My Top 5 Picks For The Best Bay Rum Aftershave

Men in 1800s and early 1900s couldn’t imagine their daily shaving routine without bay rum aftershave. I have seen my dad obsessing over this when I was a child. I used to even apply a little bit of this lotion when my face when I was only 10 or 12 years old. I know it sounds crazy but I couldn’t wait till my beard grew. The spicy, sensuous fragrance of bay rum was just too irresistible.

Finally, my dad gifted me my first bottle of when I turned 18. Oh! What a sense of pride I felt at that moment. Since then, I have used uncountable brands of bay rum over the years. Some great, some okay and some were plain bad.

If you too are looking for recommendations on the best bay rum aftershave for that perfect finishing touch, you have come to the right place.

Table Of Contents

Best Bay Rum Aftershave Comparison Table

Top 5 Bay Rum Aftershave Reviews

Clubman Pinaud Virgin Island

Clubman Pinaud Virgin Island

Clubman Pinaud bay rum smells like golden era’s nostalgia. The uber-masculine perfume with strong hints of bay leaves, cloves, and cinnamon are making women weak on their knees since 1880. Now that’s a pretty long time!

About the fragrance profile, the first thing that hits you right after applying the lotion is a heavenly note of clove and cinnamon. You can smell the bay leaves only after the solution dries out on your skin.

Before you go all crazy about it, here’s one thing you should know. Unlike traditional bay rum aftershaves, it has no 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.

Upon checking the label, you may find the names of a few synthetic chemical substances. I just want you to know that most of these substances are derived from essential oils.

Most people who complain about severe skin burning or redness are probably using a lot of it. You are supposed to only use a splash of it on your face and body. So it’s not right to entirely blame it on the product.

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My Impression

The signature Clubman musk has a softer fragrance than most other well-known bay rum aftershave brands. It’s hard to describe how the fragrance exactly is in words. While the presence of clove, cinnamon, and bay leaves are obvious, I can also smell a sweet hint of vanilla and nutmeg in it.

The bottom line is, it smells absolutely sensational. The only sad part is that it doesn’t last too long. You can expect it to linger on for maximum 4-5 hours.

If you want an all-purpose bay rum essence, sadly, this is not the product you are looking for. Treat it only like an aftershave, it is not a men’s cologne. Since I am a safety-razor user, minor cuts are common for me. The aftershave contains the right amount of disinfectant alcohol to soothe the nicks, cuts and razor burns on my skin.

Yes, it does burn a lot in the beginning but you get used to it after a few minutes. Another great thing about this bay rum aftershave is that you can use it as a body splash as well. Just put a few drops on your chest and underarm before going to the office, a party or a date and you’re all set!

Important Concern

If your skin is severely allergic to synthetic fragrant or coloring substances, I’d advise you to consult a dermatologist before using it. You can also do a patch test on your skin if that’s convenient. Another glitch in the product is the lack of potency in the fragrance. While it definitely smells nice, I wish it could have been a little stronger and longer-lasting.

Genuine Ogallala Bay Rum Regular

8 oz Genuine Ogallala Bay Rum

The classic Ogallala bay rum has quite a strong smell, unlike Clubman Pinaud. In fact, it has the strongest fragrance profile out of all the products featured on my list. The smell is just as potent, soothing and long-lasting as that of a regular men’s cologne. And the most incredible part is that the scent keeps getting stronger with time, instead of fading away.

The first things that hit your nose after opening the bottle are notes of cinnamon, citrus, and clove. The ingredients smell very fresh and natural, not synthetic at all. Probably that’s what makes Ogallala stand out. This spicy, zingy bay rum blend is made from all natural ingredients.

It includes purified water, bay rum essential oil, cinnamon and clove oil, ginger, lemon, sage, rosemary, wintergreen along with witch hazel extract. While all these essential oils are responsible for its complex fragrance profile, the Witch hazel gives this aftershave its distinct consistency.

It is also known for skin nourishing properties. It has a very low alcohol content. That’s why it doesn’t burn or sting on rough spots like other bay rum aftershaves. It rather has a warming sensation.

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My Impression

If not anything else, I’d buy this bay rum essence over and over again just for that beautiful vintage glass bottle. If you are a vintage artifact collector, you should definitely check this out.

Coming to the most important part, how does it feel after applying the aftershave? Refreshing! You will absolutely love the warming sensation of it. I won’t say it doesn’t burn at all. But hey! It’s a bay rum aftershave, not a baby lotion, right?

If you have dry skin, applying a few drops of it will leave your skin soft and smooth. Since the blend is entirely made of essential oils, even folks with slightly sensitive skin can use it without worrying about rashes or razor bumps. All in all, it’s a great product to finish off your shave with, especially if you are using a safety or straight razor.

The fragrance is much different from that of Clubman Pinaud. I would rather say it smells quite different from any other bay rum aftershave I have tried in my whole life.

The notes of clove are too strong in the “regular” version, so if you are not a big fan of clove, you can try other variants of it such as Sage & Cedar, Rum & Sandalwood, and Lime & Peppercorn. There is also a double-strength “Special Reserve” version which has the deepest fragrance profile among all the 6 variants available.

Important Concern

Although I absolutely adore the glass bottle, I hate that fact that the bottle has no dabber on top of it. It is very easy to overpour the blend if you are not careful enough.

GABELS Bay Rum After Shave Lotion


GABELS bay rum aftershave has that vintage 1800’s barbershop aroma we all love. You will find a few bottles of this stacked up in a barber’s shop even today. It is one of those very few bay rum brands that has maintained the quality of their product in all these years.

The signature scent of GABELS comes from laurel oil. Apart from this, it also includes bay oil, Sucrose Octacetate, SD-40 alcohol, and food coloring. There’s a noticeable hint of clove in it but it is not overpowering at all. The aroma is ideal for men who prefer classic cologne/aftershave smell over the fragrance of modern deodorants.

I haven’t found any objectionable ingredient on the label. Due to the alcohol content, it does burn. However, the burn is not painful. It is rather very refreshing on your skin.

The balance of all the ingredients in the blend is on-point. Once applied immediately after wet shaving, it soothes, tones and tightens your skin. It also closes the pores to minimize skin irritation caused by razors.

My Impression

Those who like masculine, mild aroma that lingers onto the body instead of an overpowering smell would love this bay rum. Although the scent is not too bold, it will stay with you for a solid 7-8 hours. What’s even better, you can re-apply it a few times if you want. It won’t irritate your skin.

Although it comes in a cheap-looking glass bottle, I don’t mind it much. I can just toss it in my bathroom cabinet right after using, without worrying about breaking the bottle.

The bay rum solution feels nice and soothing on the face after a clean cut shave. The burn awakens your skin instead of hurting it. I just need you to remember that it is not a cologne.

It is an original bay rum mix which should be ideally used only after shaving. The rubbing alcohol content in it disinfects your skin and heals minor nicks and cuts. You can also use it as a body splash on your underarms and chest before dressing up.

Important Concern

As the smell is very light, you might have to use a sizeable amount to achieve a bold, long-lasting smell. The good thing is that the aftershave is not expensive at all. So you won’t have to break the bank to smell like a classy, handsome hunk.

Gilbert Henry Bay Rum Aftershave Balm for Professionals

Gilbert Henry Bay Rum Aftershave Balm for Professionals

Those who don’t like aftershave balms due to its greasiness will find this one an exception. Gilbert bay rum balm is my all time favorite for a lot of reasons. But what truly makes it great is the fact that it is completely natural and organic. If you have extremely sensitive skin or you simply hate the feeling of nasty chemicals on your face, this one is worth checking out.

The balm/lotion has an aloe vera base which results in a cooling effect on your skin. It feels very soothing and comfortable on rough spots after a close shave with a sharp razor. It also contains premium quality essential oils which keep your skin toned and hydrated.

Coming to the aroma profile, it has a bold scent of clove with highlights of vanilla. Although most men will find it very refreshing, those who can’t stand the smell of clove might not like it.

The aloe and sandalwood base of the balm gets easily absorbed by the skin. It doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the face, therefore, it is ideal for the coldest and driest months of the year.

One more thing people are curious about is the alcohol content in it. Technically, it is not alcohol-free. But the solution itself doesn’t contain alcohol like regular bay rum aftershaves.

According to the manufacturer, the plant extracts used in the lotion are made using alcohol. Now, traditionally, bay rum aftershave has to contain rum or any other form of alcohol. If you want an alcohol-free bay rum aftershave (which is not possible at all), this is the closest thing you can get.

It also contains neem oil which possesses great antibacterial and anti-microbial benefits. There’s witch hazel extract along with a few other skin-nourishing ingredients to counter post-shave skin irritation. This is especially ideal for razor burns caused by cut-throat and double edge razors.

My Impression

This aftershave is free of paraben and all the other caustic chemicals found in regular bay rum aftershaves. It is completely natural and has excellent skin-soothing properties. The base of the balm is made from aloe and sandalwood. That’s why it gets absorbed easily and doesn’t leave behind a sticky film on your skin.

It is also loaded to glycerin and coconut oil. So if you are tired of using regular bay rum that dries out the skin after a few minutes, this could be a great alternative. You can use it in dry weather to keep your skin soft and moisturized.

Since the alcohol content in it is negligible, it doesn’t sting like heavy alcohol-based bay rum. It goes easy on the razor rashes and inflammation, releasing you a soothing effect on the skin immediately after applying. If you hate the burn of classic bay rum but want to smell like a hunk, this is the product to root for.

The scent of the balm is dominated by clove oil. Once the solution settles a bit on your skin, your nose will be hit by a faint aroma of sandalwood and citrus. It smells like a classic, old-fashioned bay rum aftershave our fathers and grandfathers loved with all their heart.

Important Concern

The only minor flaw in this product is that the scent fades after 2-3 hours. If you want a bolder aroma that lingers on for half a day, you might be a little disappointed.

Captain’s Choice Cat O’ Nine Tails Bay Rum

Captain's Choice Cat O' Nine Tails Bay Rum

Choosing the best bay rum aftershave is not just about finding a product that smells like. Real bay rum lovers want that stinging burn of alcohol too. Without it, it’s just a regular aftershave, not bay rum.

Captain’s Choice understands and values the demands of their loyal fan base. Their bay rum blend is absolute perfection from every possible angle. First of all, the fragrance profile. It is not too heavy on clove which is actually a great thing. The smell is pleasant, mild, brisk and masculine. It does fade in a few hours but that’s what most bay rum aftershaves do, anyway.

The ingredient list of Captain’s Choice is fairly simple and straightforward. The blend is formulated with rum, grain alcohol, glycerin, witch hazel extract and a couple of essential oils.

While the alcohol causes a pleasant burning sensation on the freshly shaven area, the glycerin and witch hazel keep your skin soft and healthy by locking the moisture. If you are worrying that high alcohol content will dry out your skin too much, you have nothing to fear.

My Impression

This is one of the most authentic bay rum aftershaves available in the market right now. Authentic in terms of both fragrance and feeling. Once you splash a bit of this blend on your skin after a clean shave, it feels fantastic!

The first few seconds feel like a normal alcohol burn. But after that, you will feel an intense warming sensation kicking in. Imagine sitting by a cozy fire on the coldest night of the year, the aftershave feels exactly like that against your skin after 30 seconds of application.

Talking about the fragrance, it smells exactly like the old-fashioned, glass-bottled aftershave splashes my father used. Most modern blends smell nothing like the original bay rum. Captain’s Choice is pure nostalgia captured in a bottle. The scent is woodsy, citrusy with a light touch of clove. I’d say that the aroma closely resembles the scent of men’s cologne.

Important Concern

It’s genuinely hard to pick a flaw in this product. I love every bit of it. However, those who have extremely sensitive skin will find the alcohol burn overbearing. Definitely not for the faint-hearted. In fact, the bottle of the product itself says “FEEL THE BURN”. You have been warned, my friend!

What Characteristic You’ll Look When Buying a Best Bay Rum Aftershave?

The original blend of bay rum aftershave used to contain West India bay leaf extract. The characteristic heavenly scent of bay rum comes from this particular type of bay leaves. Now the problem is, most modern companies use synthetic chemicals to mimic the fragrance profile of the classic, old version.

Another key ingredient is rum, to be more specific, Jamaican rum. Again, most brands have replaced it with grain alcohol or SD-40 alcohol. Other ingredients traditionally added in the formula have also been swapped with chemicals.

I am telling you all these just to make you realize how hard it can be to find a product that’s close to “authentic”, if not completely authentic.

So here are a few things to look out for while choosing a bay rum aftershave:

  • Read the Ingredient List

The first things to look for on the label are rum and bay leaf oil/extract. If the manufacturer mentions that the bay leaves are grown in the Caribbean or Virgin Islands, then you are looking at a quality product.

Also, check out the names and percentages of chemicals used in it. See, most products contain some traces of chemicals. As long as there is a proper balance between chemical and natural ingredients, you should be okay with it.

  • Natural vs Chemical Ingredients

While it’s okay to have mild chemicals in the formula, I’d say you stay away from all the chemicals and go all natural if you have a severely irritation-prone skin. With a little extra effort, you can definitely get your hands on bay rum blend made only from essential oils, plant extracts, purified water, and alcohol. No added parabens or any other aggressive chemical.

  • Skin Type

If your jawline, cheeks, and neck are full of blackheads, whiteheads or blemishes, you have oily skin. In that case, it’s completely okay to opt for a heavy alcohol-based product. It helps to dry out greasy skin.

On the other hand, if your target shaving area is dry and flaky, the alcohol percentage should be very low.

  • Seal the Moisture

It’s also important for the formula to have moisturizing ingredients like witch hazel extract, aloe vera, glycerine and Vit-C in it. Moisturizing agents are vital, even if you don’t have dry skin. The thing is, rum, SD-40, and grain alcohol will numb and dry your skin. To counter the aggressive effects of alcohol, your skin needs the skin soothing moisturizers listed above.

  • The Fragrance

The authentic blend either smells spicy or woodsy. Some are also characterized by a strong earthy aroma.

There are two types of bay rum aftershave fragrances in terms of intensity- one that hits your nose like a storm on a hot summer day. Two, a soft, pleasant smell that lingers on for hours.

The original bay rum aroma is type 1. When you splash it on your face, your neighbors will know.

However, the effect will fade too quickly. On the other hand, the more modern, trendier musks are not overpowering and suitable for those who love a mild, perfume-like smell.

  • The Brand and Budget

Reputed brands like the ones featured in this list will always make sure to use quality ingredients. They have a reputation to maintain and they will do everything to ensure that their regular customers keep coming back to them.

Better quality ingredients and advance making process means the final product will be expensive. Good things never come cheap; you just have to deal with this fact.

However, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to shell out hundreds of dollars on an aftershave. If you are choosing a budget product, it’s totally fine. Just make sure it doesn’t contain tons of harsh chemicals and high amount of cheap quality alcohol.

Bay Rum Aftershave vs Regular Aftershave- What’s the Difference?

While both kinds of aftershaves serve the same purpose, there are a few striking differences you should know.

Let’s start with the ingredients first. Regular aftershave products are either water or alcohol based. In most cases, manufacturers use rubbing alcohol in it.

The core ingredients of a genuine bay rum spice blend are West Indian bay leaf oil and rum. Both these components leave a pleasant burning sting on your skin after shaving. The intense burn fades away in seconds and gets replaced with soothing heat.

The next most noticeable difference is the aroma. I’ve already described the fragrance profile of bay rum aftershave throughout the whole article. It’s complex with highlights of clove, cinnamon, and citrus. Depending on the additional ingredients in the formula, it can also have a dominant woodsy or earthy scent.

Regular aftershaves are generally full of synthetic fragrances that last for hours. That’s why it doesn’t have the natural, brisk aroma of bay rum aftershaves.

Summing up

You know what your skin wants more than anyone else. So choose a blend that not only smells like heaven but feels like heaven too on your skin. I prefer bay rum over regular aftershaves because the former brings back fond memories of my childhood and teenage.

Add to this, its disinfectant and healing properties work like a charm on my skin. It gives a perfect kickstart to my morning. I have narrowed down the choices to only 5 from the countless options available in the market. I sincerely hope you find the right bay rum lotion for your needs after reading my reviews.

If you are still confused, I have a detailed buying guideline for you to help you find a great product on your own.

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