Well, the day began like any other day. I arrived at the HTGAM compound and noticed the mail had already been fetched. Walking up the stairs I could hear a commotion – Already? Upon putting my key in the door everything fell to a sudden, deliberate hush. I could hear a rustling of papers and frantic whispers. I jumped into the room in mock Kung-Fu fashion. That usually put a smile on everybody’s face…but not today. The crew seemed nervous and acting quite suspicious, and that’s when I noticed a white dot of a cream like substance on the tip of the new guy Bobby’s nose…busted.
Taking The First Sniff Of RazoRock XX
The classic noobie prank had been played yet again. “Part of your job description is opening up the boss’s mail, for safety reasons.”
It looked as though my RazoRock XX had arrived. What I found out later is Jim unscrewed the lid and encouraged Bobby to give it a good whiff. On compliance, Jim began to twist it into poor unsuspecting Bobby’s face, in true middle school bully fashion. I faked a stern look and held back a giggle.
“Well Bobby, how is it?”
“It smells of…um, Italy, and tastes of belladonna.” Convinced I was satisfied with his description he excused himself and scurried off towards the bathroom.
I gave the rest of the crew another scolding look, shook my head, and scooped up the desecrated jar of RazoRock XX. Having never been to Italy I couldn’t verify Bobby’s initial call, but it did smell Mediterranean and old world manly to me. If my vacation daydreams were perfumed, this would be it.
Having not yet shaved today I decided to give it a test run at the office. On my way to the bathroom Bobby guiltily shuffled past me in the hall. I made the two finger “I’m watching you” sign and then smiled. It’s good to be the king.
I keep a few razors and brushes kicking around here for occasions such as this. I decided on using the Gillette Red Tip and a Silver Tip Kent BK4. I filled the sink to heat up a ceramic lather bowl, placing the razor and the brush in it under the hot water tap. I took a pinch of RR about the size of an almond, emptied the bowl and dropped it in. I then gave the brush a gentle squeeze and began to load it in a frenetic circular motion. The scent bloomed as did the lather.
After a minute of loading the brush I gleefully began to create some solid suds on my face. This was a real pleasure, the RazoRock XX lather proved thick with very noticeable peaks - time to shave.
I chose to use a new Feather Blade which I find works quite well in the hefty little Red-Tip. My first downward pass was just what I have come to expect from Joe’s fine artisan crafted soaps, smooth. The soap gave great glide and great shield; the blade skimmed along without incident across the surface of my skin. No drag as if I was already a pass in…nice. Excited to get this review on paper I quickly finished up and slapped on some aftershave balm. I grabbed the jar and threw it into my backpack, slipped on my jacket and was out the door without even a goodbye to the moustache mafia. They all knew where I was going, that is all of them except for Bobby, who probably interpreted it as anger. I love this job!
I was on rout to my favorite Italian Coffee Shop to put my impressions down on paper while fueled by a rather thematic espresso.
I sat in the corner of the coffee shop, my usual table, eyes trained on the door. I learned this from The Godfather. Like a method actor I was getting into the character of the soap…or just procrastinating. Lap-top open and jar of RazoRock XX in hand, I could feel the espresso coursing through me. I opened the lid held it up to my nose and with the blind abandonment of a Benzedrine addict I took a giant sniff. Again I was transported away.
I’m not sure how long the jar was under my schnoz, but gathering by all the concerned stares I was now getting from the clientele, I would imagine it was awhile. A little boy and his dad looked on more amused than horrified by my behavior. I tipped my hat and gave them a wink.
This review was originally meant to be your standard, cut and dry shaving soap review, no more and no less. And it would have if I’d simply stayed at my desk to write it. While engrossed in my article, head down and nose pressed to the screen for I forgot my specs in the bathroom back at the office in all the hurry- I could sense someone watching. I raised my head over my laptop and squinted my eyes adjusting them and there before me in the once empty chair sat a very serious little boy. I said hello and eyed his father who still sat at the table across the way wearing a smile.
“What are you doing mister?” he asked with very real concern, and then introduced himself as Bobby. I have made it this far in life because I know there is no such thing as coincidences.
“Why Bobby I am writing a shaving soap review. You may have heard of me, my name is Douglas Smythe.” I answered in my best Willie Wonka tone and grabbed his tiny hand while he at the same time shook his head as to answer my question.
Surely I must have looked a tad bizarre; my moustache drooping and wet from the shave, remnants of soap still glistening and clinging to my whiskers. Self-conscious of this, I dabbed at it with the back of my sleeve.
“Are you a writer?” he prodded
“Yes I am and a wet shaving one at that!” I answered proudly and stroked my chin.
“Wow, can I help?” he asked this louder, intentionally for his dad to overhear and take interest. I thought for a moment and gave a questioning look to his pop. He smiled and nodded.
Why certainly.” I replied now unscrewing the lid of the RazoRock again. I told him to close his eyes and take a whiff and then tell me what images came to mind. He did just that.
He closed his eyes and took a really big snuffle. A smile slowly grew across his face and his eyes remained closed. He was somewhere else. A few moments past before he spoke again and when he did I am almost certain it was in haiku. Clearly Bobby was a very old soul and would probably win the Noble Prize someday soon, or find the cure for color blindness. Definitely not related to my Bobby.
“The end of summer,
A park near the beach.
I smell it all at the same time.
I even hear a bird singing
And I feel like I know the song…but I don’t.”
“Was that good?” he opened his eyes now deliciously grinning. I stared at him not sure if I should snap my fingers or kiss the feet of the next Buddha.
“Yes my little fellow, that was just perfect.”
He then switched back to his now familiar serious voice and asked me to tell him all about wet shaving. His dad, now more curious of the scene that just played out, finally traipsed over and joined in on the conversation with the little boy and the guy who possibly just got his son stoned.
When it was clear that I was not a threat I delved into my typical miming act and rant on traditional wet shaving. Before they left I scooped out a little RazoRock XX and wrapped it in the wax paper that came with my muffin. I gave it to the little boy and explained to both him and his dad how to use and unleash the power of it. I referred them to some forums and a few websites.
The man was very excited and grateful. He announced to both his son and I that they would be picking up a shaving brush on their way home. His son’s eyes grew wide as if shaving brush was another word for ice cream. They both thanked me and left on their way.
I waved good bye to them both and then crumpled up the first draft of my review and began anew, freshly shaven and inspired.
RazoRock XX is a jar of magic, a traditional, hot process, soft artisan shave soap. The scent is classic and very masculine. The after the shave moisturizing effect is long lasting and very protecting. I contribute that to the addition of argan oil, not usually found in shaving soap but normally in conditioners, moisturizers and body soaps. Bravo Italian Barber and thank you for the olfactory holiday, expect a postcard!