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Duke 3 Synthetic - First Impressions

I wasn't looking for (yet) another brush when I perused the offerings at the St. Sue Auction, but when I saw that there was a Duke 3 Synthetic offered, I couldn't resist. I have owned and sold both a Chubby 2 Synthetic and a Trafalgar 2. Neither of those two suited me; the Chubby was too hard to splay and the T2 too prickly. But I have a fondness for Simpsons brushes and the opportunity to try the Duke 3 Synthetic was too hard to pass up.

The brush arrived today, and I couldn't tell if it had been previously used or not. It was packed in all of the original wrappings and to all appearances was brand new. The first surprise was its size - it is quite a bit smaller than I expected. I have owned Duke best badger brushes in both 2 and 3 sizes, but this appeared to be smaller than both. I put it next to my old Duke 2 handle that now holds a Full Moon synthetic knot and the Duke 3 is noticeably smaller. But that's OK for me as I enjoy small brushes as well as somewhat larger brushes up to about 26 mm. After that they're bigger than I prefer.

Not being an overly patient person, I decided to do a quick one pass shave with my new brush, even though I had shaved early this morning. Using Mike's Natural Orange, Cedarwood and Black Pepper soap I started loading the Duke 3. It built lather in no time at all, and I began to face lather. Splaying the brush was relatively easy but not as easy as with some of my other synthetic brushes, most notably my RazoRock Hive Mokasoft and my PAA Grey Hybrid (in a Yaqi Segrada Familia handle). On the other hand, it seems to have a bit more backbone and scrub than those two. I will do some comparison shaves over the next week or so to see if that first impression is accurate. All in all it was a very satisfying first outing.

This brush is definitely a keeper for me. Is it worth $80 - $100? Probably not, but since I was sending the money to fund breast cancer research, it wasn't an issue for me. If you want a Simpsons synthetic brush, it's the best I've tried. @Owen Bawn has stated that the M7 is the class of the Simpsons synthetic lineup, and he's probably correct, but now you're looking at a brush that is both expensive and hard to find.
 
Nice review.

The Chubby and Duke are my favorite synthetics. There's just something special with the platinum grade fibre used in these brushes.
 

ajkel64

The Aussie Basshole
Nice review on the brush. Thanks for taking part in the St Sue Auction and making a great donation to a very worthy cause.
 

Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
Simpson have recently listed some extraordinary synthetic limited editions. As of this morning there are Chubby 3's in the Sovereign Fibre with a few lovely handle resins, the M7 synth is in tortoiseshell, emerald, ruby, and sapphire, and there are some truly lovely Chubby 2 Platinum synths in beautiful resins. A Duke 3 synth in sapphire. Not to mention some gorgeous Limited Edition SiLVERTiP Duke 3 and Chubby 2 brushes. There's a cobalt Chubby 2 that I will find difficult to resist.

No need to thank me. I'm always willing to help you spend your money.
 
For what it's worth, today I tried a direct comparison between my new Duke 3 synthetic brush and my RazoRock Mokasoft Hive High Density synthetic brush. To make sure it was a fair comparison, I put an equal amount of shaving cream (Gillette Pure) on both brushes and proceeded to face lather with first the Duke on the right side and then the Hive on the left. My initial reaction was confirmed; the Duke had more backbone, but splaying it was less natural, and the Hive was generally softer and plusher. For the second pass I switched sides, but the feel of the brushes remained the same.

Some folks on the forum have disliked the Hive and found it too floppy. I don't agree with that assessment, but I can see where a brush like the Duke 3 synthetic would be more to their liking. I found both brushes to be a pleasure to use. Clearly the Hive is a better price/performance proposition but I'm very happy with my Duke 3 purchase. Now about that M7 ...
 

Owen Bawn

Garden party cupcake scented
So... after a solid month with the new Duke 3 synth, how's she cuttin'? Has it 'broken in' at all? My Duke and Chubby synthetic knots did indeed loosen up just a little bit after a dozen or so uses. And did I seduce you (or anyone else) into buying one of those exquisite M7 synthetics currently on offer at the Simpsons' mother ship?
 
So... after a solid month with the new Duke 3 synth, how's she cuttin'? Has it 'broken in' at all? My Duke and Chubby synthetic knots did indeed loosen up just a little bit after a dozen or so uses. And did I seduce you (or anyone else) into buying one of those exquisite M7 synthetics currently on offer at the Simpsons' mother ship?
I'm not sure how much the brush has changed versus how much I've become accustomed to the its properties and characteristics. It is very different from my other synthetic brushes, and I do enjoy the variety. That said, if I had to keep only one synthetic brush, I don't think I'd pick the Duke 3. But maybe I would; I always favor the brush I've used last.

I would have bought the M7 synthetic on the BST had I seen it sooner, but the retail prices for a new Simpsons M7 synthetic are too high for me. Now if you (or somebody else) lists one next year on the Saint Sue Auction, that would be another matter. It's an amount I'm willing to give to charity but not spend on another brush when I already have too many.
 
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