Rooney Style 1 Size 1 Finest Badger
I found the Style 1 range of Rooney to be the most appealing to me when deciding which brush to purchase first. These shorter and wider handles are much more comfortable in my hand and work especially well with lathering soaps directly on my face. The Style 1, Size one (usually referred to as 1/1 for short) in Finest Badger is a beautiful two-banded knot with an incredibly stiff backbone. The faux ivory handle has a very impressive color pattern that really makes the brush stand out from others.
As for Rooney’s reputation for being a stiff and dense brush, the 1/1 Finest definitely lives up to it. This brush is so stiff it is actually uncomfortable to use. The tips of the brush are long and white, much more so than the average "silvertip" badgers. While most silvertip brushes are very soft and gentle on the face, the Finest Badger has more of a scrub feel to it and can be slightly prickly. It is possible this may go away with use as the brush breaks in, but new out of the box this could actually be an issue for those with sensitive skin or those who prefer the softness of most high quality badger hair brushes.
The small and compact size of this brush along with the very stiff feel of the Finest grade hair makes it ideal for hard soap users. The brush has a good water holding capacity for such a small size and can create a generous amount of lather in a matter of seconds. The size also works well for soaps in wooden bowls where larger brushes are hard to use without making a mess. With a little practice and adjustment to the different feel of the Rooney Finest, you can very easy get a volume of lather suitable for a three-pass shave.
Overall the Rooney 1/1 Finest is a very well-made brush. While I wouldn’t recommend it for those with sensitive skin, the brush is certainly among the best available for soap users. The main drawback to this brush is the $199 price tag. This brush is far from being a bargain, but if you desire top-of-the-line quality this is it.