9/22/18

A Tale of Two Bay Rums

Guess which one sucks.

I recently bought a bottle of Lucky Tiger Bay Rum, and tried it out. I can safely say that Lucky Tiger is currently being run by those useless Millennials I mentioned a few months ago in my Old Spice post. How do I know this, you might ask? Because Lucky Tiger Bay Rum smells absolutely nothing like bay rum. It smells crisp, and powdery, and "fresh," but has no discernible notes of bay or rum in its formula. It's basically a generic aftershave with a hint of powder in the drydown, and some vague green floral note that I can't make out.

This prompted me to sigh in frustration, and pull out my bottle of Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum, which I consider a "reference bay rum" of sorts, due to the clarity of its notes, which are rendered in a traditional fashion. VIBR also has the advantage of about an hour of longevity on a temperate day (a bit more or less depending on the season), so it's a perfect measuring stick for other bay rums. I compared it to Lucky Tiger, and it's night and day. Where LT smells watery and only the slightest bit piquant, VIBR is bursting with cinnamon, clove, sweet rum, and heady bay notes.

Perhaps the most offensive thing about Lucky Tiger's aftershave is its pedigree; the brand dates back almost a hundred years, and its bay rum is supposed to be a robust throwback to the 1950s, when this particular style enjoyed a Rennaissance. Instead it smells like a 30 yr-old doof had no clue what bay rum is, and created a brief sometime in the 2000s that was equal parts puzzling and easy to fill. It smells like someone mixed a few drops of "green" with a few drops of "powder," and called it a day. It's like they bottled the smell of laziness.

For your own reference, consider VIBR a "can't go wrong" bay rum that can be had for less than $10, and which always works, regardless of the weather or circumstances. If you need something similar but much weaker, you can try Royall Bay Rum, or Lustray Bay Rum Compound, which literally lasts a minute before vanishing (your girlfriend might get a faint whiff when she comes in for a kiss, but otherwise forget it). If Lucky Tiger is on your radar, just know that it's not a bad smell, and it works fine as an aftershave, but it sure ain't no bay rum.


19 comments:

  1. Though my experience is so far limited to the iconic Clubman aftershave and the somewhat poorly named Classic Vanilla, I've never really been let down by a Pinaud product... They represent a kind of cheap charm and authenticity that is getting tougher to find (uncharming cheap things abound.) I'd like to try this. Just now, my only reference to bay rum is one put out by the J. Peterman Co. back in the 1990's, which, at that time, was produced in Dominica and quite nice (they had to switch producers and in any case I have not run into it since...) My one question though: what cologne, EDT or perfume does one wear a bay rum with, exactly, presuming one wears one at all? I feel like the whole bay rum ethos is clearly on the wetshaver side of the fence (& that many wetshavers *just* wear an aftershave, rather than going for the whole kit), so maybe I'm missing the point? Also: it's a lovely kitsch bottle, but do you recommend decanting the Pinaud Bay Rum into a glass bottle the way one does with the others?

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    1. John, the nice thing about Pinaud's Bay Rum is that it's strictly an "all-purpose lotion" and on no part of its label is it called an aftershave. So you can wear Pinaud's VIBR as your SOTD and it does last a good while, on me about 3 hours, 2 of them a skin scent but noticeable. Other brands that produce bay rums of sorts are Lauder with Havana, and Creed had its own bay rum about 20 yrs ago. I doubt you could find a bottle now, but anything's possible. Otherwise it is definitely a stand-alone scent with few contemporaries and very little to pair with it. I recommend wearing woody tobacco themed frags if you use it as an aftershave and need to match it with something. No need to decant the Pinaud bay rum into glass, it has a massive alcohol blast on top for about ten seconds anyway, and I doubt decanting it will change that, but once it settles, it smells clean.

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    2. The 12 oz. bottle of Clubman VIBR can be purchased on Atlantabarber.com (my go to site for all things Clubman) for $6.50. Just build up a $70 order for free shipping. https://atlantabarber.com/search.php?search_query=CLUBMAN&Search=

      If you want to try some real nice bay rums, try the Ogallala line. The Limes and Peppercorn is my favorite, and the shaving soaps are nice, too. This is a private site that carries their whole line: https://bayrum-aftershave.com/

      Master Bay Rum has a nice bay rum feel to it but isn't as strong as VIBR nor does it have the masochistic alcohol burn I desire after a shave (like VIBR does).

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    3. I imagine the alcohol bite is due to VIBR being a cologne more than an aftershave, but I could be wrong.

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    4. I have the entire Clubman line of post shave accoutrements (excluding the Lustray and the Jeris offerings except for Osage Rub which I have and love). VIBR is classified as an aftershave. The only colognes are Citrus Musk, Lime Sec and Special Reserve, which like Aqua Velva Musk and Jovan Musk, is classified as an aftershave/cologne.

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    5. I stand corrected! The terms "aftershave" and cologne" aren't on the Virgin Island Bay Rum bottle. Rather it's described as "an all purpose fragrance". You would think they would add some "oomph" to it and give it the the lasting power of at least their "Special Reserve".

      I wrote them a few years ago and asked why they didn't enter the field of eau de toilette concentrations with a few of their aftershaves. Original Clubman is certainly popular enough (although being so close in scent to Dana's Canoe, it might not be the right one to try it with). Clubman Vanilla (which is also the scent of their shaving soap and VIBR would be nice choices for an edt, as would their latest release, Brandy Spice.

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    6. Clubman smells better than Canoe imo, and I 100% support Pinaud releasing it and Classic Vanilla as EDTs, with one stipulation: can you guess what that stipulation is?

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    7. I'm going to guess that it's either:

      1) They must be in glass bottles or
      2) They issue it in splash and atomizer glass bottles?

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  2. Since Millennials seem to prefer scents that are bland, meek, candied or fresh, and linear- I wonder if the Lucky Tiger Bay Rum was tamed on purpose? A true Bay Rum would probably be too much for them with it's complexity. Then again if they's made it smell like a pumpkin spice caramel latte - they might've had a hit!
    Lucky Tiger's ads & labels look so ridiculously faux retro & hipsterified to the extreme we shouldn't surprised their scents stink.

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    1. Yeah and it wasn't cheap, it cost $17 on Amazon to get the 16 oz bottle of the stuff, which is insane. Lucky Tiger has two different lines, their legacy line, which comes in glass and has a different logo, and their "classics" line, which comes in plastic and includes the bay rum. Next time I'll look into their original Lucky Tiger aftershave, which I've read is much better.

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  3. Hi Bryan, I urge you to try Ogallala Bay Rum if you haven't already. This stuff is Bay Rum with muscles! I get 5hrs+ longevity from a good couple of post-shave splashes and it has a nice, natural and complex smell too. I'm not sure how easy it will be for you to get hold of it but they're based in Nebraska so they're much closer to you than they are me and I managed to get hold of a bottle without breaking the bank. Cheers!

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    1. I will try Ogallala Bay rum Derbyman, thanks for the reminder! It's an incredibly inexpensive high quality option in the world of bay rums, with a couple of varieties if I'm not mistaken, including a lime version, which I find compelling. I'll try to get to reviewing at least one of them before the end of the year.

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    2. I just mentioned Ogallala moment ago in my reply! My favorite is the Limes and Peppercorns. Derbyman, have you tried the double strength colognes and aftershaves? I was wondering if they had extra projection or longevity. Most shaving sites have some Ogallala in stock, but this site has the entire collection:
      https://bayrum-aftershave.com/

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  4. Have you ever tried making your own bay rum? It seems simple enough. It just takes a couple of months of waiting.

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    1. I've read about it, because it's supposedly pretty easy to do. However I question the wisdom of putting actual rum on your skin for long periods of time. Then again I can't really see why that would be a big problem.

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    2. I can't imagine it would be worse than the alcohol most other aftershaves use. I guess you could always bump an older thread on Badger and Blade and ask if the OP still uses his recipe

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    3. I keep meaning to mix the Bootlegger's Bay Rum as per the instructions on Badgerandblade (they have an extensive list of aftershave formulas using known brands). It's really just a combo of VIBR, Master Bay Rum and Superior 70 bay rum (a light bay rum scent with a heavy dose of alcohol).

      https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum/threads/bootleggers-bay-rum.316714/

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    4. Made a gallon or so myself a few years ago with real rum and fresh Bay leaves from a local market in the Carribean according to a formula I found on the internet Made my own label and handed the bottles out to friends and family on special occasions. Turned out great !

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    5. I may have to try it then, you guys really have me thinking about this!

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