The Best of 2013

Now that Christmas is behind us, our sights are squarely set on ringing in the New Year. Bye bye 2013. Hello 2014. But, before I completely put this year behind me, it’s inevitable that I reflect on all that occurred.

I found that I tapped into my grooming side a bit more this year and you may have noticed that in the number of stories I published. I discovered some great products and just had to share them. Here are a few of my favorites:

Best of 2013 Grooming

Without question, the one item that overhauled my morning shave was the Fog Free Shower Mirror by ShaveWell. After searching for one and stumbling across this one, it was the best purchase I made in 2013. The return on investment continues to yield benefits.

Since I’m spending more time in hot showers, I’m paying extra attention to my skin and making sure I don’t allow my eczema to flair up. Rod’s Royal is a new men’s grooming line that’s been nothing short of impressive. Their body lotion is excellent. While it’s thick, which some guys run from, it quickly works it’s way into your skin leaving it feeling hydrated without feeling greasy.

One of the arguments often used to sway men to jump over to using safety razors is the dramatic price difference to using cartridges. Well you can now add to that Razor Shield by Hyd for Men. This solution, which is applied to your razor after every use, extends its life by protecting it against oxidation.  I extended the life of my razor or 25 days. Not bad for a product that costs $17.99.

Hailing from Toronto, Canada and made for vagabonds, gentlemen, and ruffians is Crown Shaving Company – an absolute gem of a brand. From the first time I applied their shaving cream to my face with my badger brush, I knew I was using something special. The way it hugged my face, the way my blade glided across my face with ease, it’s masculine scent and luxurious feel all had me hooked from day one. Hands down the best I’ve tried all year.

The surprise of the year came from Lucky Tiger’s Liquid Shave Cream. I was asked to review it for customshaving.com and I was skeptical from the beginning.  As I said in my review, “this liquid savior produced a thin sheet of slickness that rivals any of your trusted shave creams.”

In another year that saw a lot of fragrance releases, I fell in love with few. The ones that did catch my attention, however, I wore repeatedly.

Best of 2013 Fragrance

I’ve never been a fan of the signature scent thing but Royal Vintage is one scent that could make me change that. With its traditional masculine appeal, it’s a throwback sans the heavy bravado. What I particularly love is that it can be worn for any occasion. Once you try; you won’t want to leave home without.

Cumin can be a troubling note for many but it’s one of my favorites. Fate Man by Amouage serves a nice punch of cumin in it’s opening but the unexpected twists subsequent layers reveal made this a standout for me. The way saffron, mandarin, ginger, and animalic notes are balanced is impressive.

A citrus scent that’s clean, possesses depth and lasts all damn day is what you get from Thirdman’s collection of scents. Eau de Nomade was my scent this summer. I wore it daily and for good reason. As I said in my review, “…it’s Sicilian lemon, blood orange and cardamom (notes) are beautifully balanced and what you get is a zesty, slightly sweet and tantalizingly warm, scent that’s far from your average summer cologne.”

Sometimes you smell a scent and the first thing that comes to mind is this is interesting or this is boring. The first time I smelled Enigma by Roja Dove, I thought to myself, this deserves a well-fitted suit and freshly polished brogues. It possesses a refined masculinity. Its boozy slightly peppery opening is reminiscent of a firm handshake. But as it quiets down and the tobacco and ambergris comes to the forefront, it exudes a quiet confidence. I love how masculine this scent is. It’s familiar but its cadence is in a league of it’s own.

One of the scent subplots of 2013 was booze and it played a supporting role in Atelier Cologne’s Gold Leather. As oppose to cognac, they chose rum, which added to the sweet warmth of Gold Leather’s opening. What did it for me with this scent was the use of eucalyptus as it offered an unexpected freshness to the weighted notes of saffron, agarwood, leather, cedar and guaiac wood. The result – a unique take on leather scents defies the usual suspects. Personally I think it was one of the slept on scents of 2013.

There you have it – my best of 2013. To see what made the cut of my fragrant colleagues, please visit Eyeliner On A CatCandy Perfume BoyOlfactoria’s Travels and Persolaise.

Happy New Year!

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9 responses to “The Best of 2013

  1. Thanks very much for another year of happy joint-list-making, Barney :-)

    I see you went for Fate Man. I knew that would be a polarising creation.

    All the best for 2014!

  2. Off to find me a Lucky Tiger. Web-hunting is ecologically sound! I like your men’s grooming tips. The reason I am into wet-shaving is the lack of noise. Who needs to start their day with an electronic buzzing razor?

    I was sure Fate Man would be Best in Show for me as I wear it most days. I drink morning coffee at a local cafe. The accountant in the office upstairs came down to see where the burning incense was coming from. I didn’t tell him it was me but I do like to wear that one on a hot hot day. Puredistance BLACK did knock it to second place, but only in my opinion, and with some reluctance.

    Looking forward to trying the ‘firm handshake’ that is Royal Vintage. I have yet to walk down the M. Micallef Road so I will start at the RV address.

    • Jordan, Lucky Tiger really surprised me and I love when that happens. It produces a great lather and I never expected it.

      I’ve sampled Puredistance Black but not to the point where I can offer an opinion. I do remember liking it, however.

      A lot of people compare Royal Vintage to Creed’s Aventus. If you like the latter, I think you’ll like it.

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it. Happy New Year to you.

  3. Nice list, B! I haven’t fallen in love with a Micallef since Black Sea (long discontinued, sadly, it was the only marine-type fragrance I’ve ever loved), so it’s nice to see that you’ve given one of their masculines some attention.

    I wanted to mention this to you- for Christmas I gave my husband a Chidoriya shaving set (soap and brush) that I got from Beauty Habit- and he LOVES it. Have you tried that one yet? My husband is getting more into the grooming thing too- as long as I keep giving him cool stuff, he’ll keep on being amazed by it. :)

    I need to catch up on my Atelier Cologne releases- there are MANY that look pretty darn good- and based on the quality of all the others I’ve tried, I think I’ve got reason to look forward to it. That reminds me- I still need a bottle of Oolang Infini– BAD!

    • Glad to hear your husband is getting into the grooming thing Carrie. I try to tell guys this is time they deserve.

      I haven’t tried the Chidoriya set yet. I’m particularly interested in the brush. It looks like something my wife would have in her makeup bag.

      As for Atelier, they are one of my favorite houses. Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year to you.

  4. I totally agree! Royal Vintage is very-very nice scent and Gold Leather is a good work.

  5. Interesting list, Barney! I especially enjoyed reading about the grooming products.

    A very happy new year to you :-)

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