The best bay rum aftershave is a tough battle given such a simple product has so many wonderful variations. Read on to find our victor in this clash of maritime favourites.
Bay rum is made by steeping bay leaves in rum – a discovery made by 16th century sailors who used to rub themselves with bay leaves to smell better just as rum was being developed in the West Indes where they sailed.
The scent of bay rum is deep and complex blending botanicals with warming woody scents. The alcohol acts as an astringent so those sailors created a perfect aftershave.
So effective was that aftershave that to this day bay rum remains one of the best aftershaves for men and a popular option recreated by a number of aftershave brands.
- The Best Bay Rum Aftershave
- What Makes a Good Bay Rum?
The Best Bay Rum Aftershave
Barberry Coast Bay Rum Aftershave
Barberry Coast is very much a premium product and could be the best bay rum aftershave, hence it’s price tag. Nevertheless many shavers insist the money is worth paying. It is handcrafted with all natural, premium ingredients with each batch of our Bay Rum is filtered and aged to perfection as if it were rum to drink!
With no synthetic chemicals a unique blend of all natural exotic spices & citrus, Barberry Coast includes 100% pure glycerin to provide re-moisturizing of your skin.
The scent seems more complex than most bay rums as you can sense all the different ingredients individually as opposed to a general mix.
As an aftershave it still has a kick but leaves the skin feeling softer and more hydrated. It truly feels like more of a modern skincare product in a traditional format rather than something from a 1970s pharmacy.
Barberry Coast is also available as a bay rum aftershave balm for extra soothing and they offer a shaving soap. Combine all three for the ultimate scent! Then there’s the pre-shave oil, beard oil and more…
Pinaud Clubman Aftershave Virgin Island Bay Rum Lotion
Pinaud’s Clubman is already one of our best aftershaves and best mustache waxes, so their bay rum is naturally going to be one of our favourites as well.
The price is right and the scent compelling, plus it comes in that classic Pinaud’s Clubman bottles we’ve come to love.
Pinaud Bay Rum is complex, warm, woodsy and spicy but not overpowering and it recalls whiskey and cigars as opposed to the light and fresh sporty aftershaves that are fashionable today. Notes of clove and cinnamon open up to tinges of vanilla, pepper, oak and leather. These are quite mild and don’t last long. For a stronger bay rum to use as more of a cologne you’ll be looking at Ogallala featured next.
Unlike traditional bay rum aftershaves it has no actual rum in it. It is SD-40 alcohol which causes quite a bit of burn when applied right after shaving. For those who don’t know, SD-40 works as a disinfectant for post-shaving nicks, cut, and razor bumps.
Genuine Ogallala Bay Rum
Ogallala Genuine Bay Rum Aftershave is a naturally pure product, formulated with a healthy dose of witch hazel to soothe and moisturize your skin, and Bay Rum oil for a slightly spicy fragrance that is staying but not overpowering.
This is a much more potent bay rum than Clubman’s filling your nostrils with cinnamon and clove oil, ginger, lemon, sage, rosemary, wintergreen along with witch hazel extract, all of which are very natural rather than synthetic.
Unlike Pinaud’s Bay Rum this comes in a genuine glass bottlewhich is much more satisfying than plastic, especially when used after a traditional wet shave with a safety razor or straight razor.
St Johns Bay Rum Aftershave Lotion
St Johns Bay Rum¨ is known to experts throughout the world as one of the best bay rum aftershaves. Hand crafted for 70 years in small batches in St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands, this blend of West Indian Bay Leaf Oils, and Caribbean fragrances creates a mesmerizing scent of eucalyptus, cloves and spices delivered in a beautiful hand woven palm leaf bottle.
St John’s bay rum is definitely a premium option for the price and some fans say it’s too much cloves and cinnamon rather than pure bay rum, but this is certainly a bold take on making classic bay rum more of a designer fragrance.
Gabels Bay Rum After Shave
Cheap and cheerful in a retro bottle is Gabels with one of the best bay rum aftershaves out there. Gabel’s cosmetics has been going since 1932 and we don’t think this classic formula has changed since.
The dominant scent of Gabels is clove and you may need quite a heavy splash. That’s no issue though thanks to its great price, plus its also available in a huge bulk bottle.
Gilbert Henry Bay Rum Balm
Gilbert Henry offers an incredible innovation in the field of aftershave balms. Many people today prefer aftershave balm to aftershave splash because of their soothing moisturizing and anti-ageing properties, unlike alcohol-based splashes which dehydrate and sting the skin.
Unfortunately most aftershave balms are made in fresh sporty fragrances rather than more old-school traditional barbershop fragrances. As such it is rare to find a bay rum afershave balm – that is until Gilbert Henry came along.
The latest in natural skincare eliminates razor burn and redness thanks to aloe juice, coconut oil and vegetable glycerine that moisturize your skin while witch hazel, black willowbank extract and neem oil heal and protect it.
The scent is spicy yet smooth with portuguese sweet orange and sandalwood complementing the bay leaf. As an aftershave balm this is absorbed into the skin for longer lasting fragrance. You could also layer this with an aftershave splash on top for more of a cologne-level of scent.
Taylor of Old Bond Street Bay Rum Aftershave
We’re already big fans of Taylor of Old Bond Street’s sandalwood shaving soap. But their range of aftershave matches the rest of their products as a best-kept shaving secret. Taylor of Old Bond Street offer high quality shaving products from the heart of London’s Mayfair for very reasonable prices.
The bay rum certainly matches this ethos of excellent quality and great value with a mild but warming scent.
Captain’s Choice Bay Rum
Scott Brennecke was frustrated at the lack of quality bay rum available in 2011. He spent four frustrating months trying to perfect his bay rum and ended up with one of the best bay rum aftershave options on the market.
The scent of Captain’s Choice is not overpowering, but it is well-rounded. Unlike other bay rums, it isn’t overpowered by the addition of cloves.
The rich, spicy aroma mellows out over time but stays present with a citrus twist. It’s much gentler on the skin than most bay rum aftershaves and the witch hazel counters the alcohol burn nicely.
There is no chemical smell like some other bay rums out there despite its reasonable price. You must also try Captain’s Choice Cat O’Nine Tails for an extra kick.
D R Harris Bay Rum Aftershave
D. R. Harris Bay Rum Aftershave is an aftershave lotion made from piquant, aromatic oils with the true fragrance of Bay Oil.
D.R. Harris & Co. is one of London’s oldest pharmacies and have been producing their high quality skincare products by traditional methods for over 200 years.
This premium brand offers an exceptional take on the classic scent.
What Makes a Good Bay Rum?
Because bay rum is so simple it is pretty difficult to get wrong. However, some features clearly stand some versions out above the rest.
Bay rum is plain and simple. You shouldn’t have to pay over the odds for it. While this is true of most aftershaves, even a designer bay rum is unlikely to stand head and shoulders above a drugstore version. Most bay rums are just plain aftershave that fades after a few hours so you don’t want to pay cologne prices.
Bay Rum Scent
Some bay rum aftershaves smell chemically or just plain oilly. You want a bay rum aftershave that smells so natural and fresh you could drink it straight from the bottle – but definitely don’t do that.
You also want a scent with some longevity without being overpowering. The worst aftershave is one that knocks out your colleagues when you arrive at work but has nothing left for your date in the evening. You want something that’s smooth and mellow throughout the day.
Bay rum aftershave is nice and simple. Like a vintage safety razor, it’s a classic that doesn’t need much further improvement. One way to dress it up a bit is a nice bottle. If you have just enjoyed a morning shave with a safety razor and the best shaving soap with a hot towel then you don’t want to be reduced to some plastic bottle. You want a nice piece of glass that leaves you feeling like a bewhiskered Victorian gentleman or 17th Century sailor.