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While the oldest known image of a sculpted moustache is an Iranian painting of a horseman from 300 BC, the option of discretionary facial hair has existed since the Neolithic period, when the advent of stone razors gave men the option of whether or not they wanted to keep their front facing mane.

And it hasn’t gone out of style since (at least not for those who embrace their raw, primordial features).

But despite their consistent appearance throughout the ages, these looks always seem to make a statement, whether it be one of power, virility, fashion or independence.

Further supporting this impact is a point that anyone who has ever had legitimate facial hair can attest to: when you do finally decided to “grow it out” there is only one certainty – every person you know will either love it or hate it.

And regardless of which way the majority swings in any particular circumstance, this simply makes life more interesting (especially when the only person who really likes it is the host).

In the bartending realm, the resurgence of the facial hair has undoubtedly been tied to the great cocktail rebirth, to which our finalists have all dedicated their careers. Almost a furry embodiment of the profession itself, the versatile world of chin mops and nose harmonicas are more than capable of representing every facet of the mixology spectrum. From delicate nuances of a rolled moustache (French 75) to the bold in your face statement of a massive beard (Old Fashioned), there is something for everyone.

And while the fad period seems to be thankfully waning, the purists remain. For the most part these individuals were here long before these styles were trendy, and will remain long afterward. In celebration of these bearded brethren we offer the following rundown of the most famous overgrowths to step behind the stick.

To help us with this we contacted our friends from Blind Barber. Overseen by general manager Justin Fix, we asked them to provide a technical perspective and rank each finalist. Combined with a tally of the social media support and the age of each nominee (the hair, not the man) we created what will undoubtedly be the definitive rank of the best facial hair in the business (mainly because it’s the only one, but we digress).

And while this is much more a celebration of coarse alcohol-soaked hair than an actual competition, this will once and for all settle the entirely subjective question of whose face canvas dons the most masterful artwork.

Originally only planning on  publishing the top 10, this piece could  simply not be contained. With that we give you the commentary of each finalist, culminating with our grand prize winner – who will receive the title of of “Best Facial Hair in Mixology” and a 4-Piece Edwin Jagger shaving set from West Coast Shaving.

So enjoy the stories of the guy … behind the guy … behind the beard (or stache).