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It's been part of our ethos from Day 1 and the mindset still lives on. There's nothing quite like supporting small businesses/builders, boutique goods have a certain je ne sai quoi, panache, even intimacy.
While Mad Alchemy has now landed itself at the forefront of skin care in cycling, it's still very much the kind of company we love to support. Fortunately, their products stand above the rest, so it's not much of a stretch to align ourselves in their corner.
With all of that said, I called my local shop to order up the most recent batches coming out of Colorado. Yes, I bought the product in this review just like everyone else, no free product here. Why? Of course I don't want to have my reviews "bought", and if I find that spending my own hard-earned money on a product is worthwhile, I can feel good sharing that. If I wasn't jazzed on the product, I can share that as well without the guilt of doing so after receiving the product for free.
Pete (Mad Alchemy's founder) doesn't even know this review is coming.....
Anyhow, I nabbed the Pro+ Chamois Cream, Euro Pro Chamois Cream, Ultimate Shave Cream, Warm Weather Embrocation, and Gentleman's Blend Embrocation. Let me break down my thoughts on each.....
Pro+ Chamois Cream
I've dabbled with nearly every major chamois cream manufacturer, and each one leaves me wanting. Be it the consistency, aroma, longevity, they weren't quite right. I decided to give Pro+ a try only because I was already ordering the other jars from Mad Alchemy, it wasn't even supposed to be part of the review.
Here's the deal: Pro+ is a bit "thinner", less viscous, than other creams I had tried. It also smells better than probably anything I put on my body. In my opinion, it's the perfect chamois cream.....for about 3 hours. Beyond that, I assume because of the reduced viscosity it starts to wear off and really needs a reapplication in my experience. Up to 3 hours, it's the best I've ever used, bar none. On longer rides I tossed a small snack bag in my pocket with enough to reapply and I was set.
Euro Pro Chamois Cream
My review of the Euro Pro is going to be short. My taint couldn't handle the tingle. I'm not too proud to admit my skin is a bit sensitive, and the new formula was too much for my taste (and taint). If you're into a big menthol hit in your nether regions, this is your chamois cream.
Ultimate Shave Cream
Going back to my mention of my all-too-sensitive skin, I had really high hopes for the Ultimate Shave Cream. It's labeled "Ultimate" for God's sake, it better be good. The best summary I came up with? My wife stole the jar after I told her how good it was and I've never gotten it back.
I fortunately didn't enlighten my wife to Ultimate Shave Cream until I had used it a number of times, and it really is that good. So good in fact that I will not shave without it now. Won't do it.
Warm Weather Embrocation
What's the point? That's the question I get, and posed. Well, Warm Weather Embrocation isn't about heating you up, it's about protecting you. Naturally bug-repellant and nourishing, this stuff was as much about the process as the result for me. Being a long-time user of embrocations for cyclocross, Warm Weather Embrocation kept me in the process of the leg rubdown, which is the short time when I mentally prepare for hard efforts.
The aroma is calming and exciting at the same time, a balance I find difficult to describe but thoroughly enjoy experiencing. Try it, if you're an embrocation-type-person, Warm Weather Embrocation will make so much sense after you give it a shot
Gentleman's Blend Embrocation
This is about as "warm" as my skin will allow me to go without embarking on a world of hurt. I rode with Gentleman's Blend for ButterGOLD in April where most people were sporting leg warmers. To be honest, those guys complained a bunch about the cold, but I was sitting completely comfortably (until I was unmercilessly dropped in the middle-of-nowhere on the Front Range). A bit of a bite without causing discomfort, if you're new to embrocation or have sensitive skin, this is your jam.
Where did this leave me? Well, I'm on my third jar of Pro+ Chamois cream this summer, I had to order a second jar of Ultimate Shave Cream to replace the one my wife yanked from me, and I've gone through an entire jar of Warm Weather Embrocation throughout the summer and it graces my legs on every intense ride I do in the heat.
I wouldn't tell you to get this stuff if I didn't use it and appreciate it myself. But I do, so you should.
photos and words by Brandon Elliott