Razor: Haward safety razor
Blade: Derby Platinum
Brush: Oz Shaving Synthetic
Soap: Arsenal Grooming Retro Man
Aftershave: Maol Grooming Wilde Flowers
Other: Thirsty Badger lather bowl

This was the label that made me want to place an order with Arsenal Grooming.  I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and a picture of this label grabbed my attention.  I hadn’t heard of this artisan yet, found no reviews on them for quality of soap or scent and yet there I was, reaching out to the artisan to find out how I could get it and if it was carried anywhere close by (it is appearing at both Stonefield Shaving and Top of the Chain soon).  In the day and age of online shopping, where little wet shaving product is found in brick and mortar, I can’t stress enough how packaging and storytelling drives sales.  This soap is the perfect example of that.

So it looks good….. how does it smell?  how does it perform?  First off, scent.  This is a homage of Hugo Boss Night.  Scent notes are lavender, birch tree, African violet, Louro Amarelo tree and musk.  To my nose, this is a musky floral.  I don’t get a lot of woodsy-ness, just a nice cologne scent without being heavy masculine. I don’t recall ever owning Hugo Boss Night but it sure smells familiar.

I’ve now used this base several times and I definitely have a better feel for it.  You really need to keep pushing the water, adding slowly until you get that subtle glossy appearance.  Cushion is excellent with a rich buttery feel.  Slickness both lathered and residual are very good.  Post shave is where I was noticing under-hydrating.  If I didn’t push enough water in, by 3rd pass my skin was feeling tight and dry.    Now that I have it dialed in and am pushing in enough water to this thirsty soap, post shave does just fine.  It won’t win any awards in that department but you can get by without a post.

For the brush today, I’m using my Oz Shaving brush.  It is a gorgeous handle but you may have noticed I rarely used it.  When I got it, the handle came knot-less with an opening for a 24mm knot.  I set a brown synthetic in it (a knot I usually enjoy) but would only set with a high loft.  It was floppy and I just didn’t care for how it performed.  Finally I took the bull by the horns and remedied the problem.  I have since removed that knot, expanded the hole and set a 26mm brown synthetic at a more appropriate loft.  Now I love this brush.  The performance now lives up to the appearance.

Last but certainly not least, I finished up with Maol Grooming Wilde Flowers.  This scent is perfect for match with any floral scent, carrying notes of Lavandin, Lavender, Spike Lavender, Sicilian Petitgrain, Egyptian Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Pink Grapefruit, Palmarosa, and Rose.  You get a wonderful fruity floral that doesn’t read as feminin or old-lady at all.  I can see this splash becoming a regular use in the den.  Smells great and performs like an absolute champ.