SOTD - February 9, 2018

Barrister and Mann

Shaving Product Review - Barrister and Mann "Sinfonia"

Value (Cost, Packaging and Performance)

Lather (Density, Glide and Feel)

Post-shave (Healing, Moisture and Feel)

Scent (Quality, Strength and Longevity)

Each bar has three metrics, each representing 33% of the total (11% = below-avg, 22% = avg, 33% = above-avg, except cost)

Exploring the delicate, fruity floral that is the special edition Barrister and Mann Sinfonia #soap and #aftershave release for Valentine's Day.

Jasmine, perhaps THE classic white floral fragrance, is well-known for its heady, narcotic aroma. It's said that, at the height of the French jasmine growing industry, the scent of the blooming flowers would roll off the hills into the surrounding towns as the flowers opened to the air. Long revered as symbols of love and romance, the various types of jasmine are among the most precious and beautiful materials in all of perfumery.

Standing in pitch-perfect contrast to this hypnotic richness is the juicy delicacy of apricot, which lightens and smoothes the jasmine to produce an understated, elegant scent perfect for date night, a lazy brunch, or just a beautifully sunny day!

Sinfonia by #barristermann was released on February 1st as the Valentine's Day release for 2018 (replacing Night Music as has been the norm). It will be available through February 28th. The bases are the well-known Glissant for the soap and Tonique for the aftershave. While the branding and even the color scheme is reminiscent of the aforementioned Night Music - the scent couldn't be more different. Composed of only two, the notes include jasmine and apricot. It's decidedly brighter, by far. Naturally, I added Sinfonia to the History of Barrister and Mann.

Sniffing the dry tub (something I always recommend against if you're trying to assess the scent) it is fairly even as far as the two notes go; maybe leaning a bit more towards the apricot. Once warmed up and lathered, the apricot fully develops (and is what is most prevalent) but the jasmine comes into its own, adding a subtle yet bright floral vibe to balance the apricot. The aftershave is, as to be expected, a much better way to gauge the scent - and differs from the soap somewhat. It too opens apricot-forward with the jasmine supporting it, providing a delicate balance. As it dries down, the jasmine moves forward as the apricot slips back. It's a beautiful scent; light, bright and delicate... Both fruity and floral. It's just classy. Unfortunately, longevity is fairly short at only 2-3 hours.

I feel comfortable in saying that this scent may not appeal to a lot of guys as fruity and floral just aren't popular genres. There are of course exceptions, such as rose and lavender, or citrus in general and cherry. I also feel comfortable saying that this accord will definitely be less controversial than Night Music has been in past years, and is more approachable. What can I say - I like them both, and they're both vastly different from each other. So what's going on with Sinfonia exactly? I spoke with Will, who explained it thusly:

It's intended as a tie-in for the upcoming Romance in Middlesex County but only encompasses the two major notes of the perfume. Also, the jasmine is synthetic (some people seem to think it's natural). This tie-in practice will become more common as we release more fragrances.

For the sake of completeness and comparison, the notes of Romance in Middlesex County are jasmine, apricot, tangerine, cardamom, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss, coffee, and orris absolute. It will be an EdP only release on March 1, 2018. So think of the soap and aftershave definitely as tie-ins, with the EdP for the finish. Not exactly the same accord - but a perfectly complimentary vibe that's built on it. Another complimentary soap would be Eufros Dama de Noche which is just jasmine (and beautifully intense). There's a matching balm, but not an aftershave. There is of course a lot more software with jasmine out there as well, but in a much more minor role.

The performance, as most know by know - is exceptional. Somehow, the soap seemed to generate a particularly creamy lather today but I confirmed that nothing has changed in base formulation. What could explain it however, is the apricot fragrance - which is particularly viscous. The other thing I can chalk it up to is five seconds more of loading; 30s vs. my usual 25s (or even 20s). I know a lot of people that like runny (watery) lather, especially straight razor shavers. It's slicker at the expense of cushion. Though I think they're the exception rather than the rule which prefer the latter. As a word of advice, I'd suggest loading your soaps longer (regardless of origin) and seeing how you get on with the lather. Many seem to benefit a good deal. The most shocking example is Martin de Candre soap. Yes, you can get totally usable lather with 15s of loading - but try it with 30s and you'd be really surprised at the difference.

The razor today was the #Merkur #Futur with a #PolSilver blade on shave three. I have literally not used this razor since one month ago as I've been busy testing two new razors. I bounce around a lot of what I consider my "favorite razor" but this is the one I keep coming back to. It's the best of both (all?) worlds; dial it down for mild, dial it up for efficiency (aggressiveness). I tend to go for setting "3" on Monday mornings, then dial it back to "1" (or slightly less) for daily shaving the rest of the week. Just a super smooth razor with tons of efficiency and no harshness. One of the few razors that leaves my jawline smooth with regularity. The brush is the same #LowbornSupply beauty from a few days ago in a red and black motif with a 24mm BOSS knot. The #GTP scuttle brought up the rear; a dependable soldier.

A simply outstanding shave today! The scent of Sinfonia will please the "fragheads" (fragrance heads, or fans) out there - but might not appeal to many. Don't blame the fragrance... It is fruity and floral - but very nice. Either way, it's a nice break from Night Music (which I have more than enough of). The performance of the bases seemed especially on point today and the absolute efficiency of the Futur razor made for a BBS shave. Happy Friday!