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Brush Break-In Chronicles: Simpsons Colonel vs Valobra, RR Chianti, Erasmic

I've been researching a good quality badger brush for a while now and decided that either a Simpsons Colonel or Rooney 2/1 would fit the bill. http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showth...Style-2-Size-1-vs-Simpsons-Colonel?highlight=
I pulled the trigger on the Colonel and to celebrate the purchase I decided to get a few creams/soaps that I haven't tried. I decided on Valobra Shave Stick, Razor Rock Chianti Lavendar soft soap, and Erasmic cream.
I've "payed my dues" with boars, pure badgers, hair, and mixed boar/badger. Though I consider all of my brushes to be great performers, The Colonel is my first "luxurious" badger brush and I wanted to chronicle the start of my journey with this brush.

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Initial break-in: 15 minute soak in warm water, and worked an Omega cream lather (I've found the menthol helps neutralizes the badger funk). I let it sit in the cream for another 10 minutes. After that, I rinsed out the brush and dried by gently squeezing the remaining water and tenderly brushing it on a fresh terry cloth towel. I left the brush alone for an hour or so before I shaved with it. There are many other great ways to initially break-in a brush (mostly to neutralize the scent) but Simpson brushes don't exhibit such a pungent badger funk as much as other brands.

Shave #1 Cream: Valobra Shave Stick. http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Valobra-Sapone-Per-Barba-Hard-Shave-Stick_p_189.html
Scent: Clean, light vanilla-almond, subtle Ivory Soap, with a hint of fresh dairy type scent.
Soap Performance: Very creamy and thick, contains vitamin E and lecithin providing a luxurious feel on your skin. Equal balance of cushion and slickness. I'm very impressed with it's performance and it's most notable quality was how great my skin felt afterwards. It felt refreshed, soft, and moisturized.
Colonel's performance: This is what I've been waiting for. The first thing I noticed was how ergonomic the handle is. It felt comfortable holding the handle towards the bottom when loading in a mug (I couldn't resist bowl lathering a little bit). However, I usually hold the handle right below the loft for better control when lathering on my face.
The first time the brush touched my face I was impressed with the super soft but comfortable scrubbiness of the best badger. I tend to favor brushes that have an exfoliating effect. Though I enjoy the scritchiness of my Special in pure, the Colonel allowed me to give my face a relaxing rub using a circular motion without the pronounced scritch of a pure.
Now, when it came to backbone I wouldn't say the colonel is floppy but I wouldn't say it's super stiff either. It's in between, which can be viewed as a quality or flaw. It's a quality in my book. It adds versatility to the brush. As much as I enjoyed the gentle massage I was really impressed with how evenly I was able to distribute the soap when using the paint brush motion.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Colonel's initial performance and I know with a little more time it's going to get better.
Great reading Krona. Excellent reviews and well written. Your observations are spot on to my own. I can´t add any more substantial information- on both the soap and the brush.
Congratulations on your new brush! Thanks for the great review. Please post a picture of the brush showing post-shave bloom.
Great review. I look forward to your chronicles.

I think the Colonel was the right choice vs. the Rooney. I have both (but my Rooney is a 3/1) and I find the Rooney to be much softer than my Colonel which may not fit what you were looking for. I agree that the Colonel while it isn't floppy is a little less dense/backbone feeling than my Rooney. I think though my Rooney has a pretty short loft and is very dense so I'm not sure if the model you were looking at would be different.
I think a Rooney will be my next purchase, my curiosity is killing me and have my eye on a 1/1. I wouldn't mind a softer texture as long as it has a stiff backbone.
Another thing I didn't mention about the Colonel is that it only lost 1 hair and I know to expect a few others as it breaks-in.
Tonight or tomorrow morning will be my next shave using the Razor Rock Chianti. Stay tuned............
I wouldn't mind a softer texture as long as it has a stiff backbone..

Krona, I am going to chase you in all the threads where you have posted until you have got either a chubby or a duke. However, back to the Colonel now. Looking forward on them updates. :001_cool:
You make it sound & look good there Krona. I've been having to restrain myself with all those spring brushes that have come up for sale lately on BST. Man, o man there have been some good to spectacualr deals. Have to not go and get infected with SBAD.
Congratulations on your new brush! Thanks for the great review. Please post a picture of the brush showing post-shave bloom.

Here it is post-bloom:
Shave #2 Soap/Cream: Razor Rock Chianti Lavendar. http://www.westcoastshaving.com/RazoRock-Artisan-Shave-Soap-125ml--Chianti-Lavender_p_1262.html
Presentation: It comes in a standard round container as a square block. It's consistency is that of soft play-doh. You can transfer it to another container and mold it in or cut it if you'd like. I chose to keep in the container by getting wax paper and a cup and pressing it down until it was nicely compressed.
Scent: There are different kind of lavendar scents. Though I don't have the most "refined" nose I find lavender to have a variety of scents. I categorize lavender into a few kind of scents: Industrial cleaner (like Fabuloso cheap pinesol), smokey (like incense), perfumey (like the hints of it you catch from perfumes and colognes), and herbal (like if it came straight from the fields).
When I got the soap I have to admit I opened the container and gave it a good smell as I drove back home through our mountain roads. My first impression of it was, Oh, it smells like lavender. However, I realized the scent is more complex than that. I'd categorize the scent as being of the herbal variety and though the scent is not as potent as other lavenders, it's not weak by any means.
On this damp and cold S. California mountain morning, the scent was relaxing and was an ideal way to start a casual Memorial Day weekend.
Performance: It's a tallow based soft soap and it provided the cushion that tallow based soaps/creams are know for. Very luxurious. You can make mounds of lather with a small bit of this soap. I've been impressed by RazorRock's line and at the price point it's a great deal considering that the quality is equal to, and must I admit, better than some English creams (TOBS, Trufitt & Hill).
Colonel's Performance: When I loaded the soft soap, I had a little trouble shaking enough water off of the Colonel and did about 20 soft laps on the soap. I worked up a lather on my scuttle and my first pass was a little too wet but adjusted nicely on the following pass. I'm really enjoying the scrubby massage I've been getting and have been spending more time shaving now. The heat retention of the Colonel is superb and I'm finding its versatility to softly scrub and evenly paint cream on my face to be a great quality. I'm finding the backbone to be a happy medium between floppy and stiffness which probably contributes to it's ability to brush and massage.
The handle is really growing on me. As pictured above, its ergonomic shape allows me to have control of the brush as the base of the brush rests on my palm.
No shedding today and the scent is steadily subsiding but still apparent. I did notice one thing that I haven't seen in other brushes I have. It's taking longer for the brush to dry. I use the same methods of gently squeezing, lightly shaving, and tenderly scrubbing the brush on a fresh towel before being put away on one of my open shelves to air out. It usually takes 12-16 hours for most of my brushes to dry out but I noticed that the Colonel took a little longer than that.
Overall, another great shave and on a side note, got a great ACS (aggressive-comfortable shave) using my Big Boy Deluxe with a Ladas blade.
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Shave #3 Cream: Erasmic Lather Cream. http://www.westcoastshaving.com/Erasmic-Lather-Shave-Cream_p_354.html
Presentation: Aluminum tube in cardboard box.
This one's a bit tricky. It smells like your standard clean manly scent you find in Suave products. It's not bad but when I smelled it it took me back to the 80's when I'd smell my brothers' Mennen deodorant sticks seeping from the bathroom. It's not a repulsive scent and it's a YMMV thing. Not a luxurious scent though but I'm not turned off by it.
Performance: Your standard dollop size will create plenty of lather. It lathers quickly and the scent lightens up a bit too. Each time it lathered it felt very slick with pleasant results. However, my skin felt a little dry afterwards but not in an uncomfortable way. I'll still use it for variety and for 3.99 it's not bad for travel or to pass down as a PIF.
Colonel's Performance: I've bonded with the brush and realize that it can be a bit of a lather hog but for it's performance and luxurious feel it's a keeper, for sure. I'd recommend it for someone looking for solid best badger brush that will work with whatever you throw at it. It will bowl lather, face lather, swirl and paint your face like it's nobody's business.
For it's third shave, it lost another hair (two so far) but it's to be expected and the badger funk is steadily disappearing and I expect to be gone after about another 5-7 days of use.
I love this brush, but it's sparked my SBAD....................
Depending on my budget, either another Simpsons or Rooney is next, or maybe a Vie-Long or an Omega Silvertip..............or maybe all of them.
That is nice to hear about the SBAD, I would go for a 2-band next, Rooney heritage, Morris and Forndran blonde, or Shavemac D01. I have the latter 2 brushes and love them both. Simpsons 2-band would work as well.
Very nice updates on the brush & the various creams & soaps. They do push the "buy now" temptation over the edge however.
Oh yeah, out of all of the creams/soaps tested I'd say that Valobra had the best overall performance. It's the best soap stick I've tried so far. Scent wise, the RR Chianti was a winner. For the price point, you can't find a better soft soap and I'm going to test out more of the RR line. Erasmic was good but nothing to write home about. As I mentioned, I will use it for travel and/or as a PIF.
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