There was a time when “The Three T’s” of British shave creams–Trumper, Truefitt And Hill, and Taylor Of Old Bond Street–were the cream of the crop (if you’ll pardon the pun). These days, the landscape has changed and the competition is much more intense. Are they still relevant to today’s wet shaving aficionado?
Trumper, Truefitt And Hill (“T&H”), and Taylor Of Old Bond Street (“TOBS”) all have long histories of serving the British aristocracy. Let’s review briefly.
The Trumper website doesn’t describe their history(??). There is a Wikipedia entry though:
“Geo. F. Trumper is a British men’s barber and perfumer in London, England, which sells its own brand of men’s fragrances and personal grooming products. It was established in 1875 by George Francis William Trumper as a Gentlemen’s Barber Shop. George Trumper was not only an excellent barber but also a master perfumer, and he soon gained a reputation as such among the gentlemen of London’s elite….
In popular culture Evelyn Waugh refers to Geo. F. Trumper in his novel Brideshead Revisited, when he writes that Rex Mottram sends for a man from the establishment to shave Charles Ryder, Sebastian Flyte and Boy Mulcaster after they were held in jail on charges of driving while intoxicated.
In the James Bond novel On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Ian Fleming mentions a fragrance by Geo. F. Trumper, when Bond visits Marc-Ange Draco in Marseille and finds a bottle of Eucris in his bathroom.
In John le Carré’s novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, George Smiley is intercepted by a disagreeable minor character who had just had his hair cut at Trumper’s establishment in Curzon Street.
In the “How Does Your Garden Grow?” episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot (season 3, episode 1), Hercule Poirot is seen leaving Trumper’s Curzon Street shop after buying a fragrance there.”
Truefitt And Hill
From Truefitt And Hill’s (UK) website:
“Established in 1805, we remain the world’s oldest barbershop as stated in the Guinness Book of records and are barbers and Royal Warrant holders to H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh. Today’s product offering is the result of over 212 years of research and intimate customer relationships. Our knowledge and experience provide today’s man with an offering that is both sophisticated and practical. Gentlemen deserve the best in everything they do. If you are looking for the finest in men’s grooming, we are confident you will find Truefitt & Hill’s unmatched product quality and prestigious tradition unrivalled.”
Taylor Of Old Bond Street
From the TOBS’ UK website:
“Founded by the Taylor family in the 19th century, Taylor of Old Bond Street has been a family business and we are determined to keep it that way.
“Offering a full range of gentlemen’s grooming products and accessories, the Taylor tradition has always been to have products manufactured with as pure and natural ingredients as is practical. Today Taylor of Old Bond Street continues to uphold the same values as it did when it was first established – offering the widest possible range of grooming products at an affordable price, and the best quality of products.”
Second Wiki provides a little more detail:
“Taylor of Old Bond Street is a London – based barbershop and company dedicated to men’s grooming with natural products. It was founded on September 1, 1854 by Jeremiah Taylor. Its products include its famous traditional shaving creams for use with a brush , luxury handles for razors (rakes), aftershaves , botanical creams and shaving brushes .”
Popularity In Today’s Wet Shaving World
[Note: Amazon, Grooming Lounge, Smallflower, and West Coast Shaving links are affiliate.]
I decided to take a look at the relative popularity of “The 3 T’s” in the wet shaving world by looking at inventory lists of some of the major vendors in the wet shaving world where I could sort a list of shave creams by popularity.
First I looked at the “800 pound gorilla” of the online shopping world, Amazon. On the day I looked (mid August, 2021) here are the positions of a brand’s first appearance on their most popular shaving creams list, and the position number on the list:
Next I looked at a large wet shaving vendor, West Coast Shaving:
Maggard is another very popular wet shaving vendor, particularly with the price-sensitive wet shaving aficionado:
- TOBS Jermyn St. – 2
- Trumper Sandalwood – 20
- T&H Sandalwood – 33
Fendrihan doesn’t appear to carry T&H, but:
- TOBS Sandalwood – 1
- Trumper Coconut – 6
Grooming Lounge, a more “mainstream” shaving vendor:
Clearly TOBS shave creams, particularly Sandalwood, are still popular with both aficionados and even some of the more “mainstream” customers. I think it’s a fair guess that it’s due to–at least in part–TOBS’ “value” pricing (it’s worth noting that at one time all three of the “3 T’s” were actually blended at the same factory, though this is no longer the case). TOBS is also continuing to add scents to their line, combining “classic” blends with more modern takes.
T&H and Trumper now appear to be firmly in the “middle of the pack” of most lists. Their pricing and scent lineups have changed little over the years, or have fallen flat in popularity.
What do you think of “The 3 T’s” and their reputations? Might there be other explanations for what I’m seeing here? Leave a comment.