The Yellow and the Green
August 24, 2005
Yesterday I shaved with Taylor of Old Bond Street’s Lemon & Lime shaving cream. Maybe this didn’t make your local evening news, but it was a big deal for me. A couple of days ago, for the first time ever, I was able to shave with Trumper’s Limes shaving cream without drying out my skin and leaving it feeling raw. Whether it was the Injector razor or my improved brush wrangling, suddenly I’m able to enjoy West Indian Limes, that most manly of shaving scents, without incident.
See, I’ve been trying to reassert my maleness, which in retrospect I clearly placed in a blind trust when I dove with a girlish squeal into the floral side of this whole wetshaving trip, specifically the rose and violet scented shaving creams and assorted poultices which awakened the Old Lady within me.
Beyond the Joseph Campbell drum circle, I had another reason to try Taylor’s Lemon & Lime shaving cream. While seemingly every other Taylor varietal has its amen corner, the Lemon & Lime has long been the rarest and most elusive of all this English brand’s shaving creams. While Taylor’s Rose, Sandalwood, Lavender, and Avocado shaving creams get all the accolades and buzz on the shavegeek circuit, the Lemon & Lime cream goes unnoticed. Unloved, seemingly. Unyakked-about, certainly.
Why this is so, I never quite understood. Trumper’s Limes cream has been a perennial wetshavers’ favorite since before WWII, while even the comparatively miniscule Scottish shaving brand Castle Forbes’s Lime shaving cream has a loud and opinionated cult following on the shavegeek boards. But for some reason, Taylor’s Lemon & Lime cream gets no love.
Is it the Lemon part of the equation? There’s a reason nobody drinks lemonade with breakfast, although for argument’s sake nobody drinks limeade for breakfast either. Okay, not the best analogy. But I do wonder whether the lemon in the mix turns some guys off from trying the Taylor citrus cream.
I’ve had a tub of this stuff for awhile now without ever trying it, and since I had such a fine shave with Trumper’s Limes cream the day before, I thought I’d try Taylor’s take. I like lemon & lime sodas, after all — 7UP, Sprite, Valu-Club Lemon-Lime, even Fresca (although not the Dew, despite its caffeine-choked charms). So I’m down with the yellow and green.
Taylor’s Lemon & Lime cream has a citrusy scent, but like most of Taylor’s shaving creams, there’s something else going on up in there. Not sure what it is, but it’s kind of smoky, in a good way. Gives it body and meat, and males it up good. No furniture polish, this. It’s complicated, “like the man who wears it”. Taylor does the same multi-faceted thing with its other otherwise single-note scents like Rose, Lavender, Sandalwood and Avocado — there’s always some other flavors throwing jabs and feinting around the base note, making things either more interesting or less pure, depending on your bent.
Traditionally, English shaving cream lines recommend citrus-scented creams for oily skin, as real citrus oil tends to have a drying effect on the face. Not a bad thing for an OPEC-puss like me, but some guys complain that Trumper’s Limes shaving cream leaves their skin feeling dry and tight. I used to be one of them when I was shaving with a DE, but for some reason, using an Injector razor does away with this effect for me, making the Trumper Limes cream no more or less moisturizing than the brand’s excellent Violet or Rose creams.
I shaved with Taylor’s Lemon & Lime cream after lathering up with my brush of choice, the Vulfix #2235. Brenda Starr, my fiery orange-handled Schick Injector, held a modified Feather Pro Super disposable straight razor blade.
The Taylor Lemon & Lime cream gave a fine shave, and the scent was very nice to sniff throughout. Not as clean and purely limey as the Trumper cream, but more of a complex, almost cologne-like richness. Out-and-out lime geeks won’t find it to their liking, I’m guessing, but I could smell this stuff every shave just fine.
My only quibble with the Lemon & Lime was with its lather. While the shave itself was up to Taylor’s usual standard, the Lemon & Lime’s lather wasn’t as thick and rich as what I routinely enjoy from Taylor’s Rose, Lavender, and Avocado creams. I tried using a bit more of this cream than usual but it still didn’t rise up into the kind of solid, larval mound I experience with the other Taylors. Didn’t seem to affect the shave any, but it was a difference worth nothing, as some shavegeeks really lean on this aspect of a shaving cream’s profile as a marker of excellence.
Larval mound geeks, look elsewhere. Excellent shave and manly smell geeks, by all means add Taylor’s Lemon & Lime to your SCAD list.