A member sent me 3 Rooney brushes (all new, and all prototypes) to test and review. It is important to note - two of them are older prototypes (the faux ivory handled one - and the one I am testing in the pics) The last one - which has a shavemac/plisson shaped head is VERY recent brush - and should be most similar to what is to be seen on the market. Regardless - the silvertip is the identical silvertip to be offered - so for purpose of reviewing the brush and its performance - these are identical. My comments on the handles should be taken lightly - as it is not certain the exact handles will be offered. (BTW - the logo will be different to the public)
Pics of the brushes (with the shavemac there for comparo)
Shavemac is on the bottom right
Lather filled face...
Brush once "bloomed"
Rooney on the left - Shavemac on the right... the Shavemac is packed a lot denser...
The Verdict -
I have thus far tried 2 of the 3 rooney's - a best badger and a silvertip. The handle shape/style/look of the pure badger was excellent. I love the ivory look to it. The silvertip brush handle I am not too fond of. I have large hands - and for me it was quite uncomfortable.
The best badger was quite nice. End of story. Lathered nice, felt nice, worked well.
The Silver Tip was a very interesting experience. It was the softest brush I have ever used.... makes a Kent feel like pine needles. It really throws a twist into the definition and classification of "silvertip." It was a "shocking" experience. VERY VERY soft. I feel this is a fine brush - and would recommend it. Lathered nice, performed excellent, silky soft, held water well, etc.
Overall - It is my opinion that these Rooney brushes I have had the pleasure of sampling are excellent. With that said - I must also state they are not for me - certainly not my cup of tea. Although they lathered beautifully - I much prefer the denser packed bristles of the shavemac. The actual tips of the shavemac are not all that "rougher" if you will - however since it is packed so densly I find that when using the shavemac - I get a SUPERIOR shave to when using softer brushes - and unlike simpsons brushes - the shavemac is comfortable and luxurious to use. I think it really boils down to personal preference. While these Rooney brushes are excellent - unless they are competitively priced with a shavemac - I feel the shavemac will dominate the market once we cut thru all of this "British shaving brushes are the best" banter and actually compare the EFFECTIVENESS of the brush - not the ritzy stamp on it - or the albino mid-mountain slavakian half-donkey titles - or whatever nonesense brush manufactures come up with.
If the brush looks nice, feels nice, offers GOOD VALUE, gives YOU enjoyment, gets the job done, is practical, and most important - makes YOU happy and makes YOU have fun doing a mundane chore of shaving in the morning - that is all that matters. After trying a Rooney, as well as owning a Plisson, vulfix, shavemac etc, I can honestly say the elusive Plissons, Rooney's etc are no token to a more pleasurable shave - hell in my opinion they are INFERIOR to my not so "cheapie" shavemac silvertip.
Word to the wise... cut thru the hype and go with QUALITY, VALUE and ENJOYMENT with whatever you purchase... if that happens to be a Plisson, Rooney or Simpson - then so be it, but I often find myself missing my tiny Vulfix #374. The Rooney is without question superior (in my opinion) to simpson and Plisson, so I am sure whoever decides to purchase a Rooney will not be dissapointed. If you buy one though... do me a favor... buy one because you want the softest shaving brush you can find - not because it is a "Rooney" and it is "luxurious, mystical" and will make your face immedialy turn into a babys butt cheek just by looking at it cross-eyed.
When it is all said and done - the Rooney was wonderful... but they are expensive - and at least for me, inferior to a less expensive, better looking, more EFFECTIVE shavemac silvertip.