Last week (or was it two weeks ago? These social distancing days really are starting to run together, arent they? Like seriously, I know I can't be the only one losing track of the days, or how many beers and cans of Pringles I've gone through, or if I happen to be wearing pants at any given time...but anyway, I'm getting way off topic, so let's reel it back in), I had the honor of finally trying a beard balm from Sphinx. Their Chokecherry scented balm was an incredible surprise, offering wonderful, lightweight hold and top-shelf ingredients, all neatly tied together in a scent inpired by Tom Ford's insanely popular Lost Cherry perfume. Now the good folks at Sphinx didn't stop with sending over some Chokecherry samples to review...knowing how absolutely blown away I was (and still am) by their Authentic Oud oil, they decided to send me another oud based offering to try. Smolder is one of the more popular scents in the entire Sphinx catalogue, so I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested to see what exactly it's all about. How will this balm stack up to the awesome Chokecherry offering? Only one way to find out...let's give it a try...
Some ouds are smoky, spiritual, and dark...others are woody, seductive, and oppulent...but I honestly don't think I've ever experienced an oud based scent that reads quite as fresh, and almost gourmand as this one does. An exhubrant resinous incense blends with juicy florals, and creamy vanilla coffee to create a redolence that positively hums with powerful, vibrant energy and raw appeal. Blending smoky oud (that has a brilliant "church incense" edge to it, not dissimilar to the oud in Holy Grail by Kingsman), with lush, sweet leather reminiscent of a brand new pair of Ferragamo calf-skin loafers, fresh out of the candy-coated red box, the rich, deep heart of this scent reads as a bold declaration of luxury. Compellingly robust notes of freshly roasted coffee beans wrap tightly around a creamy vein of vanilla and sandalwood. While a rich saffron steeping in hot water, like so much liquid gold, is tempered by a brilliantly crisp night-blooming jasmine to create a three-dimensional composition that projects a breathtakingly romantic gravitas. I certainly hope that at some point in the future Sphinx strongly considers making a cologne in this scent. If you're looking for an ideal layering partner to go with this balm, I find that The Covenant by Miner's Beard seems to be the ideal complimentary pairing, highlighting the gorgeous oud notes, as well as the overall "ceremonial" feel of both. Strength is just a hair below medium-plus, while staying power is exceptional, easily detectable a solid 8-10 hours after application, ever time I've worn this balm.
How does it work?
Unsurprisingly, this is just as soft and almost jelly-like as the Chokecherry balm, meaning that it has the same great, low melting point and applies just as easily. Imparting that same incredible conditioned, healthy in-beard feel, with tremendous absorption. Occlusive properties are outstanding, leaving my face and beard feeling tremendously moisturized all day long. Once again, I find myself totally impressed with how Sphinx has been able to pack incredible amounts of hold into such a lightweight, soft balm. Finishing properties are also outstanding, imparting a wonderful shimmer that has my beard looking all dressed up, (even without anywhere to go lately). Staying power is excellent as well, delivering that great protection and lightweight in-beard feel all day long on a single application (I even went on a grocery run earlier today, and wore my customized mask that I can stuff my whole beard in, by the time I took it off, my beard was still looking and feeling amazing, even though had been scrunched up in there for a good 30-45 minutes.
The bottom line
After experiencing several of their products first hand now, I can say with no small degree of certainty that Sphinx is not a brand that plays around. Offering high quality products, great scents, and brilliant packaging, they have made it abundantly clear that they want their name to become synonymous with high-end beard care...and with an offering like this Smolder balm, they're doing just that. This is an incredible, original scent that really is unlike anything else out there. Performance is, of course, exceptional. Truly a great all-around experience, definitely a product that no well rounded beard-care arsenal is complete without!
94 See where this lands on The Big List
Ingredients: Organic Sunflower, Organic Olive Oil, Castor Jelly, Candelilla Wax, MangoButter, Kokum Butter, Poppy Oil, Red Raspberry Oil, Cranberry Oil, Frankincense Essential Oil, Ginger Essential Oil, Coriander Essential Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Bees Wax, Shea Butter, Ricebran Oil, Vitamin E Oil
$21 at sphinxbeard.com
~The balm sampled for this review was provided by Sphinx