The Lions Mane

The Lions Mane

Maintaining Your Man-Fur

 

Gentlemen,

Today I wanted talk about a critical issue that is rather close to my heart; more accurately, covering it and most likely almost every area of your body: coarse, brittle Man-Fur. In specific, today we are taking a detailed look into how to correctly shave, cut, and tame that beard of yours to work for you. So before you raise your banners and wage another battle in the crusade between your face and that old disposable razor take a minute to read a few tips from us.

The Electric Razor – The Microwave Oven of Shaving

It’s not a bad idea these days for gents to own both a true bladed razor and its electric speedy cousin. Electric razors work well, but will never give you as close a shave as a razor. They are quick, leave little to no razor burn, and can be a money saver. Honestly these babies are the best for trimming body hair. This article isn’t really about that but since we are on the subject…

Your man coat is a lot like a yard or lawn. Have you ever driven by house who’s lawn is overgrown, desperately needs mowing, and looks like there may be something hiding in the tall grass? Not appealing. Next door is the house whose bushes are well shaped, the grass is trimmed, and the lawn looks welcoming. Let’s face it gents if you are letting the grass grow to 4-5 feet nobody wants to rummage around in there. Twenty or thirty years ago it was the norm for ole’ Dad to go Lion King and let that mangrove swamp grown in one seamless line from toe-knuckle to upper back, but thankfully those days are gone. I’m not saying we should all go for the fifth grader look and scorch the Earth, but every now and then you may want to edit that low budget kung-fu movie you have going on down there. Also while we are on this note, whatever you expect from your lady friend should be reflected in your own grooming; equal is equal (they can vote too you know). More likely than not these sweet amazing women have put their “jenny’s” through some form of cruel torture in the past few days that we would never dream of doing so the gentlemanly thing to do here is compliment, find out what they prefer, and reciprocate.

So remember whether you’re shaving down by the Hardy Boys or upstairs it’s no mystery, always use an electric shave solution, shoot for symmetry, and please be very, very careful.

The Razor Blade – Hair or Flesh I Cut It

The gold standard of shaving is a straight blade (or nowadays several blades stacked on a gel handled vibrator). This form of shaving definitely gives the closest and cleanest shave, but is also a great way to leave the bathroom looking like you just FaceTimed with Freddy Krueger. If you scroll down a bit I discuss the 5 S’s of shaving, but a sneak-peak will tell you to shower before shaving, use a sharp razor, and shave with the grain initially. If you are repeatedly the guy walking around the house with Quilted Northern stuck to gushing wounds, we here at The Gentlemen wanted to provide you with a few quick life-hacks to overcoming that never ending red stream:

 

  1. Ice – This should constrict the blood vessels and stop the bleeding, but it will melt and drip down and ruin your button –up.
  2. Witch Hazel – This oddly named substance can be found at most local grocery stores and is a known astringent. It will stop the bleeding.
  3. Pressure – Old school and time consuming but it works.
  4. Lip Balm/Deodorant – Lip balm is a sealant and will clot the cut but you will put a gleaming target on your face for everyone to stare at. Deodorant has differing amounts of aluminum chloride (or a substitute) and once applied will form a clot.
  5. Sugar (Pepper & Cayenne) – This last resort will work to stop bleeding as well as kill any bacteria present, but if you are debating whether to put pepper in your face or just walk around with a little blood, really weigh the pros and cons.
  6. Aspirin & Water Paste- Works and has a soothing effect.
  7. Hot Water – If you can bear the pain, extremely hot water essentially cauterizes the blood vessel and can stop the bleeding. Not my go to.

(There are also a number of products designed for this purpose.)

So before we jump into the art of shaving let’s talk quickly about what facial hair is appropriate for a gentleman to wear and what says “bush-league”. Generally the business standard is clean shaven; has been and always will be. If you do choose to grow out a certain style of facial hair, always make sure it is trimmed, clean, and well kept. Facial hair, attire, and physical presentation may be more lax of a subject for our generation, but typically in older circles what is acceptable and what is not is viewed with a strict eye. So if you notice your boss has never grown out any facial hair whatsoever, you may want to think twice before participating in No-Shave-November. There are a few styles of facial hair that need particular attention. No one our age should wear just a mustache ever; unless you’re a cop in which case you should always wear a mustache. The super-hipster Grizzly Adams style full beard is definitely rising in popularity amongst artists, stylists, and people who Instagram pictures of their food. But before you wrap a scarf around your neck throw on those black frames and beanie, please know that this style is usually totally unacceptable to anyone in a management role. We at The Gentlemen do not push conformity; always be yourself, but personal expression and “swagger” are hard to communicate when you don’t have the job that generated the income for those leathers and skinny tie.

Slice and Dice

So what is the textbook way to do this every day activity? The first thing to remember about facial hair is that is usually more sensitive than the hair anywhere else on your body. If you are shaving twice or more a week, you need to carefully negotiate a treaty with your face, and respect it’s boundaries. Have a routine and schedule for your shaves (every two to three days). Why? Because if you don’t wait for your face to recover before beginning another confrontation, then you risk ingrown hairs, skin irritation, razor burn, or those damn little nicks/cuts that seem to have a direct line to your aorta and never stop bleeding.

The next thing you have to remember is the 5 S’s of shaving.

  1. 1.    Shit (if you have to)
  2. 2.    Shower
  3. 3.    Shaving Cream
  4. 4.    Sharp
  5. 5.    Shaving Direction

Your skin needs to be soft and moist so post shower is the great time to crush a quick shave. If you are not going to be showering, but still need to shave hold a warm towel on your face for a few minutes before applying your shaving cream. Speaking of, if you have always used just the 1950’s Barbasol, try branching out a little. Jack Black makes a full line fantastic pre and post shaving creams (try the Beard Lube), but if you need to pick up something quick grab a bottle of Gillette – ProGlide Irritation Defense.

Next you need to make sure you’re using a sharp razor. Try to change to a fresh head every 5-7 shaves. It seems every year they add some weird feature to our razors, be it another blade, a vibrator, or some strange gel coating, but whatever your preference is just remember: small strokes and don’t push too hard. Also if you have the time and patience try to shave once with the grain of your hair and a second pass the opposite direction (for a closer shave). Lastly if you do use after shave, try to pick a non-greasy one and go easy on the volume.

So Gentlemen, best of luck this week gliding that razor sharp blade around the many curves of your face. Remember to always lube up before shaving, and keep it right here for the latest tips and tricks when it comes to being a Dapper Young Gentleman.

 

Cheers,

D. Y. Gennings

Musk Up!

Musk Up

The Art of Men’s Fragrance

Evening Gents,

We all know that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, and that smell is the most sensitive of all the human senses. But did you know that your sense of smell is linked to emotional recollection (including pleasure & good memories), and that unfortunately for us women have a much stronger sense of smell than men? So ask yourself:

1.      Am I leaving this lady with a long-lasting pleasant memory that sparks good emotions and a cute smile when I walk up, or a reoccurring nasal nightmare that makes her associate me with trashcans?

More importantly;

2.     Am I making the absolute most of this valuable connection into the mind that controls those beautiful curves?

Well if you haven’t received a compliment on your man scent from the fairer sex in the past few weeks, most likely there is room for improvement.

Volume & Location

As The Gentlemen have already explained, one important rule to remember in men’s fragrance is not to marinate in your cologne. Everyone knows that guy that drenches himself in a good half bottle of “A&F-Fierce” before going out, and you better believe he is remembered (not fondly) by anyone who comes anywhere near him. So what is the appropriate amount of man scent? Depending on the strength of the cologne; generally apply 1-2 light sprays from an arm’s length away (not to concentrate in one spot).

There are a couple of different points on the body to choose from when wearing cologne. Generally the junction between the chest and neck is best area (good blood circulation and consistent body temperature). You can also apply it to your wrists, abdomen, or even behind your ears.

 

 Timing Is Everything

Maybe you heard that Matthew McConaughey doesn’t shower often or wear antiperspirant, and maybe you are thinking of following in his dirty footsteps. Well you are not Matthew McConaughey. It should go without saying, but just to be safe: A GENTLEMAN SHOWERS EVERYDAY. And after a nice hot shower, when your pores are open, is the best time to apply your cologne. It will last longer and mingle with your own natural scents to create something original and unique.

While on the subject of bodily scents, your sweat contains toxins and traces of your diet/habits. Smoking cigs, crushing beers, & eating unhealthy foods can affect the way you smell naturally, and consequently change the way your cologne smells. Just something to keep in mind in the drive-thru.

So check out some of the great summer colognes The Gentlemen have recommended, and remember to change your scent with the seasons. Always keep in mind that the way you smell can be a handy tool in creating a positive memory that yields future dividends, or a quick way to scare off anyone you were hoping to keep around.

Cheers,

D.Y. Gennings

Scotch vs. Bourbon: The War Burns Smoothly On

(Quick note from The Gentleman: Salutations Gents, allow me to introduce to you our new columnist D.Y. Gennings, aka The Guru. He was created in 1988, the product of an ambitious government experiment to fuse together samples of DNA taken from both Sean Connery and Frank Sinatra. As a child he was sent to a special boarding school where from infancy the boys were fed only rare steak and drank only Glengoulie Blue. Being a true man comes naturally to this fellow, and from now on you’ll be treated to weekly doses of The Guru’s wisdom on all things related to being the consummate gentleman. Soak it all in gents.)

 

Scotch vs. Bourbon

The War Smoothly Burns On

 

What is What?

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” – Mark Twain

All Dapper Gentlemen, young or old, should have a working knowledge and general understanding of the blessing that is whiskey. Unfortunately in today’s society the man-laws of what is choice hooch and what is not, have been undermined by fruity shots and warm cans of extra-light beers. I’m not saying these drinks don’t have their place but in keeping with the rules of being a gentleman, one should be able to at least appreciate a classy drink. So as we look into the world of whiskey (or should I say whisky) here are a few answers to common questions about that golden liquid you have had your eye on:

Q: What is the difference between Scotch and Bourbon?

A: Both Scotch and Bourbon are Whiskey’s, but rectangles aren’t always squares. They are branches of the larger category.

Bourbon whiskey generally has a narrower flavor profile. Because of the legality of what can go into it (51% sweet corn), it’s harder for distillers to achieve different flavors. Bourbon commonly smells syurpy and perfumed, and normally tastes a little sweeter than its cousin from across the pond with hints of caramel and vanilla. Bourbon has a certain sharp freshness that is unique to the drink. Bourbon usually doesn’t command quite the price that scotch does, but certain bottles can be quite expensive.

Scotch stands on the opposite end of the taste scale. Scotch is more often than not aged in pre-used bourbon barrels, smoked over bricks of peat or wood, and has a much more diverse pallet of flavor. Generally, scotches from the Islay region have a very strong peaty, smoky flavoring, while scotches from the Speyside region are much lighter, with hints of spice. Because of the variety in production processes, the leftover flavoring from the bourbon barrels, and the diversity of additives in Scotch; it is normally thought of as the more refined drink.

 

The Details:

Whiskey advertised or labeled as “bourbon”, refers to a whiskey that is strictly American made. Although it can be made anywhere in the US, the name refers to Bourbon County Kentucky (which ironically is a dry county), and the US legal requirements designated in 1964 that “bourbon” must be aged in new charred-white oak barrels, be made from a grain mix that is at least 51% corn, bottled at 80 proof, and be produced right here in the US of A. If the bourbon meets these criteria and has been aged for a minimum of two years, it can be called straight bourbon.

Scotch is generally thought of as whisky from Scotland. The spelling change of whiskey to whisky is not a typo. Scotland was so proud of its quality booze (as well as Canada & Japan), that they changed the word on all the bottles they manufacture. This is one easy way to pick out a real scotch. Also look for the exact word “scotch” (not Scottish), on the bottle to get the real McCoy. Scotch has its own set of legal rules for the production process but in very short form; it must be made from whole barely, & aged in oak-barrels for at least 3 years. The interesting thing about Scotch is that the flavors can drastically change from one bottle or brand to the next. Scotch is typically aged in old American bourbon barrels. So the scotch produced gets some flavor from the original bourbon barrel, some from the other spices added to the batch, as well as a variety of flavors from the different production processes. Scotch is usually distilled twice, while Irish whiskey is usually distilled three times. Scotch is aged anywhere between 3-50 years.  

Q: Does it age in the bottle?

A: Nope, whiskey does not age in the bottle. Hard alcohol like whiskey or vodka is distilled, a process which kills/strains the yeast from the drink, so unlike beer or wine it will not be changing flavor. Remember the universal rule of thumb: the older the whiskey, the more it costs. You will easily be able to taste the difference between anything from a 10 year old up to a 20 yr., but if you’re drinking anything nicer than a 20 it will probably taste like candy.

Q: What is a single malt, single barrel, a blend, and why does it matter?

A: Single Malt- Whiskey made from one distillery (can be separate barrels). Single Barrel- Whiskey from literally one barrel, totally unique and rare. Blend – a bunch of single malts, single grains or other whiskey mixed together in one bottle. Typically blends have a milder flavor, a general taste, and are easier to drink. The flavor of a blend like Dewar’s or Crown Royal will not be a strong or as unique as a single malt or single barrel, but it will most likely be a little easier on the wallet.

Q: What is “Cask Strength”?

A: Cask Strength or “Barrel Proof”, means a much higher alcohol-by-volume percentage. Normally hard alcohol is bottled at 40% a.b.v., but these bottles will be anywhere from 50%-65% a.b.v. Mix these with a large splash of water!

 

Chug It?

“There is a special rung in hell reserved for people who waste good scotch.” – Lt. Archie Hicox, Inglourious Basterd.

A nice glass of whiskey should be sipped not shot; not that shots aren’t good (they do their job), but they can limit your drinking experience to the jump from sober to drunk, leaving little room for you to enjoy the ride.

Whiskey should always be served neat (straight) accompanied by the option of still filtered water and/or ice. This is always an area of debate for whiskey snobs. By diluting the whiskey slightly, some of the stronger characteristics of the drink are diminished to a level easier to understand and enjoy. If you are going to add to the drink go easy:  Ice: one or two cubes, Water: a splash. The other rule here is: if you boss is drinking it neat, so do you (while you’re with him/her). In the end whiskey is a drink meant to be enjoyed: drink it the way you like it.

To Strong For Me…

Don’t lie; there is something cool about that one guy who already knows his drink order before he even sits down. A dapper young gentleman should have a go-to drink of choice; something distinctive but not bizarre, intriguing yet sophisticated that says “hello” to those who see it. Fine whiskey is one of these drinks, but if you are just beginning to taste whiskey, you may want to try a few of these mixed drinks before ordering a double Talisker 10.

v        Old Fashioned

v        Sidecar

v        Manhattan

v        King Cole

v        Seven & 7

v        Whiskey Sour

v  J   John Collins (Whiskey Collins)

v        Whiskey Presby (Presbyterian)

v         Irish Coffee

 

What to Get?

So maybe you haven’t found your drink of choice yet, or maybe you have never truly appreciated a quality glass of booze and are looking for the starting line. Well grab a few of these bottles, have a few friends over, and enjoy.

Scotch Whisky:

v        Macallan 12

v        Balvenie 17 DoubleWood

v        Glenlivet 15 Frech Oak

v         Lagavulin 16

v         Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Bourbon Whiskey:

v        Woodford Reserve Seasoned Oak

v        Blanton’s Original Single Barrel

v        Maker’s Mark 46

v        Angel’s Envy

v        Pappy Van Winkle