The other day, a package arrived in the mail for me...this is nothing new, I get packages all the time, but this package was something different entirely...well, okay, maybe I'm being over-dramatic, not entirely...but definitely something special. Inside were two heavy black boxes each arorned with a white-gold foil logo that is easily recognizable as one of the most iconic works of art on the face of the planet: The Sphinx. Like most people, I've always been intreagued by ancient Egypt, and this was reason enough to pique my interest in this company. Sphix is one of those boutique labels that is really gaining momentum lately, with a wide range of scents to suit all tastes, they specialize in oil, and oil alone at this point. I have seen some pictures of balms with their logo floating around social media, but no mention of them on their website...(if anybody from Sphinx is reading this and needs a guinea-pig for any sort of balms or butters you are planning on rolling out...well, there is a link to a contact form for me at the bottom of the page...just saying). Bringing together ingredients from all corners of the world, including Egypt, Morocco, and India, this is a company that seems to put a ton of emphasis on not only quality, but downright hedonistic luxury. Of the two boxes I recieved (see, I didn't forget about those), one contained a wide array of samples, a true showcase of this brand's range...the other contained a full sized bottle, and that's what we're going to be discussing today. So without further ado, let's give this Authentic Oud oil a try and see what we think, shall we?
Readers of this page know I've been on a somewhat obsessive quest to find a great oud scented beard product for a while now. There are so many variations on oud; Holy Grail by Kingsmen, Valkyrie's Oud by The Beard Struggle, the list goes on and on...they are all good, but they all offer a bit more of a blended interpretation of oud. Perhaps the closest I've found to an full-on, straight forward oud is the Original Gangster Beard Wash by Billy Jealousy which, unfortunately is such a piss-poor beard wash that there is no scent in the world good enough to make up for it's awful performance (be that as it may, I still use it as a shampoo from time to time, just to enjoy the scent...but I also shave my head once every two weeks, so its not like I'm all that worried about it messing up my hair...seriously, I cannot stress enough how bad of a wash that stuff is...but I'm getting way off track here, so let's reel it in, yes?). I'm happy to say that with this oil, my quest for the ultimate oud scented beard product is over! From the time the cap comes off the bottle, the story becomes oud, oud, glorious oud! The true essence of that most precious agar tree heartwood, and we're not talking run-of-the-mill, synthesized to smell oud-adjacent stuff, we're talking about the pure resinous funk that is truly the good stuff. A regal, dark, incensey potion doesn't so much roll out at you as it is carried on a gilded litter of bulgarian rose and cardamom, while just the faintest suggestion of an autumnal cinnamon/ginger spice provides a hint of backbone. As the day wears on the oud really kicks into it's signature, multi-faceted high-gear; that hard-to-pin-down scent that is so many things to so many people; it's at once camphoraceous and medicinal, while also rich and gourmand, there is a brilliant dark brooding quality, as lush as the finest crushed velvet, and a potent, intoxicating incense that lends an air of ceremonial gravitas, as well as that brilliant damp wood smell that would be downright unpleasant if isolated on its own, but somehow makes the experience all the richer. Staying power is phenominal, beautifully evolving and improving throughout the course of the day. Strength is just perfect too, slightly above medium and always present, enveloping the wearer in an aura of sophistication that is runs the gamut from exotic to erudite all day long, but in no way insisting upon itself at any point. Simply put the most perfect oud scent I've encountered in a beard care product up to this point. Worthy of layering with the finest oud colognes like New York Oud by Bond No 9, or Royal Oud by Creed.
How does it work?
With an ingredients list closer to something you'd see on an expensive serum from a high end department store than you would on most beard oils, this is nothing short of a treat for my beard and face. Viscosity is medium plus, working into my beard with ease, and combing through beautifully, this stuff conditions as brilliantly as it moisturizes and nourishes my skin. Marula oil (one of the most occlusive natural oils out there) delivers a lush, instant softness to even the most stubborn of beards (if you ever have a day where you go a little too crazy with the blowdryer, this stuff will immediately correct any frizz). While moringa oil (a pricey addition which is no doubt why it is not so common in the beard-care game) in all of it's collagen-promoting, anti-infammatory awesomeness, keeps my face feeling incredibly nourished and itch free. The shimmering, healthy lustre that this product imparts is second to none, making it a must have for nights out, or any time you want your beard to be noticed even more than usual. Staying power is perfect, never requiring a touch-up. I honestly can not think of a single thing that this product lacks from a performance standpoint.
The bottom line
There are so many great products out there on the market, it's rare to find one that really just blows your mind considering how high the bar has been set by so all of the wonderful small-batch, boutique producers out there. But from the moment I opened the luxurious box this product came in, to the audible "wow" I couldnt hold back the first time I worked this amazing smelling product into my beard, I knew that this was in a class all its own. This is definitely not a value priced product, but "value" is something of a sliding scale, isn't it? I mean, there are definitely other good products on the market in the same price tier as this stuff, that dont completely and absolutely work on so many levels. From scent to performance, to presentation, there is nothing about this product that isn't first-rate...which is why I can't help but award it the second perfect score that I've ever handed out. No beard-care arsenal is truly complete without this oil!
Ingredient: MCT Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Organic Moringa Oil, Marula Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Essential Oils.
$24.99 at sphinxbeard.com