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J. Peterman 1903 Cream

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The man is dressed in an old comfortable button down, open at the neck, its creases showing the effects of years of service, but its rugged style unmistakable. The Fedora pulled low over his handsome face could regale with endless stories of adventure and intrigue, if only it could talk. His clothes damp with sweat from the jungle heat and stained with mud from the days long trek, he pushes gingerly on the recessed panel. The woman looks on, a mix of fear and the thrill of the hunt in her eyes....

That evening, back at the lodge. Priceless treasure hidden safely away. After an elegant dinner, relaxing on the balcony. The woman is there to, a glass of champagne gracefully resting in her elegant hand. Her other hand reaches out, fingertips resting ever so lightly on his arm, as she leans a little closer, catching an intoxicate hint of his cologne....

His name: Indiana Bond.
His scent: J. Peterman 1903.

Now, let's see, where was I? Ah yes, performance. This cream reminds probably more of Trumpers than anything else. And maybe Penhaligons. But more Trumpers. I don't know where it comes from, but it has a density to it that many newer creams just don't have. It is sort of like what I imagine the old Taylors may have been like - very dense. Not hard like a dried out cream, just dense, and not totally smooth in texture. A little goes a long way. It is pretty high cushion, not perhaps the most cushioning thing I've ever used, but in the same tier. All in all, excellent performance, in very much the old school English cream tradition.

As for scent. Well, honestly, if Indiana Jones was a little more sophisticated, this is what he would wear. It is very very earthy and masculine, in a sweaty, raw, adventurous, but still strangely sophisticated kind of way. It would be very at home with black tie, but you would be suggesting that earlier in the day you were at the least out on a hard ride across the ranch, rounding up a few strays, if not quite digging through ancient ruins for priceless treasures while juggling beautiful women and hostile natives. Or hostile women and beautiful natives, as the case might be. Here, go read the basenotes commentary on the scent. (I really feel like, much like one of the commentators there, that I am making a mistake spreading the word on this).

It is a very very earthy scent, definitely suggesting the out of doors. A lot of woody and mossy undertones. It is not mentioned in the description, but I swear vetiver is prominent. There is also a hint of leather and tobacco notes. But also a little green thrown on top, and other things that make it fresh, and not too heavy.

As for strength of the scent. It is probably on of the stronger shaving creams I have used. But not quite the room filling enveloping strength it apparently used to be. Probably not quite as strong as Coates Tea Tree, if you've tried that, but close. One about the same order as a T&H cologne scented cream. If your ideal shave cream is Coates Lavender, you would probably enjoy the performance of this a great deal, but find the scent a little heavy and overpowering. If you are like me, though, and like strongly scented creams, it is pretty ideal.

The price is $27. Which is not cheap, hence the low grade. The price is fair, tough, given that it is right in there with Trumper and Harris, which I would say are the closest things to it. The bad part is that you can only get it direct from J. Peterman, meaning no combined shipping with other shaving supplies.

The packaging is a typical plastic shaving cream tub. Not exactly the same model that Trumper and Taylor use, but very similar. Not elegant, but very functional.

All in all, a lot of potential to be my new preferred choice.


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Initially had never heard of this cream until a friend of mine bought it from their website. At first sniff of the cream, it was decided that a purchase was imminent.

Here, about a year later there is the entire 1903 collection in my shave den. :thumbup:

The cream is superb, that's the only word that comes to mind. The fragrance of the cream lasts a super long time, even after you've rinsed off and even then for a while. The cream is super slick going on, and all you need is 2-3 swirls of your brush in it. They say on their website that this shave cream is concentrated, and they aren't lying when they say that.

Quality is top-notch, it doesn't get better. The price is about what you should expect to pay for the quality that you are receiving.

Ooohhh and that fragrance... my new favorite scent. When nothing is going on, I find myself wandering into the bathroom just to open the jar and smell of the contents.. I can't describe the scent. There's nothing like it anywhere. It is subtle, yet it's a scent that will please everyone and will fit into any setting, and the women love this smell.

Instead of buying that next 27-30 dollar jar of trumpers or truefitt, buy yourself a jar of J.Peterman 1903 shave cream. If you don't like it, PM me and I'll buy it from you.
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The combination of J Peterman 1903 SC, ASB and cologne has become one of my regular regular shave routines. I get a fine ample soft lather using only an almond sized amount of the cream - easily enough for my 3 pass shave routine. The result is BBS.

I also love the scent of the ASB and cologne particularly the dry down made from frankincense, elemi, tabac, labdulum and leather. It lasts 4-6 hours and gives my face a soft powdery feel. Distinctive but very subtle, the scent suitable for the office. At the same time, it is also suitable for formal occasions and dates. This is definitely a masculine scent but women seem to LOVE it. I went to the "basenotes" site and conducted a search to find similar ones - there are NONE. Peterman's 1903 is trully a unique fragrance.

Having said all that, I know there is more to a great shave than just the cream or ASB, so for what it is worth here is my 1903 routine:

E Jagger Chatsworth razor with Derby blade
Semogue 2030 mixed badger
J Peterman 1903 SC
Lathering bowl (set in very hot water to warm the cream and keep it warm)
3 passes: WTG, XTG, ATG, plus minor touchup
Thayers Lemon Witch Hazel
J Peterman 1903 ASB
J Peterman 1903 Cologne Spray

Cost: The cologne spray and balm are $45 each and the cream is $27. That puts Peterman's 1903 in the high end but not as high as Castle Forbes or even T & H. Personally I think it is worth it and recommend the entire line of products: you get excellent quality for your money and, as an added value, a distinctive scent.
The shaving cream is about the only "1903" item I haven't used. I've been a fan of the cologne practically since it came out (a number of years before the ill-fated brick-and-mortar Peterman stores came into being and took the company under...I will admit I loved the Grand Central Terminal shop here in NYC, but happy Peterman got the mail-order end back in shape), and is the only scent I bother with...a cologne for grown-up men, imagine! :001_rolle

The other "1903" item that's been a long-time mainstay for me is their first silver-tip badger brush, in brass handle. I've had mine for some eight years, and it's still going strong, losing maybe a handful of hairs in that time, but no more; feels good, retains water wonderfully, lathers like a dream.

I'm having such a good time with my Taylors creams that I haven't been too tempted to order a tub of Peterman's, but I might give it a try the next time I'm running low.

- Barrett

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