A home-made knock-off of a cologne/after-shave that can cost big bucks in department stores. (Note:This is steeped instead of distilled, so it will take 30 days to make.)
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Step 1: What You Need

- A very clean large glass jar (NOT PLASTIC!) with an air-tight lid (A Mason jar is perfect for this).
- Lots of dried bay leaves (from the local supermarket or health food store).
- Dark rum (from the liquor store. The cheap stuff will do very nicely, thank you).
- Time (You'll be steeping the leaves in the rum, so it will take 30 days to complete).
- Another glass container (such as a large, clean jar)
- Small glass bottles (To store the finished product).
- A strainer and a funnel.

Step 2: Start the Steeping

Take the bay leaves and break them in half width-wise (that is, fold the tops against the bottoms until they snap). Put the leaves in the glass jar standing up, and pour in enough dark rum to cover them completely. Put the lid on the jar and seal it tight. Then put the jar in a dark place for 30 days (Mark it on your calendar). Please resist the temptation to open the jar and sniff it while it's steeping. During this period, you can go shopping for little glass decanter bottles (preferably with dark glass) to put the finished product in.

Step 3: After 30 Days

Get your jar and open it. Fair warning: The smell will be overpowering at first. Wash your hands and then take out the leaves (Throw the leaves away), Get a small glass container and pour the brew through a strainer to get out the stray pieces of bay leaf. Then fill up your small decanter bottles with the cologne. It makes a great after-shave and body splash. Also, you can give away bottles as gifts to friends or relations. For further batches, you can experiment with adding other aromatics, like vanilla or sandalwood.
Very important: DO NOT DRINK THIS! Thank you.
rockgod574 years ago
great instructable can you use other kinds of spices like clove, rosemary, lemon grass, possibly spearmint?
unidyne (author)  rockgod574 years ago
I don't see why not! The rum is mostly a base for the aromatic elements that will be steeped in it. However, I would question why you would want to use spearmint. You may end up smelling like a stick of chewing gum.
idk i just saw some kind of mint cologne and thought it would be cool
unidyne (author)  rockgod574 years ago
(Sorry for the delay.)
MINT cologne? Wow! I had never thought of that. You may be onto a new trend!
yea i know right ( hey no sweat man im late for everything when it comes to this stuff)
margelle7 years ago
Maybe ZM can sell us Pimenta Racemosa leaves by mail from his/her Florida garden. As s/he pointed out we are dealing with two different plants here. The "bay" leaves used in cooking around the world (and found in the spice aisle of your supermarket)are from the UMBELLULARIA CALIFORNICA tree of the laurel(Lauraceae) family. Cinnamon and avocados also belongs to this family. On the other hand, the bay leaves used to make bayrum comes from the Pimenta Racemosa tree which belongs to the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family. Allspice (PIMENTA DIOICA) is also of the myrtle family. I don't know how they both ended up being called "bay" because although the leaves LOOK similar the two plants are not related.
Woohoo! I have a Pimenta Racemosa growing in my garden and we have to keep cutting it back! Anyone want some leaves I can hook you up!
I would love some leaves as well. We could trade for something.
hello can you "hook me up" with some of the Pimenta Racemosa leaves? I would like to make some bay rum but I guess I bought the wrong type of leaves. Thanks, alan_m99
taraist taraist6 years ago
By the way, I've been throwing them in pots of soup and such. Have I been poisoning myself?
unidyne (author)  taraist6 years ago
According to, the plant is in the Allspice family and the leaves are used in cooking. The "small black ovoid fruit", however, is toxic and should be avoided.
bestbier6 years ago
A nice discussion, but what kind of bay leaves do we need now?
unidyne (author)  bestbier6 years ago
Pimenta Racemosa, it appears.
zm7 years ago
FYI, Bay Rum cologne is not made with the bay leaves you find in the grocery. Completely different scent. Bay leaves are from Laurus noblis, or laurel leaves. Bay Rum is from Pimenta racemosa or West Indian Bay. I have both growing in my yard in Florida, and there no comparison. Crush a fresh Bay Rum leaf you get a really strong wonderful smell. Once they dry (like the other bay leaf) most of the smell is gone. Clove scent is a lot closer than bay leaf.
unidyne (author)  zm7 years ago
I've noticed that bay leaves have a more "vanilla"-like fragrance than Ray Rum. Thanks for pointing this out (This is my first Instructable, so forgive me). Is there any place where laurel leaves can be purchased? Possibly a craft/hobby shop or a health food store? Or do you have to grow your own?
zm unidyne7 years ago
You can google-image both plants to see what they look like. Probably need to grow your own--laurel is the "bay leaf" found in the spice section, bay rum leaves I have never seen except on the tree, and 99% of the scent dissipates when they dry. Fresh laurel has a very subtle scent but the bay rum is really intense, almost like smelling salts. It is related to allspice, so adding that and clove to the mix would come closer to the cologne scent. I use it to make tincture--the oil and tincture both work like magic on any rash or itch. You might be able to grow it in a large container up north, but they are rare even in FL plant stores.
unidyne (author)  zm7 years ago
Thanks for the tip! I'll probably have to buy the leaves loose since I truly doubt if these plants will grow in the Las Vegas heat.
pizz7 years ago
I like this. I buy that Bay Rum all the time. I added a few whole cloves and a bit of glycirin to it and it's damn good! I steeped mine for 2 weeks though. Still had good resutls!
unidyne (author)  pizz7 years ago
Thanks for the kind words. I'm going to use light rum for my next batch. Whole cloves sound good, too. I'll try that as well!
Scurl!8 years ago
ok, now i'm going to try this.
i'm a huge bay rum fan, and am not up to ordering it on the web every few months.
but i was under the impression that the bay leaves you commonly get in the store are the wrong kind of bay leaves...ala

"Bay rum, a popular face lotion for men, is made from a combination of bay oil, citrus and spice oils, alcohol, and water. It was first made in the West Indies, where it was prepared by boiling the leaves of the West Indian Bay in white rum and collecting the distillate."
unidyne (author)  Scurl!8 years ago
Technically, my formula is a both a homebrew and a knock-off of the big name bay rum that's out there. The genuine item is distilled and not steeped (which my version is). It probably won't be up to par with what you may be used to, but it is way cheaper, and you can tweak it with other spices and oils if you wish.
xrobevansx8 years ago
I can get Bay Rum for about 5 bucks for 8 oz or so at my local drugstore. I am not sure if this is exactly cheaper, but it sure seems like more fun....and who can resist splashing liquor on yourself?
unidyne (author)  xrobevansx8 years ago
The cheaper store brand rums go for about $8 to $12 a quart, at least where I live (These aren't the kind or rums you would want to serve to your boss or fiance's father). Throw in the cost of the bay leaves, and it's still cheaper. Besides, you can always use the leftover rum for a cocktail. ;-)