Razor: Tatara Masamune Nodachi
Blade: Wilkinson Sword
Brush: Craving Shaving Gel Boar
Soap: Shannon’s Soaps Fig and Apricot
Aftershave: Abbate Y La Mantia Isacco

A weekend shave with some new products.  I was pretty excited about the shave.  Unfortunately, it was a big disappointment.

It wasn’t an issue with the razor or the soap/splash, the blame for the shave falls firmly on the shoulders of the brush.  I was excited to pick this Craving Shaving brush up a while ago.  I’ve never been a fan of boar brushes, I tend to struggle to get good and consistent performance out of them.  But I did really want to try a gel boar and see if that made a difference.  I opted for that knot when I placed the Craving Shaving order.  When it arrived, my heart sunk.  The boar knot is set quite low…..  too low.  Some knots you can get away with that but boar knots not so much.  This has extreme backbone and doesn’t splay worth a damn.   I’ve now attempted to use it several times and always fight the brush.  I did want to use it one more time before I put it aside for a re-knot, mainly so I could comment on how important the brush loft is.  I also need to highlight the handle because it is a beauty.

Anyways, I pressed on, lathering up with this Fig & Apricot shaving soap from Shannon’s Soaps, another recently added soap for me.  The scent on this is pretty much as the title would suggest, Fig & Apricot.   The soap also contains notes of plums and peaches but to my nose, I pick up a very fruity fig up front with a subtle apricot lingering in the background.  Scent strength is on the stronger side of medium.  I really like the scent and it does remind me quite a bit of Abbate Y La Mantia Isacco, which I used for the post shave today.  This soap is in Shannon’s regular tallow base.  In my experience prior to today’s shave I was getting really nice lather with decent performance.  No issues with any metric.  Today, lathering was a challenge, I was fighting it trying to get a stable lather.  I loaded, lathered, found it light and way too airy, loaded more, pressed on.  I ended up giving up and shaving with what I had, a somewhat stable and overly airy/wet lather.  It was still slick, but just wasn’t a nice lather.  No cuts, nicks or irritation today, but the lather build frustration just meant I couldn’t enjoy the shave.  Knowing the lather I have attained with this previously, again, 100% an issue with my choice of brush.

Not having the matching post shave I used Abbate Y La Mantia Isacco splash.  This splash is a fig & apple scent so it paired well.  Where the soap had a sweet fruity apricot undertone, that is replaced here with a crisp and tart apple undertone.  Both are great scents and the front and centre fig note bridges these together perfectly.  Given the base performance and price point of Shannon’s, if I would to choose a soap between the two I would choose Shannon’s over Abbate Y La Mantia.  Both are fun and fresh scents but Shannon’s would win out on performance.  I look forward to trying out their other soap base as well.

Frustrating shave, but they can’t all be winners.  I look forward to revisiting this when I have the brush re-knotted so I can really high-lite the products properly.

All for now – J

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