Tag Archives: HowToGrowAMoustache.com

Review: HowToGrowAMoustache.com Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave (Alcohol Based)

HGTAM.com - Alcohol-Based Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave

HGTAM.com – Alcohol-Based Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave

Good day readers!  Today I bring you yet another offering from a man amongst men.  Douglas Smythe, the Willy Wonka of the shaving world, keeps pumping creation after creation upon us.  Just as soon as we receive a package of his newest creation, he announces another.  But there’s a very special one that caught my eye, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to write about it: HowToGrowAMoustache.com’s Alcohol-Based Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave.

The Packaging!  Just try to convince me that these bottles from HGTAM are not one of the best lookin things in your shave cave.  That little brown apothecary-style bottle with the awesome pirate smiley just begs to be at the front of your array of aftershaves.  (By the way, if you don’t have an “array” of bottles in your shave cave, start with a bottle of this stuff).

The Scent!  Yeah!! This is a dirty, no-holds-barred, kick-you-in-the-face-with-an-awesome-smelling-boot kind of bay rum.  Think Clubman VIBR, mixed with Captain’s Choice.  It’s spicy, it’s warm, it’s a little sharp.  Off the top theres some light citrus notes, a touch of lime and maybe orange but not too strong. And the bay is a little more prominent.  I would also say it’s light on typical bay rum ingredients of cinnamon and clove, if there’s any at all.  I also detect heavier woodier bottom notes, which are hard to identify.  The bottle says there are 10 essential oils.  No wonder I am having a hard time describing the scent.  As a whole, this is definitely a smart bay rum.  But it also succeeds at not smelling like clove, or Christmas potpourri, or any of the negative comparisons I see out there for bay rum.  The scent is strong (it -is- marketed as a cologne/aftershave, so it should be), and stays with you for a long time.  And as a person with sensitive skin, I was worried that the strong scent would translate into itchy skin.  Not even a little, and I’ve been using this every day for a while now.

The Alcohol!  Right on.  This stuff is bracing.  Do you like that alcohol kick in the morning?  Get this stuff now.  To me, it was very reminiscent of Captain’s Choice’s Cat’O’Nine Bay Rum.  You’ll splash it on, and almost instantly your skin will feel the kick.  After about a minute things will calm down and the scent takes over.  It’s a rush that will definitely open up those groggy eyes.  Not uncomfortable, mind you, but more awesomeish.  And there is also a healthy amount of glycerin in this stuff to moisturize your skin after the battle.

Overall, this stuff is one of the best smelling bay rums I have tried.  If you look at HTGAM’s catalog, or have tried any of their other products, you will understand exactly why I call Mr. Smyth the Willy Wonka of the shaving world.  His whimsical nature and uncanny ability to blend scents make for some really fantastic-smelling and great-performing products.

This bay rum is great and holds a prime spot on my overpopulated shave shelf.  And if you happen to not be an alcohol kind of guy, there are alcohol-free options as well.

Long live Douglas Smythe and his factory.

Review: HowToGrowAMoustache.com – Bay Rum Synergy Shaving Soap

HowToGrowAMoustache.com - Bay Rum Synergy Shaving Soap

HowToGrowAMoustache.com – Bay Rum Synergy Shaving Soap

I am a lucky man.  I do love starting out reviews saying that.  So why am I so lucky this time?  Because had it not been for the off chance of just checking out traditional shaving, I would not have had as good a shave as I did today.  Let me tell you about a moustached man named Douglass Smythe.  Or maybe I should tell you about his website.  Or his Synergy Shaving Soap.

If you’ve been doing any research or reading online on any or the more well-known shaving blogs, you may have come across Douglass and/or his blog, and/or his shaving soap.  As a man amongst pretend-ship-sailing-men, I can tell you without a shred of doubt that Mr. Smythe has created one hell of a product.  I’ve been using this Synergy Shaving soap for a couple weeks now.  And I’ve been wanting to tell you about it, but I’ve been out plundering the wilds of the Caribbean Islands…. That, or my new job’s hours have been keeping me on my toes.  It’s one of the two…

Ok, first things first.  And the first thing is value.  This is now the largest tin of soap in my shave cave.  It’s a massive puck.  8 oz of soap in a wide-mouthed tin that is just fantastic for loading your brush.  And it’s priced so low comparatively, that I can’t think of a soap that offers this good a value.  And it’s not that this stuff isn’t a good performer.  It’s a great performer.

Alright, so I’ve come to discover that Synergy Shaving soap loves water.  And as Douglass has pointed out, it loves hot water.  I actually submerge the entire puck and tin (along with my Duke 2 badger brush) in hot water for a minute before shaving.  By the way, the labels on the tin are vinyl, meaning they won’t fade or crinkle up when they get wet.  Nice touch there, Douglass.

So yes, the hot water really awakens the soap, which responds with an explosion of lather on my brush.  I load the brush until the soap gets tacky, then I move to my mug (I really like using a mug/bowl).  As I said, this stuff loves water, so I add it quite liberally when building the lather, and also between passes.

The smell is fantastic.  It’s a bit strong when you first open up the tin, but as you’re lathering on your face, it really ends up being just a great scent at the right strength.  It remains that way all the way through the shave.  I have had issues in the past with some strongly-scented soaps (like Tabac) causing a problem for my sensitive skin.  I was worried that this soap may give me the itchies, but I am happy to report that my skin loves this stuff!

Performance.  Alright, so here we have another vegan soap.  I have been seeing more and more of these lately, and they have really been giving tallow a run for it’s money.  I’ve been a big tallow soap guy since I started traditional shaving.  But lately I have been reaching a lot more to non-tallow soaps and creams.

So this lather is not a tallow lather.  It appears, when lathered up, to be a little on the fluffier side, rather than a thick-yogurty side.  Adding a little more water brings it closer to that yogurt consistency we look for when building a lather.  Moving the lather to my face, all “this isn’t tallow” worries are instantly quelled.  This lather is amazing.  When lathered on the face, it is very thick, and incredibly slick.  This is a fantastic shaving soap, providing a great cushion for my razor.  It also rinses clean off my face and off my tools.  The lather does need a little refreshing between passes, which I’ve noticed with other veggie soaps, but a little bit of water brings it right back to life.

I’m very impressed with this soap.  And considering it’s size, I will be for a long time.  If you haven’t yet, check out HowToGrowAMoustache.com.  The soaps are fantastic, but you also should check out Douglass’s blog and podcast if you haven’t already.  When you hear his interviews and read his articles and how-to’s, you’ll see that this is a man who really just wants to make quality shaving products.  Synergy Shaving Soap is a home run.

  • Scent – 4.5
  • Lather Performance – 5
  • Lather Life – 4
  • Overall – 4.5

And how silly of me.  I totally forgot to talk about one of the best parts – the natural ingredients, most of which are organic:

Ingredients: Kokum Butter, Organic Mango Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Pumpkin Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Organic Neem Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerine, Purified Water, Sodium & Potassium Hydroxide,Soy bean protein, Chaulmoogra Oil, Aloe Extract, Maca Root, Yellow Dock Root, Essential Oil

Beat that.