Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum - Beauty Addict

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

You know those strange, somewhat off-kilter scents that manage to grab hold of you and never let go? You find yourself obsessed with them no matter how hard you try to get away. Gasoline is a common one. For me, it's bay rum -- a stodgy old men's cologne smell that I never thought I'd love.

When I worked at a fragrance counter in my high school days, this one man used to come in every so often and purchase our entire stock of this obscure brand of bay rum cologne. He'd be in every few months to get it, and every time I had to reach for it on the shelf, I cringed. I hated this stuff -- thought it smelled positively awful. But he'd always rave about how his students loved the way he smelled (he was a high school teacher, I think, or a professor), so in time I became curious about the appeal of this mysterious Bay Rum.

After several furtive sniffs of the tester bottle, I started to become obsessed with it. It just grew on me. Then I found myself actually putting it on during my shifts at the counter. It was weird, but intriguing: a blend of bay leaves, orange, and spice (usually cinnamon and clove). The bay leaf gave it this herbal quality that was clean and sharp, a little jarring, but the spices underneath were warm. Eventually, Bay Rum won me over.

These days I get my bay rum fix from a most excellent men's hair and body wash available from CO Bigelow. I use it as a shower gel, and just can't get enough of it. So, in case any of you are curious, or happen to share my bizarre obsession, here's a roundup of some Bay Rum goodies available at a variety of price points:

Royall Bay Rhum ($29). This is the exact one that the eccentric teacher used to buy! You can snag it at FragranceX at a pretty good discount.

Michelsen's Bay Rum Cologne ($28). Tres old school. Available from Caswell-Massey, which also stocks St. Thomas Bay Rum Cologne.

Burt's Bees Bay Rum Bar Soap ($14). Burt's markets lots of other Bay Rum scented goodies as well, including cologne, shaving soap, and aftershave.

Orvis Dominica Bay Rum Aftershave ($15). I love the packaging of this one! And who cares that it's aftershave? Not just for men, you know. Use it on your legs! (Or, um, you could actually buy it for a guy, that works, too.)

Bigelow Bay Rum Hair and Body Wash ($12). My personal favorite these days. Clean but spicy, masculine but not too much. Makes for a lovely morning shower!