14 October 2015

Tantus Duchess


In the lore of Tantus first there came the Raptor, a beautiful chunky dildo with a bulbous head and amusing set of balls. Then there was the Duke, a reinvention of the Raptor, stripped of its balls but still retaining every other feature which made it great. Now we have the Duchess - Tantus's newest creation - the Duke in every way except it's been given a fresh lease of life in glorious dual-density silicone. Being both a huge fan of the Duke and all things dual-density it was clear that this was one I needed to try.

You can get the lowdown after the jump!

The Duchess is going to be a bit of a funny dildo for me to review, just on account of how very very similar is it to the Duke. A lot of my time was spent going back and forth between the two products, trying to measure every subtle difference in feeling and behaviour, because naturally when it comes to a review like this what everyone wants to know is how they compare. Much of what I say about the Duchess is going to be simply parroting what I said about the Duke, as it's unavoidable when they're so alike, but I'm going to aim to steer the focus firmly towards the areas where the two diverge.

The design of the Duchess perfectly mimics everything we know about the Duke, from its shape, its size, to even the bullet hole tucked away in the base. It's not bigger, it's not smaller, it's not elongated, it has no added curvature; it's formed from exactly the same mould and stays true to its predecessor in every way.

From base to tip it measures around 7 1/4" long, and of that you can insert 6 5/8", making it a good-sized dildo. Around the widest point of the head the circumference measures an impressive 6 1/4", so it's nice and thick, and then the shaft narrows down to a more modest 5 1/8" around the middle. The base of the dildo is 2 3/4" wide and 5/8" thick, giving it a nice stable footing and making it compatible with a standard O-ring harness if desired.

Like all Tantus products the Duchess is made from 100% platinum silicone, but where it differs from the Duke is that it's made from two different firmnesses of silicone in order to create the dual-density effect. The internal core of the dildo is made from Tantus's regular type of silicone, while the outer layer is made from a much softer variety. This outer layer varies from being only a few millimetres thick over the shaft, to accounting for almost the entirety of the head, making the dildo delightfully squishy there. Like with the Duke the Duchess features a dual finish to the silicone, with a smooth glossy head and a matte velvety shaft. It's one of those fairly minor details which I happen to really like as it indicates that someone's put some extra thought into the design.

The Duchess comes in a choice of three different colours, none of which is quite as exciting as the vibrant orange of the Raptor, or the elegant Peacock of the Duke, but it's the same two-tone colour palette as the Cush. You choose your base colour of either pink, purple, or blue, and that makes up the core of the dildo, while the outer layer of soft silicone is comprised of a translucent white, making it look as though you're peering through a dildo encased in cloudy ice.

The production quality of the Duchess is impeccable; something which I've learnt to expect from Tantus. There are no mould lines anywhere, no any defects in the surface, and the two different types of silicone are bonded perfectly together. In this instance I couldn't find a single fault even if I wanted to.

When it comes to using the Duchess it's one of those toys where you'll probably want to consider using a warm-up toy first, just because the head is very large and rounded, and has quite a rapid taper. This was almost a pre-requisite with the Duke for just those reasons, but with the Duchess it's much easier to get away with skipping one, provided of course that you have sufficient experience to know what you're doing. The reason for this is simply the change in silicone firmness. The head of the Duchess is so soft and squishy that you can push it firmly up against the sphincter and every bit of pressure is cushioned away, ensuring maximum comfort during insertion. It probably goes without saying that at this size it still isn't a beginner's toy, but it's much more friendly to the less advanced user.

With a liberal application of water-based lubricant all over, the Duchness is actually a very comfortable dildo to insert. The smooth glossy head glides seamlessly through the sphincter as you feel the muscle steadily expand, and at the same time the soft surface of the silicone changes shape in response to the pressure that the muscle is exerting back on it. The bulbous head actually shrinks slightly in response to it being compressed, allowing it to enter the body without having to stretch out the muscle quite so much, and this gives it a clear advantage. Once you reach the widest point you feel a slight bump or "pop" as you pass over the ridge of the corona, then slowly as you insert the shaft further you feel it begin to narrow, and the sphincter goes from being stretched to its maximum to being able to relax a little, which is quite a welcome sensation. With the dildo inside you there's this wonderful combination of feelings; the large rounded head feels satisfyingly filling at every depth, but the thinner shaft doesn't place too much tension on the sphincter or leave it feeling overly stretched, so you get the best aspects of both a larger and smaller dildo rolled into one.

My favourite way to enjoy the Duchess is unsurprisingly the same as with the Duke, and that's by squatting over it and riding it. Here the broad base gives the dildo a nice amount of stability, allowing you to use it without holding it in place, with no fear of it suddenly toppling over. If you own the Tantus Suction Cup then this can be plugged right into the bullet hole of the toy and works fantastically to anchor it to any surface. Overall it really is a brilliant dildo for thrusting with; the slightly thinner shaft increases the comfort factor and reduces friction, while allowing for a little more manoeuvrability, and the matte surface provides a nice amount of sensation with each stroke. Due to the squishy tip on the Duchess you can afford to go a little more wild with your thrusting, because it cushions that battering ram effect that you get sometimes when you accidentally go too hard and too deep with a dildo. That's not to say you can throw caution completely to the wind, but it does outperform the Duke in terms of comfort during use.

One thing I especially loved about the Duke was how good it is for prostate stimulation, and the Duchess lives up to this as well. That big head is nothing short of incredible; the size and shape of it all comes together so that with every thrust it rubs back and forth across the prostate to the maximum effect, delivering waves of pleasure. After extensive testing I've concluded that the Duchess feels slightly less intense on the prostate than the Duke does, but it's an almost imperceptible difference. Unless you're repeatedly going back and forth between the two toys like I was, it's not something you'd ever be aware of. The only reason that can explain this is that the coronal ridge on the firmer Duke maintains its angular shape better as it drags along the prostate, and transfers more sensation because of it. Again though, it's a truly minor difference.

Like many Tantus toys the Duchess does come with a vibrating bullet which can be inserted into a hole in the base. If you know me then you'll be aware that I'm not especially crazy about this feature and tend to prefer to use a dildo just as a dildo, but it is quite nice to have the option there, and you can always use the bullet separately if you don't want it inside the toy. The bullet itself is almost identical to the RO-80mm from Rocks Off, so that review is the best place to go to get a full idea about the intensity of it. It's pretty simple to fit into the bullet hole in the Duchess, and thanks to some internal ribbing within the hole which acts to prevent a vacuum from being formed, it's also removed relatively easy. My general problem with toys with bullet holes is that the hole is in the base, and you want the vibrations down at the tip, but they simply don't travel that well through inches of thick silicone, so I just don't find it worthwhile, but that's very much a personal thing.

At this point I feel as though I'm really expected to pick a favoured toy and suggest that everyone should really buy one over the other, but that's something that's hard to do. Truth be known I like both toys equally, but for different reasons. If you own more than one toy then you'll understand that sometimes you want different things when you go reaching in the drawer to pull something out. Sometimes you crave a firmer toy, and sometimes one that's softer, so a lot of the choice between the Duke and Duchess will be decided by personal preference. What I will say, though, is that in my considered opinion I think the Duchess makes for the better anal toy, if only for the comfort factor. The extra squish in it makes it easier to get that bulbous tip into the body, and you can afford to be a little more reckless when thrusting it like a jack-hammer. It performs just as well on the prostate, so you're not sacrificing anything for the comfort. The only thing left to consider really is if the 32% extra cost is worth it for you. Either way, I'd fully recommend it to anyone who enjoys intense prostate stimulation and a full feeling from their toys.

Thanks to Tantus for sending me the Duchess, and it's available directly from them.

It's also available from the fine folks at SheVibe

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