This water badger brush with a black buffalo horn handle and gold lettering is for sale at Trumper’s St. James’s Shop at 1 Duke of York Street for £1,100 and is attracting some attention. So I had a chat with someone I know who is in the brush business and who hand ties knots for high end brushes himself. He told me that the water badger hair he uses comes from China and has nothing to do with the spoof water badger of Devon.
In fact this Chinese water badger is Meles meles, or European badger and is the same animal variety that all badger brush hair comes from, whether the animal lives in Europe or China. What is different about water badger is its lifestyle and this is what makes the hair different. He tells me that it is the most expensive badger hair from China, that it is ginger in colour and that it is very, very soft. In fact he reckons that it is too soft to make a good shaving brush out of, but that he has done so on occasions, mostly for Russian customers.
So I then spoke to Kamil Ozturk who is the manager of that Trumper’s branch. He told me that the hair in this brush came from Siberia (is it Meles leucurus sibiricus?). He also agreed with my other source that this is far too soft for a serious shaving brush and that for this reason he would not be stocking any more. He did, however, say that the supplier of the brush was offering it to other retailers, so they could turn up elsewhere.
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this brush. There are pictures of a smaller “sample” brush floating round the web, but none of this one.