Tag Archives: cologne

Review: HowToGrowAMoustache.com Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave (Alcohol Based)

HGTAM.com - Alcohol-Based Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave

HGTAM.com – Alcohol-Based Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave

Good day readers!  Today I bring you yet another offering from a man amongst men.  Douglas Smythe, the Willy Wonka of the shaving world, keeps pumping creation after creation upon us.  Just as soon as we receive a package of his newest creation, he announces another.  But there’s a very special one that caught my eye, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to write about it: HowToGrowAMoustache.com’s Alcohol-Based Bay Rum Cologne/Aftershave.

The Packaging!  Just try to convince me that these bottles from HGTAM are not one of the best lookin things in your shave cave.  That little brown apothecary-style bottle with the awesome pirate smiley just begs to be at the front of your array of aftershaves.  (By the way, if you don’t have an “array” of bottles in your shave cave, start with a bottle of this stuff).

The Scent!  Yeah!! This is a dirty, no-holds-barred, kick-you-in-the-face-with-an-awesome-smelling-boot kind of bay rum.  Think Clubman VIBR, mixed with Captain’s Choice.  It’s spicy, it’s warm, it’s a little sharp.  Off the top theres some light citrus notes, a touch of lime and maybe orange but not too strong. And the bay is a little more prominent.  I would also say it’s light on typical bay rum ingredients of cinnamon and clove, if there’s any at all.  I also detect heavier woodier bottom notes, which are hard to identify.  The bottle says there are 10 essential oils.  No wonder I am having a hard time describing the scent.  As a whole, this is definitely a smart bay rum.  But it also succeeds at not smelling like clove, or Christmas potpourri, or any of the negative comparisons I see out there for bay rum.  The scent is strong (it -is- marketed as a cologne/aftershave, so it should be), and stays with you for a long time.  And as a person with sensitive skin, I was worried that the strong scent would translate into itchy skin.  Not even a little, and I’ve been using this every day for a while now.

The Alcohol!  Right on.  This stuff is bracing.  Do you like that alcohol kick in the morning?  Get this stuff now.  To me, it was very reminiscent of Captain’s Choice’s Cat’O’Nine Bay Rum.  You’ll splash it on, and almost instantly your skin will feel the kick.  After about a minute things will calm down and the scent takes over.  It’s a rush that will definitely open up those groggy eyes.  Not uncomfortable, mind you, but more awesomeish.  And there is also a healthy amount of glycerin in this stuff to moisturize your skin after the battle.

Overall, this stuff is one of the best smelling bay rums I have tried.  If you look at HTGAM’s catalog, or have tried any of their other products, you will understand exactly why I call Mr. Smyth the Willy Wonka of the shaving world.  His whimsical nature and uncanny ability to blend scents make for some really fantastic-smelling and great-performing products.

This bay rum is great and holds a prime spot on my overpopulated shave shelf.  And if you happen to not be an alcohol kind of guy, there are alcohol-free options as well.

Long live Douglas Smythe and his factory.

Review: Ogallala – Double Strength Bay Rum Cologne

Ogallala - Double Strength Bay Rum Cologne

Ogallala – Double Strength Bay Rum Cologne

Alright I saved Ogallala’s Double Strength Bay Rum Cologne to be my last Ogallala bay rum to try.  A few days ago I fell completely in love with Ogallala’s Sandalwood offering, so this had some big shoes to fill.  But it did not disappoint.

Every Ogallala product I have tried goes on smooth and somewhat warm.  And each one lets you know about your rough shaving spots in a sultry kind of way.  Like the way Barry White’s voice hits your ear.  Well the double strength is not that sultry.  It’s got a good deal of bite to it.  I would think it was made specifically for those of you out there that like a good kick in the neck when you’re done shaving.

The scent is absolutely wonderful.  Ogallala really does know how to blend those fragrances.
As this is a cologne, it should have a stronger scent than the regular aftershaves.  Up front, and for a little while, yes the scent is strong and awesome.  Wonderful mix of bay rum with clove, which helps round out the faint rough edges of bay rum oil, and helps extend the scent.

I can’t say anything bad about this cologne, nor the Ogallala brand.  Fantastic stuff that I will be ordering more of.

(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 with Lime Aftershave Cologne

St. Johns - Bay Rum with Lime Aftershave Cologne

St. Johns – Bay Rum with Lime Aftershave Cologne

I really like lime.  It’s easily my favorite citrus, great in vodka, and excellent in a rum drink.  And it only makes perfect sense that if I like lime in my rum, I’m gonna love lime in my bay rum.  I know this ahead of time, and saves a few lime specimens for the very end of this 20+ bay rum sampler pack.

Today’s test subject is St. John’s Bay Rum with Lime.  Oh yes.  St John’s has a fantastic reputation in the reviews and message boards I have visited.  And it’s among the very top of the line of the bay rum brands I have tried in the past several weeks.  And this one, the lime variety, may just be my favorite of all the St. John’s I have tried.

Going on it’s got some bite.  Not necesarily a cool feeling, but one that will bite at you just a bit.  Definitely lets you know the rough patches of your shave, but in a very refreshing way.

The smell is just fantastic.  There is a lovely lime note right away, with a lovely blend of St. John’s mix of fragrances beneath it.  There are hints of clove and cinnamon, but honestly, it’s a hint.

Let me jump in here and make a note of something I have discovered during this trip down bay rum lane.  I have tried 20 bay rums so far this month.  Before I started this journey, I can’t say that I hated clove, but I wasn’t the biggest fan.  And when I read a certain brand had clove, I assumed I would not like it.  I may have even brought this bias into the first few reviews I did.  But as I tried bay rums that had clove and those that didn’t, I found that clove, while quite pungent on it’s own, blends really well with bay rum oil.  The two work together, with the clove giving the bay rum scent a little bit of loft and staying power, while at the same time rounding out it’s rough edges.  It seems there is a bit of an art when it comes to finding the right amount of clove to mix with the right amount of bay rum.  And it seems that St. John’s has nailed it.

I seriously consider myself lucky to have such an amazing aroma floating through my nostrils right now.  It’s quite 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: St. Johns – Bay Rum with Grapefruit Aftershave Cologne

St. Johns - Bay Rum with Grapefruit Aftershave Cologne

St. Johns – Bay Rum with Grapefruit Aftershave Cologne

Gentlemen, let me just say that in my book, St John’s deserves top shelf billing.  I have about 5-6 really highly-rated vials left in my selection of bay rum samplers to go through, and because of the “grapefruit” label on this one, I assumed it would be the one I liked the least.  Of course, being a St. John’s product, by no means I am saying that it is less than great.  I just think the others will all be greater.

That said, this was as good as all the other St. Johns I have tried.  It goes on a little cool and then warms a little.  Nothing too dramatic.  Quite soft, like the others.  Check out my other St. John’s reviews, and for feel, this was exactly the same as the others.

And the scent?  I would say that I smelled the grapefruit most when I sniffed the vial.  On my hands and on my face, there was just a hint of citrus, and if I didn’t know it was grapefruit, I wouldn’t have guessed it.  However I would have known that it wasn’t lemon, lime, or orange.  The grapefruit note, though very faint, has a different citrus quality to it.  I would say that maybe it is between lime and orange, but not close to either of those.

However, as the fast citrus top note fades, the aroma softly lands in the wonderful St. John’s bay rum scent.  A soft, spicy sweet concoction that I want more than anything to stay around longer.  Seriously, St. John’s is just wonderful.  It makes its delicious presence known, in a gentle way.

(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: Geo F. Trumper – Bay Rum Cologne

Geo F. Trumper - Bay Rum Cologne

Geo F. Trumper – Bay Rum Cologne

Yes.  Geo F Trumper.  Alright, so when I started traditional shaving, using my Dovo straight razor, I also started using traditional aftershaves.  The first one I had purchased was Geo F Trumper’s Sandalwood skin food.  I loved it.  I loved the smell, I loved the feeling of it, everything.  So I had saved this one for later in the mix, so that I would have a better sense of what bay rum is about, and be able to give this a really good consideration.  And I love it.

Geo F Trumper’s Bay Rum cologne went on with a very quick cooling and bite, which quickly went away.  I realized a little too late that this is a cologne, and not an aftershave, so I mistakenly applied it as an aftershave, and that may spoil the results here.  However, it did splash on nicely.

As for the smell?  This one is a darker, spicier scent than I have normally encountered here on this journey.  It goes on like a spicy bay rum, mixed with scents of clove and black pepper, a very nice earthy grounded scent.  After a little time all the strong points in the scent fade into a more rounded sweet clove scent.  Clove is an ingredient, so make no mistake that if you are not into clove, then this product might not be for you.  But it is subtle, and I think helps carry the often quick-to-fade scent of bay rum a little longer than normal.  The transition from bay rum to clove is very subtle and I find it very pleasant.

You can order Geo F Trumper’s Bay Rum Cologne on Amazon.com!

(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 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: 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: 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.)