Review Barrister's Reserve

Discussion in 'Preshave and Aftershave' started by Len, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Len

    Len Forum GOD!

    Barrister's Reserve is a special aftershave project from Barrister and Mann that contains two unique characteristics. The first characteristic was to create a base promising to be the most healing and soothing alcohol based aftershave available in the world. The second characteristic was to take discontinued, or the original versions of now reformulated aftershave scents, and revive them for the different versions of the Reserve line. For now, we have three scents to choose from, with two (and possibly more) on the way.

    Current lineup includes:

    *Classic (scent recreated from a 1960's version of Gillette Sun Up aftershave)

    *Spice (scent recreated from circa 1957 version of Shulton Old Spice)

    *Cool (scent recreated from circa 2015, but now discontinued, version of Floid Blue)

    Announced future scents include:

    *Lavender (scent rumored to be recreated from circa 1959 original version of Caldey Island Lavender)

    *Fern (scent rumored to be recreated from circa 1882 Vintage Houbigant Fougère Royale)


    Let me begin with my impression of the scents, as I have purchased one of each.

    Classic is my least favorite of the three scents. I'm not a frag head that can pick apart base notes with ease, but I can say I don't like it. It has a masculine + medicinal quality to it that is rather straight forward, and is something I'd rather picture a man from the 50's and 60's wearing. Of the three Reserve scents, it is also the weakest, with a staying power of maybe an hour, perhaps half that, and carries little to no forward projection. If I cared for no lingering scent from my aftershave, or if I wanted to use a cologne afterwards, Classic would be the one to choose from the Reserve line.

    Spice is my second favorite of the three scents, and is a dead ringer for the original Shulton Old Spice. This is the stuff I remember my dad wearing as a kid, and it certainly brings back memories. As an aside, I have recently purchased some vintage Old Spice and have noticed that the scent is somewhat degraded (weakened) from what it used to be. Ingredients sitting in a bottle for decades can do that, even with an alcohol preservative. Spice smells more fresh, and more like what I remember as a kid. Spice also has staying power, with the scent lingering 4-5 hours after application.

    Cool is my favorite of the three, but curiously, it is not a dead ringer for Floid Blue. Cool smells richer, less powdery, and more complex than Floid Blue. The scent also lasts longer than Floid Blue, at about 3-4 hours. Again, not being a frag head, I can only describe it as clean, fresh, and deep... It also has that slightest trace of menthol, that adds to the feel. Love this stuff!


    On to performance, and this is really what sets the Reserve line apart from other aftershaves. Most other thin, alcohol based aftershaves don't contain much more than alcohol and scent, acting as an antiseptic to prevent infection from cuts (small or large). Some add a minor astringent like witch hazel, but that is about it. Barrister's Reserve goes much, much farther in the healing and soothing botanical department, and a few of these are listed below, shared from another blog:

    • Allantoin - soothing agent, moisturizer, wound-healer, etc.
    • Swiss botanical extract - heals skin on a microscopic level.
    • Licorice extract - anti-inflammatory.
    • Panthenol - redness reducer.
    • German chamomile extract - redness reducer and anti-inflammatory.
    • Sodium lactate - moisturizer.
    • Glycerin - cleaner, toner and moisturizer.
    • Aloe extract - soothing agent and moisturizer.
    • Witch hazel - astringent and anti-inflammatory.
    Here's a sample list of ingredients (varies by scent):

    Witch Hazel Water (Hamamelis Virginiana), SD Alcohol 40-B (Alcohol Denatured), Water (Aqua), Organic Licorice Root Extract (Glycyrrhiza Glabra), Glycerin, Taurine, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorella (Chlorella Vulgaris)/White Lupin Protein Ferment (Lupinus Albus), Eleuthero Root Extract (Acanthopanax Senticosus), Organic Alcohol, Fragrance, Salicylic Acid, Allantoin, Organic Aloe Leaf Extract (Aloe Barbadensis), German Chamomile Flower Extract (Matricaria Recutita), Provitamin B5 (Panthenol), Menthol, Neem Flower Extract (Melia Azadirachta), Neem Leaf Extract (Melia Azadirachta), Amino Esters-1, Ivy Gourd Fruit Extract (Coccinia Indica), Eggplant Fruit Extract (Solanum Melongena), Aloe Flower Extract (Aloe Barbadensis), Henna Extract (Lawsonia Inermis), Holy Basil Leaf Extract (Ocimum Sanctum), Turmeric Root Extract (Curcuma Longa), Pearl Powder, Sodium Lactate, Benzoic Acid, Linalool, Butyl Phenyl Methyl Propional (Lilial)(Rep2-), Methyl Ionone Gamma; Alpha-Iso-Methylionone, D-Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Coumarin, Citral, IsoEugenol, Cinnamic Alcohol (Cinnamyl Alcohol), Geraniol, Eugenol, Evernia prunastri (Oakmoss) Extract, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamic Aldehyde, Benzyl Benzoate

    This blend of ingredients is really something special, as it has the healing and hydrating properties of a balm. Often, if I ever had any redness or irritation, I would use a regular alcohol based aftershave followed by a more cream type balm. Prior to Barrister's Reserve, the most healing and hydrating aftershave splash I've encountered was Saponificio Varesino's 70th Anniversary Aftershave, which contained all the characteristics of both a splash and a balm rolled into one. Reserve is different, in that there is no stickiness or tackiness... it clearly has all the constancy of a splash. But... it removes redness and irritation like a balm, and it feels hydrating and moisturizing without any oily residue. Often in cases where I might want a balm, I won't need it if I'm using Reserve.

    I will also note that the alcohol sting is less than half of that compared to other splashes. It is a pleasant burn, and not at all an overpowering one. I chalk this up to the fact that alcohol is second on the ingredient list, which is cut mostly by the top ingredient, witch hazel.

    The face feel hours after the shave is very, very soft, hydrated, but not moist like a balm. I just can't help touching my face after using this stuff.

    Summing up, this is the best performing (healing, hydrating, toning, etc.) alcohol based aftershave splash I have ever used. The scents are classic and timeless in a manner that simply aren't made anymore, and I could not recommend it enough.
    p.b, pimple8, mr. smith and 7 others like this.
  2. Nishy

    Nishy Forum GOD! Staff Member

    Thank you for the excellent synopsis Len
    Len likes this.
  3. Lann

    Lann Forum GOD!

    I have been thinking of asking my sister to buy some of this for me (she lives over on that side of the Atlantic ) and bring it home when she is back at Christmas so a very interesting read thank you
    Len likes this.
  4. Mr Bigmem

    Mr Bigmem Forum GOD!

    North London
    Amazing review @Len Wonder if there are any UK or EU vendors selling this. Recent buys where I have felt the hand of the royal mails and HMRCs customs ransom tax is keeping me away from US vendors
    Len likes this.
  5. halvor

    halvor Esquire

    Thanks for the review. Now just waiting for a stockist this side of the Atlantic, non-UK.
    Oh I want the Fern!

    You wouldn't get them to ship it to you anyway, due to the restriction on sending alcohol. Italian Barber, on the other hand, would, but they operate with even crazier postage rates.
    Len likes this.
  6. Len

    Len Forum GOD!

    After I posted this, I shot off an email to Will at Barrister and Mann, alerting him to my review here for his consideration. He responded this morning, asking me to let you all know that "we will be pursuing EU and UK certification at some point, since these fragrances and products are fully compliant".

    Once the certification is complete, EU and UK stockists are sure to pick up the line. It is just a matter of when, not if.

    ***Disclaimer, I have no personal affiliation with Barrister & Mann, and all my reviews and opinions are my own. I have paid full price for each of these products, minus a 10% discount available to all of the general public as a first order one off.***
    Rowlers, Dogsmro and Mr Bigmem like this.
  7. Mr Bigmem

    Mr Bigmem Forum GOD!

    North London
    Thanks Len
    Len likes this.
  8. Mr Bigmem

    Mr Bigmem Forum GOD!

    North London
    Where are you based Len?
  9. Len

    Len Forum GOD!

    I'm based in the USA, more specifically in the Chicago, Illinois suburbs.

    I realized posting this review here was unfortunately a bit of a tease, as it is a bit more of a headache to get American made shaving products into Europe. But what else can I do, as I don't currently post on any other shaving forum? TSR has lost it's way, and a bit of it's soul in recent months... And, the American forums are all either profit making schemes run or controlled by vendors (which, by the way, manipulate sentiment for certain products and against others), or if they are not, a high percentage of staff/members are tight arsed, humorless self-gratification artists that take themselves much too seriously or have agendas, with high levels of control on what you may or may not say.

    The Brits understand good natured jabbing and banter, and here I feel I can truly speak my mind without censorship, or banishment. Plus, the membership here is bright, reasonable, and the friendliest group of blokes in the wet shaving world. :)
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  10. Mr Bigmem

    Mr Bigmem Forum GOD!

    North London
    Your reviews and your posts are always welcome sir. And you gotta be alright if you like the Oneblade in my books lol. So is it against the law to post aftershaves from the US to UK?
    Len likes this.
  11. Len

    Len Forum GOD!

    Thanks for the kind words... :)

    No, it is not illegal to send alcohol internationally, but the USPS won't do it, and if you send via UPS or FedEx it requires special packaging, special labeling, and a license to transport. It is so difficult, in fact, that there are no US vendors set up to send alcohol based aftershaves out of the country.

    The only vendor I know of set up currently to do this sort of shipping is Italian Barber, a shaving vendor based in Canada ( )

    Neither can I purchase EU/UK splashes from most European vendors. Fortunately, we in the US, have vendors that stock most European products (alcohol and otherwise).

    Your best options are 1. contacting Italian Barber to ship from Canada 2. Purchasing yourself, or asking a friend or family member to purchase in the States to physically bring back whilst visiting the US 3. Emailing Will at Barrister & Mann to hurry the process and emailing your local shaving vendors to carry these types of products locally for you.

    I would be happy to help some folks out here with shipping from America, but I know of no feasible way to do it without confiscation. I may be corrected, though, if someone knows more about the process than I do.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2016
    Mr Bigmem likes this.
  12. Boojum1

    Boojum1 Cosmic Cowboy

    Thanks for the excellent review Len. :thumbsup:
    Len likes this.
  13. 773badger

    773badger Über Member

    Len I’m in the NW burbs if you want to catch up for coffee or hit merz apothecary.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Len likes this.
  14. Len

    Len Forum GOD!

    Small world! I am also in the NW burbs, Buffalo Grove-Arlington Heights area. Now I know where '773' comes from... :okay:

    Either coffee or Merz is right up my alley, however, I may give you a rain check till spring as I'm not a fan of the cold, least of all this current Arctic blast we're currently suffering. Shoot me a PM sometime. :)
  15. bakerbarber

    bakerbarber Forum GOD!

    I just got the fern today. There soap and aftershave. I'm going to use them tomorrow.

    So far, I'm getting vintage Yardley and Aqua Lavanda Puige. Tomorrow shall see what it's like really using it and not just sniffing them with the lid off.
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