I've been trying a lot of beard oils lately, I suppose that when you review beard products, it's only natural that you'll try more oils than anything else. It seems like there's fair ammount of commonality among most oils...there are incrimental differences in performances, and bigger differences in quality that set one oil apart from another, but at the end of the day, you know that when you buy a beard oil, you're going to get something that helps strengthen and soften your beard, and leave a (hopefully) pleasant scent. Every now and then, a new oil hits the market and makes you rethink the limits of what a beard oil is capable of. A few weeks ago, Barbu Beard Co posted a video promising that their newest product would be a "transcendental experience", this was followed by a few mysterious images of a dropper bottle wrapped in rubber bands. By the time the anticipation built to a fever pitch, the new scent was released: The Shaman.
If you have any experience with Barbu, you already know that they pride themselves on uncommon scent profiles, and first quality ingredients. The Miami based company has been churning out small batch, hand crafted, beard care products in a range of niche fragrances since 2017. With The Shaman, they seem to have doubled down on the unique factor. The buildup to the release of this product was as epic as any I can remember in the beard-care game...but how does the product itself measure up? Lets give it a whirl and find out...
Billed as a blend of sacred oils used throughout history, there is certainly something extremely ceremonial about this product. I wasn't entirely sure what to make of this scent (or if I even liked it at first). Complex is an understatement, although my initial thoughts were that there was just too much going on at once, I know how scents can evolvve, so I witheld my judgement, and pressed forward. An easily recognizable palo santo note, reading as mint-kissed burnt sugar, spreads gracefully like a prayer rug across hot desert sands. This provides a serene backdrop for a resinous earthiness that definitely lends the feel of some sort of ritualistic inscense (maybe frankinsence? but not quite as destinctive), prickly streaks of vinylic sweetness and laser focused citrus peel slice through the midnote providing a freshness that acts as the perfect counterpoint to the mellow base. In the distance mesquite embers crackle with the energy of the warm bolt of peppery lightning that set them ablaze. Right here you'd have an amazing scent, but the story continues as the day progresses...the freshness and spice fade into a comforting heavy curtain of nag champa smoke, in all of it's warm, dusty, floral glory...while the top note morphs from a piney whisper into the faintest suggestion of something inorganic, oily, and borderline solvent-based (which sounds unapealing, but works brilliantly in this situation as it offers the perfect amount of balance). Certaintly one of the most complex beard oils I've ever tried, I would love to see this scent translate into a cologne. Strength is through the roof (which may be a concern for those with sensitive noses), and staying power is amazing, as this product continues to shine end evolve from morning application all the way to bed time.
How does it work?
There's a great weightiness to this product, viscosity is a solid medium-plus (definitely on the ticker end of the beard oil spectrum). The carrier blend sports a fairly basic list of ingredients, that sufficiently serve their purpose (nothing too specialized, but everything works just fine). It works into my beard brilliantly and provides a fantastic level of softness. The organic castor oil seems to be exceptionally soothing (and of course I dont need to tell you that it is known to promote healthy hair growth). My only minor quibble is that it does seem to leave just the slightest bit of a greasy feel, but this goes away fairly quickly and isn't incredibly noticable. Staying power is outstanding, requiring no touchups throughout the day. I especially like the brilliant shine that this product leaves behind, it really imparts an awesome finished look, perfect for those days when you really want to make sure your beard is looking even better than usual!
The bottom line
There is really something special about what the good folks at Barbu have done with this scent. I've seen a lot of people saying that it's hard to describe, or it is in a cetegory all its own. I think beyond that it has created a new high-water mark for incense scented oils. More than just an amazing scent, this product performs as well as any top shelf oil should. Definitely something that I cannot recommend highly enough, although I will qualify that by saying that if strong scents arent for you, or you just dont dig incense type smells, this product will be way too much for you. But as far as uncommon beard oils go, there are few that I've found to be as exciting as this stuff.
Ingredients: Organic Jojoba, Organic Argan, Organic Cold pressed pure Grape seed, Organic Sweet Almond, Organic Castor, and Vitamin E.
$19 at barbubeardco.com