You never know when inspiration may strike. After recieving a surprise package in the mail from Sircar Grooming a few weeks ago, I was beyond excited to open it up and find their oud oil (as well as a beautiful comb, which I have been getting a lot of use out of lately). Everybody knows how much I love oud, and my previous experiences with Sircar Grooming's Musk and Amber oils turned me into an instant fan of this California based brand. After trying it a few times, I was struggling to come up with the words to adequately describe my feelings towards this product, I will usually try a product three times, and from that, I am able to formulate enough of an opinion to write a review, sometimes I need a fourth go around just to be sure of a few things, other times I only need a single try or two before I know what I'm going to say. I had tried this stuff a total of five times over the past two and a half weeks or so, and just couldn't think of where to begin...then this morning, as I was getting ready for my day, I decided to pull this bottle down off the top shelf of the closet where all of my beard-care products are stored, and as I combed it through my beard, it was as if the clouds had parted, and the words came flooding into my brain. I had to make a mad dash from my master bathroom to one of the side-tables in my living room where I keep my beard-care notebook (why I haven't just made a space for it in the bathroom is beyond me, but such is life). Taking pauses from the daily whirlwind of hot air, combs, brushes, scissors, and products that is my daily routine, to furiously scribble a note here and there, I decided that I needed to push back the review that I was going to write today, in favor of putting my feelings towards this particular product into words. So with that in mind, let's take this stuff out for a spin and see what where it ranks...
I've gone over my love for oud so much by now, that even I get sick of hearing about it sometimes, so I will spare you all another prosaic ode to the resinous agar heartwood that pound-for-pound is one of the most expensive substances in the world that a person can smell like. Instead, let's just take a moment to appreciate the extreme levels of quality that Sircar must be demanding of whomever they source their essential oils from, because this is a brilliant example of top-shelf oud. Luminous and exotic, there is a certain liveliness about this scent that other oud scented products try to caputre, but usually only do a so-so job of. Bounding forward on strong, nimble legs, with all the grace and power of a Russian ballerina, this scent commands attention like a larger-than-life character in a Balzac novel. Oozing with the regal gravitas that only the best ouds can lend, one might be mistaken in thinking that this will be a darker, more mature scent...but quickly a sumptuous sweet, almost berry-like note adds a brilliant injection of youth that momentarily makes you question whether or not there might not be something else blended in this scent, this concern is quickly assuaged as the sweetness morphs into that brilliant, instantly recognizable damp agarwood aroma that conjures up mental images of prayer beads, and beautiful hand carved sculptures. A velvety-soft, cool, powdery, sort-of-spicy, sort-of-sweet accord rolls forward like a plush red carpet, as the delectibly vibrant, green, medicinal, earthy, animalistic, resinous core that typifies the absolute most exceptional oud, floats forward, pushed along by a magical zephyr made of the pure, uncut essence of luxury, enveloping the entire accord in a graceful, meditative, borderline sensual cloud of pure allure. Like any great oud, this scent never remains stationary, continuing to evolve throughout the day, allowing you just a glimpse at any one of it's particularly wonderous facets before shifting into another, equally as delectable permutation of itself, never quite allowing you to take in the entire presentation at once, but instead exhuding mysterious appeal and luxurious charm. Strength is a hair above medium, and staying power is exceptional, lasting all day, and well into the evening on a single application. For a real treat, I find that the combination of this oil with the Bilberry Bastard balm by Luxurious Bastard is a pairing that smells so toe-curlingly amazing that you can honestly skip wearing cologne on days that you have it in-beard.
How does it work?
Well, we already know that Sircar oils not only smell like a dream, but they work like one as well...and this product is no exception. With the same incredible in-beard feel of the other two oils I have tried, it imparts a tremendous healthy strength combined with a silky softness that has my beard feeling so incredibly touchable all day long. This beautifully viscous oil absorbs just as quickly as its Amber and Musk scented cousins, imparting a wonderful level of hydration to my face and a supple plumpness to my skin that only further bolsters the overall vitally healthy feel of this product. In my first review of an oil by Sircar Grooming, a few months back, I made an observation something along the lines of how this stuff felt like less of a beard oil and more of a magic potion designed to optimize the way my beard looks and feels, and I will return to that original assessment when it comes to this oil too...there are many great beard-oils out there, formulated with all of the best things that you can use to have both your mane feeling marvelous and your face looking extra handsome...but with this product, it goes beyond the sum of its parts, as if it were created from some secret alchemical formula that captured just the perfect ratios to turn what would normally be a blend of carrier oils into something else entirely. A secret formula that, in the time it takes to comb a dropper full through my beard, helps what is normally a good beard graduate into a legendary one. I suppose beard oils can be something of a subjective thing, but I have a feeling that this is the effect this stuff will have on just about any beard type...I have a hard time believing that anybody who tries this amazing product won't notice an instant improvement when it comes to both the look and feel of their beard. As with all Sircar oils, staying power is exceptional, delivering that wonderful in-beard feel, and keeping itch and irritation far away all day long (even on a dry, chilly January day) on a single application.
The Bottom Line
Those who collect fragrances might have observed a recent trend away from oud among perfumers lately, this, I'm sure has to do with the market saturation over the last decade or so, where it seemed like anybody and everybody, from the most traditional perfume houses, to underground conceptual perfumers were rolling out their oud offerings fast and furious, and while we are seeing less of those offerings these days, a good oud will always be appreciated by the true connoisseur. With that in mind, I can say that this is beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the very best oud scents available in the beard care game today. Anybody familiar with Sircar Grooming's offerings knows that this is a company who is passionate about making quality beard-care products...but what we have here is the result of them really taking the time to flex their muscles. Easily one of the best all-around beard oils that money can buy. You can really sense the dedication to the craft that Sircar puts in every bottle of their oil, but in no product I've tried from them is it more evident than this one right here, and for that reason alone, I simply must give this my very first perfect score of 2020! Just an all around tremendous product that no well rounded beard-care arsenal is complete without.
Ingredients: Grape Seed Oil, Almond Oil, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Fragrance
$20 at sircargrooming.com
~The oil sampled for this review was provided by Sircar Grooming Co