A London-based family-owned business started by a designer in 1980.
Used with: The Bluebeards Revenge Blades (1st shave)
I pressed some of the sample into a container, then loaded for thirty seconds with my synthetic brush. This was a cold water shave. I got plenty of suds and was quickly able to produce plenty of lather. Slickness was okay, but didn’t blow me away. I picked up quite a few small nicks, none of which lasted until the end of the shave. Some of those were likely due to a bloodbath the previous day. My neck was average, although the only real roughness was along my jawline and a spot elsewhere. There was also some irritation. No problems WTG on my face. No roughness ATG but plenty of resistance in places. Post shave feel was okay, a bit dry. I had a cold so hard to pick up much fragrance, but I got something at the start. An average shave.
Used with: Croma Diamant Stainless (3rd shave)
I loaded from the same sample, again using my synthetic brush. Another cold water shave. No problems producing a good lather after thirty seconds of loading. Slickness was adequate once more, but I did pick up a few nicks. Most were small, but one was a weeper and a few lasted past cold water. My neck was good aside from roughness in my usual trouble-spots. WTG my face was nice and smooth. ATG there were a few patches with heavy resistance, but no real roughness. Post shave feel was soft but a bit dry. I picked up the fragrance, which is quite light, throughout. It’s not unpleasant but not something I would look for. A good shave.
Used with: Gillette Stainless (2nd shave)
I had a fair amount of stubble for this shave. I loaded from the dry sample for thirty seconds using my badger brush, which I had shaken out. It was very pasty and didn’t provide much of a coating. Slickness wasn’t great either. Before the second pass I went back to the sample and loaded for a further thirty seconds. This resulted in a much better lather. Slickness was better too, although still not amazing. I picked up a few nicks, mostly significant too, but they were all sealed by cold water. My neck was as good as it’s been for a long time. I did have a little roughness in the usual trouble-spots though. My face was nice and smooth WTG. ATG was very good too, with minimal resistance. A couple of spots on my chin even made it to BBS. Post shave feel was soft but dry. I don’t recall registering the fragrance during the shave at all. A very good shave.
Used with: Van der Hagen Stainless (4th shave)
I soaked the sample briefly before loading with my boar brush for thirty seconds. I was so disappointed with the lather for my first pass I went back and loaded for another thirty. It wasn’t much better for the second but was slightly thicker. Slickness was good regardless though and I didn’t pick up any nicks. The only real roughness on my neck was in the usual trouble-spots, but nowhere was especially close. WTG my face felt fine. ATG had some resistance and the odd patch that strayed into roughness. Post shave feel was very average, not very soft and quite dry. I got a slight whiff of the fragrance at the start but don’t recall it after that. It’s not the most distinctive at the best of times. A pretty good shave.
Used with: Rapira Platinum Lux (1st shave)
I briefly soaked the fairly small remaining sample (I didn’t press all of the sample supplied into the container). I then loaded with my synthetic brush, waiting until I felt I had a good amount of lather. Slickness was pretty average. I picked up a few nicks, mainly small but one weeper — some of these may have been due to a horror show the day before. The trouble-spots on my neck had roughness but nowhere was particularly close. WTG my face felt fine. ATG there was some resistance by no out-and-out roughness. Post shave feel was okay, not particularly soft. I picked up the fragrance at the start, but don’t recall it after that. An average shave.
For such a premium product I was expecting a premium experience. Perhaps it was due to only using a small sample, but this didn’t impress.
Creating suds was fine, but I was forced to go back and load again in order to achieve a decent lather on several occasions. The provided slickness wasn’t great even then.
Protection was likewise found wanting and I picked up nicks on all of my shaves. You wouldn’t mind if the finish was good, but on all bar one occasion it was barely better than average.
Very odd considering this is supposedly made by Valobra.
As a proclaimed fragrance house you would expect this to be a strong point, only it wasn’t for me. The scent strength wasn’t very potent and the Oxford and Cambridge fragrance — described as a mix of lavender, peppermint and rosemary — didn’t stand out. It was pleasant enough but not something I’d need to try again.
As I say, maybe I didn’t use enough of the product, but for me this didn’t deliver anywhere near where it needed to for the price to be justified.