Fine Accoutrements, Brand Profile
Most of the team here at Portland Shave Shop came upon traditional wet shaving when looking for a more sustainable (and, let’s face it, more ENJOYABLE) alternative to mass-produced disposable razors. That search led us down the winding path to ultimately founding our own straight razor manufacturing company, Portland Razor Co. It turns out we aren’t the only ones to follow a similar path. Todd Cerami worked in finance when he first encountered traditional wet shaving in 2005. What followed is a familiar story to us now: the realization that wet shaving is more economical, eco-friendly, and enjoyable. Cerami, aka “Mr. Fine” on the well-known Wicked Edge Reddit forum, founded Fine Accoutrements after years of tinkering to formulate the ultimate aftershave.
Fine Accoutrements is, in our view, a perfect revival of super classic wet shaving feels and smells. Even their shave brush is inspired by a vintage classic. The company excels in its recreation of vintage cologne profiles; they are downright flashback-inducing for many of our customers. The American Blend, their flagship scent, invokes the clean and fresh smells of retro Americana barbershops. Everything about their brand has an air of jukebox-era nostalgia that we really appreciate and enjoy.
Don’t let the brevity of their ingredients list fool you! Fine’s made in the USA Aftershaves leave nothing to be desired. The standard formula doubles up with alcohol and menthol for a little “WOW” factor on the front end and a nice cooling sensation as it dries, with the only other ingredients being water and fragrance. There are no artificial colors, emulsifiers, petroleum or silicones, phthalates, or parabens. The aroma has some staying power more similar to an aftershave-cologne, which we feel is more in keeping with traditional recipes.
You have to like a strong aftershave if you’re going to shave with Fine, as these don’t mess around. If you are someone with sensitive skin, these might not be for you as they do not have a sensitive skin variety.
Fine employs a triple milled tallow formula in making their shave soaps. This is a very old process that results in an especially rich, slick lather that’s perfect for wet shavers seeking a more traditional formula. Shea butter and coconut oil bases work incredibly well, but they’re pretty new on the block. Tallow is the original and isn’t going away anytime soon. These soaps correspond with the scents of the Fine aftershaves. With the strength of these scents, it could be advisable to pair like with like and not layer extra fragrances unless you feel pretty confident in your own sniffer.
Stout “Angel Hair” Fiber Brushes
This shave brush in an instant classic, inspired by the iconic Simpson’s “Chubby” brush. It fits in nobly with our barbershop setup and comes in a few vintage-classic color schemes. It has a generous 24mm knot with 50mm loft, which seems to be just right for mug, bowl, and face lathering techniques. Fine is deliberately ambiguous about the origins of this seemingly miraculous brush knot, claiming that it comes directly from The Almighty, and we can’t blame them for enforcing their exclusivity; EVERYONE wants a piece of these.
But, what’s the deal here? If Fine is all about emulating vintage classics, why go with a synthetic brush? First of all, synthetic fiber technology has come a long way in the last few decades, and the “Angel Hair” fibers are absolutely the best we’ve encountered for making a rich shave lather so far. It’s also a question of availability: Belgian Badgers are sadly more-or-less extinct, so the badger hair you can find now is not truly authentic in the first place (though it’s still our preferred natural shave brush fiber). Fine has other great reasons for going with this brush knot over real badger hair. First and foremost, it’s more affordable! The “Angel Hair” brush has comparable tip softness and backbone to silvertip badger hair (as you probably know, a gold standard in the wet shaving world). It’s also cruelty-free, less likely to mold, and there’s no unfortunate wet-dog smell if you forget to dry it well after use. That said, synthetic fibers don’t absorb water and while this means there’s no need to soak the brush, it also means that you have to control your water input very carefully to keep from water-logging your lather.
All-in-all, Fine makes a solid product and pays homage to the brands that inspired them! We are delighted to have their soaps, aftershaves, and brushes in stock online and in-store at Portland Shave Shop.