Making Homemade Bay Rum

Discussion in 'Soapmaking & Lotions' started by HolyRollah, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord

    So I decided to take the DIY plunge again and make myself some homemade aftershave. I have made in the past several small batches of various skin lotions & creams, but I wanted to attempt something new and different. 'Bay Rum' is one of the staples of many shave dens, and I do enjoy some of the varieties I've sampled, so after some preliminary 'field study' and online research, I began the process.

    There are many variations in the recipes for Bay Rum—each with certain ingredients that yield a particular 'spice' or 'sweet' or 'herbal' fragrance. Since personal preference is key here, I opted for ingredients that I find enjoyable (citrusy/lime, spicey, but no clove).

    The ingredients for my first batch:

    Jamaican dark rum and the vodka provide the alcohol base. Both the witch hazel (with aloe) and glycerin are included to ease (mellow) the potential harshness of the alcohol and soothe the skin.

    Equal parts Rum to Witch hazel; a bit less of the Vodka. 16oz of liquid total.

    Cinnamon & fresh ginger root. I finely chopped the ginger before adding it. The cinnamon sticks are broken into pieces.

    Cracked Jamaican allspice berries and Tellicherry black peppercorns...

    Zest from fresh limes. One of my favorite commercially-made Bay Rums is the "Ogallala Bay Rum Lime & Peppercorn" so I am leaning in that direction for my 'scent.'
    Pictured here is about 30% of the total zest added.

    Into a 2 pint+ jar I added the alcohol (rum & vodka), and then began adding the dry ingredients...

    Once all the dry spices & zest has been added, I pour in the Witch Hazel...

    ...and a bit of the Glycerin.

    Lastly, comes the critical ingredients: the Essential Oils. I am using two oils— the traditional Bay (Pimenta Racemosa) used in Bay rum (not the California or Italian Bay) , and a touch of Rosemary.

    Concoction mixed & ready to be 'put up' for 4-6 weeks to allow the ingredients to blend. If I were using the actual Bay leaves in place of the oil, this lengthy step would be critical. In my case, I want all the spices and such to continue to permeate the liquid. Right now, the scent/aroma is fairly mild. I'll keep an eye on over the course of the next 4-6 weeks, give it a good shake, and see how it progresses.

    Cart-Before-The-Horse Dept
    I picked up some corked 8-ounce bottles that I thought were quite attractive. I believe the brand 'Hold Fast' Bay Rum uses an identical bottle. It's a nice convenient size. If the stuff turns out smelling like old gym socks, at least the containers will look nice...:D

    Needs an identity: So providing this stuff turns out as a nice post-shave balm, I wanted to give it a name and label. Make a gift, maybe? So I put on my thinking cap & tossed around a number of potential names ("Sailor's Sweat" "Old Fetor" "Bay of Pigs") plus a number of geographical names ("West Indies" "Outer Omaha", etc), and finally settled on something not quite as hokey. I liked 'Black River Bay Rum" as it seemed right to reflect the Jamaican angle, and adds a hint of mystery to the name. Anyways, its all for fun. If the stuff comes out smelling horrible, I'll change the label to "Black River Bug Repellent" or something more more appropriate. To be continued....

  2. CJames

    CJames Well-Known Member

    Very Cool!!! Eager to hear how it goes.
  3. Robust Rob

    Robust Rob Member

    Can't wait to hear how it turns out.
  4. Erik Redd

    Erik Redd Lizabeth, baby, I'm comin' to join ya.

    Neat project! Why the Vodka, instead of just rum?
  5. Weeper Warrior

    Weeper Warrior Well-Known Member

    Wow.......I bet that Vodka will burn!:angry021:

    HolyRollah likes this.
  6. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord

    You ask a very good question! It seems practically every recipe has a ration of both rum and vodka—some have more rum, some more vodka.
    Few, if any, have 100% rum—unless you use the 'old world' sailor recipe of simply rum & bay. Even a number of commercially-made BRs use both —here's the ingredient list from 'Hold Fast' BR, which closely resembles my recipe ingredients:
    Bay Leaf Oil, Rosemary Oil, Rum, Vodka, Lime Zest Ginger Root, Cinnamon, All Spice, Witch Hazel, Glycerin
    So there's some logical rational behind the inclusion. Perhaps to keep the high alcohol content (40%) without he overpowering 'rum' scent? That's doesnt really make sense, so I'm just groping for an explanation... I opted for a higher Rum to Vodka ratio (6 to 4) than most recipes.
    brit likes this.
  7. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord

    Here's hoping the witch hazel and glycerin will help temper any flare up....
    pvtbanks and Weeper Warrior like this.
  8. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    It is illegal to manufacture for resale aftershaves made with rum, vodka, etc.

    For personal use, not a problem.
    brit likes this.
  9. Weeper Warrior

    Weeper Warrior Well-Known Member

    Interesting.....I bet shipping it across state lines would break a few more laws too.
    brit likes this.
  10. battle.munky

    battle.munky Has the menthol.munky on his back!

    Be careful with the legalities Kevin.

    I'm watching this thread like a hawk though. If it turns out awesome, I'm so stealing your idea. I need another aftershave like I need another hole in my head, but I'll have one if this works. Way to take us through it.

  11. Erik Redd

    Erik Redd Lizabeth, baby, I'm comin' to join ya.

    Interesting, although their website does list rum and vodka as ingredients. I wonder how they get around that? Is it a US law or a state law that prohibits it?

    Hold Fast Bay Rum Aftershave is made the old fashioned way, with natural ingredients. Bring smell and feel of a time when the barbershop was a place to come of age and commiserate. Created by 16th century sailors of the Caribbean, Bay Rum aftershave brings you that feeling from another era. The great smell of bay leaf and smooth feeling skin. Ingredients: Bay Leaf Oil, Rosemary Oil, Rum, Vodka, Lime Zest Ginger Root, Cinnamon, All Spice, Witch Hazel, Glycerin
  12. Erik Redd

    Erik Redd Lizabeth, baby, I'm comin' to join ya.

    battle.munky likes this.
  13. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord

    Yeah, well before I get the production department and distribution network up n' running, I'll be meeting with my team of corporate lawyers to determine the proper and legal channels for mass distribution of the product in question. :p
    The reality is, this BR is strictly for personal use, and the only real violation it may create is to my own olfactory sense, if it indeed comes out horrible.
    I'll be posting the on-going progress and my critical observations of the mix as it continues to develop over the course of the next month or so.
    Primotenore and pvtbanks like this.
  14. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    If they're in the US, they haven't got "around" that. They just haven't been caught is more likely the case.
    But I tell you, the heck if I want the ATF knocking on my door.
    Paul Turner likes this.
  15. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord

    I think you may be right. JoAnna, as the ingredient list is in direct violation of the ATF or TTB's directives on distilled alcohol use and distribution.
  16. macaronus

    macaronus Sir Nice-a-Lot

    I can almost smell it... yummy!
    I can't wait for the outcome...
  17. 178-bplatoon

    178-bplatoon Well-Known Member

    Can't wait to hear how it turns out!!:happy088:
  18. offroad64

    offroad64 a shoulder to cry on

    Sounds awesome can't wait to find out the results.
  19. secretum

    secretum Active Member

    Nice one! If it turns out to your liking, I will most certanly try it out as well.
    Thanks for the share! :happy096:
  20. HolyRollah

    HolyRollah BaconLord

    First Test Sample: One Week
    Tried a small splash this morning to 'test the waters' and see how this medley of ingredients is developing.
    First impressions: very light scent, dominant fragrance: herbal (bay), with a subtle citrusy (lime) and spicy note (cinnamon, ginger).
    With the cinnamon, I may opt to pull the sticks from the mix early on as I don't wish cinnamon to be the dominant scent. It is clearly making it's presence known at this early stage.

    The good news so far is my wife did not find it offensive smelling when I applied it to my face. ("Fresh smelling..."). Lightly astringent feeling on the face.
    We'll see how the mix continues to develop.

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