The Semogue “Owners’ Club” boar bristle shaving brush has received a fair amount of praise online for a number of years. This attention sparked my curiosity, so I decided to pick one up last year to see what the fuss was about. When my brush arrived, I was excited to get right to it. I had had tremendous success with other Semogue brushes, namely the 1305 and the 620. The price for the “Owners’ Club” is higher than the typical Semogue brush, but I attributed this increase to the quality of both the bristles and the wood for the handle. And that wood was exactly the first thing I noticed. It is an absolutely gorgeous handle. I had initially wanted the cherry wood version, but only the ash wood versions was available when I ordered it. However, that doesn’t really seem to matter. The ash is just as elegant.
Using the Semogue “Owners’ Club” brush for the first time was also the first time I noticed the bristles. These bristles are stiff, extremely stiff. They are wonderful for picking up soap and loading the brush, but they are not so great for building lather. I actually had trouble adding enough water to build a thick lather because the bristles were so dense and stiff. After I had that trouble for awhile, I just, sort of, left this brush to languish on my shelf.
But I continued to read those positive reviews…
What was I missing? Was it my soaps? My water? My technique? I figured I must be the one doing something wrong, because everyone else was fawning over this brush. So, I decided to give the Semogue Special “Owners’ Club” another shot. This time I was fully committed. I kept using the brush even when I didn’t want to. I kept forcing myself to go back to it, trying to unlock the puzzle. Finally, after several more months, something changed. The brush finally had broken in. The bristles started to bloom. Lather loaded and was built beautifully. I started having enough lather for three full passes. All things that had previously been nonexistent.
I now use this brush with a fair amount of frequency. If you’ve been checking Instagram, you’re probably noticed. It’s become one of my favorites. I absolutely recommend this brush. However, I do not recommend it for a first brush purchase. The breaking in process is somewhat arduous and potentially discouraging to new traditional wet shavers. A first shaving brush should be something that works almost right out of the box while also carrying an affordable price tag. That’s why I recommend the Semogue 1305, the Omega 10048, or the Razorock Plissoft for beginner wet shavers. If you’re ready to add to your brush collection, the Semogue Special “Owners’ Club” brush is one you need to acquire.