If you are a regular visitor to this site, then you already know what a fan of small-batch brands I am. There is no segment of the beard-care game that, in my opinion, offers such exciting options on such a regular basis. While the big guys churn out some great stuff from time to time, and the value segment can definitely produce some very worthwhile offerings, it just seems like the small-batch guys go the extra mile by pouring their very hearts and souls into their creations. Big Tex, the proprietor of Barn Brand Beards, is one of those guys who eats, sleeps, and breathes beard care products, utilizing his background as a product tester for many years, he set out to create a brand that offers turly first rate performance, without all the pretense that can sometimes come along with it. With a naturally gregarious personality, and a downright encyclopedic knowledge of the alchemical process involved in the creation of beard-care products, Tex has turned Barn Brand into a universally respected company among savvy beardsmen with their eye on the indie scene. I was absolutely floored to recieve a box of Barn Brand products in the mail the other day, a little of everything to try (including an amazing soap that already has me thinking about comissioning a custom order for stocking stuffers this year), but after recently seeing a video posted to the Barn Brands IG (give them a follow here) detailing the manufacturing process, I was particularly exceited to give this butter a try. So without any further ado, let's take this stuff for a spin, and see what Barn Brand Beards is all about...
It's been a while since I've had an Arnold Palmer, my wife doesn't like iced-tea (which is weird, because she is a born-and-raised Southern girl), so I usually don't buy any for the house, and I don't particularly care for lemonade that isn't home made, so it's pretty rare that I'll have both ingredients at home to make one...but be that as it may, I sort of figured that this product would serve to stir up memories of sitting out in the back yard, tending to the grill while sipping on that sweet, tart concoction that seems to be a warm weather staple for so many. After using this stuff for a few days, I'm greeted less with mental images of the popular drink, and more of something on a different level all together. Don't get me wrong, if Arnold Palmers are your drink, you'll still appreciate the hell out of this, but there is just so much more going on here. A crisp citrus, so much deeper, and more natural than one typically encounters in beard-care products, steps forward, dripping with bright sunshiney notes of ripe lemons picked freshly from the tree not five minutes before bieng juiced, this holds the door open for a sweet, almost boozy component that reminds me of a good quality dark rum, hints of molasses and charred oak ride on a warm, heady cadence, creating a downright tropical feel. In the background a dry, rugged chord of well worn leather, as soft and comfortable as your favorite jacket, combines with the slightest bit of sweet, creamy sandalwood, and a hint of some implacable "green" note that makes me think of mint, to create a super mellow presence that brilliantly rounds out the entire scent. There is the slightest bit of something that reminds me of kirschwasser on the high note, but it never really makes its presence felt, adding a playful bit of mystery, like when you notice something out of the corner of your eye, but then when you go to look, there's nothing there. Staying power is phenominal lasting all afternoon and well into the evening. Strength starts out a hair above medium-plus, but just long enough for you to enjoy it on yourself, as the day progresses, it settles down to a nice medium, still noticable to anybody close to you.
How does it work?
The texture of this balm is pretty unique, somewhere in between dense and whipped, it has a wonderfully silky feel and a pretty low melting point. Even in liquid form, there is a thickness about this stuff that is just wonderful, coating each individual hair of my beard and working its way down to the roots, seeming to really "absorb" into both my beard and face. The ingredients list of this product reads like a who's-who of the most beneficial products for skin and hair, from my personal favorites like hemp and castor oils, to stuff that you just don't see that often, like pomegranate seed oil (a nutrient rich oil, that is said to increase skin circulation, which in-turn promotes healthy hair growth). Conditioning properties are outstanding, leaving my beard and face feeling super nourished and healthy (seriously, after a few days of using this stuff, my beard feels softer than it has in quite a while). Hold is decent, certainly enough for most days, offering good control, while still remaining soft and touchable. It may not be quite enough to get your beard to behave on its most unruly days, but then again, what butter really is? The healthy, lustrous shine that this stuff imparts is nothing short of legendary, and there is no greasy feel to speak of at all. Staying power is great (it would be even better if I could keep from touching my beard while wearing it, but this stuff just makes it so dang soft, I find myself reaching up to run my fingers through without even thinking. All in all, one of the more legendary butters on the market today.
The Bottom Line
I've had the honor of chatting with Big Tex a few times recently, and from talking to the guy, it's clear that he takes beard care products seriously. Priding himself on sourcing raw materials from all over the globe, it's very evident that this guy knows quality, and the products that he produces are further confirmation of that. This butter has not only rocketed its way towards the top of my list of favorites, it may very well become the new standard by which I judge all other butters. A product this high caliber in terms of performance, and with such an intoxicating aroma, that somewhat re-defines what a citrus based scent is capable of, would be a bargain at a much higher price point, but with the extremely reasonable price tag this stuff sports, it should be considered a downright steal. There is a reason why Barn Brand Beards is one of the most well respected companies among in-the-know beardsmen, and with a level of quality like this, it's only a matter of time before this is one of the most highly sought after brands in the game...so make sure you pick up a whole bunch now so you can say you've been a customer since before they became the next big thing!
Ingredients: Shea butter, beeswax, mango butter, kokum butter, coconut oil, cocoa butter, Liquid Lanolin, Macadamia Nut Oil, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Pumpkin/Hemp Seed Extracts, Coconut Oil, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, BTMS-50 Conditioning Wax, Vitamin E, Shea Nut Oil, and Castor Oil, essential oils
$12.99 at barnbrandbeards.com