Beardbrand...everybody knows them, chances are they were one of the first "premium" beard-care companies that you ever tried. With a full suite of quality products, available in several different "tiers" this is one of those companies that no doubt already has its jersey hanging in the rafters of whatever imaginary arena it is that all beard-care brands get together to be compared against one another. The thing is, if you're like me, you might not pay as much attention to Beardbrand now as you did when you first started purchasing their products. I tend to think this is because they have carved out their nice little niche as one of the big guys, by offering a relatively unchanging catalogue of products and scents. This leaves those of us who are always looking for something new and different to move on to offerings from other companies, while Beardbrand hangs behind, ready to introduce the world of high-end beard-care products to an all new set of quality seeking beardsmen. Clearly they are doing just fine which means that in addition to new customers who hang around to check everything out, they've also converted more than their fair share of loyalists who dig their scent and product selection well enough not to venture off and try anything else on the market...and good for them, there's nothing wrong with finding your brand and sticking to it. Last month, however, something news started popping up on various social media outlets, of an all new scent from Beardbrand...if your interest wasn't immediately piqued, then that's probably because you don't have a beard or a pulse, because this was an exciting development. Dubbed Stone Mason, this all new offering came as an expansion of their white label line of products, meaning it would be available exclusively at Target stores everywhere. Well, the other day, I happened to be grocery shopping at Target, and took a quick mosey down the men's grooming aisle...and, as luck would have it, there it was, the all new scent from Beardbrand! I happened to be down to only two conditioners in my shower, so I figured that would serve as the perfect excuse to grab a beard softener in this scent. Will this stuff be good enough to get me as excited for Beardbrand as I have been in the past? Only one way to find out, let's give it a try!
I can't lie...when I had heard that this all-new scent profile would be a combination of leather and sandalwood, I couldn't help but feel a little bit let down. I had already drawn up mental images of some typical generic "manly" smelling accord, completely devoid of character and substance (you know the type, your typical "dude soap" or deodorant from the drugstore type of scent)...but then I tried it...and, can I just say...holy crow! The typical, gigantic, loud, leathery notes designed to conjure up a feeling of "ruggedness" or whatever are nowhere to be found, neither is the sickly sweet, creamy, almost apologetic hint of something that represents an estimation of sandalwood that was clearly dreamed up by somebody that has never smelled a quality sandalwood, which seems to find its way into a lot of beard-care products. Instead an elegant cushion of sumptuous, buttery soft suede provides an aromatic verve of thrilling luxury, like breathing in the first lungfull of air when you walk through the doors of a high-end department store. This is quickly enrobed by an exotic aura of rich, luxurious woods, as a potent, rich, authentic sandalwood that seems to possess an incredible amount of length, melds with something much more raw and virile, like a smoky, bitter cyprus. Just above all of this, the top notes shimmer like a handfull of unset prescious stones, sparkling with a sweet, almost chalky minerality, like pouring a bottle of vintage Champagne over sunbaked river rocks. Elegance and luxury are the name of the game when it comes to this scent, without a doubt the most sophisticated profile in the entire Beardbrand portfolio. After using this product just once, I was already kicking myself for not picking up the full Stone Mason lineup, and have already been thinking up an excuse for a Target run to do just that...(come to think about it, we are running low on dishwasher pods...hmmmm...but back to the scent)...strength is a bit higher than I'm used to for a conditioner, but I'm certainly not complaining. Perhaps the thing I find the most interesting about this scent is the fact that it hangs around prominently in my beard after rinsing, leaving a brilliant presence, even after towel drying, something you don't get from a lot of conditioners.
How does it work?
A fairly lightweight conditioner in terms of viscosity, this stuff seems more suited to light duty conditioning, or even co-washing. If you're looking for a big, heavyweight repairative conditioner, this isn't it, but I don't think that was really what the good folks over at Beardbrand had in mind when they designed this product. It's supposed to be part of your regular rotation, rather than intensive therapy. It's something that I've used a couple of times now, and can say with a fiar degree of certaintly that it will be my "go-to" conditioner for the foreseeable future. In terms of actual conditioning, it imparts a sufficient level of softness, but this stuff really shines when I go to comb my beard, as it keeps tangles and breakage at an absolute minimum, meaning it takes less time for me to have my beard ready for styling (which is always appreciated). From what I understand, Beardbrand has tweaked the formulations of their white label products just a bit, and even though it's been a little while since I've used another beard softener with their logo on the bottle, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, this stuff represents an improvement...just an all around fantastic conditioner that leaves my beard feeling as great as it smells!
The bottom line
The scent alone is reason enough to purchase this product, as it is easily my favorite from Beardbrand, and quite possibly just one of my current all-around favorites from any beard-care company. Performance is very good, but again, I must reiterate that this is on the lighter end of the spectrum as far as conditioners are concerned...and while it doesn't seem to impart quite the same deep levels of conditioning as one of the industry benchmark products like Scotch Porter (the conditioner that all others seem to be measured against these days), it also is infintely more pleasant smelling. It goes without saying that this product has reignited my excitement for Beardbrand in general, and definitely will have me making a bee-line (or is it b-line? where does that saying even come from?) for the men's grooming aisle the next time I go to Target, as I can't wait to try the other products within the Stone Mason series.
Ingredients: Water, Potassium Cocoate, Potassium Oleate, Apricot Kernel Oil Peg-8 Esters, Lauryl Betaine, Glycerin, Decyl Glucoside, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Panthenol, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Palm Kernelate, Palm Kernel Acid, Potassium Citrate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium Edta
$14.99 at Target stores and target.com