Alluvian has spent the past few years rising meteorically to become one of the premier names in upscale, all-natural men's grooming products. Built on an ethos of combining top shelf craftsmanship with environmental responsibility, and an old school sense of adventure, they source high end aquatic botanicals to make an entire suite of men's grooming products, each with its own unique twist. I've seen products sporting the Alluvian logo in the pages on GQ and behind the counter at high end department stores, but for whatever reason, I've never given any of their stuff a try. That needs to change...so I picked up a this versatile product that serves double duty as both a beard oil and a pre-shave oil (I'll let you in on a little secret...just about ANY beard oil can be used as a pre-shave oil, but don't let that stand in the way of clever marketing)...let's give it a try and see what it's all about.
So, I have gotten in the habit of ordering my grooming products without smelling them first...this can lead to issues with scents not living up to what I was expecting. Such is very much the case with this product, I am a big fan of oud scents, and that is what I was expecting here. When it arrived, well...
Okay, quick lesson for those of you who might be interested, oud is created when the aquilaria tree is infected with a parasite called phialophora parasitica which causes the tree to produce a dark resin that smells like heaven but is expensive as hell...as such, agarwood and oud have become somewhat synonymous when it comes to fragrance descriptions....but, here's the deal...Agarwood doesn't necessarily smell like oud. Agarwood is the name of the dark heartwood of the infected aquilaria tree, and depending on the oud resin content, the scent can vary.
This is all a very geeky, somewhat boring, way of saying that this product smells much more like raw agarwood than the refined oud oil that has become such a huge trend in modern perfumery. There's an initial greeting of a pungent, bitter, woodiness, that reminds me of some rare exotic lumber that hasn't fully cured yet. This quickly gives way to a warm mellow honey, mixed with an implacable oceanic note, and just the faintest bit of peppery spice, rounded out by an even slighter suggestion of a vetiver-like grassiness. There is some complexity here, but I find that the scent doesn't evolve much as it is worn. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't hoping for something different when I ordered it. I mean, it's nice enough, and It's really my bad that I didnt take the Agarwood description more literally, but it just doesnt have the same intense, penetrating quality that a good oud does. That being said, those who prefer a less perfumey scent that tends towards the unusual side, might definitely find that this product is just what they were looking for. Strength is on the medium-minus side, and staying power is so-so at best (it will be pretty much completely overpowered by any balm/butter you finish up with, I recommend going unscented on top of this one).
How does it work?
Pour a little of this oil out...and you'll have to do it carefully, as this product doesnt have any sort of a device to regulate flow in the neck of the bottle (what's that thing called? a shaker? dripper? whatever...), and you'll notice that it seems to be a bit on the lightweight side. Based on this, I wasn't expecting it to penetrate as deeply as it did, really feeding my beard, leaving it soft and healthy and making the skin underneath feel great. The inclusion of Irish Moss in this product is a great touch, as it is capable of really softening skin, making it feel exceptionally rejuvinated and refreshed (in fact, I tried using this product as a face serum too, and I must say that it works just as magnificently on the parts of the face that dont have a beard as the parts that do). It does seem to leave just the slightest greasy residue upon application, which goes away after a while. Staying power is decent, but you most likely will find yourself reaching for a touchup or two as the day goes by.
The bottom line
When you factor in the relatively high price tag that this product sports, it would be difficult to get too enthusiastic about it. It's a good oil, and does its job well, but so do a lot of other oils that come in a bottle twice the size and cost half as much. I get that there is a certain premium that comes along with most "high-end" brands, and as such, it's up to the consumer to determine their own threshold for what is ultimately "worth it". I definitely plan on exploring other products that this company makes, but I think I've learned all I need to know about their oils from this one particular experience.
Ingredients: Sweet Almond Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Jojoba, Apricot Oil, Organic Argon Oil, Essential Oils and Organic Irish Moss.
$20 at alluvian.co