Gentlemanly Review – Arm & Hammer – Invisible Spray Powder Body

Without a single doubt, my Monday through Friday morning routine is a fast-paced hustle of getting my children showered, dressed, fed, and off to school before I speed to work myself. Unfortunately, active sweat glands are not forgiving as I scamper to and fro, working up some healthy perspiration before I have to interact with the public. Arriving at the office sporting unsightly sweat stains is certainly not the gentleman’s standard. Therefore, it was not unusual for me to recruit the services of an oscillating fan at home or air conditioning in my car to mitigate the effect of my sweat glands working overtime – even in the winter. Sometimes I am successful, and other times, well, I hide in my cubicle with my desk fan until my shirt is sufficiently dry. But now I have a possible gamechanger, a product that promises to keep sweaty gentlemen like myself dry and odor-free. Thank goodness I never had an issue with odor. Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder Body is the grooming under the spotlight today. Let’s review its performance and effectiveness below.

Quick Observations

  • Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder opens with a strong, sweet burst right out of the canister. And it flies out of the canister with authority. Immediately, I realized it was a little too sweet for my preference. If your senses are especially sensitive, this body spray will strike you as particularly loud. I learned my lesson early: Do not apply this body spray and then reach for your favorite cologne. The results will be disastrous. Perhaps it was my selection of cologne, but the combination produced a sweet, obnoxious odor that adhered to my body all day. Therefore, if you are using Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray, it is wise to utilize it strictly by itself.
  • Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder does dry down to an almost imperceptible scent, so a gentleman should not worry about it lingering around after 30 minutes by my approximation. The application of the spray is even, doesn’t clog, and as advertised – does not leave you coated in a messy white residue.
  • Regarding performance, Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder provided remarkable protection against sweat and odor throughout my workday. After the initial cool burst, it dries down very quickly. I did not experience any adverse skin reactions or irritation. My mornings are pretty active, so it was nice to arrive at work without sweat stains spotting my long-sleeve button-down sport shirt.
  • Now, Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder is somewhat awkward when handling, as the height of the canister presents a small challenge when gripping and aiming. The spray nozzle is also slightly clumsy to compress. However, the issue may lie with a lack of dexterity on my end. It may not prove to be an issue for some gentlemen. Kawhi Leonard has big enough mitts, so he should not have any issues at all.
  • Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder would a great grooming companion for an active gentleman that may produce his fair share of sweat. This gentleman doesn’t mind foregoing his favorite cologne perhaps in favor of staying dry throughout the day.
  • Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Powder retails for approximately $6.99 for a 7-ounce spray canister.

Gentlemanly Review – Jesse Jimz – Prime Cut Rinse Free Shave Oil

Regarding my wet shave, I don’t require much to satisfy modest expectations for a pleasant experience. At the top of my list of expectations is a close, smooth, irritation-free shave. Due to skin sensitivity, I never utilize a blade directly on my face – no matter what a brand guarantees in terms of touting an irritation, bump-free experience. I simply cannot take the risk. Therefore, I only shave my neck area just beneath my chin. This area isn’t nearly as sensitive as my face. Nevertheless, I still administer care as I shave because ingrown hairs are still a distinct possibility. Typically, I shave during a hot shower so my skin is soft and pliable, and I employ the usage of a good shave gel. The thicker and slicker the lather, the greater the barrier between the blade and my skin. Jesse Jimz Prime Cut – a shave oil I am current trialing – aims to eliminate the need for a shave gel altogether. Founded by Jesse Jimenez, Jesse Jimz is a premium line of skincare products for discerning gentlemen that desire more from their grooming products. Prime Cut is formulated with ingredients such as jojoba oil, vitamin E, and apricot kernel oil to help sooth and nourish the skin for an irritation-free wet shave. Without the presence of a robust lather, I was curious how my skin would react to just a shaving oil. Now, let’s talk performance.

Quick Observations

  • Jesse Jimz Prime Cut is a lightly scented oil that is noticeable fresh, but not terribly overbearing. The shaving oil rinses scent-free after a gentleman is done shaving.
  • As advertised, the shaving oil will not clog your razor blade with bothersome goops of hair and lather. However, there is a slightly oily residue that remains on the skin after your shave has been administered. A gentleman should wisely ensure that the targeted shaving area is thoroughly rinsed thereafter.
  • Now, although I did not achieve the closest shave possible using Prime Cut, it did perform adequately on light to medium stubble. However, I fear, for more substantial beard growth, Prime Cut may not perform as well. Thicker beards may require the presence of a considerable lather to provide sufficient protection from a blade’s edge. A quality shave cream or gel should not need repeated reapplications, whereas Prime Cut would most likely beg additional pumps of oil to replenish itself on the skin. Prime Cut provided a slick enough surface to protect against nicks and scrapes, but I could still feel the sensation of the blade sliding against my skin, much more so than when I use a shaving gel. My skin didn’t suffer from post-irritation, but it is something a gentleman will have to become accustomed.
  • I would definitely recommend Prime Cut as a complement to a gentleman’s preferred shave cream or gel. Using Prime Cut alone may not be sufficient for gentlemen with coarse, curly hair. It is my hope that the addition of a shaving cream or gel is added to the Jesse Jimz line of products.
  • Jesse Jimz retails for approximately $24.00 for a 2 oz. bottle, which should last a lifetime when used in conjunction with a shaving cream or gel.

Gentlemanly Review – Ain’t No Half-Steppin’ – The Cole Haan Stitchlite Oxford and the Redefinition of Business Casual Footwear

The professional gentleman has always had a complicated, love-hate relationship with the concept of business casual. It is somewhat of an oxymoron is it not – business, yet casual? Business was business, and casual was casual. Nevertheless, the backend of the 20th century introduced an amalgamation of a business and casual option for gentlemen. Now the lines were strangely blurred. The ambiguity resulted in decades of indecisiveness regarding menswear and dress codes within the confines of corporate America. To be fair, there were some gentlemen that successfully navigated these new uncharted sartorial waters. Meanwhile, a bevy of others stumbled through the exercise quite literally with mixed outcomes.

And while the clothing component usually landed with a standard pair of khakis and a sport shirt; footwear really struggled to find its footing (see what I did there) in this new business casual environment. It wasn’t entirely the gentleman’s fault. The industry performed a disservice by offering some truly awful, unattractive selections for the already befuddled gentlemen. You can still spot a few on lonely shelves at a local DSW. However, in 1988, Cole Haan was acquired by Nike, and so began the infusion of urban contemporary style into men’s footwear that provided much-needed clarity. The early 2000s witnessed the introduction of the LunarGrand collection. The brogue and wingtip aesthetics of a traditional dress shoe was placed atop Nike’s proprietary Lunarlon cushioning system for the ultimate fusion of business and casual. The gentleman was afforded the appearance of a standard dress shoe for the office with sneaker-like performance.

Subsequently, Nike divested Cole Haan, but the company continued its innovation with their Grand.OS technology. Enter the Cole Haan ZeroGrand. Stylish. Comfortable. And insanely lightweight. To be honest, years back, I was a skeptic of this hybridization of formal and informal. Well, approximately 7-8 pairs later, I am definitely a ZeroGrand enthusiast. I receive consistent compliments whenever I wear my ZeroGrand oxfords in and outside of work. Cole Haan’s latest work is the ZeroGrand Stitchlite. It is the same innovative technology, but this time the upper receives the sneaker treatment with a woven knit construction. The woolen texture is a handsome standout, and for temperatures that hover between 30-50 degrees, it is a great complement for seasonal changes this time of the year.

To be absolutely certain, the Cole Haan ZeroGrand Stitchlite is ridiculously lightweight. In all seriousness, the accompanying shoebox literally feels empty when you pick it up. Why? Well, the ZeroGrand Stitchlite jettisons the leather, welt, cork, stacked heel, and whatever materials that lend weight to a gentleman’s shoe. Instead, the ZeroGrand Stitchlite employs construction that would generally be associated with an athletic sneaker. First, the Stitchlite’s upper is constructed with the following materials: 23% wool, 7% baby alpaca, 40% nylon, and 30% polyester. The fabric has incredible flexibility and breathability. It is water-resistant, but not waterproof.

The midsole is constructed of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and the outsole is rubber. The EVA midsole provides flexibility, cushion, and is shock-absorbent. The segmented rubber outsole provides more flexibility, traction, stability, and resistance to wear. The GRANDFØAM footbed offers yet more cushioning with an almost spongy feel. I attended an event – Donuts with Dads – at my children’s school which required me to divide time between both kids. Logistically speaking, one child was located at one end of the floor and the other child on the opposite end. Therefore, I spent the entire morning walking back and forth between both kids so I could participate in each class activity. And I must admit, the ZeroGrand did not disappoint. I cannot endorse playing basketball in the ZeroGrand, but it does offer comfort and on-the-go agility normally not offered by regular dress shoes.

After Donuts with Dad, I drove to the office to begin my workday. A quick word about the office: sitting at a desk all day can be hazardous to a gentleman’s health. A sedentary lifestyle in the office can lead to obesity, high pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Health experts recommend that a workforce trapped within the confines of a cubicle environment should dedicate time during the day for periodic standing and walking. It is not uncommon to see fellow colleagues switch out their standard dress shoes for sneakers as they take walk breaks during the workday. However, with the ZeroGrand, the requirement to switch shoes is all but eliminated. You can perform periodic walks around the office and look great in the process. Now, let’s dive a little deeper with what may be deemed as favorable or unfavorable for the gentleman.

Potentially Unfavorable

  • The ZeroGrand Stitchlite is water-resistant but is certainly not waterproof. Speaking plainly, it would be best to avoid torrential rainfalls or burly snowstorms. For gentlemen residing in specific locations, the Stitchlite is very much a seasonal shoe.
  • I did not experience any accidents, however, I do not believe the knit upper will be as forgiving to dirt or stains as its leather counterparts. It would be wise to address any grime or mishaps promptly.
  • Because of the unstructured nature of the knit upper, the Stitchlite may feel a little large. There is a lot of “give” to the shoe. Nevertheless, thick to moderately thick hosiery may resolve this issue by filling out excess space.
  • Depending on the model, the ZeroGrand oxford collection retails for $180-230. However, Cole Haan offers a tremendous amount of sales throughout the year, so procuring a pair below retail should be easy. However, even retail represents a great deal for a quality shoe in my opinion.
  • Depending on your locale, the Stitchlite may only be suitable for the Fall and Spring, although late summer is definitely a possibility as well. It is definitely not constructed for inclement weather.
  • Given the Stitchlite has a sneaker bottom, having it resoled will be quite cumbersome, even perhaps for an experienced cobbler.

Favorable

  • The ZeroGrand Stitchlite is incredibly stylish. The woolen upper is a unique interpretation of the traditional dress oxford. As a highly polished leather dress shoe adds dignified grace to a gentleman’s presentation. Here, the woolen texture of the Stitchlite adds depth and richness to the upper. The knit upper insulates nicely against chilled temperatures without making one’s feet sweat.
  • Insanely lightweight, the ZeroGrand is perfect for travel and commuting. Boasting a sneaker-like feel, a gentleman does not have to worry about comfort or cushioning. The midsole and outsole are extremely flexible; bending and molding itself to the gentleman’s unique gait.
  • Historically, Cole Haan has always offered a beautiful array of color combinations that can perfectly complement any gentlemanly ensemble. I especially like the color choices for their soles. I missed out on a pair of sandy cream Stitchlites with a brick red sole. As soon as that pair went on sale, the stock was completed depleted. Damn.
  • Unlike leather, creasing has not been an issue due to the construction of the woven knit upper. The knit upper has a lot of flexibility and give, but it reverts back to its original shape. I would still recommend shoe trees, although the shoe paper that they arrive with will also suffice nicely.
  • Some gentlemen may not want to admit it, but there is a certain level of vanity that coincides with purchasing and wearing attire. Everyone likes to look and feel their best. The Stitchlite will definitely make you stand out. The odds are in your favor that no one else in your immediate area will be rocking the same pair of ZeroGrands that you are wearing. They are fashion-forward and will surely garner compliments. I receive praise consistently regarding my ZeroGrand kicks.
  • The ZeroGrand Stitchlite represents business casual the way it was envisioned – start with a formal aesthetic and slowly add informal elements to the mix. Conversely, one can start with a casual foundation and then introduce formal details. The Stitchlite was made for pressed khakis, crisp sport shirts, cotton or corduroy sport coats (pocket square optional), and some natty socks. And given its versatility, the Stitchlite can, of course, be worn with denim jeans on strictly casual days.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Gentlemanly Review – Acqua Di Gio Georgia Armani – Profumo

Well, autumn 2019 has settled in nicely here in Michigan. Greeted by cool morning dew on his lawn and perhaps his vehicle, the seasonally prepared gentleman moves to convert his summer style to one that fully embraces fall. Aside from employing progressively heavier outerwear and thicker fabrics, recruiting a fragrance that embodies the current season is important too. Now, my personal taste in cologne generally gravitates towards heavier, robust scents with somewhat of an earthy personality. As of late, I have been testing and trialing Acqua di Gio Profumo by Giorgio Armani. Released in 2015, Profumo is the follow-up to the wildly popular Acqua di Gio that was launched in 1996. Now, while Profumo retains the original’s aquatic sensibilities, it introduces a batch of floral greens and incense to offer a contrasting depth and richness. Is it the perfect fall cologne for you? Well, continue reading below and decide for yourself.

Observations

Top Notes: Bergamot, Aquatic Notes

Middle Notes: Sage, Rosemary, Geranium

Base Notes: Patchouli, Incense

  • The presentation of the glass bottle is simple, almost identical to its predecessor, except Profumo arrives in a slightly opaque black flask. The metallic spray nozzle is topped by a black top that matches the body. The brand’s name is featured in metallic silver across the body of the bottle. The glass is moderately thick and has a good weight to it.
  • Acqua di Gio Profumo starts with a moderate explosion of bergamot. It’s a nice little pop, but it is subdued. The citrus tones are nicely balanced by clean, fresh aquatic notes as it begins a smooth transition to the middle and base notes. Again, the beginning isn’t terribly strong, but a gentleman should proceed with caution and demonstrate restraint with his applications. Targeting the chest, abdomen, and shoulders yielded the best results regarding projection for me.
  • The heart and base notes consist mainly of sage, rosemary, geranium, and patchouli – a collection of soft, aromatic greens that blend well with the strong temperament of incense. Regarding application, I estimate that 3-5 sprays should be more than sufficient, but I suggest that you wisely experiment with what works for you. Depending on the application, a gentleman should be able to extract 7-8 hours of performance. Its projection is decent and not terribly offensive. Profumo is an Eau de parfum – meaning a higher concentration of aromatic compounds versus eau de toilette – so care should be taken during application. I went overboard one day with about 7-8 sprays and it was too much.
  • In my humble opinion, Acqua di Gio Profumo is meant for the mature gentleman that loves an earthy, mildly spicy scent that starts with a mild burst of citrus but quickly settles into deep and warm territory. Profumo is touted as a fragrance that can be worn year-round. However, I think Profumo is better suited for the fall and winter. I believe Profumo is also best suited for affairs during the evening as well. Nevertheless, Profumo is fine for day affairs and can be worn both casually and professionally. It is a solid fragrance, but I wouldn’t label it as an exceptional standout. However, if your cologne collection is bare, it is worth checking it out for possible purchase.
  • Acqua di Gio Profumo can purchased in the following sizes: 1.35 oz. ($70.00), 2.5 oz. ($98.00), 4.2 oz. ($135.00) – Available at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Von Maur, and other fine men’s department stores.
  • Gentleman’s Rating: 3.75/5.00

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Gentlemanly Review – Beckett Simonon – Valencia Wholecut

Once upon a time, I could not care less about footwear. However, it was a necessary component of a gentleman’s attire. Because, when faced with the choice, commuting barefoot throughout the city was definitely not an option. However, after reinventing myself sartorially; assembling a distinguished collection of shoes was a high priority on my action list. At the time, I perhaps owned 3-4 pairs of shoes. And that is being generous. Present day, that number has expanded exponentially. I have acquired a myriad of varying styles throughout the years, and now my collection is suitably prepared for any situation and season. There is one style, however, that I have been reluctant to add to my closet – the wholecut oxford.

I have always held great admiration for its clean elegance and grace, but ironically, its simplicity was slightly intimidating. How could I incorporate such a simple dress shoe into my wardrobe? I’ve overthought the prospect for many years, but something great occurred. Fortuitously, I was presented an opportunity to explore and examine the world of direct-to-consumer luxury shoe brand Beckett Simonon. Launched in 2012, Beckett Simonon is a start-up brand created by founders Andres Nino and Nicholas Hurtado. Offering a modest array of footwear (oxfords, loafers, boots, sneakers), Beckett Simonon follows a pre-order, made-to-order business model.

A gentleman can participate in a select “campaign” that offers a variety of footwear models. Once he orders his choice of footwear, there is a 8-12 week lead time for delivery. The pre-order, made-to-order model reduces superfluous inventory and keeps prices low in comparison to the quality that a gentleman receives. I was given the choice of two models: the Valencia and the Durant. The Durant is a handsome calfskin brogue that would be the perfect business or business-casual dress shoe, but my closet overfloweth with brogue dress shoes.

Now was my opportunity to experiment with a wholecut – the Valencia. And so, I relayed the choice to my contact and eagerly awaited its arrival. Fast-forward, boom, right out of the box: the Valencia wholecut, additional pair of waxed cotton shoelaces, two monogrammed felt shoe bags, two removable insoles, and a Beckett Simonon booklet. My initial thoughts were positive. It was a damn good-looking shoe. So, let’s examine Beckett Simonon’s offering and determine if it is worth a nearly 3 month wait as their business model dictates.

Leather outsole, stacked rubber heel, beautiful silhouette

Gentlemanly Observations

Favorables

  • The Argentinian full grain leather utilized for the Valencia wholecut is remarkedly soft; seriously on par with similar offerings from Allen Edmonds at nearly half the price. Retrieving the Valencia from its box, a gentleman will immediately be greeted by the fine aroma of rich, full grain leather. Full grain leather is the best quality reserved for a gentleman’s shoe. It is the top layer of an animal’s hide that has not been altered or corrected. It is durable, rich, and luxurious. Here, the Valencia’s leather is best characterized as sublimely pliable and moderately thick with a beautiful luster. It received polish well to produce a nice glossy shine.
  • The wholecut oxford itself is a unique model of gentleman’s footwear. Generally an oxford bears the mark of some ornate pattern or design. Here, the design is as simple as simple can achieve. Ironically, it is this simplicity that actually emboldens the wholecut with special distinction. Beckett Simonon achieves a streamlined silhouette with its version with a pronounced, curved slope along the vamp. The Valencia wholecut is equipped with 5 eyelets with shoelace strength and length appearing to be particularly hearty. To balance its quiet presentation, I recommend pairing with a trouser rich in fabric and design. Think tweed and Glen plaid for your choice of trouser.
  • Of all things, I must reveal that the fit and comfort exceeded all my expectations. What good is a beautiful shoe if it constricts and hurts one’s feet? Although I wear a D width, my size 12 feet are moderately wide, and I anticipated a tight squeeze when sliding into the seemingly slender Valencia. I was incorrect with my assumption. The Valencia was very comfortable – not tight by any measure. Straight out of the box, the Valencia rejects rigidity with a supple insole and pliable body. There is certainly a lot of “give” to a Beckett Simonon shoe. I wore both thin dress shoes and slightly thicker cotton socks. The fit was still excellent.
  • Over the last decade, the price of quality dress shoes have steadily increased. I have long held the belief that a quality pair of dress shoes will cost between $150.00 and $200.00. Nowadays, that range for some of my preferred brands have exceeded the $300.00 threshold, with even some approaching $400.00 and more. Beckett Simonon offers comparable quality at approximately half the price at $200.00. Absent the pre-order made-to-measure business model, Beckett Simonon would generally retail for $300.00. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to secure a 20% discount code online to further reduce the cost.
  • Expanded price range for all footwear: dress shoes ($199), boots ($219), and ($149)
  • The Valencia employs Blake-stitch construction with affords a lightweight quality, flexibility, and slenderness to its profile. In simple terms, Blake-stitch construction entails the shoe upper being attached the outsole and insole by a single stitch. The upper wraps around the insole and is sandwiched between it and outsole. The simple construction reduces the cost of the overall shoe when compared to a Goodyear welted shoe – which has the presence of a welt (an additional layer that the outsole, insole, and upper are stitched to).

Potential Unfavorables

  • Unless you are a discerning gentleman that actively procures handsome selections of footwear – absent urgent necessity – you perhaps fall into the category of gentleman that only purchases shoes when you need them. That being said, a gentleman with an immediate need for a pair of elegant oxfords will be hard-pressed to wait 8-12 weeks for delivery. And still, even if an immediate purchase is not required, an average gentleman may be stubborn to part with the necessary funds to secure a product he won’t enjoy for nearly 3 months. Beckett Simonon is definitely suited for the dapper gentleman with patience and sufficient disposable income to acquire their product.
  • For all intents and purposes, Beckett Simonon is still a young brand, and with its made-to-measure business model, uncertainty may provide pause for the cautious gentleman. Unlike purchasing footwear first-hand inside a store, or even ordering online from a proven brand in business for several decades, the consumer is trusting that this young company will fulfill and deliver all made-to-order shoes to the consumer. Seven years and counting in the business, they appear to be on the right track for longevity.
  • Currently, Beckett Simonon only offers a medium width (D) for their footwear, so some of the slimmer models may present discomfort for wider feet. Comfort level will vary gentleman to gentleman.
  • In the past, the opportunity to procure a wholecut oxford has presented itself multiple times over. However, I have been hesitant due to the potential high-risk of noticeable creasing. Now, creasing is a natural result of leather bending and flexing as shoes are worn. Its visibility can be mitigated based upon the decorative nature of the shoe. A wholecut oxford, however, is free of decoration. It is this naked simplicity that may lead to prominence of creasing that may be undesirable. Of course, this will depend upon a gentleman’s gait. I did notice that as I stepped, the Valencia did not flex around the vamp area. Neverthless, shoe trees are definitely recommended.
  • The Blake-stitch construction doesn’t offer much resistance to wetness or temperature, as there is no barrier (a welt) between the insole and outsole. So a gentleman will need to factor weather into his sartorial plans for the day.

A Final Word – The Valencia

  • Hand-made one at a time
  • Blake construction that can be resoled at a reputable cobbler
  • Full grain calf leather uppers
  • Full grain leather lining for extra breathability
  • Sturdy leather soles
  • Extra durable leather heel stacks
  • Rubber heel caps for better traction
  • Waxed cotton laces
  • Dust bags included
  • 1 year warranty
  • Free shipping, free returns, and free exchanges

Overall, I was very pleased with the Valencia from Beckett Simonon. The shape is beautiful, and it is very comfortable right out the box without a breaking-in period. This shoe is a perfect companion for the professional gentleman in and out of the office. For the quality you receive, the price-point is very affordable. Of course, a gentleman will have to exhibit the patience to wait on his order, but it should be well worth it. Beckett Simonon’s next campaign commences October 1st, 2019.

Please visit their website HERE for more information.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved – Sponsored Post

Gentlemen’s Review – Prada – Luna Rossa Carbon

Prada Luna Rossa Carbon - clear flask with a black bottom, metallic top, and red Prada stripe down the middle

Today, I will be sharing my thoughts on a fragrance that was introduced to the market in 2017. The latest in the Luna Rossa (Red Moon) collection, Carbon is billed as a seductive and masculine fragrance, inspired by the collision of nature and technology. It is a steam-distilled botanical mix with modern materials in a distinctive blend. Until this point, I was not familiar with the Prada brand outside of their clothing line. However, I was provided a sample and was pleasantly surprised by the fragrance. Now, some insight that I have read online compares it to Christian Dior Sauvage. Granted, my experience with Sauvage was only relegated to a brief smell test at a local mall, but Carbon presented itself as milder and lighter – something that could be worn both inside and outside the workplace, casually and professionally. Let’s dive into more details below.

Observations

Top Notes: Bergamot, Pepper

Middle Notes: Lavender, Soil Tincture, Coal, Metallic & Watery Notes

Base Notes: Patchouli, Ambroxan

  • Prada Luna Rossa Carbon introduces itself in a very discreet manner; very calm and inviting. There is a bright burst of citrusy bergamot, but it is weighted down by elements of pepper. The beginning is very short-lived before it settles nicely into the middle and base notes.
  • The transition toward the middle and base notes is fluid and steady. Between the middle and base notes, the fragrance is consistent throughout – not particularly high, nor low. It projects well, but it doesn’t scream its presence to the surrounding area.
  • The presentation of the flask is handsome; arriving in a slightly opaque, rectangular body with an all-black bottom. The brand name is positioned in the middle, atop a red stripe flowing down from a metallic crown. The design is allegedly inspired by modern sailboats, but I find it difficult making that connection. Nevertheless, it is still a nice-looking bottle.
  • Moderately heavy, this fragrance can be worn both casually or professionally, during the daytime or evening. I strongly recommend 3-5 applications around the neck/shoulder area and abdomen.  However, the soft introduction belies its intensity if overused. Unfortunately, I committed the error of spraying perhaps 6-8 times in the morning, and the scent desperately clung to my skin well into the early evening. The projection was still going strong and I felt a little self-conscious wearing it.
  • Prada Luna Rossa Carbon is intended for the gentleman that prefers a warm, earthy fragrance that seamlessly transitions from each individual note to the other. And while it is definitely a masculine scent, it is not overly aggressive or offensive. This fragrance can be worn year-round, however, I like Prada Luna Rossa Carbon best during autumn and winter. The warmness of the scent presents a beautiful contrast to the colder temperatures of both seasons.
  • Prada Luna Rossa Carbon can be purchased in the following sizes: 1.7 ounces at $70.00 or 3.4 ounces at $90.00 – Available at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, and other fine men’s department stores
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Gentlemen’s Review – Kiehl’s – Ultimate Man Body Scrub Bar

Kiehl's Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap - this is bar soap

Seriously, selecting bar soap should be a straightforward decision, one devoid of complication and confusion. However, we are in an age of choices. And by choices, I truly mean a lot of choices. There is something on the market for nearly every gentleman for every lifestyle. Trust, generally my preferred bar soap is a simple pack of Lever 2000. It’s my workhorse bar soap that performs its duties well and is readily available nearby at a local Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc. Nevertheless, I am always open to trial new products within reason – given the promise of more benefits and attributes beyond the standard array of similar items in the aforementioned stores. Now, I really enjoyed using the Turbo Body Bar from perennial favorite Jack Black, so I was curious if its grooming doppelganger from Kiehl’s would meet or exceed that level of quality. No doubt, the Kiehl’s offering is a quality piece of bar soap. I have been enjoying its services thus far. I seriously would have to compare both bar soaps head to head in another post. However, for now, let’s dive into my observations and analysis below.

Observations

  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap is a solid, hefty piece of bar soap. Arriving in a clear sealed, plastic packaging; this rectangular shower companion weighs in at a robust 7 ounces. It is approximately 4 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, and 1.25 inches thick. It has a light tan hue with small flecks of brown dotted across the surface and throughout. Instructions regarding usage and ingredients are displayed on its label.
  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap produces an amazingly rich, foamy lather. Much like my experience with the Turbo Body Bar from Jack Black, I was quite surprised with how much lather it generated after a few rotations in my washcloth. Aided by a minimal amount of water, 5-6 full rotations in a gentleman’s washcloth is enough to supply sufficient lather to the entire body without replenishment. It washes away smoothly with no residue.
  • While not odorless, the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap may boast “ultimate man” in its title, but the scent is actually very mild. Some products go overboard as far as fragrance is concerned when marketing to men. My assumption is the stronger the smell, the more the product represents a man. However, if a gentleman also wears cologne, the two competing scents may conflict with one another, and the results may be aromatically unpleasant. Kiehl’s offering does have a slight minty aroma, but it washes clean without a residual scent afterwards.
  • The Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap does have a granular texture due to the combination of bran, oatmeal, and pumice. Do not use this on your face. The texture isn’t especially harsh, but this product is not meant to exfoliate your face; it is formulated only for the body. Addressing areas of the body where dead skin may accumulate or where skin may be prone to roughness, the exfoliating properties is gentle and didn’t irritate my skin. The sensation of the granular feel against the skin while scrubbing is very satisfying. You don’t have to go overboard, a good once over for targeted areas will suffice.
  • Now, if I identify one drawback to the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap, it did strip away moisture and render my skin a little dry. Therefore, it would wise to utilize a nice, thick body lotion to replenish your skin with the nutrients it requires. Personally, I like Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion.
  • As previously stated, this bar soap does not take long to form a thick lather. So less time being bombarded with hot water means this soap won’t dissolve at a quickened rate. After nearly a week’s usage, my body bar appears just as it has when I freed it from its package – minus the Kiehl’s since 1851 etched into the soap. If I were to calculate daily usage, I would estimate that a gentleman could retain 1 month or more of dedicated grooming service.
  • Now, I fully understand that the price here will be a big deterrent, as $15.00 per bar soap may appear as absurd. Hell, for slightly less than half that price, I can secure a 12-count of 4 ounce bars of Lever 2000. So, the question becomes: Why spend $15.00 on a single bar of soap. Because, depending upon where a gentleman is stationed in his life, he should want to experience something more than just regular. I use regular bar soap all the time, and this time I wanted to feel the difference of something beyond typical. I believe it is worth it. Kiehl’s does offer an auto replenishment option for the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap: every 1 month through every 6 months at a 5% discount. So, a gentleman can control the frequency that he receives it.

Kiehl's Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap - this is bar soap

Product Specifications

Slough off dead skin with our highly efficient exfoliating bar soap for men. Infused with an invigorating aroma, our bar soap with Oatmeal and Bran thoroughly cleanses skin and helps alleviate roughness. Scrub away fatigue with our energizing body scrub soap.

Key Ingredients

  • Oat Bran – extracted from the outer casing of the Oat Grain. Within their special formula, it helps soothe and condition skin.
  • Oat Kernel Meal – derived by grinding kernels of Oats. Within our formula, it acts as a natural exfoliant.
  • Pumice – a rock of volcanic origin and commonly used as an abrasive and a bulking agent. Within our formulas, it works as a natural exfoliant, helping to remove dead and rough skin for smoother results.

For more information about product from Kiehl’s, please visit their website HERE for more details.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Kiehl's Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap - this is bar soap

Review – Jack Black – Protein Booster Skin Serum

God willing, I am going to be 43 years young when September arrives next month. Given my demographic, I am certainly blessed to have reached so many years thus far in my life. Now with that many years under my belt, my skin has certainly sustained a fair amount of environmental stress that accompanies the aging process. And although I can never be mistaken for an eighteen-year-old Glen Antoine Palmer, I humbly offer that I have aged well into the middle act of my lifespan. A non-smoker, I can credit good genetics along with an absence of alcohol and drug usage. Nevertheless, as beneficial as those factors are, a gentleman my age still requires assistance in the form of grooming products that mitigates the onslaught of Father Time. Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum is one of those products. Trust when I disclose, I never imagined I would be as particular about my grooming regimen as I am now. However, particular I am, and my skin is better because of the rigor my grooming entails. So, allow me to present a few points that deem this product a Gentlemen’s Standard favorite.

Observations

  • The serum is housed in a dark blue, slightly transparent glass bottle with a pump top. Now, I would definitely caution against purposely releasing said glass bottle from a significant height, however, it does feel solid & sturdy. It doesn’t look or feel cheap. But that may not be a burning concern for the discerning gentleman.
  • Regarding physical appearance, the serum leaves a lot to be desired, as the dark mustard hue doesn’t seem like something a gentleman would want to slather on his face. That is neither here, nor there. Undesirable yellow appearance aside, the protein serum is relatively odorless and mildly slippery to the touch, but definitely not greasy.
  • The protein skin serum absorbs into the skin with relative ease; I would estimate 3-4 application pumps should provide adequate coverage for the entire face. One might be tempted to apply more than recommended, but due to the consistency of the serum, it is capable of covering a large area in relation to the amount dispensed.
  • Daily usage should yield approximately 6 months of service, perhaps even longer if a gentleman employs an every other day schedule. Depending on a gentleman’s lifestyle, I would definitely recommend using the protein skin serum every other day.
  • Once applied, the serum may feel significant enough to replace your standard moisturizer. However, to fully maximize the serum’s potential, a standard moisturizer should be applied in tandem. Personally, I follow up with applying Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer.
  • Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum retails for approximately $62.00 for a 2.0 fl. oz. bottle. An auto-replenishment program is available if the gentleman so chooses to participate.

Product Specifications

A peptide-rich, multi-functional serum that penetrates to reduce the visible signs of aging and keeps skin looking healthy. The silky liquid texture allows powerful, efficacious ingredients to be readily absorbed below the skin’s surface to help improve skin tone, help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and help protect from future damage.

Key Ingredients

  • MATRIXYL® 3000: Highly effective peptide that helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 45 percent.
  • SYN®-AKE: Advanced myo-relaxing peptide smooths skin yielding up to a 52 percent reduction in the appearance of wrinkles*; mimics the activity of walgerin 1, a peptide found in the snake venom of the temple viper.
  • RENOVAGE®: Patented anti-aging ingredient that reduces the appearance of pigmented spots by up to 56 percent and increases moisturization up to 58 percent
  • DYNALIFT®: Natural sorghum stalk juice tightens and smooths skin.

For more information about Jack Black products, please visit Jack Black HERE for more details.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Review – Zirh Platinum – Deep Clean Foaming Cleanser & PM Rescue

 

Sometimes, for a gentleman that works in management, desperate times beg for extreme desperate measures. Employment, especially when a gentleman is on a management team, is never straightforward. Because, no matter how simplistic a task may appear to be, the most influential variable that disrupts that very notion is the worker. Yes, the worker. Stating the painfully obvious: People can complicate matters, particularly when it involves a rudimentary function such as performing one’s job duties. It has been a few years since I stepped into my current role, and as I close in on 42 years of age, by all accounts I should look like a 90-year-old functioning alcoholic. Nevertheless, compared to some of my contemporaries, I look pretty good as I approach middle age. Wow, that last thought is frightening.

Now, it has been quite a long time since I have reviewed an offering from Zirh – approximately over three years in fact. Given my previous experiences with Zirh products, and the positive results yielded from its usage, I was very excited to receive an offer to sample a few grooming selections from their platinum collection – Deep Clean and PM Rescue. Both selections arrive with the promise of mitigating signs of aging and improving skin definition. And so, when faced with the daily stress that arrive with life and the natural aging process, I accepted the invitation to gauge what Zirh Platinum had to offer. So, lets dive into the details below.

Observations

  • Zirh Deep Clean: Luxurious foaming cleanser formulated with a natural fruit acid blend along with papaya and pineapple extracts to deep clean, exfoliate, soothe and hydrate skin. Deep Clean helps remove blackheads and impurities from the skin while providing anti-aging benefits by boosting skin elasticity and stimulating collagen synthesis.
  • Zirh PM Rescue: Immediately firms the appearance of skin and protects against the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Gives an immediate tightening effect on the face and neck. Antioxidants protect against free radicals that are known to accelerate skin aging. Builds collagen to plump up the skin, filling in lines and wrinkles.
  • Both Zirh Deep Clean and PM Rescue are packaged in conservative, black containers – the deep clean housed in a pump bottle, and the pm rescue in a small squeeze bottle.
  • The Zirh Deep Clean produces a very light lather. Humbly, I would estimate a minimum three pump requirement to generate a worthy lather. Regarding its scent, it produces a light, peppery pungent aroma when worked into a lather. It dissipates after a minute or so, but the initial smell is quite unexpected. The cleanser rinses cleans without any oily film or residue. It also does not dry out your skin. Given the amount that must be applied to generate a worthy lather, I would recommend using this cleanser every other day, if not even less. A gentleman will surely use up all of the product before a month is over. Use wisely.
  • The Zirh PM Rescue only requires a small marble sized amount to deliver the proper service. And although, it is presented as a skin serum, the consistency is more akin to a moisturizer. It goes on cleanly and absorbs into skin swiftly. Nonetheless, perhaps a few minutes after its application, I apply facial moisturizer to finish off the regimen. If I were to estimate, if applied daily, one tube should last approximately a month.
  • Zirh Deep Clean retails for approximately $45.00 for a 5.0 fl. oz. bottle. Zirh does offer an auto-replenishment program: monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Any one of these options will net a gentleman a 15% discount off regular retail value.
  • Zirh PM Rescue retails for approximately $125.00 for a 1.6 fl. oz. bottle. Zirh does offer an auto-replenishment program: monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Any one of these options will net a gentleman a 15% discount off regular retail value.
  • Both products boast a substantial price-tag that may grant thoughtful pause for the discerning gentleman. Dependent upon one’s lifestyle, the cost, perhaps, is negligible. Honestly, it is too early for me to assess any redeeming promises from Zirh Platinum, however, claims that arrive with the hope of counteracting Father Time may be worth exploring.

Review – Tommy John – Stay-up Dress Sock

It is perhaps unquestionable that gentlemen’s hosiery is a highly underrated accessory in your wardrobe right now. This is a safe space, feel free to submit your admission, there will be an absence of judgment in this small sliver of Internet space. Seriously, please identify another gentleman’s accessory that can be displaced or lost without a modicum of panicked concern. Displaying a posture of indifference, and a slight shrug of the shoulders, a gentleman will simply reach for a replacement pair and maybe restock his supply during a future department store venture. It is a painful, simple truth: Socks receive no love. Yet despite being taken for granted, they can become a source of intense irritability when performance is less than stellar. Whether falling victim to unraveling unseemly seams, unsightly holes in its material, or gradually losing its shape through the redundancy of wash and wear – a gentleman’s hosiery is more valuable than assigned credit.

And so, today, I explore the world of brand Tommy John. A tagline from their website: No adjustment needed. Now, I must readily admit, I have become accustomed to periodically adjusting my socks over the course of my day. In the day of the life of a sock, it is simply the nature of the sartorial beast. They may tend to sag a little, a gentleman will pull them up, and repeat as much is required. Now, one could employ the use of a sock garter to maintain the proper height for one’s hosiery, however the matter is not that serious – at least not to me. Nonetheless, sagging and shapeless sock can be a hassle, and the Tommy John brand asserts it can resolve this nagging issue with their premium line of socks.

Specifications

  •  Stay Dry: Zoned ventilation keeps feet cool and dry
  • Zone Cushioning: Increased support, comfort, and extended wear
  • Light Compression: Improves and increases blood flow circulation
  • Arch Support: Light compression increases blood flow
  • InvisiGrip® Technology: Grips foot to ensure sock stays put

Directly out of the packaging, I could easily recognize that this line of hosiery was indeed premium quality. Composed of 65% Pima Cotton, 32% Nylon, and 3% Spandex; the touch was very soft and the construction was solid. I purposely allowed my toenails to grow to gauge if the fabric was durable enough to resist punctures – just joking. Nevertheless, the fabric had more than sufficient stretch and durability. Even after a routine trip in the washer and dryer, the stay-up dress sock retained its shape, color, and resiliency. Now, let’s address the original topic that this blog post commenced with – sagging. In all honesty, I read some reviews on the Tommy John website and was shocked to read that some customer still experienced sock sag.

Immediately, a gentleman will notice the difference between this sock and some mass market socks. They reach far over the calf, just below the kneecap, and I am 6 foot 1. It hugs the calf tightly and required no adjustment at all – it’s almost too good. It’s not too tight, but I definitely had to become accustomed to the snug fit. Even after washing, the fit was still snug around my calf. Regarding pricing, a gentleman is going to pay more than he would generally spend on socks. Being totally transparent, we would sooner spend dollars on a value pack from TJ Maxx or Marshals than a pair of socks retailing at $16.00. However, when considering the aforementioned headaches and hassles that arrive with mediocre product, spending more on quality is perhaps the best course of action to address your hosiery woes. Trust, it will definitely be worth it in the long run.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

For further information about Tommy John, please visit https://www.tommyjohn.com/ for details.

Style & Substance – Ford Motor Company – 2018 Ford Mustang

And then there was that time that I discovered myself, apparently slightly off-course, somewhere in Allen Park, Michigan with a 2018 Ford Mustang. Hello good people, today I will be detailing part two of my test-drive adventures with the 2018 Ford Expedition and Mustang. You see, that faithful morning at Ford World Headquarters – lovingly referred to as the Glass House – instructions were distributed among our media group directing all drivers to follow a predetermined course around the immediate area to induce a familiarity with each vehicle. Well, everything was proceeding as according to what was planned until Interstate 94 was introduced into the test-driving equation; along with a few indiscriminate semi-trailer trucks to make the situation more interesting.

Suffice it to say, I missed an exit and unexpectedly discovered myself separated from the group. Instead of lamenting and panicking about the situation, I resolved that this was a prime opportunity to examine the speed and agility of the 2018 Mustang. I did not want to stray too far away from Ford World Headquarters, so I needed to get back on track – and in a hurry. The 2018 Ford Mustang is well-suited to perform such a task. Equipped with a turbo-charged 5.0 liter V8 engine, 0-60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat is possible. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine boasts 310 horsepower and 350 pounds of torque while the 5.0-liter V8 engine kicks out 460 horsepower and 420 pounds of torque.

The 2018 Ford Mustang has four active exhaust (equipped with quad exhausts) modes that a gentleman from which a gentleman can select. A beautiful, illuminated 12-inch instrument cluster displays the options: quiet, normal, sport, and track. The all-digital LCD instrument offers varying screen layouts, 26 color options and displays for up to eight gauges. The gentleman can take note of his favorite preferences regarding suspension, steering, and exhaust by saving them in the MyMode settings. New to the world of sports cars, I opted to drive in normal mode. First driving through residential streets, some concrete that had seen better days delivered a bumpy ride. It was not until Interstate 94 afforded the opportunity to unleash this beast on the (nearly) open road.

The Mustang did not have any issues responding to my request to swiftly accelerate around the semi-trailer truck in front of me. The handling was responsive and agile as I dipped around and emancipated it from the obstacle ahead and bolting for the nearest exit to turn myself around and get back on track. Despite its power and speed, I never felt as is I wasn’t in total control of the vehicle. I remained gripped to the road with each acceleration and nimble turn. Eventually, aided by the GPS on my cell phone, I was able to find my way back to Dearborn and Ford HQ.

2018 Ford Mustang Standard Specifications

  • AutoLamp Headlamps (automatic on/off)
  • Dual Bright exhaust with rolled polished tips
  • LED Headlamps with LED signature lighting – LED front park turn lamps – LED sequential tail lamps
  • Mirrors – body-color with integrated blind spot mirrors
  • Rear-window defroster
  • 2.5″ front brake rotors with 2-piston calipers
  • 12.5″ rear brake rotors with single-piston calipers
  • AdvanceTrac® with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – Electronic Line-Lock (track use only)
  • Independent rear suspension – Selectable-effort Electric Power-Assist Steering (EPAS)
  • Vented 4-wheel disc brakes
  • 2.3L EcoBoost®
  • 3.31 limited-slip rear axle – 6-speed manual transmission – Standard 17-inch EcoBoost®Wheel
  • Air extractor hood vents
  • Launch control (track use only; requires manual transmission)
  • P235/55R17 A/S tires
  • Tire Inflator and Sealant Kit

2018 Ford Mustang Standard Specifications

  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Manual climate control
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Satin Chrome Instrument cluster, register vents and cup holder surrounds
  • Carbon zag instrument panel applique
  • Cabin air filter – Center console with full armrest – Map Light
  • Chrome-accent 4-gauge instrument cluster
  • Cupholders (2) – Driver footrest
  • Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler – Floor mats – carpeted, front
  • Illuminated, locking glove compartment – Intelligent Access with push-button start – Interior trunk release
  • Leather-wrapped parking brake handle – Leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls and tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Map pockets – backside of driver and front-passenger seats (N/A with optional RECARO® seats)
  • MyKey®
  • Power driver and passenger windows with global open
  • Powerpoints – 2
  • Dual Illuminated Visor Vanity Mirrors
  • Track Apps™
  • 6-speaker sound system, AM/FM Stereo with single CD
  • SYNC®
  • Two smart-charging USB ports
  • 2-way manual front-passenger seat
  • 4-way adjustable front head restraints – 4-way manual driver’s seat – 50/50 split folding rear seat – Cloth front bucket seats

Mark Schaller – Mustang Brand Manager

Gentlemanly Pros

  • The 2.3 and 5.0 liter engines both pack enough punch that will satisfy any lover of sports cars. The Mustang handles well and excels in speed effortlessly when presented with a clean, unobstructed terrain.
  • The all-digital 12-inch LCD instrument cluster is next-level technology that grants a personalized feel that is unsurpassed and does nothing but heighten the driving experience even more. It is definitely eye-catching and engaging.
  • Customized option to program your Mustang to start utilizing one of the four exhaust modes: quiet, normal, sport, and track. Be nice to your neighbor and start it up in quiet mode.
  • Beautiful interior and exterior. The exterior is sleek and confident in its appearance while the interior is modestly handsome with its approach to styling.

Gentlemanly Cons

  • Without the upgraded performance package – MagneRide – rugged streets could possibly reduce the smoothness of the ride.
  • If you are a novice in the arena of muscle cars, it would behoove you to become intimately acquainted with the owner’s manual. Given its high customization, a rookie – such as myself – will find the controls a little complex.
  • For a gentleman my size, the cockpit was a little tight. The plush interior certainly provided a measure of comfort, however, a brother such as myself could benefit from some elbow room. And no one over 5 feet would probably be able to be seated behind me, as my seat would most likely be as far back as possible.

The 2018 Ford Mustang is designed for the rakish gentleman that appreciates power in presentation and is unafraid of announcing his presence with an assertive, bullish selection for his transportation. With the ability to incorporate a customized touch with bold new technology, the aforementioned gentleman will truly be capable of making the 2018 Ford Mustang uniquely his own. The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $25,585 is honestly quite modest given the intricacy of control and power. The price stars to climb as more customization packages are added. If you are a muscle car enthusiast, the revamped Mustang arrives with all the sexy, chiseled, and aggressive features the performance-minded gentleman would desire.

For more information, please visit https://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/ to learn further details.

Style & Substance – Ford Motor Company – 2018 Ford Expedition

Sheer, utter disbelief is perhaps the best way to describe the emotions that welled inside me as I opened an e-mail correspondence regarding a personal invitation to join Ford Motor Company at an exclusive media drive program. The focus of the event: an up close and personal viewing of the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and new 2018 Ford Mustang. The 2-day event entailed a private media dinner at The Henry in Dearborn, Michigan; presentations from the chief program engineers for both vehicles; and the opportunity to experience both vehicles on the road. And what an opportunity – a truly unique opportunity – this proved to be; driving around metro Detroit during winter would surely place both vehicles under detailed scrutiny.

Fortunately, for the event, Mother Nature was merciful and blessed the day with temperatures in the 40 degree range. If the event had been two weeks prior, we would have been in serious trouble. Nevertheless, copious amounts residual slush and unforgiving potholes still remained to present a suitable challenge. But, with an opportunity to network, capture my experience with some cool photographs, learn about these two new additions to the Ford family, and test them on the urban landscape – I could not help but accept the invitation. So, lets dive directly into the experience.

First impressions of the 2018 Ford Expedition: It is simply a behemoth, and an elegant one. Nevertheless, despite its massive body, the all-new Expedition sheds nearly 300 pounds because of a redesigned high-strength steel frame and aluminum-alloy body. The sexy result is a fuel efficiency that delivers 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. A combination of both yields approximately 20 miles per gallon for the gentleman. Now, such a reduction in weight does not equate to diminished power, actually, quite the opposite. The Expedition’s new 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine and 10-speed automatic transmission is capable of producing up to 400 horsepower and 480 foot pounds of torque. Towing capability boasts up to 9,300 pounds that can be hauled around the countryside if required.

Now, being a father of one handsome son and one beautiful daughter (much love to Ava & Miles), my natural gravitation towards the Expedition was unsurprising. An aficionado in all things concerning car seat installation & removal, diaper bags, stuffed animals & baby dolls, and any other children-related accouterments; the spacious interior teased a comfort and ease that every parent wantonly covets. And clocking in at 6’1″ and 250 pounds, the Expedition affords space that any robust gentleman can truly appreciate, especially when climbing into vehicle and securing the aforementioned car seats. The doors even open at nearly a 90 degree angle. The second row tip & slide seating allows the seat to move at a slanted pivot to grant access to the third row without removing the car seat entirely – excellent!

With pleasing interior ergonomics & aesthetics, the 2018 Ford Expedition is designed for the everyday gentlemen that appreciates utilitarian luxury. A user-friendly console provides an intuitive touch that neither confounds or confuses the gentleman. And for the technology-savvy crowd, the 2018 Expedition features wireless phone charging, a 110 volt outlet, four 12 volt power points, a 360 degree camera system, a Wi-Fi hot-spot that supports up to 10 devices simultaneously within 50 feet of the vehicle, and an entertainment system that accommodates an effortless smartphone integration. Optional: dual front row headrest entertainment system that can play Choo Choo Soul for Miles or PJ Masks for Ava.Again, a gentleman can drive this vehicle right off the lot without detailed instructions.

So, speaking of driving the Expedition off the lot, I decided to take it into the city to test the urban terrain. The model I selected was the Max XLT 4×4. With its partially plowed side streets and punishing pot holes, I wanted to gauge the smoothness of my commute when faced with a brutal landscape. Powered by their Terrain Management System (4×4 only), a gentleman can select between 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive depending on your preference and the road. There are seven special drive modes between 2WD and 4WD for your selection: normal, sport, tow/haul, eco, grass/gravel/snow, sand, and mud/rut. As for my travel, the ride was surprisingly smooth. Surprising, because if you have not visited inner city Detroit, the pot holes and even road can be vicious. Nevertheless, the big-body Expedition confidently absorbed every jolt that was thrown its way. It also handled the slush and snow very well with no sliding or slippage at all.

2018 Ford Expedition Standard Specifications

  • 8 person seating capacity – 3 passenger rows – front cloth bucket seats – Second-row 40/20/40 split bench manual reclining fold-flat seat with CenterSlide® and Outboard Slide Seats -Third-row 60/40 split bench fold-flat-to-the-floor seat
  • Miles per gallon – up to 17 city/24 highway – 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine – Transmission – 10 speed automatic
  • Best-in-Class 9,300 pounds maximum towing capacity
  • ABS with Brake Assist and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • Auto Stop-Start Technology
  • Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Fully boxed frame
  • Suspension-Multilink Independent Rear suspension
  • Electronic Power-Assist (EPAS) rack-and-pinion steering
  • Front and rear stabilizer bars
  • AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control (RSC® )
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Non-limited-slip 3.15 rear axle (4×2 only)
  • Selectable Drive Modes
  • Traction Control
  • SYNC® – Enhanced Voice Recognition Communications and Entertainment System – Audio-AM/FM Stereo, Single CD Player, MP3 Capable, SiriusXM® Radio and Nine (9) Speakers

Todd Hoevener – Chief Program Engineer – Overall Cool Gentleman

Gentlemanly Pros

  • Expedition: A journey or voyage undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose. The 2018 Ford Expedition is household comfort mounted on 4 tires. Your commute is not merely travel from Point A to Point B, it is an experience in understated class and convenience.
  • Despite its large frame, the 2018 Ford Expedition is pleasantly nimble and agile when cruising on the highway. And because of its large frame and Terrain Management System, bruising roads are handled with confidence.
  • Bold & robust presentation without appearing too bulky and boxy. Its lines are clean and tailored; resulting in a handsome, refined appearance.
  • Large cabin for occupants in all three seating rows. The second row tip & slide seating is especially useful for access to the third row (the third row also reclines as an added bonus). In cases of installed car seats; they do not have to be removed. The LATCH System is available in the second and third rows. The dual moon-roof is a beautiful finishing touch.
  • Seamless and smart integrated technology with Wi-Fi hot-spots for up to 10 devices within 50 feet. I loved the touch screen functionality and ease of navigation.
  • Automatic lift-gate with generous cargo and storage space. With the push of a button, the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold flat, offering ample space to accommodate a gentleman’s bulky purchases from Home Depot, 60+ inch flat screen television sets from Costco, or just about any bulky item that requires transport. Groceries are kept secure from both forward and backward motion. A rear bulk head folds out and up to prevent items (basketballs, watermelons, etc.) from rolling out. And rear camera spray wash to clear obstruction from the elements outside.

Gentlemanly Cons

  • True to form, the 2018 Ford Expedition is quite massive. For the uninitiated, wielding such a large vehicle could prove to be a daunting objective. Smaller vehicles on the road may go unnoticed, however, the Blind Spot Information System can be helpful. However, the driver assist feature should not displace attention to one’s surroundings and judgement. As a personal preference, I would have loved the inclusion of integrated blind spot mirrors, as it is my instinct to look first.
  • Narrow stretches of road could also prove to be a challenge, especially in spots where vehicles park roadside. A gentleman must be totally cognizant of his spacing while driving. Navigating 6 Mile was an exercise in caution because one must be aware of individuals parked roadside and exiting their vehicle before waiting for traffic to clear.
  • As far as parking goes, it would be wise to park far, or at least moderate distance away from concentrated areas of parking. Maximizing parking lot real estate, I can imagine other vehicles swinging their doors open haphazardly and denting your doors.
  • The manufacturer’s suggested retail price, even at the most base level, may be slightly stressful on the bank account. If a gentleman begins to add options, the sticker shock may trigger a cardiac arrest. Advice: Exhibit some financial self-awareness and proceed wisely.

To be perfectly certain, the 2018 Ford Expedition will decidedly resonate with the professional gentleman that values performance & functionality in tandem with grace & sophistication, appreciates comfort, recognizes that the amalgamation of entertainment & technology affords a premium driving experience, and most importantly, demands a vehicle that satisfies the many facets of family life while commuting. Sure, the MSRP, approximately $51,695, will give momentary pause, but this full-size sports utility vehicle should grant many years of service and grow with a family. If you are in the market for a large SUV to accommodate the daily travels of your busy family, and you can do so in style without monetary stress; I strongly recommend the 2018 Ford Expedition for your consideration.

For more information, please visit https://www.ford.com/suvs/expedition/models/expedition-xlt/for details.

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