The Golden Nib TGN High Mountain White Badger Knot Review

Posted by the dood on Thursday, July 16th, 2015

The TGN Golden Nib High Mountain White knot is their flagship knot, featuring a very dense knot filled with some of the softest tips I have ever experienced. The density of the knot still gives it a decent amount of backbone in use too! The knot that I picked up was the slightly larger 20mm knot (it only comes in 19mm and 20mm) but its so packed that it needs a 25mm hole drilled into the handle to fit it. Price at the time of purchase for me was $49.95 for the knot, and it hasn’t changed price in the year or two that they have started carrying the knot for sale.


The knot has a 3-Band Silvertip Badger-like appearance, with slightly creamy-colored tips. The knot is a bulb shape, probably leaning towards a more bulbous-shape similar to some Thater brushes, though not quite as pronounced. The hairs are very consistent throughout the brush and show little variation telling me that there is good quality control and allocation of the hairs for this brush.

The TGN website describes the knot has having lots of backbone and medium soft bristles. I agree with the backbone statement, but the tips of this knot is incredibly soft. They are also all hooked tips and incredibly soft and plushy when lathered. The brush feels like a giant cloud on the side of my face when I am using it, and might be one of my favourite brushes I own. It lathers extremely well, and has very good backbone. This may be dependent on how much loft you have set the brush with.


The hairs themselves seem finer, but very densely packed. They don’t appear to be quite as brittle as the Grade A Silvertip, however. You can see under macro photo how many hooked tips these bristles have… I have compared it with the legendary Hooked Tips Rooney brush that a friend owns, and this one has even more hooked tips. It also has a distinctly different face feel than the TGN Finest with the hooked/gel tips. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the hooked tips, they are generally associated with incredibly soft face feel on brushes and while they feel a bit hard when dry, become incredibly soft and gel-like when wet.

Before I tried this brush, the TGN Grade A Silvertip was my favourite knot from The Golden Nib. Now, the HMW (High Mountain White) has become my new favourite, especially with the last Grade A Silvertip I received being a bit scratchy compared to the first few that I have bought. My only one reservation about the tips of the High Mountain White is the sheer amount of hooked tips… it almost seems unnatural. Part of me wonders if they were treated to be this way afterwards, not that it matters that much I suppose, since it feels so great.

Overall, my favourite knot from TGN, and it is indeed a fantastic knot. It really should be at the price, considering it is as much as or more than many complete brushes out there on the market. I have not owned any Simpson or WSP or other Manchurian or High Mountain White badger knots so I cannot compare with those at this time… just other TGN knots and other standard Best Badger or Silvertip Badger knots from Simpsons and the like, and this knot feels better to me than most of those. Having said that, like most TGN knots, they don’t seem to have the durability that Simpson knots do. The TGN’s do seem to shed if I have not used them in a long time like several months. I have not noticed that with this knot in the 9 months that I have been using it.

TGN High Mountain White Badger Knot Specs and Rating:

Softness: 10
Scratchy Soft
Backbone: 7
Floppy Strong
Scrub: 2
Gentle Scrubby
Density: 8
Sparse Dense
Hair Thickness: 2
Thin Thick
Flow-Through: 4
Lather Hog Lather Giver

Click here to see a list of all TGN Knot Reviews here.

iKon Open Comb Deluxe Bulldog Handle DE Safety Razor Review

Posted by the dood on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

iKon Open Comb Deluxe Bulldog Handle DE Safety Razor Review
Price (At Time of Review): $130
Handle: 316 Grade Stainless Steel
Head and Base Plate: Stainless Steel
Weight: 73.8g (Handle), 106.5g (Total)
Length: 85mm (Handle), 94mm (Total)
Made in Thailand

iKon razors have a cult following and are very popular among shaving enthusiasts as they have a reputation for creating a precision made product, at a lower price point than their competition. This probably stems from the Asian construction, allowing Greg Kahn, the owner of iKon razors, to produce at sell at a lower price point than the competition.

iKon has been in business for over 5 years now, and has refined their razors constantly throughout the few years that they have been in business. This sand blasted version of the razor head isn’t even available anymore, and is now produced with a Cerakote head, which gives better glide over the skin as well as providing extra corrosion resistance. But we’re not here to talk about the DLC head version, we’re talking about the previous 2013 one.


Here is a shot of the underside of the razor, to show where the logo is stamped and also give a good view of the open comb design. Please don’t mind the dried shave cream and stubble in the photo.. I should have cleaned it before taking the photos but I forgot! As you can see, it has a nice sand-blasted finish on the stainless steel head and handle.


The handled on this version of the iKon measures 85mm long, with a head which measures about 9mm high totaling 94mm in length, which is just about the perfect length for a razor in my hands. While I enjoy the variety of different lengths of handles just for the spice of life, if I couldn’t only have one length, it would be right around this size. It is almost the exact same length as the Above the Tie Atlas razor.


The 316 Stainless steel handle features the popular knurling pattern used on Weber and Feather razors as well, which is probably the best all-round grip that you can get. Is it the coolest looking? Maybe not, because its pretty pedestrian looking, but it works like a hot damn. As you can tell from the close-up, the quality of the knurling is not perfect, but quite a bit better than Weber’s handle. Feather’s handle, which I have not reviewed yet, is the best in terms of fit and finish.


I tried to get a shot of the blade gap, but the depth of field was not great and couldn’t get the blade in focus, however it is quiet a narrow blade gap on the open comb model. It is actually a fairly mild razor. It is not as mild as a Feather, but it is a smoother and less aggresive shaver than the ATT R2, another comparable open comb razor.


Here’s a shot from the top, showing the open comb design. Compared to other open comb razors I have used, the iKon is quite a bit less aggressive. Actually I found it a smoother shaver than even the ATT R1, which is suppose to be a mild open comb razor. It might be less efficient of a shaver, but I found that it irritates my skin less, but that may be because my technique is more suited to this razor than the ATT. The bead-blasting on the head surface gives the razor better glide than polished or satin-finished head razors that I’ve used.


And here is the disassembled shot, and all surfaces as you can see are sand-blasted, with slightly rougher sand-blasting on some parts. Because sand-blasting leaves the surface with micro-texture, it is usually more susceptible to rust and oxidation. This may be an issue for those of you that leave your razor in moist environments.


And finally a shot of the inside, that shows the blade centering posts, which in this case are bars. I like the design of the bars, as it has a nice look to it. I find the bars and posts equally effective so for the most part I have very little preference for what holds it as long as it centers and holds well.

Overall a great razor and incredible value for a solid stainless steel razors at this finish level. I think iKon represents the best value in high-end stainless steel razors on the market at this point in time. Are they the best? Maybe not, but definitely the best for the money.

iKon Open Comb Deluxe Bulldog Handle DE Safety Razor Ratings:

Handle Comfort: 8
Uncomfortable Comfortable
Aggressiveness: 6
Mild Aggressive
Weight: 6
Light Heavy
Balance: 8
Unbalanced Balanced
Finish Quality: 8
Poor Excellent
Value: 10
Rip-Off Steal
Overall: 8
Mediocre Excellent

Speick After Shave Splash from Germany

Posted by the dood on Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Speick After Shave Splash
Product: After Shave Splash/Lotion
Size: 100ml
Origin: Made in Germany
Price: $15.00
Price per ml: $0.15

Speick aftershave lotion is named after the Alpine Speick plant, which is gentle and soothing on the skin. This is a very popular aftershave lotion (or splash as it is usually called in North America), and frequently recommended on the forums online. Its known for its high quality and low price. Very few aftershave splashes of this quality are available so affordably.


Speick aftershave lotion comes in an attractive glass bottle, packaged within a cardboard box bearing the same red and blue. The product is made in Germany, and feels like a lot of other aftershave splashes upon initial use, but even with the menthol and alcohol zing, Speick has an uncanny ability to make your skin feel soothed and comfortable after. Many aftershave splashes can make your skin sensitive afterwards, but Speick does live up to its reputation of calming the skin.

The scent is quite recognizable, but not particularly memorable. It has what I would describe as an unoffending fresh-smelling scent, with a little bit of something-something in there that is probably the Apline Speick plant’s extracts. The scent doesn’t last very long and doesn’t interfere with other colognes I wear afterwards.


The glass bottle has a built-in glass reducer to help with the flow of the splash. Always a nice feature, though most aftershave splashes do have that nowadays. The screw on cap also has a plug in it which keeps the bottle nice and sealed when its closed. You can feel it plugging the reducer when you screw it in. I often take this splash traveling and its because the plug – I know it won’t leak! Great little feature.


Overall a superb aftershave, with great little features and nothing at all that would be offending to most shavers. A safe bet in the scent department, and also one of the most soothing alcohol-based aftershave splashes out there. And at $0.15 per ml, its a bargain for a quality German-made product. Highly recommended.

Scent: 7/10

Moisturizing: 8/10

Performance: 9/10

Packaging: 7/10

Value: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

Ingredients: Alcohol, Aqua, Sorbitol, Glucose, Mannitol, Valeriana Celtica Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana Distillate, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Citrus Medica, Limonum Oil, Parfum, Lactic Acid, Potassium Alum, Menthol, Camphor, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool

The Golden Nib TGN Super 3-Band Finest Badger Knot

Posted by the dood on Friday, October 3rd, 2014

The 3-Band finest is one of the newer knots from TGN is a super premium “finest” badger knot, priced even higher than the Premium Silvertip knots. These are the same knots that were initially released as Super 2-Band Finest, but Anthony at The Golden Nib said that they have more of a 3-Band appearance so has changed the name of the knot. Still the same knot though as far as I understand.

Now over to the characteristics and performance! This is an interesting feeling brush, very dense and quite nice to use. It is more scrubby as you would expect from a “finest” grade brush, and the hairs are on the coarse side. However, they are much more flexible than the famous TGN Finest that has become something of a cult phenom. The hairs are also not quite as soft on the tips, but because of the overall flexibility of the hairs, it comes off feeling more like a scrubby silvertip. It is never prickly, however, so it is not like a “best” grade badger. The individual hairs are felt on the face when lathering, and the brush is very well packed.


As you can see, the tips are quite grey, and not quite as brown as some of the other grades of hair available from TGN. Its quite a unique feeling knot, and I can’t really compare it to anything out there that I have tried commercially. The hair is very wavy, and looks quite different than most Silvertip hair. It gives a unique face feel though, and I think this is one of the strong suits of the TGN Super 3-Band Finest.

Its not the softest hair, and as mentioned is scrubby, but the the flexibility of the hair allows it to splay easily on your face when you are doing circular lathering motions. This is something that the regular TGN Finest can be difficult with because of the stiffness of the hair – causing you to have to use much more pressure when doing circular motions. At the same time this is also the charm of the Finest. Very different hair here guys. This one is more similar to the F2 Finest overall.


A little bit of zoom-in macro action here of the hair, you can see just how wavy it is. Tips are naturally terminating, and feel soft against the face. I do like the zero-scritch, but decent scrub feeling that it has. The hair also has great flow-through, and this might be because of the thicker hair.. it doesn’t hog lather the way thinner hair seems to even though it is a decently dense brush. It works very well with both soaps and creams as well as bowl and face lathering.. sort of a jack-of-all-trades.

Overall a superb hair, and I think it complements a lot of the Silvertip knots from TGN very well, and also the Finest. It is different enough that it gives a unique lathering experience and I would want it in addition to the other hair types. It is quite similar to the F2 Finest generally, but feels denser and the hairs appear to be thicker. I prefer it to the F2 Finest and if you want to spend the extra for this knot I wouldn’t not keep both an F2 Finest and the Super 3-Band Finest as this one feels like an improved version. A pricey knot, but one that gives a unique and enjoyable lather.

TGN Super 3-Band Finest Badger Knot Specs and Rating:

Softness: 5
Scratchy Soft
Backbone: 6
Floppy Strong
Scrub: 8
Gentle Scrubby
Density: 7
Sparse Dense
Hair Thickness: 8
Thin Thick
Flow-Through: 8
Lather Hog Lather Giver

Click here to see a list of all TGN Knot Reviews here.

Kent BK8 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush Review

Posted by the dood on Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Kent BK8 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush
Hair Type: Silvertip Badger
Knot Size: 27mm
Loft: 55mm
Handle Height: 55mm
Total Height: 110mm
MSRP: ~$150USD

The BK8 is a legendary shaving brush made by Kent Brushes, an old English company dating back to 1777. The BK8 is a large and luxurious brush, well-packed with soft silvertip badger hair. Kent Brushes holds a Royal warrant as well, as evidenced by the coat-of-arms on the handle.


It comes packed in the trademark red cylindrical packaging that all Kent shaving brushes come in, with the red felt lined interior. Here it is in full bloom, the photo taken right after the first wetting. I cleaned it with some Proraso to break it in and it had less funky smell than most other brushes that I have owned.


I wanted to get a brand new pre-use shot, because there is something about a brand new brush when the hair is all tight together. It looks so neat and tidy. The brush will never look like this again!


A nice shot of the logo, and the Royal Warrant, “By appointment to her majesty the Queen”. Kent indeed makes some very fine brushes, for both shaving and for your hair. The handle is unique to Kent for the most part, with none of the other major shaving brush companies making a similar handle. Its also just about the most comfortable bowl lathering handle on the market!


There the top down shot, to give you an idea of the density. Its a very well packed brush, but because it is fairly lofty, it doesn’t have that solid block-of-hair feeling that you’d get from something like a chubby. The brush nicely splays when you are swirling it on your face, and feels absolutely fantastic. Very soft, though not as soft as the softest out there – no hooked tips on this one.


Here is a nice shot with a good swirl of shaving cream on it ready to go. The brush is quite dense, and is probably one of the best bowl and cream lathering brushes on the market. If you’re a bowl and cream guy, this is one of the best choices out there. I find that it has a similar feel to a Simpsons Colonel 2XL, but at twice the size. The hair is not too scrubby, and is moderately thick, not too fine and certainly not fragile. The brush ranges in price from $120 to about $210 depending on where you buy it. The best deals to be had are from the UK direct.


There she is whipping up a big bowl of lather. The brush has fantastic flow-through, and this is partly because its on the “floppy” side of the spectrum. Many serious soap and face latherers would find the Kent BK8 a bit floppy and messy. Its a big brush and it covers a lot of area when you’re brushing your face, so it does lack the precision. However, so does chubby 3 but I don’t see anyone complaining about that brush!

All-in-all, the BK8 is a big luxurious brush that does a great job with anything you throw at it, but really excels at bowl lathering creams. Its quite well-packed, but because of its floppiness it has excellent flow-through and lathers really easily. Overall I would highly recommend this brush to those that are looking for something like this. Its a good buy at what you can get it from direct from the UK.

Kent BK8 Silvertip Badger Shaving Brush Specs and Rating:

Handle Comfort: 9
Uncomfortable Comfortable
Soap Performance: 6
Poor Excellent
Cream Performance: 10
Poor Excellent
Bowl Lathering: 9
Poor Excellent
Face Lathering: 7
Poor Excellent
Softness: 8
Scratchy Soft
Backbone: 4
Floppy Strong
Scrub: 2
Gentle Scrubby
Density: 7
Sparse Dense
Hair Thickness: 6
Thin Thick
Flow-Through: 9
Lather Hog Lather Giver
Value: 8
Rip-Off Steal
Overall: 8
Mediocre Excellent