Parker 89R First Impression & Comparison

IMG_20140423_134756It has been a while since I have picked up a new razor, so when my latest addition, the Parker 89R arrived – I was excited to give it a go. However, as I have been attempting to do, I wanted to give it a First Impression run down before giving it a trial run in the shave den. In addition to the first impression I like to compare my new razor with current favourites or go to razors in my collection. I decided to use two additional razors for comparison here, the Edwin Jagger 89lbl - arguably my favourite razor, along with the Merkur “1904″ Classic – the razor that got me started in wet shaving. Using these two for comparison should provide a decent look at what I guess I would call entry level to intermediate level razors.

First Look

2

Parker 89R, Edwin Jaggger 89lbl, & Merkur “1904″

Right off the bat the first thing I notice with the Parker 89R is the handle. It’s smooth design really stands out and is quite different than my other razors, like the EJ 89lbl and “1904″ classic that each have a design pattern on them. Next to the handle it was the weight of the Parker 89R that stood out. Without comparing it to my other razors, my first reaction was that this razor was considerable heavier than most, if not all of my other razors with the exception of perhaps my only other Parker razor the 92R. You will find that some websites refer to this razor as being Super Heavy Weight, but the Parker website doesn’t have it listed as such. Either way it has quite a nice weight to it. Comparing it to the Edwin Jagger I would say that, by feel alone, the Parker feels slightly more substantial.

Assembly

3All three razors that I am comparing have the three piece design. No real advantage to one over the other really. The Parker 89R seems to have a quality build to it. The handle screwed in nice to the cutting head without any slipping or suggestion of it loosening. Overall what one would expect from the a three piece design.

The Handle

4I touched on the handle a bit above but just to take a closer look you can see that there are essentially three different design features to the handle – the divot type grip that circles the handle seems to provide an comfortable, slip free area to place your thumb (I’ll comment on it further in the review of the razor to see how it handles when wet). Above and below the divot there is a squared pattern that, depending how you hold your razor, provides some grip for you forefinger. And of course the nub on the end of the handle provides a nice hefty area to balance and support your little finger.

Compared to the other two razors I would have to say that I still prefer the look and feel of the Edwin Jagger 89lbl. There is something about the line pattern that creates a nice balance between design and functionality.

Parker 89R, Edwin Jagger 89lbl, Merkur "1904"

Parker 89R, Edwin Jagger 89lbl, Merkur “1904″

The other major difference in the handles is of course the length. The Parker has a much longer handle than the Merkur “1904″, and only slightly longer than the Edwin Jagger. The length of the handle really comes down to personal preference. I actually enjoy the shorter handled razors, I feel like they provide me with a bit more control, something I wouldn’t have imagined prior to entering the wet-shaving world. However, for those of you how are looking to make your first double edge razor purchase and are a bit hesitant about changing too many things at once then you may find the transition to something like the Parker 89R a bit easier to make. Additionally if you have larger hands you may also want to consider the longer handle of the 89R over some other options.

The Cutting Head

6When I first took a look at the cutting head of the Parker I was convinced that it was identical to the Edwin Jagger 89lbl that I had sitting in my shave cabinet, but on closer inspection there is definitely a difference, at least in it’s construction. The Edwin Jagger seems to have a more rounded bottom to it, where the Parker angles up at each end.

The biggest difference between the three cutting heads has to be the blade exposure – specifically that of the Parker. I would say that I was more than a bit surprised to see the gap that the Parker provided (click on the image to get a better idea). Having not used it I would imagine that my first experience with it will be an aggressive one. In fact, the gap is so great that I would hesitate suggestion this as a first razor without a quick tutorial on razor aggressiveness.

Final Thoughts

My final thought on the Parker 89r razor before actually judging it based on it’s performance is that I am excited to give it ago. I’m curious about how well the handle will perform with wet hands. I’m excited by the weight of the razor – the balance feels good to the touch and I hope it continues with the shave. But what I am most looking forward to is finding out how aggressive this razor actually is. When I ordered it I didn’t expect an aggressive razor, part of me hopes that it is.

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Knockout Shave Outdoorsman & Complicated

IMG_20140417_163308So I finally got around to using my last two samples from Knockout Shave – their Outdoorsman scent and their Complicated scent. Believe it or not work and family life have been getting in the way of reviewing shaving products. Perhaps it was the sun showing its face for the last week or so but things have seemed to have calmed down and I have been able to get back to the keyboard, and the shave den, (a.k.a. the upstairs bathroom).

My first two experiences with Knockout Shave creams were fantastic – great scents, great lather, and great final product. The same can be said of my final two samples. I’m not going to go into detail in regards to the lathering of these creams, you can take a look at my two other reviews for the enjoyable lather that they produced. Instead I will focus on describing their scent and overall quality of the shave.

The Outdoorsman

IMG_20140417_163142Ratings:
Value: 7
Cushion: 10
Slickness: 9
Scent Pleasantness: 8
Scent Strength (balance): 9
Moisturising: 9

As the name suggests this shave cream brings with it images of the outdoors. Officially the scent is described as having clary sage, cypress, basil, grapefruit, bay, and spruce essential oils. What stands out for me is the spruce – it is nicely balanced, not overpowering at all but definitely the driving force behind this cream. With a bit more focus / concentration the bay and basil scents really came through. The Outdoorsman provides a nice departure from some of the more perfumey scents out there, but it may not be for everyone. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t see myself reaching for it on a daily basis, I would more than likely reach for Citrus of Paradise before the Outdoorsman. Of course that is a personal preference based solely on the scent, the performance of the cream was, as described earlier, fantastic.

Complicated Scent

IMG_20140417_163208Ratings:
Value: 7
Cushion: 10
Slickness: 9
Scent Pleasantness: 9
Scent Strength (balance): 9
Moisturising: 9

The complicated scent is very different to the Outdoorsman, it actually provided an interesting comparison between the two very different scents. If the Outdoorsman provided images of being in the great outdoors, then I would have to say that the Complicated Scent was a bit like being in a really clean candy shop. The sweet smell of the cream has a freshness to it that makes for a great way to start the day. The combination of Sweet Orange and Grapefruit along with oak moss and lavender (along with a few other scents) works great. However, like the Outdoorsman, I can see some people feeling that the scent is a bit too much for them. Preferring something a bit more ‘manly’. Your best solution would be to pick up one of each then you should be set regardless of you mood.

My overall experience with all of the Knockout Shave creams has been fantastic, regardless of scent. The lather was great, the shaves were close and comfortable, and my face felt fantastic after each shave. Some may balk at the price, but the extra few dollars is definitely worth the experience.  For more info checkout the Knockout Shave website.

Tool used in images:
Edwin Jagger 89lbl
Edwin Jagger Best Badger Brush
Merkur 37C
Vie-Long Horse Hair Brush
Bakelite Slant

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Lucky Tiger After Shave and Face Tonic

IMG_20140331_122430My initial reaction to Lucky Tiger After Shave and Face Tonic was that it felt like I was using an essential oil rather than an aftershave. There wasn’t any sting when I applied the tonic, and the liquid felt a bit thicker when I applied it to my face. It was refreshing but in a different way than the Clubman Pinaud (last months after shave). After taking a look at the bottle and confirming online, Lucky Tiger After Shave is an alcohol free after shave, which I have to admit I may prefer over an alcohol based aftershave. Sure, in a sick way, feeling the sting from the alcohol is oddly pleasing, but I would imagine your face would disagree.

If you are looking for something that will provide a long lasting scent then you need to look somewhere else. For the most part I found that the gratification from the citrus scented tonic (officially orange, tangerine and grapefruit – the actual scent is a bit difficult to describe but the combination of the mentioned scents is balanced really well and is not overpowering at all – one really needs to smell this stuff to fully appreciate it) came in the pouring into your palms and applying to your face. After my first application I immediately headed down the stairs to have my wife have a smell but it was already too late. I have to admit that I really enjoy the Lucky Tiger After Shave and Face Tonic scent, and I do wish that it would linger just a bit longer, but if you are someone who uses cologne this may be something you are looking for – an after shave that will not compete with your cologne of choice.

I found that the Lucky Tiger left my skin feeling really fresh and free of any lasting oily feeling, giving it top marks for moisturizing. I’m sure that the Aloe Vera component of the tonic is partially responsible for such a great feeling.

IMG_20140331_122406I’m sure that there are after shave products out there that may provide a ‘healthier’ option for your skin care, but the Lucky Tiger After Shave and Face Tonic can’t be far behind. Another thing to consider is the fantastic packaging of the bottle – who doesn’t want that on you bathroom sink? Only thing that would make it better is if it was a glass bottle (I know, safety, safety, safety). Again if you are looking for an after shave with a strong, lasting scent, then you need to look somewhere else. However, if you are looking for a product that will soothe your skin, provide protection, and not break the bank then you should give Lucky Tiger a try.

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Proraso Red Sandalwood Shave Soap

proraso redRatings:
Value: 10
Cushion: 9
Slickness: 8
Scent Pleasantness: 9
Scent Strength (balance): 9
Moisturising: 9

 

I finally picked up a tub of Proraso Red Sandalwood shave soap and if you have read some of my other Proraso shave cream/soap reviews you will know that I have a special affinity to all things Proraso. Some times I wonder if I am blinded by the fact that Proraso Green was the first “proper” shave cream that I ever purchased and as a result I am forever linked to the Proraso brand. proraso redOr, perhaps it is due to the fact that it is a fine Italian made product and my Italian heritage blinds me to any faults. The more likely explanation is that the company ensures that they put out a quality product.

Like my experience with Proraso Green and Blue, the Red lather was easy to build, a rather enjoyable task actually, a good way to wake yourself up. In addition to the ease in creating a nice lather I found, as with the other Proraso products, that it provided a really nice shave surface. My blade had a nice layer of cushion, if I had to find a fault it might be that the lather wasn’t quite as slick as some other creams, but that is not to say it didn’t provide an adequate amount of slickness.

The scent of the Proraso Sandalwood shave soap is quite pleasant. I had a tube of Geo F. Trumper Sandalwood sitting in my shave cabinet so I decided to compare the two. Before getting into wet shaving I can honestly say that I had never come across DSC_0185sandalwood anything, or if I did I had no idea, happily I am now aware. The Proraso has a nice balance, not overpowering at all, it providing a nice experience while shaving. The scent didn’t linger very long after the shave, but I’m not sure how important that really is. Compared to the Geo F. Trumper I would say that the Proraso Sandalwood has a more earthy or natural feel to it, where as the Geo. had a bit more of a perfume-y scent to it. I preferred the Proraso over the Geo.

One thing I cannot really comment on is the fact that the Proraso Sandalwood is formulate for “Barbe Dure” or Tough Beards. I would say that my beard is average, I would love to hear from anyone who has used Proraso Red and would classify their beards as being tough (comments are open).

Overall I enjoyed my week or so with the tub of Proraso Red Sandalwood shave soap, which for the record, although it is classified as a soap it was a bit of a creamy feel to it, you will understand what I mean if you pick this up. I wouldn’t say that the Red is my favourite scent of the three Proraso soaps/creams that I have used, that would have to go to Blue, but Red is a close second.

Tools in images:
Merkur 37C
Vie-Long Horse Hair Brush

 

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