Perfume

History of Bay Rum Aftershave & Cologne

With over 180 years of history, Bay Rum has gone through some interesting triumphs and experiences. From serving as a grooming necessity for sailors to being in the backdrop of World War II, what we know of today as Bay Rum has come quite a long way. And for the past 70 years, St Johns Fragrance Company has trekked through the trenches to maintain authentic, luxurious Bay Rum aftershave, cologne, and other products for men that stay true to our original formulation. But where did it all begin, you ask? Let’s take a look.

1838: The Bay Rum Beginning

Our journey into Bay Rum cologne and other handcrafted fine fragrances began a worldly 70 years ago, but the beginnings of Bay Rum date back long before then. In fact, it started back in 1838, an incredible 180-plus years ago to date, with the random discovery of bay leaves and, eventually, the invention of Bay Rum.

The Beginning of Bathing

With over 175 years passing by, it can be difficult to imagine a world where people didn’t shower every day, brush their teeth, shave their facial hair or maintain what we now know of today as daily hygiene. Today, people shower every day and rarely smell “bad” due to the regular hygiene practices we all indulge in. However, times were different back then; water was a luxury and it wasn’t readily available to people at any given moment. While bathtubs and bathing were widely accepted throughout the 1800s, it wasn’t under the mid-1900’s that showers became widespread.

The Evolution of Bathing

With almost two hundred years passing by, it can be difficult to imagine a world where people didn’t shower every day, brush their teeth, shave their facial hair or maintain what we know of today as daily hygiene. Today, most people shower daily and rarely smell “bad” due to the regular hygiene practices we all indulge in. However, times were different back then — not only was there no Bay Rum, but water was a luxury, and it wasn’t readily available to people at any given moment. While bathtubs and bathing were widely accepted throughout the 1800s, it wasn’t until the mid-1900s that showers became widespread.

Stinky Sailors Created a Natural Deodorant

The time before bathing mechanisms became mainstream was, unsurprisingly, a fairly stinky time. Men were shipping off to sail the seas for months at a time, and it didn’t take long for the aroma on the vessels to become putrescent. That is until one innovative sailor began to use the leaves of bay trees found in the West Indies on his skin to help combat the stench that accumulated on his body while sailing. To his surprise, using the bay leaves as natural deodorant began to catch on for early sailors.

Sailors Discovered Bay Rum and Crafted Cologne

With the sailors’ newfound bay leaf scents combating the horrible aroma that came with being out on the sea for months at a time, they were inspired to make some advancements to their natural deodorant. This was when they discovered that their beloved at-sea beverage (rum) could extract the oils from the bay leaves more efficiently than rubbing the leaves on their skin. Just as you can imagine, the rum added a new element to the bay leaves’ aroma, and the Bay Rum scent was born. The sailors loved it so much that they began to steep the bay leaves in rum before using the liquid, turning their natural deodorant into men’s cologne — the original Bay Rum cologne.

What Is Bay Rum Like Today?

Today, alcohol is still used to remove the oils from the bay leaves before being distilled down into an essential oil. At St Johns Fragrance Company, we also add extra ingredients to all of our Bay Rum products to ensure a superior experience that goes far beyond adding a scent to your skin. For instance, one of the main ingredients in our line of exotic bath and body soaps for men is olive oil — the perfect ingredient for a natural, non-allergenic soap that cleanses away dirt without stripping away the skin’s natural oils. We also add in highly moisturizing glycerine and Vitamin E to provide you with natural healing properties that will leave your skin feeling as great as it looks.

What Is the Bay Rum Scent?

The Bay Rum scent is a light aroma of exotic Caribbean spices, Jamaican rum and West Indies bay leaf. It is distinctly sweet and spicy with notes of wood, though it is never overpowering. St Johns’ Bay Rum scent is uniquely masculine and strong, without overwhelming the senses — certain to turn heads and demand the respect that you deserve.

Why Use Bay Rum Aftershave and Cologne?

While Bay Rum might have a history that spans back almost 200 years, it’s not just for old-timey sailors. The Bay Rum scent never goes out of style, offering a timeless manliness that’s unlike any other fragrance. Using Bay Rum cologne and aftershave supports your distinct aura, connecting you with its rich history as you sail into the future.

Discover the Best Bay Rum Products at St Johns

When you combine all these benefits, you get premium Bay Rum aftershave, cologne, soy candles, and soap that will leave you lightly scented with the aromas of exotic Caribbean spices. At St Johns, you’ll find the best Bay Rum products anywhere, and you don’t even have to sail the Seven Seas. If you’re ready to experience the uniquely classy Bay Rum scent for yourself, browse our selection today and contact us if you have any questions.


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