So this is a product I stumbled across completely by accident. I was researching something else entirely when I came across another offering by this company on ebay. Intreagued, I decided to check out their website. When I saw that they were offering a scent named Opus 1, I was sold (a little background; I got my formal education in wine, and I have an irrational affinity for Opus One, so much so that I have the logo with Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi tattooed on my arm...If you have the means, I highly recommend picking up a bottle of the 09 from a reputable source...you'll thank me later...but anyway, back to our regularly scheduled blog post). While the name alone was enough to get me to purchase this product, will the performance be good enough to make me want to purchase others from this company? Lets find out...
So, theres definitely a lot going on as far as the blend here is concerned, the package lists cedarwood, juniper, patchouli, blood orange, and bergamot...the first thing that really jumps out at me is a strong note of patchouli (this right here would be enough for some to take a pass, but I actually like patchouli just as long as it is balanced out by complimentary notes), this gives way to a really great, super authentic aged cedar (think of that smell you first get when you open a real antique cedar chest, not a "pine-but-it-looks-like-cedar" one at a modern furniture store, but honest-to-goodness-red-cedar, one that you can tell somebody's grandma owned decades ago, and is now tucked away in the corner of some antique shop somewhere, being used as a display stand for hideous porcelain dolls or something). This is rounded out by a green earthy note from the juniper, and a sweet citrusy component from the blood orange and bergamot, which seem to balance out in perfect harmony. Strength is medium-plus, but since Oak City's gold line is fragranced with 100% essential oils, it never becomes overpowering. Longevity is great, lasting well into the day. This is a scent that I personally love, sophisticated and masculine, it's something more reminiscent of a quality cologne...in fact, if you wear a woodsy cologne, this would make an awesome accompaniment to it, I find it goes great with Brooklyn by Bond no 9.
How does it work?
When I first opened this product, I noticed that the texture was a bit gritty, although this can happen due to changes in temprature while shipping, so I'm not going to hold this against them. This is one of the heavier butters I've tried in recent memory. It seems to have a high coconut oil content, as it feels similar to straight up coconut oil when it works into your beard, remaining pretty present on the outer layer of hair (in fairness, it does seem to moisturize the skin underneath just fine). It never seems to fully "absorb" (for lack of a better term) like some butters do, leaving a bit of a greasy feel on the surface (not a lot, but enough to be noticable). The weight of this product seems to really assist in deep conditioning, locking in whichever oil you choose to comb through your beard before use. Hold is outstanding for a butter, really it performs more like a balm in this respect, and staying power is fantastic, lasting well into the evening on just a single application.
The bottom line
This is a product for a specific type of bearded dude (the Oak City website even says as much describing their gold line offerings having been created for a "niche midnset"). The scent is fantastic, but definitely not for everybody (if you aren't into stronger, unique scents, then this probably isn't for you). The hold is incredible, although I wish it felt just a little less greasy. At the end of the day, when you factor in the value of this all natural, hand crafted product (especially considering the fact that Oak City offers free shipping on every order), this is definitely something that's at least worth consideration of a spot in your beard care arsenal.
Ingredients: Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Argan Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Beeswax, Essential Oils, Vitamin E
$11.99 at oakcitybeardcompany.com