The season of holiday deals is in full swing, and Miner's Beard is getting in on the fun! From now until Christmas, pick up one beard oil in any scent you'd like, and get another one for free! This is the perfect opportunity to pick up a last minute gift for that special bearded someone (and keep the free one for yourself!). Simply head over to minersbeard.com, add two oils to your cart, and enter promo code FREESANTA to take advantage of this great offer. There are only two weeks left until Christmas, so hurry up and get your order before it's too late!
Legendary small-batch producer Luxurious Bastard (Makers of V&T favorite Bilberry Bastard balm) just announced an all new scent in their ever impressive portfolio. Dubbed the Baked Bastard, this scent promises to bring back memories of cookies baking in grandma's kitchen (sooooo, I'm guessing this will be a fairly gourmand sent then?). Limited amounts of both oil and balm in this scent are set to drop on luxuriousbastardco.com this coming Sunday (12/15) at noon Pacific, so make sure you set an alert on your phone, because just like everything else Luxurious Bastard makes, this stuff is pretty much guaranteed to sell out!
With a catalogue of over 75 luxury lifestyle offerings (and plans in the works for many more), including a full suite of beard-care products, Baroque Royal is rapidly establishing themselves as a rising star in the high end grooming game. Their commitment to quality seems to be the driving force behind the company ethos of offering their clientelle a world class experience. Their beard soap, which I reviewed last week, has already turned me into a fan of this company, boasting high quality ingredients and a scent that Baroque Royal should strongly consider offering as an Eau de Parfum, this product serves as clear evidence that this is a company who puts serious thought into the creation of their products. This balm was the next product that caught my eye in theit beard-care lineup, will it leave me just as impressed as the soap? There's really only one way to find out...let's give it a try.
While very similar to the soap, there are some noticable differences, not enough to make me think that this scent blend is any different, but of course, as any experienced beardsman will tell you, the same scent profile can vary from one product type to another, it's just a matter of how fragrances react with the carrier blend. There's the same initial "beach fragrance" notes which roll to the forefront like lazy waves lapping at the clean white sands of a private beach on a peaceful morning...but where the soap had a deeper, more aquatic feel, there's something more playful, and summery about the way the balm reads. The same mineraly base, reminiscent of sipping prestige cuvée Champagne on the balcony of a suite in a seaside resort, sets a brilliant and inviting tone, as playful notes of cucumber and seaweed swirl around a cool, melon chord. This gives way to the famialiar crisp, sparkling cirtus note from the soap, crackling with the exhilirating energy of a headfirst dive into the mirrored surface opf a calm ocean as dozens of colorful little fish dart in every direction around you. The freshness of this scent is only further amplified by a wonderful floral note, something like gardenia or magnolia, with complimentary hints of violet and lavender and perhaps just the slightest bit of vanilla, tightly wound and tucked away in the corner of this bouquet, providing a brilliant calming quality that serves to give this overall fragrance a wonderful sense of serenity, like laying in the sun and letting the soothing sound of lazy waves carry you off into a glorious late afternoon nap. In the top note a wonderfully fresh oceanic salinity dances gracefully around a sweet perfumed note of something like a very light amber, until the two meld into one harmonious accord which offers so much more than either of its individual parts. Strength is just a hair above medium, and staying power is brilliant, lasting all day long, and well into the evening. Of course all Baroque Royal products layer brilliantly with one another, but the sophisticated sweetness of this balm makes it a great choice to pair with the insanely brilliant Italian Leather by Nicholas Beard Works or one of my current favorite berry based scents, The Fantastic Bastard by Luxurious Bastard Co.
How does it work?
A softer balm that seemingly rides the line between balm and butter, this product has a wonderfully low melting point, and works easily into my beard. Conditioning properties are outstanding, thanks to the generous helping of macadamia oil in this product, which thanks to its ridiculously high content of beneficial fatty acids, acts like a superfood for beards, and as such has been a frequently used ingredient in some of the best beard-care products on the market. After getting a little overzealous with the hair dryer lately, I've noticed a few split ends in my beard, and while the only actual cure for split ends is to cut them off, I do find that after a few days of using this balm in concert with a few different high quality oils, the problem has been kept to a minimum (again this is probably thanks to the macadamia oil, as well as the high quality golden jojoba oil in this product), and the typical dull, lifeless look associated with heat damage seems to be nothing but a bad memory. The addition of European olive oil (rich in vitamin E and prized for its ability to increase elasticity in skin) also helps this product keep my face feeling supple and moisturized in the extremely dry Arizona climate to which it is subjected on a daily basis. Hold is actually much better than I had expected from a balm this soft. Shine is outstanding, imparting a brilliant finished look, making this an ideal balm for nights out, or just any time you need to add a bit of extra life to your beard. Staying power is excellent, requiring no touchups at any point in the day, even on those days where there seems to be a little extra chill in the air.
The Bottom Line
While not quite the eartth shattering revelation that the soap was (let's not forget, it had the power to instantly turn me from a hater of beard wash in the bar format, to a fan), this is still an outstanding product, and further proof that Baroque Royal is a purveyor of world-class beard care products. The scent is of course outstanding, but beyond that, this balm could hang with some of the top performers out there from a performance standopoint. Everything about this product screams luxury, with the exception of the cost, as it sports a price tag that actually falls a few dollars below some other products in its weight class, making it a temendous bargain. After trying two products in their beard-care lineup now, one thing becomes especially evident about Baroque Royal; they strive for excellence. Anybody looking for top shelf perormance with a generous helping of true luxury on the side needs to check this company out. I'm already excited to try their other offerings, which I will be reporting on very soon!
Ingredients: Macadamia oil, bees wax, shea butter, olea europa olive fruit oil, jojoba seed oil, fragrance
$9.69 at baroqueroyal.com
~The balm sampled for this review was provided by Baroque Royal
According to the above IG story screenshot from the official account of Ruddy Man Grooming (makers of V&T favorite scent Moscow Morning), they're getting set to launch a super limited scent called Santa's Twerkshop. Featuring notes of musk and mint, and said to include "glittery gold flecks", this may end up being the ultimate Christmas beard product! Santa's Twerkshop will only be available on the Ruddy Man Instagram page next Thursday, December 19th, at 9:00 PM Eastern...If you dont already follow their page, make sure you head over to IG and give them a follow right now, so that you dont miss out on this very exclusive release!
Nicholas Beard Works, makers of ultra premium beard care products like V&T favorite Egyptian Dragon butter, is offering one hell of a holiday deal. Simply order $55 worth of products on nicholasbeardworks.com, and they will throw in a free 2 oz bottle of their special holiday blend beard oil absolutely free! There are no codes to enter or hoops to jump through, just place your order and they'll take care of the rest...but you'd better hurry, because supplies are very limited!
We already know that Fresh Beards is a brand that I hold in very high esteem, they may be one of the big guys, but they still approach quality as if they were a small-batch label. Their balms are great, their butters are nothing short of legendary, but I've always maintained that perhaps their best work is their oils. Offered in their full lineup of scents, their oils never fail to impress. If you read my review of their Recon butter, you might be familiar with the PTSD Foundation of America care package, available on the Fresh Beards website. Now, this is such a great deal because not only do you get the butter (which we already know is good) and the oil in the Recon scent, but a portion of the proceeds from every sale of this package also goes to a great cause that assists our country's veterans, who struggle with PTSD, as well as their families. What better way to add some quality products to your beard-care arsenal, while also lending a helping hand to the brave men and women who are suffering from the invisible scars of PTSD? So if Fresh Beards' track record is any indicator, this review will be a favorable one...but just for the hell of it, let's give this oil a try and see where it ranks...
My one major take away from the Recon butter was that it was a very simple, straightforward pine, not a whole hell of a lot of depth or dimensionality. The oil seems to still capture that straightforward essence with notes of freshly ripped pine planks and sawdust, but there's definitely a lot more going on here. A huge green camphoraceous note dripping with sappy, tarry, resinous funk comes barreling forward like a freight train on a mountain track, which conjures up mental images of pinching a few needles off of a snow dusted ponderosa pine branch and then smelling your hands, still sticky with pine tar. A wonderful earthiness tempers this, with a "clean dirt" quality reminiscent of fresh potting soil which adds layers of texture and character. A balanced, almost minty quality gracefully floats in and out of the high note. This is rounded out by a mossy green chord that is at once leathery and rugged, while still maintaining a very sophisticated, almost perfumed quality. Strength starts out solidly medium plus, but quickly settles down to medium. Staying power is good, making this a fantastic oil to layer with another wood based scent (of course this goes great with the matching butter, but I particularly love the combination of this product followed by the Rum Runner balm by The Bearded Bastard).
How does it work?
The conditioining propoerties of this stuff is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fresh Beards oil. Viscosity actually seems to feel slightly thicker than the other offerings I've tried from this company. Another hallmark of Fresh Beards oils is their "dryness", absorbing quickly and leaving behind absolutely no greasy residue. The liquid shea olean that makes up the base of this carrier blend is rich in both stearic and linoleic acids, which we've already discussed are extremely beneficial for just about all skin types. As such, it helps this product do a phenominal job of keeping my face not only moisturized and healthy, but also well protected during the chilly autumn months. This oil imparts a decent amount of shine, but still not quite as much as a product with argan in the carrier blend. As with all other Fresh Beards oils, staying power is phenominal, not requiring any reapplications at any point during the day.
The bottom line
In all my time reviewing Fresh Beards products, I've never once been let down by them, and this oil has kept that streak very much alive. A great pine scent that is perfect for the upcomming winter months, but would honestly work just as nicely in the summertime. Performance is outstangding, living up to the reputation set by previous offerings. It seems that you really can't go wrong with any Fresh Beards purchase, but the fact that you can support such a worthwhile cause by purchasing this particular scent makes Recon one that I cannot recommend highly enough.
Ingredients: Shea Olien, Golden Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil (MCT), Fragrance Oils
$14.99 at freshbeards.com
Legendary small-batch indie producer, and perennial V&T favorite Barn Brand Beards (makers of the insanely awesome Ghost Buck beard butter) is cooking up something extra special. Dubbed "Snow Buck", this scent represents the next level in the Ghost Buck saga, with notes of winter oud, tobacco, mint, leather, and tonka bean, this product is guaranteed to be as complex and intoxicating as it's Ghost Buck cousin. Make sure you're following Barn Brand on social media, so that you'll be one of the first to know when this guaranteed big-time scent drops!
With just a little bit more than 2 weeks until Christmas, shopping days are getting more and more scarce. If you haven't picked up something for the bearded fella in your life yet, Grave Before Shave has you covered, because right now, they're offering 20% off of their entire inventory. Simply head over to gravebeforeshave.com, enter code GBXMAS and enjoy your discount...and as always, they'll cover the cost of shipping, no matter if you order one item or a hundred...and don't forget, this sale goes all the way through to the end of the year, so if Santa didn't end up bringing you the beard-care goodies you wanted for Christmas, there's no need to fear, as you can still take advantage of this great deal, even after the tree is put away...
Luxury beard-care juggernaut Scotch Porter has been busy lately, expanding with several limited editions, including their CBD collection with the oh, so awesome beard wash...but what about their standard line? Well, it's been reviewed ad-nauseam, of course...but one more review wouldn't hurt...Now we already know that their Beard Conditioner is nothing short of legendary, and well deserving of the reputation it enjoys as one of the best on the market today. How about everything else in their standard line? I picked up this balm during their BOGO sale last month, just so that I could see what some of the other products in this core collection are all about. While it seems that we hear good things about this product from time to time, it certainly doesn't seem to enjoy the legendary status that their conditioner does, but the name Scotch Porter has become synonymous with luxury, so this should still be a great product...right? Let's give it a try and find out.
That same weird scent in their conditioner is very present in this product. Where the conditioner had a mild, funky, dusty, floral, musky incense note that reminded me of walking into a stoner shop as a kid, the balm has a much more pronounced and agressive version of the same scent. It isn't by any means a bad scent, but it's just not something that I want my beard to smell like all day long. It's strong, it's sweet, it lasts forever, it just really kind of takes away from the entire experience. It's not even really worth rehashing the individual components of the scent (as I already linked my review of the conditioner, above), but suffice it to say that with a scent this unusual, you probably wouldnt want a ton of strength or staying power...and of course this product has both.
How does it work?
With a consistency very similar to the conditioner, I had to double check the ingredients list to make sure this wasnt just the same thing in a different package...but it is definitely its own formulation, meant to be this way. The consistency of this product reminds me of a cross between a thin butter (like that dissapointing product by Maestro's) and that sort of gummy Styling Balm by Beardbrand, it's mushy, it doesnt seem to absorb very easily, and it leaves my beard feeling sort of wet and sticky during the initial application. Once it dries down, it leaves a residue that is equal parts tacky and crunchy, and imparts an incredibly dull look to my beard (imagine slathering a big glob of drugstore hair gel in your beard). On the plus side,hold is very good, but the tradeoff is, of course, the unpleasant tactile sensation of having some sort of strong product in my beard when I go to touch it. In fairness, I will say that the natural list of ingredients does a great job of keeping my face feeling healthy and hydrated, and perhaps this could be used as more of a cold-weather type of product, for days when you need that extra layer of moisture locking protection. To that effect, I get the sense that this product may have been designed for guys with shorter beards who maybe need to focus more on keeping their face protected and itch free while not needing a product that offers more in terms of strencth and softness for a longer beard...in fact, the more I think about it, the more this stuff reminds me of a "scruff cream" type of product and less of a balm in the traditional sense. Either way, it just doesn't fit whatever purpose it's supposed to when it comes to my beard, your mileage may vary, but I wouldnt bet on it.
The bottom line
Is this the worst balm I've ever tried? No...but is it the worst balm I've ever tried with an MSRP of $20? It just might be. It is important to go with whatever works best for you, but in this price category, I could rattle off at least ten better performing products from the top of my head, without really thinking too hard about it. I like Scotch Porter in general, and I think it's unfair to expect any company to bat 1.000, no matter who they are...but this stuff is so far below what I've come to expect from them, that I can't help but wonder if there's something about it that I'm overlooking. I mean, I know this is a brand that's dedicated to not only quality, but performance as well, unfortunately, this balm falls somewhat short in both categories.
Ingredients: Botanical Infusion of (Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Burdock Root, Nettle Leaf, Neem Leaf, Rosemary Leaf and Chamomile Flowers in Deionized Water), Aloe Vera Juice, Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Organic Coconut Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Derived from Natural Colza Oil), Sesamum Indicum (Sesame Oil), Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui Nut) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Castor Oil, Agave Nectar, Emulsifying Wax, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Stearic Acid, Silk Protein, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance
$20 at scotchporter.com
Miner's Beard is definitely a rising star in the indie beard-care scene, from their awesome Thornmoss Forest oil, to the wide range of Christmas scents they've released over the past few weeks, these guys are serious about building a well rounded portfolio of innovative fragrances. Their latest may be the most intreaguing yet, dubbed Double Barrel Moonshine, and boasting notes of leather, tobacco, vanilla, gunpowder, moonshine and coal embers, this is sure to be an authentic old west experience. Available on minersbeard.com right now as an oil and a butter, this is definitely an experience you dont want to miss!