Category Archives: Aftershaves & Colognes

Reviews of everything after the shave. Toners, splashes, aftershaves, and colognes.

Review: St. Johns – Bay Rum with Lavender Aftershave Cologne

St. Johns - Bay Rum with Lavender Aftershave Cologne

St. Johns – Bay Rum with Lavender Aftershave Cologne

So after yesterday’s warpath on my neck, I decided to take it really easy today with my shave.  However, my neck was still mad at me, and both passes I did were a little wince inducing.  I deserve that.  Sorry neck.

So I braced myself when I reached for the aftershave, which today was St. John’s Bay Rum with Lavender.  Let me say up front that traditionally I was never a fan of lavender.  I get why it’s a popular scent.  It -is- a nice scent, it’s just not one that I find appealing for me.  Interestingly though, on this current trip, we stayed in a hotel that left a complimentary linen spray.  In essense, it’s a light aromatic spray to spritz on your sheets before going to bed.  This one was scented with lavender.  And though I was hesitant, I actually liked it.  Maybe I’m growing up and my tastes are changing.  Haha I hope so, I’ll be 40 later this year.

Starting with the burn, like I said, I wasn’t thrilled with the shave because I had really done too much yesterday, and my neck was still a little pissed off.  So I came at my neck with the aftershave, bracing for the alcohol kick.  And you know what?  It wasn’t that bad!  I didn’t really talk about the burn with the original St Johns, and perhaps it’s because it’s a gentler aftershave.  I appreciated it this morning, that’s for sure.  It went on cool and then warmed really nicely.  It was a great feeling.

The smell?  I was expecting not being quite into it because it’s lavender-based, but I’ll tell you what, it’s a -hint- of lavender.  Predominantly, this is a bay rum, and smells like bay rum.  However, it had a very subtle hint of lavender when you toss it on your face, and the blend was nothing short of fantastic.  Honestly.  I get nothing for these diaries, so I won’t lie in them.  It went on great, it smelled great (bay rum with just a perfect hint of lavender in the blend).  And as the top notes fade, the bay rum becomes more of a prominent scent, and like the original bay rum, it’s a soft, but manly scent.

This one was a really nice surprise.  Very very nice.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Bonny Doon Farms – Meehan Bay Rhum Cologne

Bonny Doon Farm - Meehan Bay Rum Cologne

Bonny Doon Farm – Meehan Bay Rum Cologne

Today was an interesting day.  I am currently travelling and after finding a sweet Old Spice mug with ridges to help build up shaving lather, and being exhausted from the drive, I figured hey I can take another shower, and shave again, even though I didn’t really need another shave.  But considering I could try out another bay rum and that another shave might just give me an opportunity to test out the aftershave burn again, I figured why not.

Shower and shave completed.  The mug was pretty sweet to use.  Felt pretty classy and actually had a flashback to my granddad using one of these mugs when I was really young and semi making fun of him for using such antique methods to shave (now I only WISH I could have those tools now, alas they are long gone).

Anyway, I decided that since I’ve got some repeats to try (a bunch of St. Johns, a couple Ogallalas and Dominicas), that I should try one of the other best-rated samples I got.  Bonny Doon Farms Meehan Bay Rum.

Burn?  You bet!! Now this might be a little unfair, (or really fair for the masochists among you), because being that this was a second shave of the day, my neck got a bit overshaved.  That said, this aftershave, like almost all others, went on cool and with a good kick in the face burn-wise.  In fact, my neck is still burning slightly a full 10 minutes after.  Again, this just might be because of the shave.  (Side note – yeah, I realize now that I misused a cologne.)

The smell? This one smells different from all the others that I have tried, and I have tried about a dozen by now.  This does have a classic bay rum, but the top notes are somewhere between cinnamon and citrus with a floral background.  I really like the fact that this is an all-natural product containing essense of three different bay leaves, rum, and rosewater.  It’s a scent that I find invigorating every time I get a whiff of it.

As the scent develops in the nose, I believe it’s the rosewater that starts poking it’s nose out a little further.  I can already tell that the care that these folks put into making this bay rum are going to extend the life that this fragrance has on my face.  The bay rum is not only all-natural, and not-only a mixture of different varieties of bay leaves, and not only made with real rum, but it is also blended by hand in small batches and aged in their estate cellars.  That’s caring.  And the unique presence of this bay rum is nothing short of awesome.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Dominica – Double Distilled Bay Rum

Dominica - Double Distilled Bay Rum

Dominica – Double Distilled Bay Rum

Today was the day.  When reading forum posts about bay rums, this brand (and one other that didn’t come in the sampler pack) came up as a top favorite.  So I’ve been holding back, putting other ones to the test to get a good feel for the competition before coming to Dominica.

I had a very good shave today.  No nicks, and a bbs (baby-butt smooth) shave.  Then I reached into my bag of samplers and found the one: Dominica double distilled.  I emptied about two thirds of the sampler (typically been doing this, saving the last bit for a touch-up during the day) and splashed it on my face.  It has a nice cool clean feeling with a noticeable burn.  But, with alcohol as a primary ingredient, I suppose this is a bit expected.

The smell is pure bay rum.  I’ve read other reviewers mentioning a clovey smell, which I can understand, as the classic bay rum scent is similar to a clove scent.  So it goes on with a very strong smell of classic bay rum, perhaps a little sweeter and citrusy rather than clovey.  The initial scents linger a little bit longer than others I have tried, however not very long.  And the scent fades into a warmer traditional bay rum scent.

Compared to other brands, Dominica is quite inexpensive.  You can get a large bottle of the stuff for less than smaller bottles of the other stuff.  So if you want a classic bay rum that will last through many applications, this is the one for you.  Being that you get a lot of bay rum for the price, you can keep a small bottle of it at work to re-apply later in the day.

From my minimal research, it seems that this bay rum does not have any moisturizers in it, just alcohol and bay rum oil, very straight up.  So for those of you wanting or needing moisturizers like me, you might want to look elsewhere.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Taylor of Old Bond Street – Bay Rum Aftershave

Taylor of Old Bond Street - Bay Rum Aftershave

Taylor of Old Bond Street – Bay Rum Aftershave

Ahhh Taylor of Old Bond Street.  These folks are no newcomers to the game.  Their Avocado shaving cream is one of my two favorites (Mitchell’s Wool Fat is the other), and judging by their luxurious shaving cream, I was excited to try out their bay rum.

Taylor of Old Bond Street’s Bay Rum Aftershave went on very cool and did provide some biting feedback to some of the more aggressive blade strokes from my shave.  Yup, this one has more kick to it.

The scent is delicious.  It’s classic bay rum (classic so far as I can tell), with hints of clove and citrus on top.  As the top notes quickly fade, a warmer and spicer bay rum scent pervades, but it’s as gentle as it is spicy.  This is an easygoing scent that doesn’t last all that long (hour to two hours at best), so you may need some touchups throughout the day if you really want to carry the scent with you.

Overall it’s a delicious scent, and a great performing aftershave.  Of note though, is the fact that this comes in a plastic bottle.  Having seen many bay rums that come in either fancy or vintage looking glass bottles, and even one brand that comes in a metal flask, Taylor of Old Bond Street could (and should) do better than plastic.  But they do have a reputation for the quality of their actual products, not so much the packaging, which is somewhat unfortunate.  If the aftershaves are close in quality, I’d -definitely- go for one with better packaging.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Master – Bay Rum Aftershave

Master - Bay Rum Aftershave

Master – Bay Rum Aftershave

Master Bay Rum Aftershave is one of the bay rums in the sampler set that I received that stands apart from the others.  It goes on cool, cooler than many of the others that I tried.  But the cool quickly fades to a slight warming sensation.  The scent also has a warming sensation.  For those that don’t care for the kick in the face after a shave, Master is for you.

As for the scent, it’s seems to have a darker sensation in the nose, reminding me of cinnamon and maybe a Christmas bouquet, with a little bit of honey in the mix.  But the ingredients list include primarily alcohol and bay rum oil.  It also has a powdery feeling to the scent, and it’s quite nice.  The initial sharper tones of the scent fade quickly to a soft aroma that is sweeter and exceptionally pleasant.

Master bay rum also contains glycerin, and has left my face feeling great to the touch.  Silky smooth, with every touch re-awakening the scent around my head.  This is an excellent bay rum and it’s quite understandable why so many people love it.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: St. Johns – Bay Rum Aftershave Cologne

St. Johns - Bay Rum Aftershave

St. Johns – Bay Rum Aftershave

St. John’s Bay Rum was one of the well-reviewed bay rums, with a lot of fans on the various shaving forums out there.  So I was excited this morning when I decided that after having tried several brands of bay rum, that today was the day I would crack open the original formula of St. John’s Bay Rum.

This one is labeled a cologne as opposed to an aftershave.  It still goes on nice and cool, but lets talk aroma, which I found delicious!  There is no notes in particular that I could find that really stick out here.  It seems to be a straight up bay rum smell, with no heavy clove or cinnamon top note, but rather more of a sweet woody smell.

I think one word I’d like to use to describe the St John’s experience so far is soft.  The scent is soft, devoid of any pungent or strong perfumy feel.  Seems most bay rums are like this, but St. John’s does seem like a soft, powdery scent while still being fully present.  I think I do sense a little hint of muskyness, which is kind of a first in these bay rum diaries.  It’s not off-putting (I can’t stand the cologne counter at the mall), but more of a hint, one of the many middle notes that shows up soon after the initial bay rum notes start to fade.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a wonderful cologne.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Captain’s Choice – Bay Rum Aftershave

Captain's Choice - Bay Rum Aftershave

Captain’s Choice – Bay Rum Aftershave

Captain’s Choice Bay Rum Aftershave definitely seems to be one of the top bay rum fan favorites.  And I can understand why!  First, let’s talk burn.  Captain’s Choice is alive!  I had a decent shave with my Merkur 34C Double Edge Safety Razor, but tried to get my neck as close as I can.  Thus I felt I might get punished with the aftershave.  Captain’s Choice went on cool and provides a decent burn.  Not necessarily a stingy burn, but a warm burn.  It felt fantastic, and was an excellent ending to the shave.

Captain’s Choice is not light on the scent either.  I think it comes close to what I would consider a classic bay rum scent, with hints of cinnamon and allspice, all blended perfectly with a citrusy note to top it off.  But yes, this is the bay rum smell.  The initial notes don’t fade too fast either.  As I sit here writing this, I still have quite a lot of this delicious aroma swimming into my nose.  Feels like a thick scent, without being a sticky product.

Captain’s Choice Bay Rum Aftershave is also loaded with the stuff that your skin wants.  Witch Hazel, a natural astringent, is a wonderful toner for your skin.  And glycerin, to make your skin feel smoother than the baby-butt-smooth feeling you’re used to when you shave with a traditional blade.

There is something to be said about the packaging of this rum.  The clear apothecary-style bottle shows off the distinct amber color of this bay rum, and you can even see little bits of the natural ingredients in it.  It’s really made with love, that is beyond obvious.

The owner, Scott, who I have subsequently corresponded with, is a real stand up guy who only a year or two ago decided to try his hand at making his own bay rum.  He uses only the finest natural ingredients, and also sends test samples of new blends to his loyal customers to get feedback.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  You know that the batch of bay rum you’re spashing on your face didn’t come out of a machine, but rather was crafted by hand in the owner’s home.  Oh yeah.

I don’t have a single negative thing to say about Captain’s Choice Bay Rum Aftershave.  It’s a great bay rum, and I’d be happy to have a bottle of it sitting with the best of my shave tools.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Col. Conk – Bay Rum Aftershave Cologne

Col. Conk - Bay Rum Aftershave Cologne

Col. Conk – Bay Rum Aftershave Cologne

Went away this weekend, and I am back with another bay rum diary entry.  Today, I had a great shave, after letting it go for a few days.  Nothing my Gillette Fatboy with Feather blade couldn’t handle.  There were a couple nicks, though, so I had braced myself for a little burn when applying this aftershave.

However, no burn was to be had. Col. Conk’s Bay Rum Aftershave Cologne went on nice and cool and had no discernable burn.  Was that the aftershave or was it my mad shaving skills?  Maybe somewhere in between.

The smell was quite different from the other bay rums I have tried so far, and it is a really interesting scent.  I don’t get clove or cinnamon, two spices I have come to expect from bay rums.  Right away, the top notes have a lively citrus feel to them, and it comes on like a rush.  After a few minutes, the citrus fades and leaves more of a woody incense aroma to it.  It’s earthy and definitely feels like a vintage barbershop scent.

I actually really like this scent the more and more I smell it.  And as it settles it hangs on to that classic barbershop scent with the faintest hint of the bay rum carried through.  This one also lasted a bit longer than other bay rums I have tried.  Overall an excellent and unique experience.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Turtle Bay – Premium Bay Rum

Turtle Bay - Premium Bay Rum

Turtle Bay – Premium Bay Rum

A new day, a new bay rum to try.  Honestly, I have been thoroughly enjoying this trip down Bay Rum Lane trying out all these samplers.  It’s a new scent to me, but it’s a fun scent.  For so many years I thought aftershaves and colognes had to be musky.  I always disliked musky, and so after trying out some of those Macy’s Cologne Counter colognes way back then (I’m in my late 30’s now) I decided that colognes were not for me and just ignored them.

But now I’ve found the world of wetshaving, and have been awakened to the plethora of non-musky scents that I honestly never knew existed.  I fell in love with sandalwood initially, but then started reading those reviews about bay rum and even though I’m not the biggest fan of clove, I knew I just had to try some.

So today’s candidate is Turtle Bay Premium Bay Rum.  This aftershave went on very cool and had a good post-shave bite to it.  Not that strong, but also not that mild.  This was a good burn, one well suited to those of you out there that like a good smack in the face after your shave.  But, like I said, it’s not too strong.  It was a nice eye-opener, and had a really good presence on the nose.

The smell is dominated by clove, but maybe just slightly less so than other clove-dominated aftershaves that I have tried so far.  The undertone of the scent is sweet, so overall its a really nice and pleasant blend that will waft into your nose as you go about your morning.

Looking at Turtle Bay’s website, there are options to purchase their products either in bottles or in flasks.  Ok, let’s stop right there.  Flasks are awesome.  If you’re interested in bay rums, then you are already aware that there is something of a pirate theme in the world of bay rums.  Turtle Bay is all over it.  The labels on their products look like old-school parchment, yellowed in the sun and sea.  And to use a flask for your aftershave is just plain awesome.  I know it’s not for everyone, but I think it’s a unique idea and I applaud Turtle Bay for it.  If only I wasn’t sampling these bay rums out of little vials, I’d be just that much more excited about it.

So yeah, from the scent, to the packaging, I guess the best word I could use to describe Turtle Bay’s Bay Rum Aftershave would be “fun”.  And for shaving to be fun and not just a morning chore is pretty sweet.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)

Review: Ogallala – Bay Rum, Limes & Peppercorn Aftershave

Ogallala Bay Rum, Limes, & Peppercorn Aftershave

Ogallala Bay Rum, Limes, & Peppercorn Aftershave

Alright, after having tried yesterdays Layrite Bay Rum, I decided to go back to Ogallala and try one of their alternate Bay Rums that contains other scents in it.  I reached for the one I thought I might really like, and I was right.  I do love the smell of lime.  In fact, one of the first aftershaves I tried after starting to shave with a safety razor was Geo F. Trumpers Extract of Limes Skin Food, and I really do like it.  But this is not about Trumpers, this is about Ogallala.  But here’s what is interesting.  Trumper’s lime is a straight up lime smell.  It smells like you stuck your head in a basket of freshly cut limes.  Deliciously sweet and… limey.

The smell of Ogallala’s Bay Rum with Limes & Peppercorn is nothing short of wonderful.  Its a very warm and soft smell.  Very similar to Ogallala’s original Bay Rum scent, but definitely not dominated by cloves.  In fact, I am finding it difficult to pinpoint exactly what is dominating the scent.  It’s not clove or lime, and it’s not peppercorns either.  And I’ll tell you what, I love it that I can’t find a dominant note.  I think it might be a really perfect balance of sweet and spice.  I want to say it has a woody note, but without any kind of woody nomenclature, I shouldn’t say it.  (But it does have a woody note)…

As with the original bay rum, there is no major burn with this aftershave, but rather a subdued burn, one that lets you know where you went too far with the razor, but not like you just poured rubbing alcohol on an open wound.  And in fact, due to a careless moment with my straight razor, I did manage to nick myself pretty good on the chin, and was anticipating a pretty serious talking to from the aftershave.  Thankfully, Ogallala’s Bay Rum with Limes & Peppercorn has a great bedside manner.  The burn was present but nowhere near what I was bracing for.

I really love the scent, but I also wish it lasted longer.

(This review is of a sample decant of the original product, and as such I cannot guarantee that the sample contained the appropriate mixture of the original ingredients.)