Posts tagged ‘Castle Forbes’

Castle Forbes The Pre-Shave

Castle Forbes is known for some very amazing products. I have already posted a review of their amazing shaving cream, and will be writing one on their aftershave balm very soon. Castle Forbes  was built in 1815 and is often mentioned in the product description.  This really in reference to when this castle was built. The perfumery was established in 1996. I make mention this not to downplay the quality or effectiveness of their product, but more to aid in confusion that sometimes arises from this point. I have actually compiled this information from visiting a number of sites as I was only able to find snippets of the overall story on any individual site. The actual Castle Forbes site was actually quite interesting although they only have a small section on the actual perfumery Castle Forbes perfumery.(please feel free to investigate for yourselves, it is always possible that the writer is in error).

Now on to the review.

First, I must admit to any readers that I am a fan of Castle Forbes products (their shaving cream and aftershave balm are excellent) and I did have very high expectations of this product.  I am constantly looking for that great non-oil pre-shave.  To date, I haven’t found one that can quite match the lubrication that the oil provides, on the other I haven’t found any non oil pre-shaves that leave the residue or film on brush and sink that the oils do.

I will begin by summarizing some of the points that have been listed by some of the online retail outlets for this product.

“A Product that is not oil based, protects the skin, swells the hairs, allows the razor to smoothly glide across the face, bumps and imperfections. The Pre-Shave is left unscented because the real benefits are in the essential oils of the shaving cream and after shave. The ingredients are also to aid skin regeneration, soothe and have antiseptic properties.”

My initial intake of the product was to expectation. It arrived handsomely packaged, and with the heavy glass bottle and cap that always adds to the classic and classy appearance of my shaving station. As per product description the product was unscented and had a consistency that was much more fluid than the Castle Forbes aftershave balm.  My first use was following my usual routine (see post on my usual shaving routine, I will get all the links in soon). I used it with the Geo F Trumpers coconut shaving cream. I had a very smooth shave, although I did have an unexpected nick on a smooth patch of cheek. Overall I thought I had a pleasant shaving experience.   Without much thought the following day I used the product with Taylor of Bond street lemon-lime shaving cream. I could feel the blade dragging and pulling at my beard, and I ended the shave with several nicks and some unpleasant razor burn. I decided to give the Forbes pre-shave a break and retry later, maybe I had just shaved too aggressively the previous day.  This was one of my earlier  product tests and what I had failed to take into account was the G F Trumpers coconut shaving cream that is extremely smooth shaving on its own accord and gives me a great shave regardless of preshave.

Following the initial attempts I made all of my subsequent attempts with the Taylor of Bond Street shaving cream, which I regard as a good middle of the road shaving cream, and a very good shaving cream if we take into account cost.  This was in an attempt to isolate the effects of the pre-shave as I have found from personal use that the TOBS creams are more noticeably affected by the use of various pre-shaves while some of my top choice creams are not.  I will say in that due to my previous outstanding experiences with the Castle Forbes Products  I gave this one a lot more chances to shine or at least glimmer than I will normally give to a product I am testing.  I tried this thin and spread out, thick and applied multiple times throughout, every way that I could conceivably use a pre-shave.  Try as I might,  I could not manage to get a decent shave when using this product.

Conclusion:  As a pre-shave I can not see this product being worth the price or even a lot less.    I could not feel any noticeable benefit from the application of this product, quite to the contrary in fact, when using this product I actually perceived getting a worse shave.  Now there was also the stated benefit of  “aiding skin regeneration, soothing and having antiseptic properties” I found this reassuring, considering the added damage I felt after using it with a blade.  Now this may work well post shave, I did not use it in this fashion, as stated earlier I already use the Castle Forbes aftershave balm, and don’t see that I should need both.  The upside is this product does last a long time, even with the copious amounts I ended up using to try and ease the shave, I still have well over half of a bottle left.  In fact I am quite sorry that I can no longer justify my attempts at using it and will probably discard it (I’ll keep the bottle, it is very nice).  Castle Forbes makes great shaving cream and aftershaves, unfortunately I cannot state the same with this Pre-Shave.

That all being said, there are many reviews out there that state quite the contrary to my review.  I am not sure in what manner they used the product, but as with all things shaving, the results can vary greatly with the individual.  There was one product review that I read in which the reviewer stated the product worked so well that he could shave with it alone and forgo soap/cream.  Although the thought makes me cringe, I must say I am curious as how he came to that conclusion.


Castle Forbes lime essential oil shaving cream


The Castle Forbes Shaving creams have been on my list to try for some time now.  Following the product reviews on various sites, I have been looking forward to testing this cream with some anticipation.  As you may have noticed with much of my writing here, I do enjoy the history and style of many of the classic products as I feel they add a certain air of class and nostalgia to the art.  I did want to look a bit into the history of this manufacturer which I found to be a little confusing.  While I feel this does not affect the quality of the product it did spark my curiosity.  As posted in product description for this shaving cream, it describes this product as being spawned in 1815 by Lord Forbes after complaining of his sensitive skin, and makes mention of the family recipe.  According to the Castle Forbes site  the perfumery was established in 1996, but that castle Forbes was built in 1815 for Lord Forbes of Clan Forbes.  My assumption is that the current product manufacture dates from 1996 and possibly the shaving cream recipe is from the founder ~1815, although the 1815 date that continually pops up appears to just represent the actual building of the castle itself.

Enough!  Trivia aside and on to the product.

The Castle Forbes cream arrived in a modern, handsome looking box and tub, with hints of classic styling, I was impressed to see that at 200 ml, it was a little more tub than I am used to getting.  Upon opening I found to scent to be of much stronger lime than I have previously experienced with lime scented shaving creams, very pleasant but not overpoweringly sweet.  The Cream also had a very nice texture, thick but not slimy and dense but not hard packed.


The Manufacturer actually gave directions for use on the package, so I thought I will use it as they say rather than as I would in normal practice.  I purposely chose to use the minimal amount of soap that I thought would be fair based on the instruction, of course allowing for a retest under normal circumstances if the test proved poor results.  The fact that they were making the claim of less is more caused me to rise to the challeng.  I used the minimal amount I could to get a healthy lather for my first past.  It was indeed very creamy and offered a superb shave, minimal to no resistance with blade and beard, very smooth but without the slickness or slippery feeling of some creams (I don’t view that as detrimental just something I noted).  It did indeed feel very good.  As per instruction I needed to add a little water for my second pass.  Not exactly what I was expecting I was expecting a little more invigoration of the lather.  It was noticeably thinner on application of the second pass, but again the shave proved flawless and comfortable.  Third Pass, even thinner with mainly a thin white film coating my face, as I was unable to generate any more creamy lather.  This did not seem to affect the quality of the shave.  I had another very fine pass .  I was quite surprised, I was expecting a  nasty case of razor burn on the last past on one of my tough patches alongside the trachea of my neck.  This did not happen and it went smoothly again.  Lastly I squeezed out the remnants of my brush for touch up, and did get a healthy amount of thick lather from the bristles.

The After Shave:  My skin felt very nice, moist, smooth and refreshed.  I applied alum to feel for burn.  Slightest notice alongside trachea, but no worse than my favorite creams.  I must admit when using my favorites I do my touch up pass against the grain on my neck.  I felt comfortable enough with this cream on this test to do that.  If not, I doubt there would have been any burn.

As strong as the scent is at first notice it did not seem to linger long post shave.

Overall, I was very pleased.  I have even made room for this oversize tub in my permanent keeper drawer, I would say this is in my top 4 favorite creams.  I will note updates if I note a change in status or observation with subsequent use.

Form:  A

Consistency is easy to apply to brush.  Large surface area of tub may lead to unnecessary use of cream for brush dippers.

Function: A+

Excellent product that performs exceptionally well.  Use a little more cream than suggested and make the shave  into some real luxury time.

Style A

I do like the style of the product and how it does distinguish them from the rest of the market.  I had thought of downgrading the product to a B due to all the confusing information on many of the sellers websites.  I did not because the manufacturer does clearly state they have been manufacturing since 1996.