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What Is Bay Rum Cologne? Plus 6 of Our Top Picks

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What is The Best Bay Rum Cologne?

Fragrances for men are driven by trends in fashion and society. What's hot one year will be considered passe the next. There are exceptions, though.

Bay rum fragrances have been a men's grooming mainstay for centuries. Why? Because nothing smells sexier on a man than this classic scent. Read on to learn what bay rum cologne is plus six of our top picks.

Bay leaves bay rum

Bay leaves are a staple of Italian cuisine. But most people don't know that they are a prized ingredient in the fragrance industry. Pimenta racemosa is the Latin name for the West Indian bay tree, and both the leaves and the berries are used to create the classic fragrance.

Other mainstays of a bay rum fragrance include citrus notes like bergamot and lime. They often add cloves and cinnamon to give the cologne more depth and warmth.


Clubman Pinaud

Keynotes: Citrus, Spices, Oakmoss, Herbs,

Wear it if you want: An inexpensive classic that punches far above its price. In the early 19th century, a famous French perfumer named Edouard Pinaud created his first grooming products for men, including Clubman Pinaud.

It has since become a staple of barbershops around the world. Generations of fathers and sons loved this fragrance thanks to its clean and masculine scent. Despite its extremely low price, you will be complimented on this fragrance.

St John's Bay Rum Cologne

St. John's Bay Rum Cologne

Keynotes: Eucalyptus, Musk, Cloves, Bay Leaf, Cinnamon

Wear it if you want: A masculine fragrance with an explosion of warm notes. St. John's Bay Rum Cologne was created more than 70 years ago and is instantly identifiable.

Musk, cinnamon, and clove essential oils comprise the base notes, while eucalyptus and bay leaf give this cologne its signature top notes. They make it by hand in small batches, and it is packaged in a unique, woven bottle. While it's not our favorite, it definitely deserves a spot on this list.


C.O. Bigelow No. 032 Bay Rum Cologne

Keynotes: Citrus, Bay Leaf, Spices

Wear it if you want: A spicy cologne with an oriental scent. No. 032 Bay Rum Cologne. This fragrance has been popular since it first launched in 1907. It has the crispness of bay leaves coupled with a smoky tobacco scent. The fragrance is quite strong when first applied.

But like other colognes, it doesn't use a heavy concentration of essential oils, so the heavy base notes dissipate rapidly.

In their wake you are left with a subtle masculine fragrance that is sure to garnish you compliments. In one bay rum cologne review, the buyer noted that the fragrance vanished after ten minutes. If you enjoy a potent scent that lasts a long time, you might not enjoy this one.


Bentley Intense By Bentley

Keynotes: Bergamot, Black Pepper, Bay Leaf, Rum, Clary Sage, Geranium, Leather, Benzoin, Incense, Patchouli, Cedar

Wear it if you want: A complex and fragrance, Bentley for Men Intense is a modern take on a timeless classic. Unlike the prior fragrances above, they launched it in the 21st century. Distinctly masculine and earthy, this is an Eau de Parfum, which has a higher concentration of essential oils.

This means the fragrance will last much longer. The top notes are spicy and floral, but as the day wears on the base notes of patchouli and cedar remain. This is a sexy fragrance, and more sophisticated. A definite winner in the bay rum cologne category.


Havana By Aramis

Keynotes: Mandarin Orange, Caraway, Basil, Carnation, Fir, Patchouli, Vetiver, Cinnamon, Tobacco, Artemisia

Wear it if you want: A spicy oriental fragrance with moderate staying power. Havana is a little known fragrance by Aramis that deserves more recognition. It's not often you find a floral fragrance for men that dries down to such superb base notes.

Vetiver and cinnamon is a potent combination of essential oils that makes this a masculine classic. Combined together they create a smoky scent that screams sex appeal. Aramis launched it in 1994. At the same time, unisex floral scents became all the rage. If it had been released just a few years earlier, it would've been far more popular.


Royall Bay Rhum 57 By Royall Fragrances

Keynotes: Mint, Bay Leaf, Spices, Grasses

Wear it if you want: A crisp and light scent that smells like fresh-cut grass. The mint essential oils give it a slight cooling sensation when applied, making it a perfect summer fragrance. Earthy base notes like patchouli and cinnamon are lovely, but can often be overpowering in the hot summer months. Royall Bay Rhum 57 is a wonderful alternative, letting you smell fresh, clean, and yes, sexy. The perfect beach cologne if you dislike the intensity of coconut-based scents.

What is Bay Rum Cologne?

Bay Rum fragrances originated on the island of St. Thomas hundreds of years ago. Sailors loved it, and soon the rest of the world fell in love with it too. It was originally a simple distillate of bay leaves and berries, rum, and citrus oils. New York was the first modern city to popularize it, and then Europe. Fun fact: During prohibition, people would buy bay rum aftershaves from the drugstore and drink it. Considering it was 58% alcohol, this was probably a toxic way to catch a buzz.

Bay Rum Cologne Recipe

This fragrance is easy to make at home provided you have the time and the materials. If you are feeling crafty, give it a whirl!

Lime bay rum

The Ingredients

  • 4 Ounces Vodka or Witch Hazel
  • 2 Tablespoons Rum
  • 3 Dried Bay Leaves
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 10 drops of Lime, Orange, Bergamot, or Other Citrus Essential Oil

Fill a mason jar with all the above ingredients. Be sure to break the cinnamon stick into smaller pieces first. Put the container in a dark place for two weeks. Strain the contents of the jar using disposable coffee filters several times. Place the bay rum mixture in the bottle of your choice.

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Bay Rum Cologne Review

David Schwartz

Born and raised in Austin, David is a dedicated writer and avid fragrance lover. When he's not trying out perfumes, he enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants.