Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shiny new toys

These two beauties need no introduction, both highly coveted and praised in the world of wet-shaving - and they're all mine. I already own way too many safety razors, but I'm attracted to shiny things - watches, zippos, cufflinks, etc- so when I came across these online, they were pretty hard to pass up.

I purchased my Merkur Futur from Men's Direct, where they offer $5 off purchases over $50 (coupon code: 501508235) and free shipping!

The Edwin Jagger DE89 was purchased from Amazon and includes a 5 pack of Derby blades and free two-day shipping (Amazon Prime - recommended, totally worth it).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vendor Interviews: Bullgoose Shaving

What's the story behind the name 'BullGoose'?
BullGoose is a reference to one of my favorite books/movies, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey. I watched the movie at least 20 times and was prone to doing R.P. MacMurphy impersonations that probably are not fit for all audiences. In any case, there is a scene in the book (not so evident in the movie) where R.P MacMurphy wants to know who on the ward is the "BullGoose Looney". I thought it was an amusing term and it became my nickname in softball. When I joined the shaving forums, it became my screen name. So, when I opened my on-line shop, BullGoose Shaving Supplies it was.

When and how did you become interested in traditional wet-shaving?
When I flew home to Chicago one Thanksgiving my father gave me a copy of The Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving by Michael Ham. I had nothing else to read on the plane ride back to Los Angeles so started reading the book and found it fascinating. I immediately went to the reference section and followed the tiny urls to the shaving forums and various on-line shops. I jumped right in and never looked back.

When and how did BullGoose Shaving Supplies get started?
Soon after joining the shaving forums I developed acquisition disorders like many do and became fairly active on the B/S/T trying out various razors and selling off the ones that did not work for me. I then saw WTB posts for Ted Pella blades and thought geez...I can organize a group buy and sell them off in lots of 25. That started the slippery slope. Soon after, I picked up 1000 Astra blades and was selling them on the B/S/T at which point the moderators approached me and informed me that multiple sales of the same product categorized me as a vendor. Fair enough. I filed my business documents in April of 2009 and launched the website the next month. I think I started with Astra and Derby blades, Taylor and Cyril Salter creams, a fewVulfix brushes and not much else.

How many employees, excluding yourself, keep BullGoose running?
I do not have any employees. My wife helps pick up supplies for me and helps me drop off packages at the post office when she can. However she works over 50 hours a week as a nurse practitioner and has a long commute so BullGoose Shaving is essentially just me.

What, if any, do you feel sets BullGoose Shaving Supplies apart from other vendors?
Because I am a one-man operation, I can personally interact with my customers and get to know them a bit as individuals. I try to offer a wide variety of products and try to include the standards as well as some more obscure products. My inventory is always evolving and I am open to product suggestions. In fact many of the products that I carry were a direct result of a customer's request or suggestion. For instance, I had never even heard of Klar until a customer suggested that I carry it. I tracked it down and it is now among my best selling products. I have also been known for my "one off" Simpson brushes. The Simpson Douglas, a two band version of the Simpson 57, was a collaboration between one of my customers, myself and Vulfix/Simpson. The Ehsan, a two band Simpson Colonel with a shorter loft, was a project for another one of my customers. I am not currently carrying either brush but I may bring them back if I think there is sufficient demand.

Tell me a bit about Portman Square. Do you have plans for other shaving goodies? What scents do you have in mind?
I would like to expand the Portman Square line eventually. The cream soaps are made for me by Queen Charlotte Soaps, LLC in North Carolina. Matthew is great to work with... Matthew and his mother will take my half-baked scent ideas, tweak them and produce exactly what I had imagined but did not know how to express. I am very happy with the creams and there are plans for a hard tallow soap in the near future. We have talked about also producing aftershaves (balms and splashes) but that is probably several months off. I may eventually add a scent or two but I will never have 33 flavors. I am thinking 4 scents max.

With everything BullGoose has to offer, do you ever 'get high on your own supply'?
Absolutely. My Acquisition Disorders are as bad as ever and now I can justify it by saying it is for "research purposes". Fortunately, I have my own bathroom but my wife just shakes her head when she sees my personal stash of shaving supplies. I figure the only way to comment on a product is to actually use it.

If you HAD to choose, what's your favorite, can't live without it, razor, blade, brush, lather and aftershave?
Wow...that's like choosing your favorite child? My favorite list is constantly being revised and is biased by favoring recent know the honeymoon phase and all. Lets be reasonable here and give a top 3.

Razors: PILS, Wilkinson Sticky and Merkur Futur
Blades: Super Iridium, Schick Plus Platinum, Gillette Yellow
Brush: Simpson Douglas, Rooney Finest, Simpson Ehsan
Soap: D R Harris Marlborough Hard Soap, Yardley Hard Soap, Trumper (Tallow) Hard Soap
Cream: Acqua di Parma, TOBS Avocado, Harris Marlborough
Aftershave: Mr. Taylor, Alt Innsbruck, Trumper Marlborough

Besides wet-shaving, what are some other hobbies you enjoy?
Every morning starts out by going to the dog park with my Weimaraner. Besides playing with my dog, I enjoy playing softball (I play year round in an adult league), enjoy the blues and am a huge Beatles and Bob Dylan fan. In college, I once won a Bob Dylan trivia contest and won 50 tickets to a Dylan concert. I also like a few contemporary bands such as Wilco but rarely get out to concerts these days.

I am also a huge baseball fan (Chicago White Sox) and used to attend 25 to 30 games a year when I lived in Chicago. I try to catch as many games as I can on TV but really do not have the time to sit and watch like I would like to.

I am also addicted to the old fashioned newspaper. There is just something about thumbing through the paper and reading last night's box scores and local crimes. I know I could look them up on-line but, it just is not the same somehow. If the paper does not get delivered for some reason, it sets the day off on the wrong foot. A bit of OCD perhaps. I have found that most wet shavers have a touch of OCD whether they will admit it or not.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Win some free shave goodies!

Simply Shaving is kicking off its summer membership drive with a great contest to win some sweet prizes and goodies. Rules and entry details can be found here

Enough about the details, here's what you could win:

Grand Prize: Mühle Stylo DE Razor and Mühle Stylo Silvertip Shave Brush Set (actual color dependent on availability)
Prize A: Vintage Simpson Somerset T4 Brush and a Tub of Queen Charlotte Shave Cream (winner's choice of scents)
Prize B: A Rudy Vey Shaving Brush & 100 Wilkinson Classic DE Blades
Prize C: An Ambrose Shave Strop
Prize D: Ginger's Garden Glycerin Shave Soap Round and a 200ml Bottle of Geo F. Trumper Extract of Limes Cologne

Contest ends Friday August 12th

Go get some!

NOS Seaforth for Men

Snagged this sweet set off eBay at a very reasonable price. The set, which is in squeaky clean condition, includes a full jug of talc & shave mug with soap. Dating somewhere between the 40's and 50's, this must have been stored away someplace safe because the soap fragrance is still present. Check it out......

Monday, January 3, 2011

Portman Square: First use

First impression of Portman Square after my 1st shave:

       X3 black-tip SS l Asco l Omega 90081 l Portman Square l Nivea Sensitive
Today begins my first day of 'The Portman Square Challenge' and I'm excited to get it off and rolling. From Bullgoose Shaving Supply website, Portman Square is described as:
          "...named after a street in London's famed shaving district. The cream soap is a very dense cream or soft soap that contains tallow for a very creamy and protective lather.

          Notting Hill is Portman Square's signature scent...a blend of lavender and cedar wood essential oils with a hint of leathery earthiness. To me, it conjurs up images of leather bound books and wood paneling."

Upon first opening the tub the scent is somewhat mild and subdued, yet when whipped into a creamy lather (and I do mean creamy) the fragrance seems to explode. The cedar wood really seems to shine through, almost like sticking your head into the New Yankee Workshop and sniffing the inside of a freshly build dresser drawer. The cedar wood is noticeably there yet I can detect some subtle whiffs of the underlying lavender. I think Phil definitely hit it spot on when he says "it conjurs up images of leather bound books and wood paneling", perfect for Ron Burgundy or any other discerning gentleman. 
This shaving soap is labeled a 'shaving soap cream', as it exhibits both properties of a hard soap and a soft cream. Like a soap, I lathered right on top of the puck. I chose my Omega 90081 syntex, as (IMO) a boar brush would have too much backbone that would tear into the soap/cream, yet a badger brush would lack enough backbone to do likewise. I found the syntex brush to be a perfect middle ground. After a few good swirls of the brush I begin to face lather and the explosion begins. The Portman Square produced mounds (yes mounds) of thick, creamy, and protective lather; typical of what one would expect from a tallow based product.
After shaving, I decided to wait 30 minutes before applying any aftershave so I could get an idea of it's moisturizing properties. My hopes were that a balm or splash wouldn't be needed, but after some time my skin felt a little to tight for comfort. Yes, my skin was soft to the touch, but tight nonetheless, and I opted to finish with a balm for some extra needed nourishment.

Looking Ahead: 2011

Here's a small sampling of the ideas I have floating around my head for the Dashing Maverick:

The Portman Square Challenge:
-the idea: dedicate the month of January to the exclusive use of Bullgoose Shaving Supplies in-house brand of shaving soap, Portman Square.
-the result: an in-depth, thorough review of this new, hot product with the intention to educate the unknowing masses from a non-biased point of view.

The Great Chinese brush throw-down:
-the idea: to pit the Chinese brush manufactures against one another and determine once and for all if cheap can equal quality. Brands such as Frank Shaving, Lijun & 1980, and ebay seller kebi2009 will each be put to a month of vigorous use.
-the result: an in-depth, thorough, non-biased review to help my readers get the most bang for their buck.
Blades Revisited:
-the idea: to get back to 'my roots' and retest some blades I originally started with over 3 years ago but now often get overlooked. Brands such as Derby, Gillette Super Thins, and 7am platinum are on this list.
-the result: to determine whether it was my newbie technique or the brand which caused these blades to call the bottom of my blade box 'home'. 

What are your thoughts on these chosen topics? Is there anything you would like to see reviewed or compared? I welcome all comments and ideas and hope to make 2011 a very informative year.

Friday, December 24, 2010