The Blaise Shadow long-sleeved jersey from relatively new company Embers Merino is a soft, warm and stylish addition to your winter wardrobe.
We all dream of summer and warm days wearing shorts and short sleeve jerseys. Then you look out of the window and realise we're not quite there yet. So jackets and long sleeve jerseys are pretty much standard for now.
Embers Merino is a relatively new UK company, founded in 2006, based in Derbyshire's Peak District. Founders Chris and Marianna have a goal of producing good quality products using Merino wool. Merino is well known for its wicking properties in cycling clothing, especially in base layers, but it's starting to feature more regularly in jerseys.
The Blaise Shadow long sleeve jersey is certainly a stylish top, but at a penny shy of £100, it'd want to be. It comes in a flame red colour with white trim on the sleeves and under the arms.
The fabric is a mix of 40% Merino, 58% polyester and 2% Lycra. It's woven so that the Merino is against your skin, and has the synthetic fibres on the outside. The end result is a jersey which is very soft, odour resistant, fast drying and durable. All qualities you will expect from a Merino product if you've used them before.
The Blaise Shadow has a full length zip. On the rear you have the obligatory three pockets with a fourth zipped pocket on the middle of the three. This isn't water resistant but is a decent size and the zip is sturdy. The gripper on the hem works well; the non slip material is effective at keeping the jersey in place.
The seams are flatlocked to prevent any irritation. You get reflective logos on the rear and shoulder areas to aid visibility for those behind you. The cuffs are tight and secure to prevent any unwanted drafts but are also slightly tapered in the cut to better fit the natural position of the arms when you're riding - clever.
The mix of Merino and polyester makes for a smooth feel. The Blaise is naturally heavier than an all-synthetic jersey given its core materials. Not enough to be a concern but more on the lines of a comforting top that feels good when you put it on. There are breathable panels on the sides to aid with ventilation.
Given the generally milder temperatures this winter the Blaise has felt too warm in conjunction with a jacket. When the rain stops and you can use the jersey with a base layer it comes into its own. It is more suited to autumn/winter rides when it deals with the cold effectively. And when a jersey looks this good, why would you want to hide it under a jacket?
This won't be a deal clincher but the Blaise range takes its name from St Blaise, the patron saint of wool workers. Another example of the thought that has gone into the brand and their range.
Worth spending the money on a jersey made by a UK company who've put plenty of thought and style into their product. Takes the cold in its stride and looks good.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Embers Merino Shadow LS jersey
Size tested: Medium, Red
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Anyone looking for a long sleeve jersey for the colder weather should consider the Blaise Shadow. Well made, stylish and effective. Value for money.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The jersey is made form a mix of merino, polyester and Lycra, and the combination proves to be a potent blend. It absorbs sweat well but does a decent job of keeping you warm. Should things get too cosy, the breathable panels on the sides and the full length zip will aid cooling down.
The Blaise has flatlocked seams to prevent and unnecessary irritation. All the seams are well made and the Blaise gives the appearance of lasting a long time.
With its mix of merino and polyester the jersey is good at absorbing sweat but doesn't retain it.
Given the quality of the material and the construction the Blaise has proven to be top quality.
Slightly heavier but then it is intended for autumn/winter use.
Again the mix of materials have combined to produce a jersey that fits well and feels good.
Despite the cost you are getting a lot of jersey for your money. Everything about the jersey reflects its quality and style. Impressive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Worn under a jacket the Blaise can feel to oppressive as it works well at keeping you warm. Release it from these confines and it will serve you well. Perfect for the colder rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Feel and fit are right up there and it looks good too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The temperatures staying too mild for it to really come into its own.
Did you enjoy using the product? I did.
Would you consider buying the product? I would.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Now that I have come across the brand I'll be looking out for future products if they're as good as the Blaise Shadow jersey.
About the tester
Age: 45 Height: 178cm Weight: 80kg
I usually ride: Currently riding a Pinnacle Evaporite Three My best bike is: As above
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, sportives, mtb, Not yet but looking to dip my toe in the world of TT