Over the past few weeks, holiday spirit was going strong: the Christmas lights were installed, vacation days were being used, and I was frequently enjoying a robust cigar (or two) with friends and family. It was during this time that I especially enjoyed Captain’s Choice Bay Rum Aftershave, a warm and spicy aftershave perfect for cool mornings.
Captain’s Choice is a newcomer to the wetshaving market. Only a year ago Scott Brennecke set on a mission to create the perfect bay rum aftershave. After experimenting with numerous combinations of ratios and ingredients, he arrived at a formula that he thought was special. He offered samples in exchange for feedback, and although responses were very enthusiastic, Scott made some slight adjustments to the formula until it was perfect.
Not only did Scott spend countless hours creating the formula, he also took a lot of care with the packaging. The container is a traditional apothecary bottle with “aged” nautical labels. The aftershave came with a creative and charming letter from “the Captain” about the formula. This personal touch is one of the benefits of turning to an artisan product, which is handcrafted by someone who cares about the wetshaver’s experience and not just the bottom line.
When I first looked at the aftershave, I was impressed with the product. The deep amber color is more like a natural rum and not a watered down aftershave. I shook the bottle and clearly saw botanicals floating in the oils – a sure sign that this is a handmade product and not a synthetic or chemical blend of ingredients.
Bay rum is a common fragrance known to most traditional wetshavers. It usually conjures up the aroma of an old school barbershop and is available in countless blends and styles. Captain’s Choice Bay Rum is unique in that it is balanced and not heavy in clove. It is a smooth fragrance, unlike cheap bay rum aftershaves that can be harsh and sting your nose when you sniff them. Captain’s Choice Bay Rum is warm and smooth with notes of cinnamon. This spicy fragrance made it especially enjoyable during the holidays.
The primary ingredient is pure grain alcohol, so it is a true aftershave splash. This works as an antiseptic to keep any shaving cuts from becoming infected. It also works as a toner to close pores and tighten the skin. Pure alcohol aftershaves tend to dry the skin; however, Captain’s Choice includes glycerin into this product to balance this effect. Another ingredient is witch hazel, a strong antioxidant and astringent that is often used as a natural remedy for soothing the skin after shaving.
I splashed on Captain’s Choice Bay Rum Aftershave the same way I always apply a splash. (See Q&A: How do you apply splash-based aftershave?) This product performed very well because it did a great job of being soothing and not drying out my skin. The splash dried quickly and left a good amount of fragrance that was pleasant and not overbearing.
Bottom line is that Scott has done an outstanding job of making a high-quality traditional aftershave that performs on par or better than others on the market that cost twice as much. It is available on the Captain's Choice website for $17.95 for a 4 oz. bottle. Captain’s Choice Bay Rum Aftershave is a hand-crafted product that will serve you well if you want a traditional aftershave fragrance with a little personal touch.