes down there.

However, I put my mind back to the old way, the way my dad taught me when I first started shaving. With the grain, then against, with a second lather between the two. It served me well for many years, at least as well as the cartridge razors I had on hand would do. I knew that this sort of technique would work well enough with an adjustable razor, because I could turn it up on the first pass, then down for the second. I have taken to using the Merkur Futur in this way, with 3 for my first pass and 1 for my second.

I dusted off an old-style Gillette Superspeed of the 40’s style (no date code), and it occurred to me that I hadn’t tried a mild razor such as that in the basic two-pass format. I wondered if I’d have to contend with too much hair on the against the grain pass, but it ended up working just fine. In fact, there was precious little difference in the result between the two and three pass method. The main difference being that there was a little less wear and tear on the skin.

I should point out that my second pass tends to be a combination of both against and across the grain, so it’s more like a pass and a half. That said, it’s the same thing with the three-pass, so it’s more like a four, if you add in all the little extra trips.

Also, a rather mild razor like the Superspeed needs a bit of sharpness in the blade. I used the Polsilver Super Iridium blade in this case. Through four shaves, it never let me down. I typically use the Astra SP in a Superspeed, but they tend to lose their sharpness a bit, and by the third shave, while comfortable, they aren’t quite giving you the same closeness. The Polsilvers did not exhibit this tendency.

What did I learn? Again, I learned that there are many ways to do things, and that anyone who is so reductive as to say that there aren’t is not giving you the full story. Experiment. Try different angles, different orders of your passes (probably not against the grain first!), and you might find that there’s a more efficient or comfortable way to do things. Finally, I learned that the old dudes had some good ideas. For shaving every day, being able to get a close shave without a lot of excess facial damage is a great option.

Cheers, and happy shaving.

 

Lucky Tiger Cream Soap:

Posted: May 15, 2017 in Shaving Articles
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Ease of Lathering: Super easy. This may be the easiest lathering cream I’ve used. It bursts into lather with only a few swirls of the brush. Upon first putting it into the lathering bowl, I wasn’t sure if this would be the case, as its consistency is fairly watery. My fears were quickly allayed, and it whipped into voluminous lather in no time flat.

Protection: I would say that the protection is quite good. Not, perhaps, quite on the level of a tallow soap, but certainly good enough for most purposes. One caveat to this is that you needn’t put a lot of additional water into the lather, as you might with some soaps you’re familiar with. You can overwhelm this stuff and end up with a sub-par result if you get carried away. Better to leave it just a little on the dry side.

Residual Slickness: The Lucky Tiger cream feels nice on the skin, and leaves plenty of slickness behind for my purposes. I would say that it will hold its own in the company of most other creams I’ve tried. I had no issue with any irritation due to the ingredients in the product. Again, it won’t put fear into the heart of a tallow and lanolin formula, but it does nicely, considering what it is. My general experience is that it’s better to use the lather from a cream in a thick layer. The cream bases just don’t have the same buttery nature as some soaps. It’s fine, you just have to remember what it is, and use a bit more product if things start looking a little thin or feeling dangerous.

Scent: Lucky Tiger does not lead with this information, but this is an orange-scented product, as the whole line of their products are. Very nice, honest orange, not a synthetic or candy smell. I would say that the scent is present but not terribly strong. It lasts a bit, but not to the detriment of most scents going on top of it. For me, I quite like an orange scent, and enjoy this. If you are not a citrus enthusiast, your experience may be quite different. There are other scents below the orange, but it predominates here.

Production/Value: I found that the Lucky Tiger cream produced plenty of lather from what I see to be a typical amount of product (just a small squeeze, no more than quarter sized). While not bargain priced, it has neat packaging with a retro vibe, as well as solid performance. I think it’s quite a reasonable product at the cost I found it. Used by itself or part of Lucky Tiger’s “system” of products, it works quite well. It doesn’t fare well in comparison to the value lines of cream, such as Derby or the like, but it won’t put you in the poor house, either.

Notes: There may be an element of kitch or retro-chic going on with the Lucky Tiger soap, but it isn’t an “all show and no go” line of products. This is a nice shave cream that works well and is kind to the skin. If you really need the uttermost of protection, perhaps a bit of preshave oil might push it over the edge. I found that it worked great, smelled nice, and had packaging I could aesthetically appreciate. The shaving world is awash in good products. I’m glad to say that the Lucky Tiger cream is one of those.

Ease of Lathering: Very easy. This is one of the easiest creams I’ve used. If anything, it bursts into lather even quicker than Taylor’s. I’ve tried it both bowl and face lathering, and both provided an excellent, trouble-free result. No concern whatsoever in terms of this playing along with you when you’re at the shaving mirror.

Protection: The quality of lather you can get with the Body Shop is really solid. This stuff wants to get into that classic yogurt consistency. Even the most slap-dash effort will suffice. to get a good lather.

Residual Slickness: There are a lot of good shaving creams out there (in the traditional, lather it with a brush sense), and many of them work well. The Maca Root cream, however, may be the slickest I’ve used thus far. It’s a rich and nutritive product that feels nice on your skin and gives really good razor glide. I was impressed, considering that it is not terribly expensive per ounce.

Scent: Here, we have a mildly floral scent. I equate it with a somewhat swanky body lotion. Not bad, not great. Very much a unisex scent, I would say. For scent-driven shavers, this will be sort of bland, and possibly a drawback of the product. If you aren’t highly concerned about the scent of your shaving soap, this will probably do just fine.

Production/Value: The amount of product required for a shave seems to track with other good quality creams. About an almond-sized amount should do the trick. At the price, and considering that the container is over six ounces, this stuff is a solid value. A jar should last you a good long time, and give a lot of fine shaves. No quibbles here.

Notes: The Maca Root cream is a solid product. It has plenty of performance in regard to all the various metrics we like to consider. For me, I am somewhat motivated by the scent profile of a soap, and I find the Maca Root to be a little bland in this regard. That, for some of the market, will be perfect. If you’re sensitive to fragrances, either on your skin or due to a nasal allergy, this will be a big plus. For me, not so much. Though it is a good performer, I don’t know that it’s better than other creams in a similar price bracket. Those creams, in most cases, just have more compelling scents. For me, right now. The Maca Root cream is a keeper, a very nice performer. I have no buyer’s remorse about it. In regard to the other products that are in the Body Shop shaving line, I have written an article outlining their strengths and weaknesses. Spoiler alert, though: the shave cream is the best thing they make. Recommended, with the caveats articulated above.