Bay Rum is a distillate of citrus, rum and bay leaves, which originated in the Caribbean on the island of St. Thomas sometime during the 19th century.
Caswell Massey created their own version from a formula by a certain Mr. Michelsen around the end of that century. It consisted of orange, lime, rum, clove, West Indian bay leaves, pimento and cinnamon.
This was quite a classy take on the formula. I recall my father and uncles being partial to it and a bottle always being on their dressing tables, renewed by their spouses each Christmas.
It was one of the first scents I experienced in my olfactory exploration, which began with the colognes of the Caswell-Massey brand. Michelsens was pungent and long-lasting for a cologne splash and I recall it had great depth. Of the various bay rums I experienced, I always went back to Michelsens as the one I favored most.
Sadly out of production, but the beautifully labelled bottles are still available online from various sellers of vintage scent. Worth seeking out for a sophisticated experience.
Well, is this made out of clove? You can swear it! The opening left me perplexed for a few seconds as it smelled unpleasantly familiar but I couldn't exactly detect what it was about. Then a big clove started to materialize in front of me. Huge, brown and running towards me at 200mph speed...Clove is all I get, sorry! I quite like clove, but this interpreation is definitely crude and very (very) linear. If clove often brings to mind of dental offices, Massey's interpretation represents the whole dental treatment without anesthesia...Scary.
Go with Royall or St. John's. This barbershop is closed.
OK, I give it a neutral because it avoids the clove-attacks so often found in Bay Rum scents. But projection is somewhat weak and it's over much too soon.
Say, did I mention longevity is an issue with Bay Rum?
A very nice Bay Rum/Orange concoction, however, it Lasts....for....Shit. Marinade yourself in the morning, you'll be dry by 9. High quality none the less, I'll just have to utilize a plant mister in the future.