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