Razor: Ever-Ready 1914 (Razor Emporium Restored)
Blade: Personna PTFE SE
Brush: Sawdust Creation Studios 26mm G5C Synthetic (ApShaveCo)
Soap: Highland Springs Tobacco Oud
Aftershave: Highland Springs Tobacco Oud Splash
Other: Zoha Aroma Agar Précieux II EDP

Wow, things certainly get busy this time of year.  Between changing jobs and Christmas planning, I barely find time to shave these days.  The SOTD posts have been suffering and we haven’t been able to get prepped for a lather bowl drop like we intended.  (We are close, but it won’t happen until the new year, unfortunately).  Even this SOTD, I’ve had this queued up for a couple of days but hadn’t found the time to write it up.  I didn’t want to rush it as there are a lot of cool things in this shave I needed to talk about.

First, let’s start with the razor.  You have seen this razor before but you will notice how stunning it looks now.  It has taken quite a journey.  It started back in May when I sent this (and my 1912) to a company called Razor Refresh to get it replated in platinum.  I was pretty patient but after 2.5 months I started asking for updates.  I had been down this road with another vendor (more on that coming) and so I knew I would need to stay on top of this.  Fast forward several messages and responses/excuses later, things came to a head in (I believe) late September when I found out many others were in the same boat.  The guy running the company was proving to have a failing business.  I (and others) were really concerned we would never get our razors back.  At this point, Matt Pisarcik from Razor Emporium offered to step in, take all the unfinished work from Dan Varga (Razor Refresh) and complete the work for him.  They had worked out something.  I had been down the road with Razor Emporium in the past and had a negative experience so I wasn’t crazy about this option, but also realized this was likely the only way I would see my razors again.  I took him up on the offer.  RE doesn’t do platinum so he offered to use Rhodium instead, which was more than OK with me.  I can say now, I’m very glad I went this route and Matt has changed my mind on Razor Emporium.  This time, the experience was fantastic.  I received fantastic communication at different points along the way from check-in, to prep, to progress all the way to shipment.  Timing-wise I believe it was 3 weeks which was exactly what he promised when he offered to pick up the Razor Refresh work.  The razors arrived and they looked fantastic.  Matt did all this out of the goodness of his heart and at his expense.  I’ll be forever grateful I got these razors back and I’m extremely satisfied with the quality of the work.  It is obvious Matt and company have done a lot of work to correct a lot of the issues previously, which I love to hear.  I have no problem recommending Razor Emporium now and look forward to using them again in the future.

Secondly, let’s talk about the brush/knot.  I’m a sucker for a natural wood handle so I knew it was only a matter of time before I added a handle from Sawdust Creation Studios.  Bobby’s work has always impressed and when I saw this one, I had to pounce.  The transaction was smooth, timely and I couldn’t be happier with the result.  Occasionally I’ll get a brush and am disappointed that it doesn’t live up to the photos, this wasn’t one of those times.  It looks great and is finished well as to hold up to the moisture.  I wanted to pair this with a badger knot because I love the look but I always end up reaching for my synthetics more.  When I saw the newest G5C knots from APShaveCo I thought maybe it is the best of both worlds.  That knot is the most realistic-looking synthetic I’ve seen to date so I ordered one and upon arrival set it at 52mm loft.  It is the priciest synthetic knot I’ve owned but if it performed like a synth and looked like a badger, it would be worth it.  Having used it a few times now, I can say it doesn’t live up to the price point for me.  It isn’t a bad knot, but I certainly don’t love it.  It is soft at the tips and has a touch of scritch to it.  It holds moisture much longer than your typical synth.  Hours later you can still feel the moisture in the knot.  Backbone is a bit too much for me, although not as bad as their 2BED which I hate (and yet it seems very popular for others).  It does feel comfortable when splayed but if you move the brush unsplayed across your face (painting) the fibres are resistant to bending and it isn’t very comfortable.  I’m hoping it loosens a bit (it has already a bit) but I expect this will fall in the OK but not Love category.  For those reasons, for that money, I’d just spend a few more bucks to get a budget badger or save some money and get a synthetic I like more.

So that takes care of the hardware, let’s talk about this software from one of my favourite artistsans, Highland Springs.  When this was announced I knew I was breaking my don’t-buy-for-yourself-before-Christmas rule to get it.  Tobacco and Oud are two of my favourite scents, the tallow base is fantastic and Chris and Mary with Highland Springs are just my favourite kind of artisan-friendly and Canadian to the core.  I waited (patiently?-not so much) for this to drop at Stonefield Shaving and made my order with the Black Friday specials.  I can say the scent didn’t disappoint.  Some might think this is a dupe of Tom Ford Tobacco Oud but based on my conversations with Chris/Mary that isn’t the case (certainly not intentional anyways).  This is something they blended with a few different fragrance oil ingredients.  The result is a somewhat sweet and dry tobacco with some subtle spice and a pleasant and not too funky oud.  Scent strength on the soap is strong.  This actually sits quite well beside their Havana Vieja scent and could be a flanker, replacing some of the sweet with the dryness and the oud.  If you like bold masculine Tobacco scents this could be a win for you.  The splash is very good, although slightly tones down, match for the soap.  I’m very happy with this release.

I likely would have paired this with Tom Ford Tobacco Oud if I had it, but since I didn’t I went for another popular Tom Ford offering, the Zoha Aroma clone of Oud Wood Intense by the name of Agar Précieux II.  The oud in this balanced perfectly with the scent of the soap and bridged it from a Tobacco scent in the shave to a woodsy scent in the post.  A fantastic way to start the day…. or at least it was when I used it a couple of days ago.  Sorry for the long and late post.  All for now – J

 

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