Salvador Dali

My moustache isn’t the most impressive thing in the world—it’s a little wispy, a little ginger. You can imagine my surprise, then, some months back, when I was crossing the street in downtown Williamsburg (the hipster capital of Brooklyn) and some genius in a car making a right turn yelled to me, “Walk faster, Moustache!” The fact that I was being called out for my lip decoration in a place where every third guy sports elaborate face fuzz meant that I had made it; a moustache recognized in a land of moustaches.

I’ve since gotten married and, in deference to the wife, shaved it off for the wedding, but I learned some things for next time. The most important of these lessons is, when it comes to picking a moustache wax, “hold” isn’t necessarily the most important attribute. This is something that sits directly under your nose, and something you will (at least at first) be inadvertently tasting many times a day. With this in mind, here are five waxes to look into based on ancillary characteristics.

Oregon Wild Hair moustache wax
Oregon Wild Hair Moustache Wax

Price: $10.25, free shipping at oregonwildhair.com

Ingredients: Beeswax, Petroleum Jelly, Lanolin, Musk

Bouquet: Cedary, with a hint of Portlandian disdain

Finish: Subtle, surprisingly unironic flavors

Whiskey Pairing: Big Bottom Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Port Cask Finish

Final grade: This wax is serviceable, but ultimately underwhelming. Perhaps Oregonians don’t want their moustache wax altering the flavor of their fancy coffees. B


Woodsman moustache wax
Woodsman

Price: $12.50 at beardbrand.com

Ingredients: Beeswax, Lanolin, Cocoa Butter, Jojoba Oil, Texas Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Pine Needle, Essential Oils

Bouquet: If Legends of the Fall could be distilled into a moustache wax scent, it would smell something like this. It’s the wax I would use before heading out to wrestle a bear or stealing my brother’s woman.

Finish: Very waxy, with a pine-coney aftertaste

Whiskey Pairing: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Final grade: From the tasteful wood-lined container to the natural new-car smell, Woodsman is an all-around winner. A

Harry's moustache wax
Harry’s Best Deluxe Moustache Wax Co. #25

Price: $13.25 (2 oz. version) at moustachewax.co

Ingredients: Refined Beeswax, Petroleum Jelly, Gum Arabic, Vegetable Based Emulsifying Wax, Cocoa Butter

Bouquet: Harry’s Formula 25 is a utilitarian affair, eschewing natural outdoor aromas for unpretentious form and function.

Finish: Harry clearly didn’t develop his mustache wax with flavor in mind, but it’s no worse than, say, chewing on a flavorless Yankee candle for some reason.

Whiskey Pairing: Kentucky Tavern

Final grade: The best part of Harry’s wax is the story behind it. First of all, the guy’s name isn’t even Harry, it’s Bill (Harry was his grandfather, and had a sick old-timey stache). Bill is actually a clockmaker who dabbles in moustache wax formulas on the side. Pretty good for a hobbyist. C+

Three Kings Moustache Wax
Three Kings Moustache Wax

Price: $10.95 at thestache.com

Ingredients: Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Beeswax, Fragrance

Bouquet: The vague, unidentified “fragrance” ingredient really shows, but isn’t unpleasant for all that.

Finish: The fragrance is less nice when it comes to tasting mustache wax, it tends to linger longer than the rest. The consistency is also something less firm than its competitors. You can really get a finger full.

Whiskey Pairing: Four Roses Bourbon (on the rocks, in honor of Three Kings’ Ice Cube)

Final grade: C

Brooklyn Grooming moustache wax
Brooklyn Grooming Williamsburg Mustache Wax

Price: $22 at brooklyngrooming.com

Ingredients: Castor Oil, Beeswax, Kukui Nut Oil, Shea Butter, Unrefined Beeswax, Essential Oils of Cendar Atlas, Cedar Virginia, Ho Wood, Ylang Ylang, and Vitamin E

Bouquet: I’m not sure what Ylang Ylang is or smells like, but whatever they put in this canister smells great.

Finish: A sharp and distinguishing flavor I’d be able to enjoy more if I wasn’t getting lightheaded from ingesting all of this mustache wax.

Whiskey Pairing: Van Brunt Stillhouse American Whiskey (technically distilled in Red Hook, but close enough)

Final grade: It’s about double the price of other waxes, but these hipsters know what they’re about when it comes to stache affectations. B+