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Semogue LE 2010 Badger

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After waiting nearly a month since ordering the Semogue LE 2010 badger I recently received mine and gave it a whirl. This is my impressions of the brush after 5 uses.

Semogue has traditionally been known for their exquisite boar brushes and exquisite they are. I've never looked at semogue as a producer of high quality badger brushes, though things may be changing.

My brush arrived with specs of a 24mm knot and 53.5mm loft. I was initially worried that the loft may be too high for MY personal preference and could be floppy. This was not the case. The brush had more that enough backbone to load soaps and face lather with. The tips of the brush were some of the softest I've encountered. Compared to some recent offerings I would say it is a slight step below the new Rooney XL stubby 2-band brushes for tip softness, and comparable to say a simpson's 3-band super.

The brush was used exclusively for face lathering and I found no real problems with excess splaying or floppiness. It can definitely be used for bowl lathering with no problems whatsoever.

The handle is the most ergonomic acrylic handle that semogue has put out having owned both the 620 and 830 boars for comparison (as well as some vintage semogue boars that had slightly different acrylic handles).

I believe the specs of this brush were designed to appease the masses and for the price point (roughly $100), it is a very good brush.

That said, here is my extremist view on the brush.

***Full Disclaimer***

I personally have found a preference for ridiculously crazy dense brushes in the 24mm knot range with short lofts and tons of backbone. I love a really scrubby face lathering brush.

The brush in my rotation that most closely resembles this semogue offering is a Custom TGN UK Silvertip 24mm knot I set at 51mm loft (pretty high for me even). I really believe this now unavailable knot from TGN is actually the chubby 1 super knot from Vulfix.

Density wise the semogue is 20-30% less dense than the TGN knot. Don't take this as saying it is less dense than the current TGN knot selections as the semogue is certainly more dense than anything TGN currently offers. The UK silvertip was just an extremely dense knot offered for a small amount of time. This semogue is also about 20-30% less dense than all the brushes I currently own with those being a Rooney XL, Shavemac D01 2-band, Eagle G3, Rooney Finest 1/2 (probably 40% less dense than this one), Kent B&B 08 (probably on par or slightly less dense than this), and the aforementioned TGN UK Silvertip.

So you can see that I only own 6 badger brushes having whittled my way through 30+ brushes to find what I like. All my brushes save the kent are 24mm knots, loaded with density and backbone, with varying tip softness and relatively short lofts. I only own the kent as it is pillow soft and sometimes I want to use a smaller brush (say for travel).

As you can see, I have strict preferences for what is in my den and the semogue really didn't have a chance to stay there. I firmly believe that this brush would have made the rotation had the loft been set at 46-48mm, but I definitely understand semogue offering this brush at the loft it did to appeal to more people. A very short lofted brush would only work for face latherers and the loft semogue chose definitely works for both.

Density wise if this brush had 20-30% more bristles then I may have been able to overcome the loft of these.

With all that said....
I really am excited to see what semogue has to offer in the future of their badger brushes. Despite what may seem like a negative review, the badger hair in these knots is excellent. Great tip softness and really good backbone, especially given the loft. If semogue started to offer brushes with this hair type in a 48mm loft and 20-30% more density I would pay a lot more than I did for the LE offering.

Latest reviews

excellent brush. Really quite special. Price wise, enough to make those of us who splashed out on 'high end' brushes to weep.

Ok so the bristles aren't quite as soft as say a Silvertip Shavemac, but you must remember that the Shavemac probably costs near three times as much.

The handle is very comfortable, and look great on the shelf. Works well with soaps and creams, ideal for face lathering. Next time Semogue make a run of these, i would recommend you get in on the action if you missed out this time.

I've included a comparison picture of a Kent BK8 and the LE Semogue...
Price
5.00 star(s)
Density
4.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Ergonomic
5.00 star(s)
Latherability
5.00 star(s)
Softness of Tips
4.00 star(s)
Stiffness of Tips
4.00 star(s)
This brush is so not what I like in a brush. It's small, it's short. That said, I absolutely love it! As JP mentioned, it's a lather monster. But more than that, it's just plain fun to use:thumbup:.

The handle is very different from any other handle I own. It's the only one I have that isn't lathe turned. I really didn't think I'd like that, but I do.

For being a small brush it really has a lot of backbone. Also like JP, I really appreciate the fact it isn't trying to be the next Chubby 3. It works more like a mini (mine's a 12:lol:) BK. It works soaps into a dense lather with almost no effort at all.

For everyone who missed out on this beauty, you missed something really great!

Ken
Price
5.00 star(s)
Density
3.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Ergonomic
4.00 star(s)
Latherability
5.00 star(s)
Softness of Tips
4.00 star(s)
Stiffness of Tips
4.00 star(s)
To counter-balance Harvitz81's review, here's mine from the perspective of someone who's pushing back against the movement toward absurdly dense brushes. I simply find them unwieldy. I prefer something dense enough to have good backbone, but not so dense it feels "solid" on my face or hogs lather. About the ratings:

1. Price: I think you're paying a little more than you would if this weren't an LE; that said, it's a heck of a lot of brush for the money, and you could pay a lot more for a lot less brush.

2. Quality: The ONLY thing I consider less than a 10 is the use of a sticker, and that's being pretty picky. I just don't like 'em.

3. Density: A quantitative number, not qualitative. On the scale of brush density, this is a couple notches down from the densest I've tried. That's a good thing. 7-8 on this scale, in my opinion, is a perfect score. 10 would be unusably dense for me.

4. Stiffness: I take this as backbone. Again, quantitative. There's more backbone to be had elsewhere, but I don't want it. 7-8 is my sweet-spot, so this nails it here, too.

5. Softness: Not the absolute softest, but very soft. I think it loses a point to the likes of Savile Row or Kent for tip softness, but it's not for the worse.

6. Ergonomic: Not bad at all - the enlarged acrylic handle suits me better than that of the 830, but it's not as good as the SOC/'09 LE shape.

7. Lather-ability: It's a monster. Feed it soap or cream, and ample water, and it literally explodes. Superb.

Overall: It's the best knot in a badger I've used, considering softness, backbone, density, shape, size, etc. That's high praise, I know, but I don't levy that title without careful consideration. It's the kind of badger hill IMO. The handle isn't my favorite, but it's a very attractive and comfortable handle to use. I'd put this knot in the '09 LE handle if I could make any Silvertip brush.
Price
4.00 star(s)
Density
4.00 star(s)
Quality
4.00 star(s)
Ergonomic
4.00 star(s)
Latherability
5.00 star(s)
Softness of Tips
4.00 star(s)
Stiffness of Tips
4.00 star(s)

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Joe Edson
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