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Thread: Massive Bay Rum review - 20 sampled

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    Arrow Massive Bay Rum review - 20 sampled

    I love the scent of Bay Rum and could just roll in the stuff. In particular, I savor the true West Indian Bay note itself and always feel like I have a fresh scent on me anytime I wear it. However, finding a version that Cindy can tolerate is tough, as clove is one of her scents for me to avoid (other notes include sandalwood, lavender and amber). Likewise, finding a version that lasts on me is also difficult, as my body chemistry really sucks the life out of true Bay oil.

    Done right, a good Bay Rum is made with just the leaves and/or berries of the West Indian Bay tree (Pimenta Racemosa) and alcohol. Please note that there is some confusion by some with the culinary Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis), which is never used in a proper Bay Rum scent. Other Bay Rum components may include citrus and spice oils of clove and cinnamon, though many of the cheaper Bay Rum versions will largely substitute clove oil for a quality Bay oil. And yes, clove is somewhat similar to Bay oil in smell, though it has a much oilier and much heavier aspect to it. Bay oil is more astringent, lighter, more complex and dries down fairly quickly.

    Since I really wanted a Bay Rum in my scent wardrobe, I decided to get as many samples and/or bottles as I could, and work my way through to the ones that Cindy could tolerate. Fortunately, Barclay Crocker has a Bay Rum sampler set that contains 13 different versions in it from 9 different brands - each in a tiny .03 oz vial. I also had other Bay Rums to pull from and have included them here.

    In this mass review, I spent several days testing, wearing and comparing all of them. Most lasted just minutes to maybe an hour, but a few had better longevity. All required heavy application - enough to drop a horse with a regular cologne. There were also a few surprises to share, so without further rambling - here are the reviews - and as always, YMMV:

    1. Bonny Doon Farm / Meehan Bay Rhum Cologne Splash - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. Goes on very strong and sharp, with a quick dry down of the Bay scent. More of a splash than a cologne. The remaining notes of strong clove and a hint of cinnamon linger for hours. so maybe it could be called a cologne after all. Made from "essential oils from the leaves and berries of the native Dominica, Montserrat, St. John, and St. Lucia bay trees, Bulgarian rose water and spirits of cane". I didn't get a single whiff of rose water and I distinctly smell a slight cinnamon note.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 5/10 (too clovey); I give it - 7/10
      Longevity: 3 to 4 hours for the clove and cinnamon

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    2. Caswell-Massey / Michelsen Bay Rum Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. More of a splash than a cologne, unless you like clove. Very strong alcohol blast, followed by a nice Bay oil scent with a hint of orange zest. Pretty fast dry down, with both the Bay and orange gone within 35 minutes - after that it becomes clovey. Not as good as other citrus Bay scents, but not bad. Supposedly made from the same unique Bay tree (Pimenta Acris) as the St. Johns Bay Rum.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 6/10; I give it - 7/10
      Longevity: 2 to 3 hours

      From Basenotes:
      No fragrance notes listed.

      =====================
    3. Colonel Conk / Bay Rum Aftershave Cologne - This is supposed to be a Bay Rum aftershave cologne - dunno what I received, but it looks like a liquid soap (light to medium pink) and smells like something I'd wash dishes with. Seriously, there is *no* Bay oil scent in this sample, which came as a package of Bay Rum scent samples from Barclay Crocker. All I get from it is soap, soap and more soap.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - n/a; I give it - 0/10 for lack of Bay oil of any kind
      Longevity: 10 minutes or less for me. YMMV.

      From Basenotes:
      No fragrance notes listed.

      =====================
    4. Dominica / Double-Distilled Bay Rum Aftershave - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. Correctly labeled as an aftershave, but incorrectly labeled on some websites as having come from the culinary Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) leaf instead. Rest assured - Dominica Bay Rums are distilled from the leaves of the West Indian Bay tree (Pimenta racemosa).

      Wow - this juice smells GREAT! If you want to educate yourself and smell true Bay scent with nothing else added, this is it. According to the Dominica website, it contains "purest of alcohol and the leaf oil extract from the Caribbean bay tree (Pimenta racemosa)" and "no artificial dyes, fragrances, or synthetic enhancers of any kind". Very clean, with no other notes of cloves or cinnamon. Also very fleeting, as the scent had vanished in 7 minutes to the point that Cindy could barely detect it when smelling my arm directly to her nose.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 8/10; I give it - 8/10 due to longevity issues
      Longevity: 7 minutes on my skin; YMMV

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    5. Dominica / Lime Bay Rum Aftershave - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. Correctly labeled as an aftershave, but - again - incorrectly labeled on some websites as having come from the culinary Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) leaf instead. Rest assured - all Dominica Bay Rums are distilled from the leaves of the West Indian Bay tree (Pimenta racemosa).

      Wow - double whammy for me - Bay Rum AND lime! This juice smells GREAT as well, though this version has a much lighter Bay scent than the Double-Distilled version. Quite refreshing. 3 minutes for the Bay to vanish on my skin; however, the lime lightly lingers for HOURS - very surprising for a citrus note. The lime in this really has amazing staying power for me and it has just a hint of spiciness to it.

      I don't know what it is with Cindy and citrus Bay Rum scents, but she scored all of them very low.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 0/10; I give it - 9/10 because I wish the Bay were a little heavier.
      Longevity: 5 to 6 hours for the light spicy lime to waft away

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    6. G.F. Trumper / Bay Rum Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. More of a splash than a cologne. Very strong alcohol blast, followed by an odd smell - medicinal in nature. Burns my skin after a few minutes. Doesn't smell at all like Bay oil to me; more like a toned-down clove splash. Different type of clove oil - say clove stem oil, rather than clove bud oil? Really weird scent - like a machine oil - compared to all the others I've tried in this list. Don't like it and want to scrub it off.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 4/10; I give it - 1/10 as I never smelled any Bay in it at all
      Longevity: 1 to 2 hours

      From Basenotes:
      No fragrance notes listed.

      =====================
      =====================
      All of my Ogallala mini-reviews are under the umbrella of the one for "Special Reserve", as they are very similar to one another in scent.
      =====================
      =====================
    7. Ogallala / Bay Rum Aftershave - Very nice as an aftershave. Goes on with a blast and dries down fast.

      Note: Ogallala Bay Rums MUST be shaken thoroughly before being applied, as the Bay oil separates out from the rest of the composition and hugs the bottom of the bottle.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 5/10; I give it - 7/10
      Longevity: 15 minutes on my skin

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    8. Ogallala / Bay Rum Cologne - Liked it, but it faded fast.

      Note: Ogallala Bay Rums MUST be shaken thoroughly before being applied, as the Bay oil separates out from the rest of the composition and hugs the bottom of the bottle.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 5/10; I give it - 7/10
      Longevity: 30 minutes to an hour

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    9. Ogallala / Bay Rum "Special Reserve" Cologne - I've got a huge 17.5 oz cobalt blue bottle of this stuff, so applying it heavy is *not* an issue; I pour out some into the palm of my hand and just slather it on.

      Note: Ogallala Bay Rums MUST be shaken thoroughly before being applied, as the Bay oil separates out from the rest of the composition and hugs the bottom of the bottle.

      I want to *roll* in this Bay Rum. I have a real affinity for resinous scents like turpentine, pine sap, rosemary, yarrow, eucalyptus, bay leaf and others, so Ogallala is a good match for me. I've actually got some on as I type this and am practically swimming in the headiness of it. Can you drink this stuff? Yum!

      So far I found the Special Reserve to be the longest lasting version of the Ogallala product line. Unlike most of the other Bay Rums I've tried, which usually have a strong Bay top note that fades quickly into a different middle and base note, Ogallala remains true throughout the dry down - it just fades in intensity. Still plenty of cloves in it though.

      The Special Reserve is seriously potent when it first goes on, but it fades to a nice level within 20 minutes on my skin.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 5/10; I give it - 8/10
      Longevity: 5 to 6 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    10. Ogallala / Bay Rum, Limes & Peppercorns Aftershave - Another citrus Bay shot down by Cindy; she felt this one had sandalwood in it.

      Note: Ogallala Bay Rums MUST be shaken thoroughly before being applied, as the Bay oil separates out from the rest of the composition and hugs the bottom of the bottle.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 3/10; I give it - 7/10
      Longevity: 1 to 2 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    11. Ogallala / Bay Rum & Sandalwood Aftershave - Smells good to me, but Cindy wanted it gone due to the sandalwood.

      Note: Ogallala Bay Rums MUST be shaken thoroughly before being applied, as the Bay oil separates out from the rest of the composition and hugs the bottom of the bottle.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 0/10; I give it - 7/10
      Longevity: 1 to 2 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    12. Royall Lyme of Bermuda / Royall Bay Rhum All Purpose Lotion - I have a full bottle of this, so I spritzed 2 times on both arms and 3 times on my chest. Accurately labled as a lotion and not a cologne. Not as spicy on the skin as in the bottle or on paper. Also not a simple Bay Rum composition - very complex. Quick Bay dry down; a moderate amount of cinnamon and cloves afterward. Crisp, not sweet or powdery. Lasted 40 minutes on my skin. The Royall website claims to have menthol and mint in their Bay Rhum composition, but I didn't catch either of them as the clove and cinnamon overwhelmed everything after the Bay dried down. Cindy caught a lavender note and dinged them for it.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 1/10 (lavender, clove and other spices); I give it - 7/10
      Longevity: 2 to 3 hours

      From Basenotes:
      No fragrance notes listed.

      =====================
    13. St. Johns / Bay Rum Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. Potent clove cologne. The nice Bay notes dries down very quickly, leaving very strong cloves - which lasted about 3 hours. St. Johns makes some unique claims; that it takes 30 minutes to hand weave a palm frond onto each bottle (what does that have to do with what's inside?) and that their Bay Rum is made from the unique Pimenta Acris tree, rather than the Pimenta Racemosa tree that most other Bay Rums are based upon. Is there a difference? Yes, but subtle. If I want a really nice, clean Bay scent - devoid of anything else - I still prefer the Dominica Double-Distilled as my Bay Rum of choice.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 4/10; I give it - 6/10
      Longevity: 3 hours

      From Basenotes:
      No fragrance notes listed.

      =====================
    14. St. Johns / Bay Rum with Grapefruit Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. This could be called a cologne. The nice Bay and grapefruit notes dry down very quickly, leaving cloves - which faded quickly and lingered about an hour and a half before wafting away. The grapefruit scent in this cologne was not as noticable as the lime scent in St. Johns' other version. Likewise, the clove scent was amped down quite a bit as well. Not bad, but not for me.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 5/10; I give it - 6/10
      Longevity: 1-1/2 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    15. St. Johns / Bay Rum with Lavender Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - n/a (she can't be around lavender); I give it - 6/10
      Longevity: 1-1/2 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    16. St. Johns / Bay Rum with Lime Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. The Bay combined with the lime smells good, but is gone in a flash - 8 minutes flat by my clock, and that's being generous. The rest is a linear dry down of moderate clove, about the same level as the grapefruit version. Doesn't hold a candle to the Dominica / Lime Bay Rum Aftershave; the Dominica version has both a better, cleaner lime scent and it lingers much, much longer.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - n/a (she can't be around lavender); I give it - 6/10
      Longevity: 1-1/2 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    17. Saint Charles Shave / Bay Rum Cologne - This one is best addressed by others. I liked the initial Bay scent when it went on, but then everything fell apart when it mixed with my body chemistry. Cindy recoiled from it.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - Negative marks; it was repellent to her; I give it - 3/10
      Longevity: 4 to 5 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    18. Saint Charles Shave / Bay Rum with a Twist Cologne - This one is best addressed by others. I liked the initial lime top note when it went on, but then everything fell apart when it mixed with my body chemistry. I knew I was in trouble when Cindy recoiled and went into a protracted coughing fit.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - Negative marks; it was even more repellent to her than the regular SCS Bay Rum; I give it - 5/10
      Longevity: 4 to 5 hours

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    19. St. Thomas / Bay Rum Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. Seemed average at best, in all aspects. The Bay oil was gone quickly and the cloves came on strong afterward.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 3/10; I give it - 3/10
      Longevity: 15 to 20 minutes

      No Basenotes information.

      =====================
    20. Taylor of Old Bond Street / Bay Rum Cologne - Emptied the entire .03 oz sample on me. Not much Bay punch; pretty soft actually. Very fast dry down, one of the fastest for the Bay oil. Softer overall scent than most, but still has notable cloves after the Bay has dried down. Completely gone from my skin in under 10 minutes.

      Rating: Cindy gives it - 3/10; I give it - 3/10
      Longevity: 10 minutes

      From Basenotes:
      No fragrance notes listed.


    My bottom line?

    I'm getting a bottle each of the Dominica Double-Distilled and Dominica Lime. If she ultimately doesn't like the Lime, maybe I'll just wear it when she's not around, because I love the stuff.

    Oh, and as always - YMMV.

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    Wow, nice work sir!
    - Dave

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    Awesome! 20 reviews in 1 post! This has to be some kind of record! And to think, I have yet to try one single Bay Rum frag. Guess I'll have to change that now.

    Great post!

    By the way, Mitch, are you returning the favor and helping Cindy test perfumes for her?


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    Keep them coming. I can't wait until you get to Vetyver's.

    BTW. Cindy is also my wife's name and seems to have the same scoring scale as your Cindy does. But my Cindy does like the top notes of Pinaud's version better the Ogallala SR (which I love).

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakespoppy View Post
    By the way, Mitch, are you returning the favor and helping Cindy test perfumes for her?
    I would if she were interested, but she doesn't wear any scents herself. She's an über geek and doesn't get into stuff like that very much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by azmark View Post
    I can't wait until you get to Vetyver's.
    Someone will have to forward some samples or decants to me, as I only have 4 vetivers on hand at present and have blown my scent budget to kingdom come already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhosYerBob View Post
    Someone will have to forward some samples or decants to me, as I only have 4 vetivers on hand at present and have blown my scent budget to kingdom come already.
    I'll stop by L'Occitane and Nieman while Im at the mall and see what samples they have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhosYerBob View Post
    I would if she were interested, but she doesn't wear any scents herself. She's an über geek and doesn't get into stuff like that very much.
    Yeah, my wife has a few perfumes that she really likes and is happy to stay with these. She isn't nearly as curious about discovering what else is available as I am. She tolerates my exploring, and finds it sort of amusing. Pretty much the way she views the rest of my shaving "hobby". She's glad I enjoy it.


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    07006604021_50x50_a.jpgWhat, no Pinaud Virgin Island Bay Rum??

    But very nice job!
    Quote Originally Posted by thunderball View Post
    Wow, nice work sir!
    “Misinformed is the new patriotic.” Chuck Lorre

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwestenk View Post
    What, no Pinaud Virgin Island Bay Rum??
    For every one I did review, I'm sure there's 4 more that weren't included. Maybe we could use this as the master Bay Rum review thread? I know there are frequent queries about Bay Rums and way too many threads to try and sort them all out...

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    Nice reviews! Your views are very similar to mine when I went through the Barclay sampler. I think I will pick up the same couple that you did. FWIW, the SCS Bay Rum with a Twist works well with me and my chemistry. It is a great value IMO.

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    Your Meehan's sample may have been mislabled.

    There is no clove or cinnamon whatsoever in there.

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    I disliked the ogalallas, they seemed too bitter and dated, and actually smelled somewhat of Laurus nobilis, which up until recently I assumed was what put the "bay" in "Bay Rum". personally liked both the Dominica & St. Thomas at first sniff, but the longevity on both is awful. Trumper's I was expecting to like more, but it was too muted and clovey.

    Out of all the Bay Rums I tried, the only ones which had:
    1. good, balanced smell
    2. refreshing contemporary smell
    3. acceptable longevity
    4. natural smell

    Was, for me, the St. John's, and the St. John's with lime.
    I really like the st. john's with lime, and might spring for a bottle if I could convince myself I'd wear it heavily and often.

    I'm gonna try the Master to see if it isn't better than the other cheapies, which so far have all been unacceptable.
    Good thread bob.

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    Wow, that is impressive. But I agree that no bay rum sampling could possibly be complete without Pinaud! http://badgerandblade.com/vb/attachm...4&d=1261619279

    Happy to send you some if you like!

    Also, my favorite bay rum for aroma is Superior 70. Happy to send you some of that, too. At about $3.95 for 750 ml I can probably spare some.

    I like the Dominica, too. And the Ogallalas, although I tend toward the straight up AS, rather than the other flavors. (I like the other flavors better in Ogallala's combination bath soap/bar shampoos, which are truly excellent.)

    My take on bay rum may be very difference than some folk's take. I am pretty convinced that no bay rum that smells predominately of the leaves of the West Indian Bay tree (Pimenta racemosa) is going to have any tenacity at all. That is just way it is. Dominica, for instance is pretty intense going on, but as for you it have very little tenacity for me. So I do not look for tenacity in a bay rum. I use it like I would use witch hazel and like that it does not linger because I can then wear whatever scent I want to for the day!

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    Thank you, this thread gives me a better idea which Bay Rum I want to try first.

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    Thanks for the reviews! I can't wait to get my Bay Rum Sampler Set.

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    Great post! I'm partial to the Bigelow Bay Rum cologne and AS balm, and also the Pinaud.

    I'll have to get some Special Reserve...your review has pushed me over the edge. I like their other stuff, but the scent doesn't have the staying power of a gnat passing gas on a blustery day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topgumby View Post
    Great post! I'm partial to the Bigelow Bay Rum cologne and AS balm, and also the Pinaud.

    I'll have to get some Special Reserve...your review has pushed me over the edge. I like their other stuff, but the scent doesn't have the staying power of a gnat passing gas on a blustery day.
    I would not go for the 17.5 oz size, which WYB got, without giving it a try first. I wasn't going to say anything because I like Ogallala so much overall, and I am really with WYB about so many BRs being more about cloves, and to me, cinammon, than about West Indian bay tree leaves, But I am not fond of Ogallala Special Reserve. Like WYB says, "Still plenty of cloves in it . . . ." And to me, plenty of cinammon, too. As indicated earlier in this thread, my impression in that the aroma of West Indian Bay extract, no matter how intense it is--see what I said about the Dominica being strong--just has no tenacity at all. I could be wrong, but I do not think it is really West Indian bay leaves that are providing the, no doubt about it, long lasting scent of Ogallala SR BR. It is cloves, cinammon, and other things, none of which is necessarily bad, or incorrect.

    Cloves and cinammon are absolutely classic and appropriate in BR. I am not saying that there anything deceptive or improper about having a lot of cloves or cinammon in a BR. It is just not my preference.

    In any event, to me, BR, whether it is the Ogallala AS (which I suspect is very pure West India bay tree leaf), Superior 70 (very pure WIBTL, at least to my nose), Dominica (as noted by WYB, very pure WIBTL--I did not think quite as pure as he indicates, but I will take his word for it), or Pinaud (which clearly has clove and cinammon), is more above its soothing qualities for the skin than it is about aroma.
    Last edited by The Knize; 12-23-2009 at 10:17 PM.

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    Thanks for a great review.

    Like you my go to Bay Rums are both from Dominica but since I also tried my hand of making my own bay rum, I decided to make a test batch of each using 2 ounces and adding 10 drops of Pimenta Racemosa Esssential Oil to each test bottle to it give a litlle kick.

    For me, the double distilled last lingers for 1.5 or so but the lime version, I've had comments from co-workers that they can still smell the lime five hours later. As for my test batch, each is little more potent in the aroma and lingers for about an hour longer for each. YMMV. Going to up the oil on the next batch to see if I can come close to a cologne as I love the smell of bay rum all day long.

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    How do you find these threads?
    David

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