Today’s shave features a seasonal soap and aftershave pairing from Dr. Jon’s Shaving Soap Co. dubbed Krampus. I always look forward to seasonal, limited edition artisan releases and picked up Dr. Jon’s Krampus for my Christmas, general holiday, earlier winter soap and aftershave this year. Plus, I’m sucker for traditional myths with provocative histories and was further lured in by the exceptional label illustration by Jason Kincaid. Bravo on the marketing. My face feels good and healthy this morning with about three day’s worth of stubble. Let’s get this shave on.
Preparation: Hot shower
Razor: Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Symmetry Open Comb Safety Razor
Blade: Polsilver Super Iridium Double Edge Blade
Soap: Dr. Jon’s Shaving Soap Co. Krampus Shaving Soap
Finish: Dr. Jon’s Shaving Soap Co. Krampus Aftershave Tonic
A solid shave. Loading with the Sunrise/Goblet synthetic brush was a simple task from the dry, moderately firm Dr. Jon’s Krampus soap puck. The goblet shape of the aesthetically pleasing Whipped Dog resin handle fit comfortably in my hand while the Plisson-like knot quickly loaded plenty of dense, soapy paste between its fibers in about 15 seconds with a slight amount of puck foam generated on the metal container. The consistency of the Krampus puck is more firm and preferable to the cake batter-like texture of their previously released offerings. I hope this more firm consistency makes it’s way to the rest of the Dr. Jon’s soap range. I applied a finger’s worth of puck foam to my moist and freshly showered face, then began a face lather with a few paintbrush-style strokes to coat. With about 20 seconds of swirling and a couple dips of the brush tips into the hot water reserve, a creamy, moderately dense, and quite slick Dr. Jon’s Krampus lather built with relative ease. Having learned from previous shave with Krampus, the water to product ratio is tight as it seemed easy to over do it with water resulting in a looser, less dense lather. Getting the water ratio right is not difficult, but something to be mindful of when whipping up a Dr. Jon’s lather. The 24mm Sunrise knot felt soft but firm to my face and was a welcomed change from my other Plisson synthetics. While I only have completed about a dozen shaves with the Sunrise, I’m beginning to prefer it over my french Plisson synthetics as I appreciate the hardier feel of the chinese knot that seems to release lather equally well.
I completed my standard two pass shave, one pass straight down my face, then one straight up from neck to cheek. Then, I picked up any whisker stragglers with a bit of freestyle touching up. I find this shave strategy superior to the often suggested and overly complicated “growth mapping” approach where each pass focuses on with the grain, across the grain, and against the grain strokes where you are likely to be shaving in all different directions in different sections of your face within each pass. Although, it is still important to know the direction of your facial hair growth for freestyle touching-up to achieve a supremely close shave. While I have a relatively dense beard, my skin thankfully has the fortitude to endure shaving in any growth direction on the beginning pass.
The Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements Symmetry razor gave a keen shave paired with the notably sharp and smooth Polsilver Super Iridium blade. I appreciate the firm grip and heft that the PAA brass handle provides and the diagonal pattern to the chromed knurling is pleasing to my eye. The Pearl open comb head gives a moderately aggressive shave with plenty of blade exposed to the face at the proper angle. The PAA Symmetry satisfies and is often my cutting implement of choice when I have more than a couple day’s worth of growth. The Dr. Jon’s Krampus lather performed quite well offering a very slick shaving surface with an adequately protective glide. I did acquire two small weepers below my jawline, but nothing that required any alum or styptic product. While Dr. Jon’s Krampus lather performed well, I did begin to feel a slight burning/stinging sensation from the soap by my second pass that intensified from that point forward until the final rinse. This sensation was not a show stopper for me, but was somewhat unpleasant nonetheless. This was my sixth shave with Dr. Jon’s Krampus, and I experienced the same skin reaction from each previous shave which makes me think that there is an ingredient in the formula or perhaps an oil used for the scent that my otherwise hardy facial skin does not agree with. With the final rinse, the mild burning sensation subsided and my skin felt soft and smooth. Unfortunately, my face did feel a bit on the dry side during the postshave, another consistent result from each shave with Dr. Jon’s Krampus.
The scent of Dr. Jon’s Krampus off the puck was robust and syrupy with an assault of nondescript berry sweetness and light hints of anise. The scent experience evolved as I warmed up the lather and throughout the shave to include a richer, still sweet, but more natural honey fragrance that was eventually overwhelmed by a deeper anise (black liquorice) aroma. The anise scent dominated the final third of the shave. While the label denotes additional scent components of myrrh and cider, I did not experience any tree resin/benzoin-like notes nor any apple or spice generally associated with cider although these notes may have simply been overpowered by the exceedingly strong, sweet berry scent at the start and equally heavy anise component towards the end of the shave. While I was hoping the synergy of the marketed scent profile would please, it simply did not evoke any holiday cheer. It’s just not a fragrance that I associate with the Christmas season. That said, Dr. Jon’s Krampus is a unique addition to my shave den and I’m happy that I experienced it this year.
I finished the shave off with a dosing of Dr. Jon’s Soap Co. Krampus aftershave tonic. After removing the cap, my nose told me to check the label to ensure that I did not accidentally grab a bottle of Robitussin. Nope, it was Krampus. Upon initial application, I felt an exceedingly strong alcohol burn that slowly settled out to a moderately soothing menthol sensation. The robust, syrupy sweet berry fragrance filled my nostrils, and the house, but rather quickly subsided to a slightly more appealing, but very mild honey/cider aroma. I did not experience any of the anise scent found in the Krampus shaving soap or any of the other notes mentioned in the marketed scent profile. During the dry down, my skin did calm a bit more and felt quite soft and nourished after about 10 minutes. My face clearly appreciated the additions of aloe, alum, glycerine, and rose water to the tonic formula. It’s good to see another aftershave product on the market that includes these skin nourishing components rather than just another fragranced alcohol. With that, I was ready for the day.
Closeness – 4
Irritation – 4
Wounds – 4
Overall – 4 While a solid shave, a less than merry experience.
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