BrokeAss burst onto the scene earlier this year with all the fury and excitment of a back-leg kick from a tightly wound donkey who just downed 3 espresso shots. Instantly carving out a comfortable place for themselves in the upper eschelon of the beard-care value segment with their initial lineup of products that could easily outperform many others sporting exponentially higher price tags. Offering high quality oils and balms made with truly top shelf ingredients, at bargain basement prices, they've redefined what a value priced beard care product is supposed to be, all in the span of a few short months. It's no wonder that the bearded community has been chomping (or is it champing?) at the bit for the drop of their highly anticipated follow-up to their initial offerings. Dubbed the "&" series (Is it pronounced "and" or "ampersand"? Your guess is as good as mine there, I probably should have asked them before writing this, but I was too excited to tell you all about it, so we'll just leave that as a mystery for now). This line combines two great scents that compliment each other to create something even better. I opted for the Cuban Cigar & 25yr Whiskey scent, because, well, anybody who knows me knows those are two things directly up my highway. So without further ado, let's give this stuff a try and see how it measures up...
Cigar scents are always difficult, as I find that most don't mimic the actual smell of a cigar, but rather evoke a cigar-ish feeling (if that makes any sense at all), usually there's a little spice, a little cedar, somehting sweet, something smokey, all topped off with (for whatever reason) a hint of vanilla...we close our eyes, think of a generic stogie that we vaguely remember in our mind's eye, call it "good enough" and everybody walks away fairly satisfied. As somebody who hasn't the faintest clue about blending fragrances, I don't know if this is because the smell of actual cigars is just very difficult to mimic, or if a lot of people who create scents don't actually smoke cigars very often, but as somebody who enjoys a good smoke once or twice a week, I always find myself wishing that whichever cigar scent I happen to pick up smelled just a bit more accurate...the one notable exception to this is the Cognac and Cuban Cigars Balm by Henri et Victoria, which smelled dead-on just like the inside of my humidor, but was such a piss poor product from a performance standpoint that I ended up giving it away. This particular oil actually does a very respectable job of mimicking, not so much the smell, but the taste of a cold draw of a good Cuban cigar, I'm particularly reminded of a Bolivar Belicoso Fino or a Partagas Serie D No 5; Woody and piquant, brimming with character, as notes of cinammon, leather, black cherry, and cedar gracefully ease into a nutty, peppery finish.
As good of a job as BrokeAss has done of approximating that Cuban cigar "essence" for this product, they've done an even better job on the Whiskey. Now as a Bourbon drinker, myself, I'm assuming that's the scent they're going for here, I mean the fact that it's "whiskey" with an "e" and not "whisky" leads me to believe that this isn't supposed to be a big smokey scotch or anything like that. No, I definitely get the the prominent oak softened by age, as is typical of a wheated Bourbon with a few years under its belt, this is supported by mellow notes of caramel and vanilla, and heady esthers that, I swear, make my mouth water as if I had a dram of some really good stuff placed in front of me.
While this scent isn't quite as complex as either a good Cuban cigar or a pour of 25 year old whiskey, it does a tremendous job of capturing the feeling of both, once again, BrokeAss has shown that they are masters of blending scents. Strength is a shade below medium plus, and staying power is wonderful, lasting for hours without easing up. If you're a whiskey lover like me, try pairing this oil with the Whiskey Blend beard butter by Premium Beards for a real treat!
How does it work?
A beautifully high viscosity oil that makes oils costing twice as much pale by comparison, this product is a true work horse, penetrating deep down into my beard and feeding each individual hair with a potent mix of some of the most beneficial products known to the bearded community. Brimming with emu, castor, baobab, and of course one of my all time favorites, marula, this stuff instantly imparts a strong, healthy feeling in my beard, it nourishes so well that I swear there is a visible thickness added to my beard immediately after applying this stuff. Conditioning properties are outstanding, leaving my beard soft as a cloud, without even the slightest trace of greasiness (a surefire way to tell if a manufacturer is using quality carrier oils, is by the absorption, the good stuff doesnt leave a greasy residue like the cheap stuff does). I was actually having a bit of an issue with tangles the first day I tried this stuff out, it happens, some days you step out of the shower and your beard just doesn't want to be combed...but after applying a dropper full of this thick, luxurious oil, my comb sailed through my beard with nary a snag or "pop". After wearing this product while spending an hour or so outside on a particularly chilly afternoon (The smell of this stuff really had me wanting a cigar, and I wasnt going to let chilly tempratures stop me from sitting on my back porch and enjoying one), I can say that without a doubt it's strong enough to stand up to chilly autumn days without any need for reapplication (although to be fair, I do realize that "cold" in Arizona isnt the same as "cold" everywhere else, so your mileage may vary...but I doubt it).
The Bottom Line
Every now and then, I find myself still going back to the previous BrokeAss offering I had tried, and whenever I do, a question streaks across my mind; how do they do it? I mean seriously, I get that they can keep their costs low by manufacturing in larger quantities and not going overboard on their packaging, but even still, it just seems like there is no way a company can offer this type of quality for such a low price...and yet somehow they manage to. Needless to say, this is a tremendous oil, and certainly cements BrokeAss' rightfully earned position in the rarified air atop the value segment of the market. In sports, music, and a great many other things, there is talk of something called a sophomore slump...when somebody or something debuts with such a phenominal splash, it can be expected that the second time around, may not excite in the way that the first did...I'll admit that I was almost expecting to be underwhelmed by this product considering how impressed I was by the first BrokeAss oil I had tried, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt this is a company who has kept their foot on the gas, and completely avoided anything even vaguely resembling a sophomore slump. If they can continue to offer such a high quality product at an insanely low price, I couldn't imagine there will be any slumps in the future for BrokeAss Beard Supply Co.
Ingredients: Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Aloe Extract, Marula Oil, Emu Oil, Baobab Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Fragrance
$9 at brokeassbeards.com