Bay Rum Oil holds a special place in the pantheon of traditional men's scents. Originating in the West Indies, Bay Rum Oil, which is derived from soaking bay leaves in rum, soon became a favorite of early 16th century sailors looking to cover up foul sea stenches. Later it became a favorite of 19th century cowboys who needed charm just as much as a straight shoot in order to make it out on the trail. From the 20th century on, it has been a staple ingredient in aftershaves, as it was discovered that Bay Rum Oil was effective in fighting acne and soothed irritated skin. Since then, it's an ingredient that has rarely gone out of style.
The scent is clean, sweet, woody with just a touch of spice and can be found in a new, all-natural, dual face and shave soap from an Ohio based men's grooming company called Cliff Original. Based on the philosophy of making classic products that ditch old-school chemicals for naturally occurring ingredients, the soap is made in a base of organic coconut, olive, palm and food grade soybean oil that together create an incredibly moisturizing lather for shaving. Colloidal oatmeal and clay are natural cleansing agents known for not drying out the skin and essential oil of bay rum keeps the skin free of bumps and burns. [$10 for 4 oz; clifforiginal.com]