Love to hear how it goes @razorguy. We have a new player in Australia called @luckypirate who is not only importing Bay Rums, but making their own also. In Australia we may only have the EO, but we have some great Rum to use. [emoji6]
No secret recipes and, after all, my mother has never been interested in shaving at all...
I simply like experimenting and this is what I basically did in this last ten years, from soaps to aftershaves.
I had this fantastic chance to have real bay leaves in my hands and I am thrilled to see what kind of Bay Rum I can get from them. For the moment, I need to experiment about their strength compared to the essential oil.
After one week, this is how my Pimenta Racemosa maceration looks like. I will keep on macerating for at least one week more.
I must say it smells way different from any Pimenta Racemosa essential oil I have ever used or smelled, of course when properly diluted and, of course, not referring to its pure and non diluted form.
This maceration aroma is absolutely the very best Bay fragrance I have ever smelled, including all of the commercial Bay Rum aftershaves I know of. I guess this is the proper way to go for the making of a Bay Rum aftershave and I can't wait to start making it with the other dried Pimenta Racemosa leaves macerated in real aged rum.
The bad part of this is how and where I could possibly get dried Pimenta Racemosa leaves in Italy? These leaves have been brought back from the Dominican Republic and given to me by a friend of mine who spent his vacation there.
Today I started the making of my next Bay Rum batch. This is going to be very special to me as, for the first time, I will use real bay leaves instead of the essential oil. The smell of the crushed ingredients is absolutely divine and I am very confident the seven years old rum I used for the maceration will bring the aromas out from leaves and the rest.
Here it is how the freshly started maceration looks like. I will let it macerate for at least three weeks.
Well being that I started this thread many moons ago I thought it's about time I pulled my finger out and gave this a try.
So around a month back I did a very small test run just steeping a small amount of the spice & citrus ingredients in some Metho. As this was a test run I didn't want to waste putting any West Indian Bay EO in it. So I dabbed just a lil of the concoction on my skin and as per @Dale.Whiley 's earlier feedback once that initial metho/very strong alcohol scent dissipates (around 5-10sec) the scent compounds alone are left behind and they smelt great.
Anyway buoyed by dipping my toe in the water I scaled it up a tad. Took an old cleaned glass jar and added approx the following:
Peel of 4 just picked off the tree Tahitian Limes
~1/2 stick of cinnamon (which is actually Cassia bark - only went with 1/2 as it can be overpowering & is also a skin irritant)
~1 TBS of cloves (these are a tad old hence generous with them)
~1 TBS of black peppercorns (crushed in mortar & pestle beforehand)
~1 TSP of Allspice berries (crushed in mortar & pestle beforehand)
~12 kaffir lime leaves (fresh off tree, roughly chopped)
Covered mixture with ~200ml of Metho (non-methanol type)
The kaffir lime leaves are a lil left field and not in any recipes I've seen BUT they're exceptionally fragrant and enhance that citrus side of things. I'm planning on being a tad controversial by NOT using Rum in mine at all. From reading up on Bay Rum the rum itself was only used to extract the EO from the West Indian Bay leaves & other spices etc. In mine the metho is doing this and will do a better job due to it's 2-3 times higher alcohol content.
Now its true to say that a good rum also has a scent of it's own bringing a sweetness. Personally I'm not a huge fan of this element of Bay Rums and actually prefer a spicey/citrus oriented one but I grabbed a lil Rum Essence to try with a small amount of the mix once it's done.
No rum in the mix might sound radical but to be fair many of the commercial Bay Rums don't have any actual rum in them at all either - and so my theory is that a very small amount of the cooking essence will cover this aspect of the scent spectrum, which I think is a very minor part of the overall appeal (somewhat personal but I think most folks love Bay Rum for the Bay EO, spices & citrus well before the sweetness of the rum).
FWIW this was only done as a practical decision, not anything more - I don't drink rum & didn't have any onhand. That said if I dislike the Rum essence result I'll happily buy some rum if need be.
I'm planning on allowing the aforementioned mix steep for ~1mth. I will then add the Witch Hazel (planned ~25% by volume), the West Indian Bay EO (which smells a-m-a-z-i-n-g by itself! You can see why stanky sailors thought it was a godsend and rubbed them all over their pongy bods!), some glycerin (prolly 5%) and thats about it.
Curious about adding a lil freshly grated nutmeg......it's a very bold scent, dunno if it'd be a good thing or bit much? Also I think it's a skin irritant as well. Also considering a little orange zest - for the sweet side of the citrus spectrum. Also considered a lil bit of fresh grated Ginger?
Also looking ahead here but I know that once it's all fully steeped etc they recommend filtering the liquid to remove the solid spices, citrus peel etc. Many recommend using coffee filtering for this. My concern would be that a lot of the extracted EO's will get trapped in the paper medium (as is the case with one making coffee using them - though thankfully I never have to do this). So I'm going to try and use a couple of very fine stainless steel filters I have onhand - which incidentaly are also made to use with coffee extraction (coava discs is what they are). Anyway hopefully that will allow more of the good stuff left in the liquid and not stuck in a filter etc.
Anyway we'll see how it goes....all sealed up tightly and in the bottom of a cool cupboard for the time being. Any feedback welcomed.
PS. And it's worth noting that I searched high and low and couldn't find folks selling West Indian Bay(Pimenta Racemosa) trees/seedlings in Australia...hence I'm using the EO instead BUT even though it's a different tree you can use the far more commonly available Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis) instead and get a similar though not identical result. I recently bought a 'Baby Bay' seedling from Masters - purely bought for culinary use and these are great as they only grow to around ~1m in height whereas a normal bay can grow to 18m+!!!!
I crushed and smelt the leaves from it and while it's not as nice as the Pimenta Racemosa EO it's pretty similar. So there's an easy option and source of fresh leaves if folks are inclined.
The metho seems to have worked very effectively as all the colour has been stripped out of the lime zest - they're now quite white in colour. I dipped a chopstick in and dapped a lil on my wrist - once the alcohol vapourised off there's an ample amount of clove and allspice. A lil cinnamon in the background but thats where I wanted to keep it. Hard to pickup much of the lime or kaffir lime, but it's there on the first sniff - it seems to go very rapidly. Not a huge concern as I have some Lime EO that I can add towards the end of the process if need be. Shame I can't pick up much pepper but I would imagine thats a very fleeting EO.
It does smell very good - and like i said to my wife (who thought it smelt like a Xmas cake! Though don't mind her she's a bit of a worry with scents sometimes) the overall scents in there at present are really just the supporting cast for the headline act, which is the Pimenta Racemosa EO (which as I've said before smells incredibly good just on its own).
So I have to say I think its going to be very good based on the early impressions. The metho seems to really get it's work done very rapidly - and with around 2.5 times the alcohol content vs having used rum it's perhaps not that surprising - might cut the overall steeping time to 2 weeks max.
After a proper aging, today I tested again my latest batch of Bay Rum and I finally decided it was ready to be bottled. It is a homemade Bay Rum, therefore not for sale, made with real dark rum and, for the first time, I used real pimenta racemosa leaves and no essential oil. The aroma is absolutely fantastic and smells like a Bary Rum after shave should: dark rum and bay!
Just wanted to add the Diggers MSDS which confirms the ingredients as 95% Ethanol & 5% Water. Also mentions no ill effects from skin exposure bar "burning sensation" and drying of skin with prolonged exposure. Also ingestion hazard is drunkenness. No toxic effects from either as listed.
I only have one Bay Rum product which I quite like, (Shaver Heaven Soap) but I get a minor tingle irritation during use. I'd be interested in experimenting as you guys have done with a DIY. It might lead to the source of the irritation. Interestingly enough, Sweet Almond Milk has the same effect. Nothing bad, is gone with soap removal, and I do still use the soap from time to time but it would be good to determine what the irritant is.