A brand that recently popped up on my radar, Real Bearded Men occupies a unique space in the beard care industry. Bigger than a small-batch up-and-comer, but still very much maintaining that "hand made" feel about everything they do, they currently offer an interesting snapshot of a company on the rise. Created by a group of dedicated beardsmen, their philosophy is an admirable one that embraces superior quality and all natural ingredients. One look at their website gives the impression that they are looking to put their own very distinctive mark on the game, offering a wide range of products in unique scents, they definitely seem to be aiming for something beyond the typical mainstream appeal...there's something that I find particularly novel about the idea of not offering any of their products in matching scents, which challenges the consumer to try their hand at scent layering (which is the only way to go as far as I'm concerned) . This particular balm caught my eye because I'm a sucker for good tobacco scents...let's give it a try and see how it measures up...
As I've discussed before, tobacco scents are insanely popular in beard care products, most of them are tobacco-ish, offering a reasonable facsimilie of the overall experience of smelling or smoking a fine cigar, few really and truly encapsulate a completely accurate tobacco aroma (Cognac and Cuban Cigars balm by Henri Et Victoria is probably the most accurate cigar/tobacco scented beard product I've ever tried...it's too bad it performed so poorly). This product, well unfortunately, it's neither accurate, nor does it conjure up mental images of cigars/tobacco when you smell it. There's an initial funk that's hard to pin down, it's sweet, flabby, coconut-y...just not the base you'd expect, this gives way to the faintest suggestion of a chocolate type note that I suppose reads as tobacco if you really focus on it and try to make the pieces fit, now mind you it's in no way unpleasant (even with that sweet, fatty smelling base) but it just doesnt deliver in a way you'd expect. Wrapped around that like a boa-constrictor is another one of those weird, hard-to-put-a-finger-on notes, it's savory, downright umami (if something can "smell umami"), it honestly reminds me of a chicken flavored boullion cube, and it's way too present in the overall scent. There is a high note of coffee, but it's old coffee, like the last cup left in the pot you put on in the morning, and it's now 3:00 PM. These scents all read as somewhat disjointed, like the scent equivalent of having the TV on while music is playing on your phone, and youre watching a video on your computer...nothing working in concert with anything else, every note competing for your attention, and ultimately nothing really gets through. Strength is medium-to-medium-plus, and staying power is pretty strong (which is a bit on the unfortunate side).
How does it work?
This is a softer, more pliable balm, which I just love. It melts quickly and easily in my hands and works easily into my beard. While I'm assuming that this stuff was formulated with a fairly large helping of beeswax, as it offers tremendous hold, there must also have been great care taken to make sure that it nourishes as well, as it leaves my beard feeling incredibly healthy. I'm actually tremendously impressed by the way that it does tame fly-aways and holds up to the rigors of the day, while still keeping my beard feeling soft and non-greasy. This is easily one of the best performing balms that I've tried in a good long while, and the beauty part is that it seems to last all day, keeping my beard looking great, and my face feeling amazing.
The bottom line
While the scent of this product really isn't for me, I'm quite glad that I tried it, because now I know what Real Bearded Men is capable of creating from a performance standpoint. Scents are a more subjective thing, but there is no debating the merits of a balm that works as well as this stuff does. I am definitely looking forward to trying other balms from this company (and their oils as well). With the right scent, this could easily be something that finds its way into my regular rotation.
Ingredients: Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Apricot Oil, Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Essential Oils
$19.95 at realbeardedmen.com