Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Castle Forbes Lavender review

Castle Forbes is a Scottish "perfumery" that specializes in... ah screw it, here's what they say about themselves:
Welcome to Castle Forbes Collection of fine fragrances and gifts for ladies, gentlemen and the home. Created in the perfumery at Castle Forbes in Scotland , elegantly packaged in the Forbes clan tartan and carrying the family crest and logo.

Castle Forbes was built in 1815 by my great-great-great grandfather, the 17th Lord Forbes, Scotland’s premier Lord and Chief of the clan Forbes.

Inspired by the beauty of the countryside surrounding our home, and the plants and flowers growing in the grounds, my wife and I have created from our own perfumery in the castle grounds a collection of fragrances, gifts and seasonal products which emulates the history of our clan.
Essentially, they make high-end shaving cream (well, they do more, but that's what I am interested in. Normally I'm not a huge fan of lavender scents, but they're growing on me.. and when I received a sample of the CF lime and lavender shave creams, I was pretty psyched.

First impressions -
The aroma is incredible. The lavender is gorgeous, in a completely manly-but-flowery way, and lasts throughout the shave. The cream itself is very thick, more of a soap than a cream, and it literally takes about 1/4 as much to get tons of lather than any other cream I've ever used - which turns the 35 dollar shave cream into something much more of a value cream than I would have expected. When a shave cream yields that many more shaves for the same volume, it becomes much more worthwhile in my book. The lather itself worked beautifully, with good lubrication.

I'd give this one a 10/10, and plan on actually buying a tub - though I still need to try their lime flavor first. :)

Music to shave to:
Ministry / Twitch

Thursday, November 6, 2008

For coffee lovers (Aeropress)

I picked up an AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Makerfrom Amazon about a week and a half ago - and HOLY COW.

First off, let me preface by explaining a few things. First, I like coffee. I am wholeheartedly addicted to caffeine. Normally, I go to work and choke down what passes for coffee from the drip system there. I didn't bother brewing at home because our drip pot sucks for anything less than a full pot - and then I have to clean the whole thing, yadda yadda... so I never bothered grabbing coffee from home before work. On the weekends, I ground my own beans and made a DECENT pot of coffee, but it still wasn't great.

I recently saw a post about the Aeropress at the Badger and Blade forums, and did a bit of research. Turns out that it seems to be a nearly ideal way to get a quick cup of coffee brewed in the morning that actually tastes GOOD. Color me skeptical (since, well, I am usually), but I figured for what, 27 or 28 dollars shipped, it was worth a try. After all, I've tried shaving creams that were just as expensive site unseen, right? :)

Once it arrived, I gave it a shot. Ground 2 cups worth of Caribou Coffee's Obsidian, threw some water in the kettle to boil, and made my first cup, Americano style. I took my first sip, and was pleasantly surprised. Obsidian usually had some heavy acidity from our coffeemaker (a decent drip model) and required a touch of cream (or soy milk, for me) and splenda to even out. With the Aeropress, drinking it black was completely pleasurable. Some very sweet tones showed up that I wasn't expecting, and there was almost no acid or bitterness at ALL. Cleanup was quick and easy, too - just open the trash, eject the filter, and rinse the contraption off.

There is one downside - it uses more coffee grounds per cup than you'd use for a drip maker. Probably about 50% more, in fact... so if you like to use Jamaican Blue Mountain or something ludicrous like that, don't bother with the Aeropress unless you've got cash to burn.

I would heavily recommend this to ANY coffee drinkers. I may not be the kinda guy that buys a 250 dollar drip system or a vacuum pot, but I do like my cuppajoe - and anything that makes it easier AND better is a winner for me.