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
Tags:

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
Tags:

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.

61twFG1j2rL._SY355_

The tired old adage says that you get what you pay for. Well, sometimes you do, and sometimes you’re disappointed. In the end, if you fork over long green for a product, the expectation is that you are going to come away with something you’ll enjoy, something that will last. You hope that your investment will turn out to be a warranted and useful expenditure.

If we avail ourselves of the many resources that the modern era provides, it is possible to be a more informed consumer than at any time in history. If someone’s purchased a product we’re interested in, anywhere in the world, chances are that they may have shared their experiences. With common products, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t get a really good bead on what they’re like, and if they have fatal flaws. All it takes is a little time and access to the web.

Thus, our large purchases should, in a world of good and light, be low risk. Not altogether without risk, because this is the real world, and not everything is perfect, or what we expect. But mostly good.

I have more than a few high priced keyboards, some of them well documented here on this forum. I have a strong sense of what to expect when I plunk down big money for a keyboard. I can tell you about what to expect, as well. At least within some frame of reference, anyway. I can help you get what you pay for in that class of high-priced gear.

The situation becomes less clear when the amount of money being spent is far less. I found that, in the current atmosphere, I didn’t have a strong grasp on what one could expect for “average human” money. I understand that most people don’t have any interest in paying over a hundred dollars for a keyboard. Perhaps it’s not something that’s financially feasible for them, even if they’d love to do so. They need a decent keyboard, but they have to look at the bottom line. More likely, they just haven’t taken leave of their senses, as I have.

While keyboards featuring “real” mechanical switches are far less expensive than they once were, the form factors and feature sets of those ‘boards are not always exactly what a normal consumer is looking for. Even looking at spending $40 to $60 for a budget priced mechanical might put some people out of the running. I get that. There are more important things. If you’re having a tough time making the rent or putting food on the table, that’s an extravagance you can’t pursue.

Thus, I’m seeing if we can get a good typing experience, a good quality keyboard, for far less. Here, we are below even the cheapest mechanical designs, down into the territory of a simple peripheral.

The typical replacement keyboard of wired type is going for something like $8 to around $30, depending on brand and features (U.S. money, 2017). Many of them group around $15, give or take a few dollars.

These are straight up rubber dome keyboards, usually with full stroke keys, but some of them featuring laptop-style scissor switches instead. Those are becoming more and more popular. I don’t think it’s a great trend, but I’m not consulted on these things. Which is a shame. I have thoughts. Ah, well.

What I wanted to do was see if there was something that was “better” than what the run of the mill rubber dome keyboard could provide, while still being as affordable as possible. Less than even the cheapest mechanical.

What I found, after some poking around, was that there were some ‘boards being touted as “half mechanical” or “mechanical feel” designs. I found one that didn’t look so outlandish that I would be tempted to regurgitate into it, and ordered an example.

The model I picked was from a company called Masione. It didn’t seem to have a name, per se, but it does say “Gaming Keyboard” on the box. The Amazon listing goes something like “USB Connected Seven Color Backlit Gaming Keyboard with Mechanical Feel Switches.” That’s what we’ll go with. Yeah, the ad wizards were up all night coming up with that one. Very catchy. Rolls right off the tongue. The cost was around $22 dollars, all together. That’s rounding up. It’s not exactly a caviar budget item. Most should be able to swing that kind of money.

What it looks like:

As befits a gaming-inspired keyboard today, this one has LED backlighting, all manner of weird light shows using said lights, and some, ahem, interesting design elements going on. In the main, though, it looks like some of the space saver models from Dell that came out several years ago. You know the ones. They look like they did their darnedest to take every cubic centimeter of extra material off. The Masione is sort of like a garish, less-well-done version of that.

The box it came in was fairly well printed, with a full wrap of information. that information was accurate enough, though it didn’t go into extensive detail. It was described as having “mechanical touch plunger keys”, which was the primary point of interest for me.

How it works:

Though there is no mention of such language in the official literature included, the listing on Amazon called this model a “half mechanical” design.

I don’t believe that there is any logic in the idea of something being half mechanical. I don’t think it’s a state that one could find in a keyboard. Mechanical feel? Sure, I guess.

Here’s how the keyboard works. It is, underneath, a normal enough rubber dome keyboard. The sole component that imparts resistance and tactile feel to the key presses is a dome of rubber. The actuation point of the device is all the way down at the bottom of the stroke. If you don’t press the key all the way, you won’t see a character sent to the computer. The rubber dome has to collapse all the way to initiate the membrane switch below it.

Mechanical keyboards, in the main, have their actuation point at the half-way point of their travel, or a bit deeper in some circumstances. They also feature a resistance mechanism utilizing a sprint of some kind.

A normal rubber dome keyboard has an in-built stem that reaches down below the baseplate of the ‘board, acting directly upon the rubber dome. One of the issues with this design is that the plunger arm that is inbuilt into the bottom of the key cap will often have a lot of surface area that is a friction-bearing zone. This is necessary for key stabilization during the keypress. The negative thing is that, when “stuff” gets into the keyboard, it can easily get into this cylindrical channel and cause the keys to be very sticky or friction-laden. Because these little accidents often only affect a few keys, you’ll get very uneven resistance, with some keys requiring you to smash them down like a concert pianist during a crecendo. Not awesome. Even brand new, the plunger-on dome feeling can vary a lot between keys, and the effect of wear can make things get a lot worse.

Here’s where the Masione’s design comes in. It is a “dome and slider” mechanism. Instead of having the plunger be of the same, possibly not-ideal material that the keycaps are made out of (Likely ABS plastic), the key cap can sit upon a slider that’s built into the base plate. Once pushed onto that slider, the keycap can depress it as normal. The slider, though, can be made out of a plastic and with a design that maximizes stability, while reducing friction and the possiblity of being compromised with contaminants (like your Mountain Dew, Fred).

In the Masione’s case, it uses a slider that mimics the look of the Cherry MX key switch. That is to say, it has a faux switch housing built up from the base plate, and a slider that has a cross shaped top. This design rejects a lot of dust and debris, while being very stable. It also allows people to take the keys off easily and safely, so that cleaning the keyboard is not a terrible job. Finally, because the stems are compatible with all the thousands of key caps out there for the Cherry MX design, you can replace a broken key cap or customize the look of your ‘board, should you desire. (More on this later.)

Dome and slider keyboards have been around for quite a long time. I believe the 90s were the period when they were most prevalent, but the information on this design isn’t exhaustive. At least, my understanding of it is not. They were, typically, not ‘boards that songs were sung about. They were good to fair, for the most part.

Hands on:

The Masione keyboard has a few, ahem, design oddities. The first is a wildly oversize bottom row of keys. The space bar is almost three times the size of a normal model, if we measure from the base up toward the function row. It’s huge. This is the sort of thing that keyboards used to do a lot, but is rarely seen today. The Windows, Function, and Alt keys are likewise massive. What does that mean? it means that you had better not break them, because you won’t find a good replacement.

The next thing to be concerned about is the “big ass enter” key. Yep. One of those. Like it wasn’t sure whether it was an ISO or ANSI format. So it sort of went for both. This design was big in the early 90’s if I remember correctly. The downside? Tiny 1×1 backspace key. The single width backspace takes some time to get used to, and can be really infuriating while that learning curve is curving. You get a lot of this:

maadaem=====

(The big group of equals signs are failed taps at the backspace. This design helps you really steer into the skid.)

These design elements can take some getting used to, but are not outright dealbreakers. They’re deal…complicators.

The huge spacebar, other than imparting an odd sound to the key press, doesn’t really do much to impede your progress. I have found that, contrary to accepted touch typing mechanics, I hit the backspace with my ring finger on my right hand. It should be the pinky finger, but hey. I’m old. That would be a new trick. In any case, that’s a bit of a stretch from the home row, and requires pretty fine motor control. In the course of an evening, I was able to get it down pretty well, but it takes a little forebearance on the typist’s part.

Other than those things, it’s pretty much just like another keyboard you might find. It should be mentioned that there is a nice, heavy aluminum backplane to this keyboard, so that it is a good bit stiffer and more significant in feel than your average plastic fantastic you’d get with your PC.

The key action. That’s where everyone wants to go, right?

Key actuation force is quite light. That’s the first thing to notice. I would say that it is maybe a bit lighter than a Cherry MX Brown. They don’t feel the same, but the weighting is similar.

The keys don’t feel mushy, despite the light weight. There is a nice key control, and a certain level of initial resistance that makes the “give” come on with a sense of tactile response. Again, you can’t float type. You have to bottom out. That’s the technology. That said, because it’s light, and has a fairly “present” feel, it’s easy enough to type with some speed and accuracy. The typing feel is, I suppose, a pale imitation of the Topre switch. The feel is along the same vein. If you liked this feel, you’d dig Topre. Topre keyboards are about ten times as expensive. I’m not kidding. Maybe twelve or fourteen times as expensive, depending on the model.

The feel of the keys is siginficantly better than an of your garden variety rubber dome keyboards. A clear and easy to feel difference. Much more tactile, much less mushy. Generally a much more sorted-out feeling. There is a certain lack of positivity remaining, however. Because the bottom of the travel is touching the rubber dome against a membrane switch, it has a soft landing feel, a sort of padded sensation. For some, this might be their preference. It might decrease the amount of stress coming back into your fingers. On the other hand, there is a definitive, clear sense of a full key press on a mechanical switch, because the key cap is actually hitting the base plate. The “clack” part.

This is not a loud keyboard. I would say that it is approximately the same sound level as a Topre or a Cherry MX Black, if not just slightly less loud than the Cherry model. It has something of the “thock” sound that the Topre produces. Probably not quite as loud. In general, this is not a keyboard that will bug nearby folks with its noise. It just kind of mutters. The only key that really makes much noise is the space bar, but that’s a fairly low frequency sound, and I actually like that particular sound. I took it into work, however, and my nearest co-worker did not agree. At least when I was typing at 100wpm in his ear with it.

Compared directly to a mechanical:

The typing feel and action is pretty good on the Masione keyboard. In the kingdom of cheap membrane keyboards, it is something of a heroic aberration. For a percentage of typists, this will be the exact feel that they want. Light effort, soft landing, plenty of tactile response. Just enough sound that you can have a sense of the typing action taking place. No unpleasant sounds or feelings.

However, all is not perfect in Masione land. I find that the incidents of dropped keystrokes is far more prevalant than with a mechanical. Not because the keyboad malfunctions, but because the keys have to be pressed right to the stops, and any level of float or any lazy press on my part will not register. That’s just a limtation of the technology, and one of the reasons that we have a whole generation of computer users who are sued to typing really hard. They have to.

I could adapt, if this were my daily driver. Sure. No problem. I would just unleash the beast and type hard. I can do it. If I can adapt to the oddities of the layout, I can get the key press requirements down.

The Masione does an admirable job of trying to class up a fairly pedestrian technology. It hits a lot of marks. It does have a certain level of mechanical feel. In a more traditional layout, it would make an even larger case for itself. Even with its dubious design choices, it has a place in the market. I’d still take a MX Brown switch keyboard ten out of ten times, if money were not an object.

Usage Case:

If you want to get a better keyboard, but aren’t ready or able to spend a lot on the enterprise, this little guy will get you some distance toward a better typing experience. There would still be room to grow, room to explore, but you would have your foot wedged in the door to the promised land.

There could be a circumstance wherein you will need a servicable ‘board, but will be reticent to bring an expensive piece of equipment into the theater of operations, so to speak. For instance, you have a terrible keyboard at work, but they won’t buy you a new one. Without going out backward for the week, you could bring the Masione in, and at least have a tool that wouldn’t impede you at every turn.

So, as an inexpensive upgrade or a semi-perishable tool for rough conditions, this could really fit the bill.

Final Thoughts:

I’m indifferent to the gamer design elements on this keyboard. The backlight is reasonable when left in a single color, and can be shut off, should it prove distracting. The typing dynamics are good enough to use without risking a trip bummertown, though some inadequacies of the rubber dome technology persist.

This is a good keyboard. For the money, I don’t know that it would be easy to improve upon it. You’d almost have to comb through a local recycler to find a good used model to do so. That is with the caveat that there will be a bit of learning curve, due to the key placement and shape.

Spending another ten or twenty dollars would get you into a “real” mechanical keyboard that would be more my taste. If you dip into the price bracket of sub-$30, the only real contender is the Velocifire TKL01. It’s a better keyboard. It has its own faults, but it’s a real mechanical. I’d pick that, if for no other reason than because of its normal layout.

If you’re intrigued with the idea of this keyboard, I’d encourage you to give it a try. Even if it doesn’t end up being something that you’re head over heels about, it’s inexpensive enough that it can serve as an emergency spare, or be given to some friend or relative who could really use an upgrade. The Masione would be an upgrade for many of them. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Cheers, and happy typing.

Ease of Lathering: Very easy. Bowl lathering the Trumper’s cream is equally easy as the best creams I’ve tried. A small amount of the product whips up into a thick and voluminous lather, more than enough for a three pass shave.

Protection: I believe that the Trumper’s cream has a slight edge on the Taylor’s in terms of the thickness and protective nature of the lather. Slight. I would say that it seems the equal of the St. James cream in this category. A very rich and useful lather that feels luxurious and nutritive is provided by the Trumper’s product.

Residual Slickness: The shaving creams I’ve tried have typically provided adequate, but not exemplary slickness. I believe that this is likely to do with the prevailing formulation. They are typically based in glycerin, rather than coconut oil or tallow. Though glycerin is a slick component, it doesn’t have the same “fatty” slickness that those other components I mentioned often possess. That said, there is a spectrum.

With creams that come from mass manufacturers, most don’t leave quite the same level of slick film behind that an artisan soap would do. This isn’t a problem, but you have to be a bit more assiduous with relathering to maintain your best protection.

As shaving creams go, the Trumper’s cream has very nice slickness. Post shave feel is also quite nice. This tracks with St. James of London in terms of richness. This is where the higher cost (in relation to Taylor’s, which is the least expensive of the classic English shaving creams) seems to bear out.

Scent: Often, inexpensive soaps and creams can provide solid performance. Many of them have pleasant scents, as well. In my experience, one of the tell-tales of a more expensive soap or aftershave is that the scent is longer lasting once deployed. Although I am not a perfumer, my instinct on this score is that the fragrance oils and essential oils that are used in more expensive products are of greater quality. Perhaps there are secondary elements in the mix that act as fixatives for the scent profile and keep it going longer. I’m devolving into guesswork, so I’ll stop.

The long and short of it is this: the Trumper’s product has a long-lasting scent that hangs around for hours after the shave. What’s the scent like? Spanish Leather is a great name for the product. There is a leather-based scent, with a warm cologne underpinning. I think it would go well in tandem with a tobacco scent or some of the “dirtier” woodsy scented aftershaves. I quite like the Spanish Leather scent. It isn’t my absolute favorite, but it could certainly find a place in my rotation.

Production/Value: Geo F. Trumper creams are in that middle ground between Taylor’s (reasonably high value) and D.R. Harris or Trufitt and Hill (champagne budget stuff). Although I think it has a few tangible points in its favor when compared to Taylor’s, whether this is worth several dollars more per tub is a point you’ll have to work out for yourself. I would like to point out that, when amortized over the life of the product, most soaps and creams are not particularly expensive. If a product gives you significant improvement in a functional or subjective assessment, it may be worth the extra cost. Trumper’s, for me, would likely be a luxury shave product, one that I dusted off from time to time, rather than using as my day-to-day regular.

Notes: Trumper’s cream is really nice stuff. You can get a great shave out of it. The same can be said for many other soaps and creams that go for less. Its scent is a bit more refined and long lasting, and its formula feels a little richer. One thing to consider is that, if my information is correct, the Trumper’s formula still utilizes Parabens as a preservative. If they are known to irritate your skin, or if you have strong aversions to their presence in your skin-care regiment, you’ll want to research this and perhaps make your purchase elsewhere. If you find yourself drawn to some of the old, classic English shaving products, Geo F. Trumper’s are certainly in that pantheon, and deserve a look.