Can you feel that? The brisk autumn air wraps you in an exhilirating embrace, while cruncy leaves dance at your feet in a gentle breeze...it's definitely a magical time of year. With the tempratures dipping, and holidays approaching, I seem to find myself gravitating more and more towards gourmand scents, I guess it's just the fact that they help draw up mental images of sitting in front of a crackling fire pit, with a mug of something warm in one hand and a scrumptions baked treat in the other, while the stars play behind just the perfect amount of cloud cover in a brilliant October sky. On my search for a new gourmand beard butter, I stumbled across Premium Beards by W&B, a small family-run company from California who have already carved out quite a reputation for themselves as serious producers of quality small-batch beard care products. Thier Whiskey Blend butter seemed like just the thing I was looking for to keep my beard smelling and looking great on chilly fall days. Will this stuff be that gourmand scented product that I didnt even know I was missing until now? Let's give it a try and find out...
For a product named Whiskey Blend, there is something super child-like, playful, and almost nostalgic here. A big, unctuous note very reminiscent of those way-too-sweet caramel squares that we all loved as kids seems to take center stage...so much that aside from it's novelty, I wasnt sure I was okay with how cloying it was, but this is rapidly tempered by calming, creamy notes of vanilla that, when working in concert with the caramel, produce a wonderful bouquet reminiscent of homemade flan. after applying this product something really awesome happens, as the rich sweet dessert notes which are so accurate and so strong that your mouth may begin to water, start to relax just a bit...they're still present, but they just allow themselves to share the spotlight with a sophisticated, oak barrel note that glides in carying the whiskey on its back with the grace of an olympic ice skater lifting his partner. The whiskey itself is present, but never becomes "too much", remaining just on the periphary, with a sweet corn-mash bouquet that offers a brilliant depth, mingling with the ever present caramel, and making it so much richer as the day progresses. Staying power is good, lasting for hours into the day. My one very minor quibble is that a bit of the carrier blend pokes through, adding a distinctive fingerprint of shea butter in all it's nutty/cereal glory...this isn't necessarily a bad thing as it works with the overall scent blend (I also recently learned that fresh shea butter has a more potent aroma, so this is probably a very good indication that this company is using fresh, top-quality ingredients), so really, not a huge deal. Strength is on the higher end of medium-plus...so if you arent into stronger scents, you might not enjoy this as much as I do.
How does it work?
Offering a soft, light texture, this butter is definitely something you'll want to use on days when you dont require quite as much control or hold. I always apply a bit of heat to my beard when I comb it just because it will not behave throughout the course of a day if I don't...but the first time I tried this product, I didnt really get in there with the brush and blowdryer as much as I normally do, leaiving a bit more natural curl. I found that this was too much unrulyness for this butter to handle. Which is fine, but just something that needs to be kept in mind, this butter (like a good many others out there) offers little in the way of styling capabilities, it's there to provide nourishment, seal in your oil, and hold what you've already done in place. It's not a big deal, however, because on subsequent tries, I made sure to apply the right amount of heat to my beard, and this stuff did just fine. We already know from the smell that it must have a good helping of Shea butter, but there are also a ton of other beneficial oils including hempseed and avocado that really help this stuff offer top-shelf conditioning, moisturizing, and protective properties. In-beard feel is fantastic, considering the lighter body of this product...it leaves behind no greasy residue, just a natural, soft, healthy feel that may have you reaching up to touch your beard just to appreciate the tactile awesomeness!
The Bottom Line
Regular readers of this page already know how much I appreciate a good small-batch producer, and Premium Beards by W&B is definitely one that I will be keeping an eye on from here on out. The scent of this product is just perfect for cold weather adventures, especially if you're looking for something sweet and fun that doesnt need to take itself so seriously. Performance is good for what it is (again, I would stop short of calling this a full-on styling product, especially for thicker, curlier beards, but such is the case for a lot of butters out there). All-in-all, this is something worth checking out. I know it's definitely going to be a staple in my rotation during the cooler months!
Ingredients: Naturally Refined Shea Butter, Virgin Argan Oil, Golden Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Hempseed Oil, Premium Grade Essential Oils.
$14 at premiumbeards.com