Tasting Notes – Suntory Whisky Toki

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As I may have mentioned before, Japanese whisky is incredibly hard to find where I live. So anytime I get see some in the wild, I purchase it. This is how I came by Toki. Let’s see how I like it.

suntory-toki

Nose – Strong smell of lemon. Slight hints of pine and grass.

Taste –  A crisp citrus-y taste that doesn’t last long.

Finish – A spicy, peppery aftertaste appears fast. It’s pleasant, cinnamon-like when it lingers on the center and side of my tongue.

Not my favorite Japanese whisky. The initial  finish comes on far too quickly. You can’t even enjoy the taste. Which is shame, because it’s a good taste. I put a drop of water in. That made it go down easier, but totally destroyed the taste.

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Naked Armor Solomon Straight Razor Review

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I’ve always been intrigued by straight razor shaving, so when I Naked Armor reached out to me about trying one of their straight razors I was definitely interested. They shipped me one of their Solomon Straight Razors in Black Wood to test.

Throughout this blog, I’ve been testing various shave products and techniques and this is my current setup.

Double- Edge Razor: Merkur Classic Safety Razor, Straight
Cartridge Razor: GilletteFusion ProGlide Power
Shaving Soap: Williams Mug Shaving Soap
Aftershave: Gillette Cool Wave

 

You may recall I previously tested a “shavette” and did not like it all. We’ll see if this works out better.

 

Day 1
So, an additional item was needed – a razor strop. I ordered one from from Amazon, looking for a cheap, but  well-reviewed one. I happened to come up with one from Naked Armor which appears to be their “Blue Eel”.

 

A lot of the “How to Shave with a Straight Razor” guides also recommend a pre-shave oil. Again, looking for cheap and well-reviewed product on Amazon, I purchased  Lather & Wood’s Sandalwood pre-shave oil. However, that hasn’t yet come in the mail.

 

So, after watching a lot of videos on stropping and and shaving with  straight razor, I got all my shaving items together. Both the strop and razor came in a nice, almost fabric like box.

 

The strop was a little smaller than expected. It’s only 2.5 inches wide, which to be fair is in the product description on Amazon.

 

As I opened the razor, a powdery residue came out. Not sure what that was, but it wiped out pretty easily.

 

 

Tentatively, I stropped the razor on the canvas side to warm it up. Not as hard as I feared. Then I switched to the canvas side and commencing the “actual” stropping.  Again not as I hard as I thought it would be, I was paranoid I would ruin the blade after watching all those YouTube videos. Because it was a smaller strop I did have to use the “Z-technique” of moving the blade to the side slightly between up and down passes to strop the entire blade. I only had one mishap when my had slipped, the blade fell off the strop, and I may have nicked it.

 

Then I lathered up. Since I didn’t have my pre-shave oil yet, I lathered up once, washed it off and lathered up again.  I started my shave, very cautiously. I used the technique of my right hand on the left side of my face and the left hand on the right side. I had trouble getting the 30 degree angle exactly right. I would be too flat and not cut anything and then I would overcompensate and get too much angle. I had to take my glasses off so I could get the top of my checks and near my sideburns, and then of course, I couldn’t see as well. I was also paranoid I was going to cut my ear  off shaving with my left hand with no glasses on.

 

The straight razor technique is new to me- taking smaller strokes and stretching your face more. It feels different as well, thought it’s hard to describe. It feels like it maybe it pulls more than a double-edge? No, that’s not right. It feels more like cutting grass? I don’t know if that’s a good description either.

 

The first pass was ok, this was definitely better than the shavette. I think I was applying too much pressure the first pass, not letting the blade do the work so to say. I cut myself a few times on the first pass.

 

The second pass, I tried to let the blade do more of the work and experimented with the angles more. I need to find  the angles right to get the right shave. After two passes, I decided I need to continue using a third pass with the Gillette Fusion, otherwise my beard would look too uneven.

 

So after the first night, I’m bleeding in multiple places -over my lip, under my chin, and a few places on my neck. My neck has razorburn and razorbumps.

 

Right now it seem like the juice may not be worth the squeeze. But we’lll see, it took my over a month to stop cutting myself the Feather double edge blades, and it used to take me over 20 minutes to shave with a double edge now I’m can do three passes in five minutes without any cuts.

 

The reviews of the upcoming night’s shaves will be much shorter, don’t worry.

 

Day 2

 

I was a little worried about the blade not being sharp enough last night, so tonight I stropped a full 50 times on the canvas side.

 

Also, my pre-shave oil came today! After I popped out of the shower, I massaged the pre-shave concoction into my whiskers. Whether it was the blade sharpness, the pre-shave oil, or my angle the he shave seemed to go a lot better today.

 

The thing I like msot about the straight razor is you can really feel he hair being cut; it’s very satisfying. I did one downward pass with the straight razor and did a clean up pass with the Fusion.

 

Not nearly as bad today, but I still have a quite a big cut over my lip and a few smaller nicks in my chin area. Some afterburn, but just a little.

 

Though the shave is satisfying I don’t know if I’m dexterous enough to do this. The majority of the time I wear a goatee or a Lincoln beard. I”m still not good enough with a double-edge to not need that third pass with the cartridge razor. With the straight razor I’m getting much better depletion on some parts of my upper lip, but I’m not really getting my cheeks near my sideburns and my neck is just a mess.

 

Day 3

 

Good News and Bad News.

 

Good News – I think I’m starting to figure out what they mean when all those tutorials say “short even strokes”. I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it.  After one pass with the Solomon and one pass with the Fusion this may be the closest shave I’ve ever given myself.

 

Bad News – My face is looking the worse for wear.  I didn’t nick myself at all tonight but re-opened old cuts on my neck. I’m starting to break out right below my chin and in my mustache area. And my whole face is starting to get a red, windburn sort of look.

 

I think the Pre-Shave Oil is really helping grease the gears so to speak, but I also have a suspicion it’s breaking me out. My skin is very sensitive to any sort of fragrances so anything that contains them usually irritates it. I’m going to drop this pre-shave oil going forward.

 

I think I may also take a day off from the Straight Razor and let my skin heal.

 

Day 4
My skin needs a break. No shaving today.

 

Day 5
I got sick! So no shaving today either.

 

Week 2, Days 1- 3
I was on vacation so I’m not bothering with shaving.

 

Week 2, Day 4
Back to work, back to shaving. I have about a week of growth to shave. I’m also going to start growing my goatee again, so we’ll see how I do with the straight razor with less ground to cover.

 

I do two passes with the straight razor and one with the Fusion. Good reduction on my cheeks with the straight razor, but I didn’t do very well on my moustache area, my neck, or  the edges where m face and neck meet. All of the shaving in those areas was thanks to the Fusion.

 

I didnt’ cut myself and my cheeks are very smooth. But my neck is a little red and rougher than my usual shave.

 

A side note, while I was prepping my razor tonight, my youngest son wandered away from bedtime and into the bathroom. Which gave me more of scare than I would get if I was prepping a DE shave rather than a straight razor shave.

 

Week 2, Day 5
I think I’m starting to get the prep down as well. Stropping is starting to come more natural to me.

 

Since it’s the final shave before the weekend I did two passes with the Solomon and one pass with the Fusion again.

 

I just don’t think I have the dexterity to get the best shave with the straight razor. I’m not cutting myself, but I’m not really even shaving all of my face. I have to take my glasses off to get the top of my cheeks and underneath my sideburns. Then I’m nervous I’m going to cut my ear off because I can’t see. I can’t really get a good angle to shave all of the area above my upper lip. And one portion of my neck I just cannot flatten to give the razor a clear path to cut. I could be more aggressive with my angles, but I’d rather be on the safe side, especially around my lips, eyes, ears, and neck. You know my general face area.

 

I think I’m going to try this out for one more week but I don’t think straight razor shaving is for me. My neck is redder tonight and I’m starting to get razorburn. Am I not manly enough to master the straight razor? I don’t have a problem admitting, no I’m not.

 

Will there be a follow-up next week? I can’t say either way as I need to make some medication changes and may or not be able to shave next week.

 

In terms of the overall quality of the Naked Armor Solomon compared to other straight razors? I haven’t tested the other shaving community favorites, so I can’t really compare. I can say, that it was a much better shave than I got with the MD Dragon Straight Razor Fusion “shavette”. With the exception of the perhaps my first day of incorrect stropping, it was easy to keep the blade nice and sharp. And the both the blade and handle feel nice and solid in your hand.

Tasting Notes – Old Forester Statesman

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A brief break from my break.

So, I’ve been meaning to pick up a bottle of Old Forester for quite some time now, I’ve always enjoyed it when I’ve had it in bars. And I’m a fan of the Kingsman film series. So the Statesman seemed like a perfect bottle to try.

Nose – Fresh, very faint. Slight hints of vanilla and  grass.

Taste – Chewy, a little nutty and earthy, slightly sweet.

Finish – Finish lingers on the center and front of tongue. Nicely warm and buttery.

Not what I was expecting, but I do enjoy this. Very smooth, very drinkable, and very pleasant after-taste.

Bill Watterson

Hi all,

You may noticed I haven’t posted since my “holiday” break began. I’m going to extend that break for an indefinite amount of time. I just haven’t had the time I’d like to devote to this blog.  So, I’m pulling a Bill Watterson and taking a sabbatical.

I do have a number of topics in coffee, whisky(ey), shaving, and watches that I’m working on, but I don’t want to this blog  to become inconsistent.

When this blog is active, I strive to deliver decent content on a regular schedule. It will return to that in the future.

Until then,

“Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”

-Old Man Kal

Tasting Notes – Bushmill’s Black Bush Irish Whiskey

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So, I saw a Black Bush gift set for sale and thought I’d indulge. I have a Bushmill’s triple distilled bottle at home which I find uninspired and wasn’t blown away when I had a glass of Black Bush one night. But this is one of those whiskies that everyone raves about.

Since this came with those giant ice cube molds I thought I’d give it a taste with the giant ice ball, especially since when I had neat before I found it a bit too rough.

Bushmills Black Bush

Nose- Woody, maybe an oak smell?

Taste – At first noting, and then like peppery water. Some faint butterscotch notes.

Finish – A strong hint of cinnamon. Peppery taste remains, the butterscotch then dissolves into a butter taste?

I just don’t know. It’s a very bizarre whiskey, almost schizophrenic.

Holiday Drinks!

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So, it’s officially Christmas season now and that had me thinking about my favorite Winter Holiday drinks. So here’s what I love to drink to relax and unwind at the holiday parties.

Fireball Cider

I don’t know what the recipe is, but at some parties I’ve add some amazing Hot Apple Fireball Cinnamon Cider. If you can find a good recipe I suggest you try it.

eggnog

Eggnog and Whiskey

The old holiday standby. Makers Mark is my preferred bourbon to go with my eggnog, but other bourbons and even other types of whiskies will do in a pinch.

The Dalmore Scotch

Is is the taste, the nose, or simply the color of this Scotch and the Stag emblem on the bottle? Whatever it is, I’ve always regarded it as the most Christmas-y of all Scotches.

Guest Post: Top 5 Must Have Gifts for Beardsman This Christmas

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Hey there. Vince here, from BeardLifestyle.com. I reached out to Old Man Kal about writing a guest post for you all –and here it is. The top five must have gifts for a beardsman this Christmas.

These gift ideas range anywhere from just a few dollars to going all out. I hope you find them interesting. Regardless of if you’re looking for gift ideas for your bearded brother or significant other, these are sure to please.

#1 Tea Tree beard oil from BeardBrand.

Tea Tree oilBeard oils offer several benefits for a beardsman. Being rich in essential oils it replenishes your beard and helps ease the itchiness. Another huge bonus is that it helps with decreasing beard dandruff. Gross.

Don’t just buy any old beard oil though. Go premium for a few dollars more with BeardBrand products. The Tea Tree scent can be described as “Imagine living on a Swiss mountaintop and taking a step outside into the brisk morning air.”.

#2 KONA French Press Coffee Tea & Espresso Maker

frenchpressA french press coffee maker is the perfect gift for a beardsman that enjoys a nice cup of coffee.  The KONA has received rave reviews on Amazon.

Using a french press gives the coffee a more rich and less acidic taste by better extracting the oils from coffee beans. This is a unique gift that can not only be used over and over; it  also looks incredible.

#3 Orvis Black Sheep Irish Fisherman’s Sweater

orvisI wouldn’t normally suggest buying your guy a sweater for Christmas. So cliche. But the Irish fisherman’s sweater isn’t your average sweater. This sweater looks fantastic when pair with jeans. This traditional Irish crewneck is cableknit and will be perfect gift for the upcoming cold months.

#4 Horween Leather Timex Weekender

weekenderThe modern beardsman lifestyle actually is a return to a more timeless look. A nice leather watch fits that look perfectly.

Don’t just go buy any watch though. Pick quality without breaking the bank with the leather Weekender. The Horween leather Timex Weekender is the way to go. This watch has a classy look with the leather band and black Timex watch face. An added benefit is he will have less excuse to be late to family gatherings.

#5 Samuel Adams Boston Brewery Tour

breweryI saved the biggest gift for last as it is more of an epic adventure. Take him on a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery in Boston, MA.

Now this would take some planning on your part; but if your beardsman likes brew than this would be one of the most memorable gifts you could get. This is going all-out.

The tour itself lasts about an hour. Best part? The tour itself is actually free.

Thank you!

I hope you found this top 5 list of Christmas gifts for a beardsman inspirational. It’s not too late to order online and have the gift in time for the holidays or plan a trip.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Tasting Notes

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I finally found Gold Label Reserve! How does it compare to the original gold label?

gold-label-reserve

Nose- Faint hints of grass and something I can’t identify. Stronger nose than original gold label.

Taste –  Almost pure water at first, so smooth.

Finish – That familiar, Johnnie Walker peppery aftertaste comes on strong. But it lingers on the tongue as a nice cinnamon flavor. In the original Gold Label, there was more cinnamon in the initial burn and more pepper that lingered on the tongue.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I think I like the reserve better. Its so smooth and pure tasting. The cinnamon aftertaste is so pleasant.