2020 is only fifteen days old, and already it has been a huge year for Husky Beard & Grooming. Formerly known as Huskybeard, they've undergone a name change, as well as a packaging upgrade that really elevates the brand from something that was already a respected marque among the bearded community, into a high-end company whose goal is to become a one stop shop for all of your grooming needs. Now, in a perfect world, branding probably shouldn't factor into how much we enjoy products, but let's be real here for a minute, there's a reason why you feel so much cooler behind the wheel of a Mercedes than you do behind the wheel of a Honda, and yeah, I get it, invariably somebody will counter with "b-b-but the features..." and okay, one might offer more amenities than the other, but at the end of the day they're both automobiles designed to get you from "point A" to "point B" (and for all intents and purposes, the Honda may even be more reliable, and offer better fuel economy, which are the two most important features to just about every licensed driver out there...but you just don't feel as "cool" driving it). So when Husky Beard took an already great product, stripped away it's previous packaging (which was fine, but had a decidedly more "economy" feel) and dressed it in classy black tinted bottles that look more like something a fancy brand of high-end tequila that sells for exhorbanant prices in the trendiest night clubs might be found in, they were making a satatement. They knew that they didn't need to re-invent the wheel, just throw an upgraded tire on it. It represents the next level for a company that is graduating from the drop-ship game and handling everything in house, a move which I'm sure helps them raise their QC standards to even more exacting levels. They have made abundantly clear that not only are they are pulling up a seat at the table with the "big guys" but, in a lot of ways aiming to raise the bar for that entire segment. With this new re-branding, they have also rolled out an all-new scent...and that new scent is not the subject of today's review (don't worry, I have a bottle of it on my beard-care shelf, I just haven't gotten around to trying it yet, but a rewiew will be coming soon), instead, I've opted to go with one from their previous collection that seemed to enjoy a reputation of being a real crowd pleaser. Will this leave a good impression of the new-look Husky Beard in my book? Let's take it for a spin and find out...
There is a great story on the Husky Beard website about this scent. When Ray, the owner of Husky Beard, was young he used to go to work with his mother, who was a housekeeper, from time to time...he recalls one particular house they would visit, that was owned by an older gentleman who smoked a pipe. Well evidently, that house left quite the impression on him, as he created this scent as a tribute to the warm inviting smell of pipe smoke that permeated its rooms. Now, I'm a cigar guy, myself (I bought a pipe years ago, but just couldn't get the same enjoyment out of it that I get from a good cigar), but I sure do appreciate the smell of some burning pipe tobacco. There's something so enticing, so absolutely alluring about it, nuanced and layered, it's like the smell of a fantasy, if that makes any sense (I know, some of my descriptions have gotten really colorful lately...it's a mood, I guess).
This particular product definitely captures that inviting pipe smoke feel...rich, deep, and bordering on gourmand, it is at once both familiar and mysterious. For whatever reason, this scent reminds me of that magical hour when day turns into night, in French it is called l'heure bleue...the blue hour. Dashing and full of charm, a fire cured cavendish note emerges like a sugary stallion, not barreling in at a full gallop, but rather a graceful trot that gives you time to truly appreciate its magnificence. Around it's massive, muscular neck it wears a wreath woven of sweet, exotic spices...nothing instantly recognizable, but all familiar, and working in beautiful concert with one another, like the smell that greets you when you walk into a bakery. Of these, the most prominent, a dark, rich vanilla bean emerges as the lead note, sweet and boozy with just the slightest glimmer of sensual elegance. This combines with a very structured amber to create a sweepingly sophisticated accord that intensifies as the day goes on, creating a wonderful depth that is unapolagetically elegant, and really takes this fragrance in the direction of something that one may be tempted to reserve only for special occasions. But like your favorite steak, or that good bottle of wine that others may look at you funny for opening on a tuesday night, this scent has the power to turn your average day into an event, so don't save it for special occasions, use it regularly to help shake the doldrums of the day-to-day grind. Strength is a bit difficult to nail down, sometimes it feels medium plus, sometimes it feels just a tick above medium, but it is never out of place, it just remains at a level that is easy to appreciate. Staying power is good, lasting all day, although no matter how long it hangs around, you always wish that you had one more sniff of it left in your beard...truly the hallmark of a great fragrance.
How does it work?
So back when they were known as Huskybeard (all one word), this company had already established themselves as a force to be reconed with from a performance standpoint, and I'm happy to report that such is still very much the case here. Let's go back to the packaging for a second shall we? With their re-branding, Husky Beard (two words) has introduced a rather novel concept, their oils dont come with restrictors (drippers?) in the bottle, rather an open neck. When you order, they let you pick your preferred delivery method, either the traditional dropper, or a top with a dripper in it (they call it a euro-top...is that the official name?), this is such a great touch because it allows the consumer to pick the method they're more comfortable with. I only bring this up, because this oil is so viscous that I find myself eschewing both options in favor of just pouring a little out directly fromt he open-neck bottle into my hands. It is this same viscosity that allows this stuff to get deep down into my beard, delivering their carrier blend, which is packed with just about every beneficial oil you'd expect from a top-shelf offering, to my face and every single follicle of my beard. The thick, rich blend seems to get down to the core of each and every hair, plumping them up and creating a brilliant, healthy fullness to my beard. Conditioning is stellar, offering a touchable softness that is second only to the strength it imparts. I've undergone something of a paradigm shift since I first started trying so many different beard care products, where at one time the most important thing a beard oil could offer to me was softness, these days I'm all about how healthy an oil makes my mane feel...and brother, let me tell you, very few oils in my entire arsenal make my beard feel as healthy as this stuff does. Absorption is also incredible, leaving absolutely no greasy feel, just a thick luxurious feeling that sends waves of excitement through me whenever I touch my beard. Finishing properties are also tremendous, as the virgin argan oil in this product leaves my beard shimmering like starlight reflected on the surface of a mountain stream on a crystal clear night. Staying power is incredible lasting all day, and well into the evening on a single application.
The bottom line.
I missed the new years eve announcement of this company's rebrading over on Dan C's YouTube channel (my neighbors love fireworks almost as much as my dogs hate them, so I didn't have time for much of anything other than sitting with the pups and listening to music loud enough to dampen the outside noise), so when I first read about these upgrades the following day, I was curious as to why a company that was already so successful would be looking to make such a drastic change...but after spending a little time with the new packaging, admiring it in my hands, I completely get it. A product like this is not just any old beard oil...this is something special, and it warrants an presentation with a little gravitas. With performance levels that are off the charts, and a scent that paints a vivid mental image as well as some of the greatest books Ive ever read, it's completely understandable why an all around upgrade to the brand was necessary. I mean, I'm sure this was already an outstanding product back when it came in the plain round bottle with the simple black and white label, but now, as an offering from an all around more luxurious brand, it becomes an experience. I already had all the respect int he world for this company before, but now, they are truly somethign to be revered, and this oil stands as a testament to that. I cannot recommend this stuff highly enough, even if you've purchased it before, you need to get it again, if only for the hedonistic pleasure that comes from applying a few drops of this stuff from the elegant new packaging it comes in. No matter what direction your taste in scents skew, after trying this amazing stuff just once, you will quickly realize how incomplete your beard-care arsenal was before this product was a part of it.
Ingredients: Virgin Argan Oil, Pure Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernal Oil, Avocado Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Hempseed Oil, Grapeseed Oil. Essential Oils for Fragrance.
$20 at huskybeard.com