Ohhh absolutely! I agree that it will open up gradually even in the upper portions.
Alright, I am finally getting around to do the review on this bat. I received this bat after 4 weeks of ordering. I agree with the members who think that their responses are slightly slower than what you would expect after ordering (or maybe it is just my own over-enthusiasm).
My requested bat specs :
I had asked for a high to mid sweet spot, light weight (no more than 2lb 9oz) and extremely light pickup with the Jules Classic shape. I requested a thick and very oval bottom hand whereas thinner and round top hand handle. I told them that I don't care how it looks like as long as it pings well. I like their green shield stickers so I asked for them as well. I also specifically asked them for not applying scuff sheet since I like to oil and knock my bats myself.
My bat was finally shipped after 4 weeks (although I was told 2 weeks turnaround at the time of order) but the delay is understandable since they were busy in their money raising campaign as well as NZ was hit by an earthquake during that time.
I received my bat with scuff sheet applied weighing around 2lb 8.5 oz. It came with already two grips applied to it. I took the scuff sheet off, oiled it, knocked it with a mallet a bit and took it in nets against a bowling machine @ slower speeds. After a couple of bowling machine sessions, I sanded it, applied a new scuff sheet and also applied a new thick grip (the ugly looking green grip that you see in the picks herewith).
My Opinion :
The pickup is phenomenal. After oiling with two generous coats of linseed oil and applying an extra grip (it is a very-very thick grip), the weight increased to 2lb11oz but it picks like a TOOTHPICK! It probably picked up like a 2lb6oz When I picked it up for the first time, I wondered if I had received a harrow bat (a kiddo bat) by mistake! I have an old M&H original low 2lb 8oz final weight and I gave both the bats to my wife to judge which one was lighter and she said my 2lb11oz Laver and Wood felt lighter in hands by far! I will give them 10/10 on getting me a lighter pickup! It probably has the best pickup I have even seen on a bat!
The bat is a gun at the bottom (6 inches above the toe). I drilled a check drive in a casual winter net against a slower bowler and everyone had to get out of the way. It went like a rocket and I barely felt it at all! Whereas on the other hand, it isn't that great higher up yet. Cuts and pulls or backfoot punches aren't flying off it as I had expected but I think it will eventually open up and hopefully it will be better in the upper portions (4 inches below the stickers).
I will say that they need to pay closer attention to the customer requests especially after placing the orders. The communication is great before ordering but after ordering it becomes slower! I know that I ordered their lowest grade bat (cheapest bat) but then again, we buy from such companies since we want customization (customer service) in the first place or one can easily buy better looking off the shelf Asian bats for the same price.
Final Verdict : I will still buy from them in the future. I simply love this shape!