I have to admit something...amidst all of the social distancing induced binge watching going on, I may be the last man remaining in America who hasn't seen either Tiger King or Uncorked. It seems like they both have a ton of social media buzz surrounding them, the former has inspired a ton of memes that I'm sure would be hilarious if I had any frame of reference, and having a formal education in wine, I've lost count of how many DM's I've had to answer about the latter. I'm sure I'll get around to watching both between now and whenever things return to normal, but for whatever reason, I'm still dragging my heels. Now, I'm no stranger to dragging my heels at times, but I do always manage to get the lead out at one point or another. Today's butter is a perfect example of that. For longer than I care to remember, Tex over at Barn Brand Beards has been telling me about his Banana Bum butter and how it's one of his most popular products. I have no good excuse for waiting so long to pick this one up, but I've got it now...so let's give it a try and see how it compares to some of the other heavy hitters in the Barn Brand catalogue.
So as the name suggests, there's definitely some banana in this scent, and we'll get to that in a second...but to me, the real story of this scent is hops. Yup, the little green pine cone looking things that make IPAs so wonderful. This isn't the first hop based beard-care scent I've ever tried, years ago back when I was first getting into premium beard oils, I had picked up one by Badass (a brand that I haven't reviewed on this site...and I have no clue why...I'll have to remedy that soon...but anyway, back to the topic at hand), I really didn't care for it, it was an unrestrained miasma of hops with no direction, just a big smelly mess that reminded me of toxic waste floating on the surface of a bucket of flat beer that had long since turned skunky. Suffice it to say that the experience had somewhat soured me on the overall concept of hop scented beard-care products...but that being said, if any brand could help me once again appreciate hops in my beard, it would definitely be Barn Brand Beards, time and again, Tex has proven his ability to work with uncommon scents the same way that René Magritte worked with paints, creating something equally as cutting edge and magnificent. With that in mind, this is easily the best take on hops I've ever experienced in a beard-care product.
Opening up with a vibrant, fresh hop note that is equal parts floral and citrussy, with a green-ness that couldn't possibly be mistaken for anything other than what it is. Banana soon rolls in like tropical sunshine, tinged with a hint of pineapple and sea salt. There's a certain sweet, perfumey aldehyde fizz hanging out just on the periphery, I can't quite put my finger on it, but it acts as a perfect drop-shadow to make that tropical banana chord leap forward just that much more. In the background, a warm tobacco and musk accord slowly lurches forward, but as soon as your nose fully appreciates it, it shifts to become something much more rich and floral, while silmultaneously waxy and almost industrial, like jasmine flowers pressed in the pages of a book and long forgotten. This works in tandem with a lingering cigar-box note to ease the overall sweetness of the initial fruit. A sturdy scent unlike any other, it could be called the olfactory equivalent of a lenticular hologram, constantly morphing into a different image depending upon your point of view. Strength is initially medium plus, but quickly settles down to around medium where it remains for a good long while, detectable a solid 8 hours every time I've worn it.
How does it work?
A considerably lighter texture than the last Barn Brand butter I reviewed, this is a very practical whip, not as airy as many of the whipped butters out there. In fact, from a tactile standpoint, this actually reminds me of a better version of the ever-popular butter offerings from Fresh Beards. But unlike those butters, this stuff has quite the comprehensive ingredients list, packed to the gills with all the best things that a guy can put in his beard. Jamaican black castor, one of my absolute favorite carriers, adds incredible healthy strength to my beard and keeps shedding to an absolute minimum. Golden jojoba, hemp seed, and pumpkin seed oils all impart a brilliant softness to my beard while delivering a ton of wonerful nourishment and big time moisturization to my face. Hold is incredible for a butter, which I suspect is due in no small part to both the high quality kokum, working in concert with (the tragically underused in beard-care) arrowroot powder. Now if you remember my review of Smooth Talker beard butter by Whiskey N' Hardtack, then you'll remember that arrowroot (or tapioca) powder is something of a workhorse when it comes to beard care products, helping offer a bit of hold while reducing buildup, and offering a ton of benefits for your skin. Not the least of these benefits is promoting better circulation, which in turn, may help promote faster, healthier beard growth...and who wouldn't want that? Finishing properties aren't quite on par with the other Barn Brand products I've tried, with a noticable mattifying effect on my beard (which isn't necessarily a bad thing depending upon what look you're going for). Staying Power is fantastic, offering that incredibly lightweight, super healthy in-beard feel all day long on a single application.
The bottom line...
As I mentioned before, this is one of Barn Brand's most popular products, and that's completely understandable...although to be fair, you could pick any broduct with the Barn Brand name on it, and tell me that it was one of their most popular ones, and I'd believe it. This company is just that good! I already knew that I'd enjoy this butter, but I don't think I could have expected something quite this different. Has Banana Bum become my new favorite Barn Brand product? Well, that honor still belongs to the otherworldly amazing Anxiety Butter...but that being said, I still highly recommend this stuff, if you're looking for elite level performance, top-shelf quality, and a scent unlike anything else you'll experience out there, then look no further, this is the butter that you've been looking for!
95 See where this lands on The Big List
Ingredients: Shea, Kokum, and Aloe Butters, Deodorized Cocoa Butter, Liquid Lanolin, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Pumpkin/Hemp Seed Oils, Jojoba Oil, BTMS-50 Conditioning Wax, Vitamin E, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, with Essential/fragrance Oils. Cranberry Butter, Banana Pulp Extract, Banana Leaf Extract, Banana Flower Extract, Arrowroot Powder and Sunflower Seed Extract & Oil
$18.99 at barnbrandbeards.com