This past Friday I received three amazing mail calls. Once again proving how generous our wet shaving community is and also how fantastic our artisans are. Not only were my mail calls awesome but the past few days I have had a chance to put the new products to my first impression tests and the results are……..
The first Mail Call was from a new Canadian artisan that I have been really wanting to try for a couple of months. Henri et Victoria is an artisan form the province of Quebec and has been getting rave reviews here North of the border. Not only does Claude from Henri et Victoria produce software but he also produces a couple of different highly praised shaving brushes.
Claude reached out to ask me to do some reviews of his products and I emphatically agreed. The scent profile I chose was Cognac and Cuban Cigars…..seriously this just sounds amazing. I am a huge tobacco fan, and enjoy boozy notes as well. It was an easy choice. Matching Soap, aftershave, and balm have my olfactory system going crazy!!. However Claude also threw in a tub of Le Marin which is a newer release with an aquatic type scent, and a tester of Bergamot-Vetiver aftershave splash.
The Cognac and Cuban Cigars did not disappoint. A powdery tobacco scent with notes of boozy cognac resonate from the soap tub with hints of woody notes as well. The aftershave balm smells equally fantastic with the tobacco notes being a bit stronger and a tad less powdery to my nose. The aftershave splash is blended perfectly, striking an amazing balance between the powdery tobacco and the booze notes.
The packaging on all of the Henri et Victoria products are very nice. I enjoy the logo and simplicity of the design of the labels. The only thing I would say is to make them all waterproof….but thats just personal preference and has zero effect on the quality of the software.
For you fragrance guys I would say a great cologne that would work well with this soap/Aftershave combo would be Tabac Rouge from the house of Phaedon. I think I will be using these together in the colder months for sure!! Tobacco Vanille and other tobacco/vanilla cologne will work well with this combo.
Razor : Edwin Jagger Head on an iKon Bulldog handle
Blade : Rapira Swede…which got tossed after one pass for a Gillette 7 O’Clock Black
Brush : Muhle V2 Synthetic
Soap : Henri et Victoria Cognac and Cuban Cigars
Aftershave : Henri et Victoria Cognac and Cuban Cigars Aftershave Balm
Splash : Henri et Victoria Cognac and Cuban Cigars aftershave splash
As I mentioned the scent on this stuff is right up my alley. If you like Tobacco you will like this stuff. In a way it is similar to Tabac and Razorock Tobacco #1 and #2 but I feel it has far more universal appeal. An awesome blend of notes that reveals a soft yet masculine scent. The scent strength is awesome as well on this stuff.
I loaded the Muhle for about 30 seconds because it is a new soap and I didn’t want to under load it and affect my first impressions. Needless to say the 30 second load time was plenty for 3 passes on my face. I loaded the brush fairly dry and added water as I face lathered. It did not take to long to get a wonderful lather. The soap is right in the mid-range for thirst in my opinion so you don’t need to overdo it while adding water. A few drops at a time and you will get an awesome lather. My first go with the soap went very well. the lather was nice and cushioning and had a great amount of slickness. there was also some residual slickness for touchups if need be.
I was very impressed with my first go around with this soap and will use it again this week for sure.
The aftershave balm is a winner. not only does the scent absolutely rock but there is an added hit of menthol!!! YAAAA BABY! I really enjoy menthol and the added hit to the balm is simply wonderful. And this isn’t just a hint, it is a bit of a kick. I would say it is around the Proraso green range for menthol level…..at least that’s what I got my first use. You will feel it that’s for sure, but it isn’t so much you won’t want to apply it in the colder months. The balm applied very easily and absorbed nicely into the skin without leaving any greasy or oily feeling. My skin felt soothed, nourished and refreshed. The scent also lingered for a couple of hours on my skin which was very nice!!
The aftershave splash……so I applied this later in the day. Around noon which was a couple hours after shaving because I wanted to see how the balm worked. Again the scent was awesome. Strong, masculine and yet soft. The scent on the splash stayed with me throughout the day. Easily 4 hours+ I would say. Great facefeel The menthol kick was evident and was very refreshing. The alcohol also gave a bit of burn as well. The hot and cold was very invigorating. I found my skin felt very toned after application.
The resulting shave was DAMN FINE. If it wasn’t for a dud Rapira this shave would have been even better. I am already looking forward to trying the Le Marin soap and using this combo again.
THE HOLY BLACK
My second mail call was the infamous HOLY BLACK. Yes they have had some ‘issues’ in the past, but hopefully that is all behind them. I read lots of reviews when they launched over a year ago…probably close to a year and a half or more, and they were all good from those who got their products. Masculine scents, badass looking packaging and just an overall Manly brand.
I ended up getting this as a gift from a great friend who runs a barbershop. He told me he loves this stuff and this scent it outstanding. I received the Gunpowder Spice shaving soap along with the Gunpowder Spice Whisker Whiskey aftershave splash.
The scent….well the scent on the soap is very baby powderish to my nose. Granted I have only used it once and only bloomed it for a little bit. Hopefully a bit more spice comes out over the next few uses. not a bad scent, actually quite pleasant….just not what I expected from GUNPOWDER SPICE. The aftershave however is a different story. Yes you get the powder but along with it comes the spice as well as the whiskey/booze notes. This is manliness in a bottle!! I really enjoy this splash to say the very least.
The Packaging looks great but again it is not waterproof on the soap puck. I doubt it would be long lasting in a wet bathroom with wet hands etc. I would beg the guys at Holy Black to upgrade the labeling on the soap or maybe throw in a waterproof label for the soap. I love how it looks and I really enjoy the bottle for the splash. I checked the site and it appears they have changed the labelling for the aftershave to what looks to be waterproof….BIG THUMBS UP!
Razor : Gillette Aristocrat OC
Blade : Bolzano SuperInox
Brush : The Holy Black handle with Virginia Sheng knot
Soap : The Holy Black Gunpowder Spice
Aftershave : The Holy Black Gunpowder Spice Whisker Whiskey
First off I wish I hadn’t put this Silvertip knot in this brush. It is a lather hog to say the least. What I need to do is put in a synthetic or possibly a boar knot.
The soap did load easily onto the brush, but once I started lathering the knot sucked so much of it up and just wouldn’t release the lather. The lather that I did get what quite nice and the scent comes out a bit more than just the puck gives off. I will give this soap another shot with a synthetic or another brush that doesn’t hog so much lather.
Overall the soap did perform well. I will withhold any more impressions of the lather because the brush really made it hard to judge.
The Bolzano was better than I had remembered from a while back. Still not crazy smooth, but a few more shaves and I will make a more informed decision on if I like them.
After the shave I splashed on some of the Whisker Whiskey….Gunpowder spice scented!!! This is manliness in a bottle in my opinion. The whiskey pops and it is much like a bay rum aftershave but with whiskey and powder scent. You can also get some added spice that I wasn’t picking up much from the soap. This stuff is fantastic and my wife actually liked the scent quite a bit.
Overall I got a nice shave. I only did two passes as I was in a bit of a rush. Very enjoyable and these past two aftershave splashes are awesome. Not sure I could pick one over the other. The Cognac and Cuban cigars would be easier to match up with fragrances(EdT or EdP’s) while the Gunpowder spice is just BADASS and smells wicked!!!
#3 MAIL CALL
My third mail call was 5 decants of fragrances I haven’t tried but have heard a lot about.
#1 Mont Blanc Individuel – This is one that gets a lot of praise for being affordable and smelling like Creed’s Original Santal. Sadly to my nose this one is far too sweet/bubble gum like. As soon as it hit my skin I knew I wasn’t going to be a fan. I do see it as a compliment getter though. Inoffensive, but just not my style. You get the pineapple at the top, but then it just seems like a fruity sweet scent from the mid on(raspberry, chocolate and hints of vanilla).
#2 Dolce&Gabbana The One – Apparently it smells amazing but has performance issues. Im excited to try it out and see for myself
#3 Lalique Encre Noire – This is a scent I really want to try. Said to be very sexy vetiver fragrance that comes at an amazing price!!
#4 Reyane Tradition Insurrection Pure II – This may be the most hyped fragrance of the past couple of years. Many compare it to AVENTUS. Obviously it is not identical, but I won’t be able to afford a bottle of Creed Aventus so I may as well try something that I could possibly afford.
#5 Versace Dreamer – Gets Mixed reviews but those who like it REALLY like it. I am intrigued as it has Tobacco and Tonka notes and is apparently a long lasting gem!
Anyhow, this has been much longer than I had anticipated. The good news is that I will be making more videos now as I have a NEW PHONE!!!!! But I will continue doing my blog as well as I do enjoy writing it!!!
Shave on and keep smelling good!!
***As always feel free to comment or ask questions and I will be happy to get back to you ASAP****