Monday, November 22, 2010

Trailer Trad Grooming: Make Your Own Aftershave FAIL

Wouldn't it be great to have an aftershave that smelled real? By that I mean that most department store aftershaves (even expensive ones) smell good I guess but what do they really SMELL like? Take a whiff of that stuff you've got in your medicine cabinet. It smells like..... what? -And they all smell the same! Time to be adventurous and make your own!

Blogs like 'Badger and Blade', 'The Art of Manliness' and 'Unchained' list a common recipe for making your very own bayrum aftershave. It is really easy (compared to making your own beer, anyway) and I've got a couple of tips that make it even easier.

It calls for a rum base with a little water with bay leaf oils extracted into it. That's the starting point for a bay rum. After this step, you can customize it in any number of ways. Here's the first short cut I'll offer. You've seen my entry on Superior 70 Alcoholado, haven't you? ....Haven't you? It is made in Puerto Rico by The Puerto Rico Distilling Co. It's sold as rubbing alcohol combined with the Bay leaf's essential oils. Using Superior 70 enables you to skip the above step while saving your rum (combine that with Barritt's Ginger Beer for the perfect Dark n' Stormy and you won't care what you smell like).

Since this was my first time trying this, I made a Frankenstein's brew of cloves, spearmint leaves, cinnamon, orange zest, and other spices. I obtained the assistance of Lil' Bean for the ingredient combining process. -She's made her own, less jumbled, scent and it probably came out better than mine. The second cost saving short cut I'll offer regards the spices used.

As I've mentioned before when discussing Dr. Woods Peppermint Castile Soap, Whole Foods normally isn't the first place you think of when you think of bargains. -But this is a good one. When you need spices like cloves or allspice as well as harder to find spices, go to their bulk spice isle and buy the stuff by the ounce. -It's a REALLY cost-effective way to experiment with spices. (As an aside, roast a chicken with their 'herbs de provence' spice mix from the bulk isle and that lady you're cooking for will be really impressed.)

We carefully placed the ingredients into the Superior 70 bottles and stored them under the sink for two weeks. We then strained the mixture through coffee filters into a vintage lab bottle with a cut-glass stopper. The color was very similar to my own Pinaud Clubman bayrum and smelled a little like it. Not awful for a first attempt but not quite up to splashing on before a night out.

Most recipes for bay rum aftershave call for zesting citrus fruit. Since we weren't using the peel in an actual food recipe, we peeled oranges and just scraped most of the white rind off. I also think that I used too much ground clove. My aftershave came out smelling like the cooking pan of a Christmas ham. -Not really what I was looking for. I would suggest actually zesting lemons, limes or even grapefruits or a cleaner, brighter fragrance.

This process can be modified to suit the season too. In the spring, make it very citrusy along with rosemary, mint, thyme or ginger. For cooler weather or for around Christmas, add more cloves, allspice, cinnamon, even tobacco or woods like sandlewood.

It was a fun experiment but I don't think that the folks at Creed have anything to worry about just yet.

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