Shaving Product Review - Barrister and Mann "Promises"
Value (Cost, Packaging and Performance)
Lather (Density, Glide and Feel)
Post-shave (Healing, Moisture and Feel)
Scent (Quality, Strength and Longevity)
Winter is a special time in Upstate New York. Deer season opens, folks fire up their wood stoves, and the mountains become dusted with caps of glittering snow.
But, more exciting than any of those, the snowmobile trails open again.
Promises is an ode to this most exhilarating time of the year, the smell of a warm drink from a thermos while out on the trail with friends. Notes of orange and bergamot are suffused with the warmth of real honey, whiskey lactone, peat, and nutmeg. To finish it off, we’ve incorporated the strange, rubbery, industrial character of a high grade saffron molecule to give the scent the feel of being out on the trail with idling sleds all around.
Promises is a slice of Northeastern wintertime. Let it snow!
I've reviewed practically (if not literally) every single Glissant and Tonique based product by #BarristerMann here (if there's any doubt, click that hashtag to browse them all). Most recently, my in-depth review of Citricuyá which was a very limited release. Needless to say, the performance of both bases should be pretty well known by now, so I won't get into any of that today. Let's talk about the exciting new part; the scent!
But first, a brief note. I'm proud to say that I had a small hand in the finished artwork you see on the labels. As originally envisioned, it looked quite a bit different; specifically, the text ("Promises" and "shaving soap"). That makes this release particularly special for me. Also, the name reminds me of the Naked Eyes song, "Promises, Promises" (which has been stuck in my head all day)... Long live the 80s!
Officially, Promises has notes of orange, bergamot, honey, whiskey lactone, peat, nutmeg and saffron. I'll say right up front that this is a unique scent (that many should enjoy, don't worry) that's as complex as it is lovely.
The open is initially a bitter orange balanced by a certain sweetness to it; this is the honey and whiskey lactone (from the oak wood used to make barrels for aging whiskeys, wines, and brandies - and smells reminiscent of coconut). These latter two lurk as the middle blossoms, and where the peat complements both the orange from the top and the whiskey lactone, as it's dry and bitter, a malt-like essence with a slight smokiness to it. Also boosting the middle is the nutmeg, itself warm and spicy, slightly nutty and the saffron, which is herbaceous, warm and woodsy. After a while the base settles down with the sweetness of the honey and the warm spiciness of the other notes adding depth. It's also the honey which gives this medium scent strength and sillage a longevity of 6+ hours.
This is a really nice accord. While it's primarily meant as a holiday scent, it would be an excellent choice during the entire cool weather season. Its warm spiciness would fit in quite nicely beyond just the holidays. While there's a bit of a whiskey theme going on, it does not smell boozy like Fireside. It's also not as sweet as the inclusion of honey might suggest. Both are wonderfully balanced by the spices.
Hardware for today included the #Merkur #Futur that I've been sort of rediscovering on and off for a few years now. It never disappoints with a comfortable, close shave. Dial it up for Monday mornings or down (milder) for those in between days - its efficiency is ruthless, yet smooth. It's rocking my usual #PolSilver blade, on shave three today. The #GTP scuttle kept everything in check and the lather warm. The news again today, is the brush.
The brush is a piece from #Yaqi and perhaps my favorite of their current offerings. Priced at a very reasonable $30, it features a 24mm silvertip badger knot set at a 60mm loft. The handle is made from anodized aluminum and is as small and stubby as it looks (30x48mm) - but with great grip, thanks to the shape. This may very well become a regular user and my go-to travel brush... I waffle between a synthetic and my Dovo silvertip, but this one is smaller than both without compromising on luxury. It just doesn't dry as quickly as the synthetic. At any rate, this thing is barely broken in past a test/cleaning lather and today's shave... So while the blooom has exploded, it'll take a bunch more shaves to truly soften up... Yet already - I'm smitten.
A really lovely, special shave today. A fantastic holiday, nay, cool weather accord from Barrister and Mann that I hope sees annual releases. Not that Dickens (which is taking the year off) is a slacker by any means - but this one is in a different league. The Yaqi brush also came as a surprise; expecting low quality, it's anything but. Solidly built with a really ergonomic design and a bombastic, full head of (silvertip badger) hair. I think the combo you see here today will get a lot more play in the coming months!