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Zone Map

How to Grow a Bay Rum Tree

The Bay Rum Tree ( pimenta racemosa ) is a slow growing and bushy tropical evergreen that can attain heights up to 40 feet.

Pimenta racemosa requires frost free growing conditions and will freeze if temperatures fall below 30 degrees.

The tree does best when planted in moist well drained soil in a location where it receives full sun or partial shade. The color of newly emerging leaves is a pleasing salmon pink, maturing to a rich deep and shiny green. Fuzzy white blossoms appear in early spring in small panicles or clusters. The fruit that follows is a small black oval berry which is not edible.

If you live in South Florida or another sub tropical area where there is little chance of frost, bay rum trees make beautiful specimens and can also be used as an attractive hedge or evergreen screen. Because of their ultimate height, they are not suitable to indoor or container growing except when very young.

Of Interest to Men - what is Bay Rum?

Well - it's not something you want to drink.

Bay rum is actually a cosmetic fragrance originally developed in the Virgin Islands from the  leaves of the Bay Rum Tree. It is manufactured primarily as a cologne or after shave lotion  for men, but the scent has also been incorporated into other cosmetic products such as  soaps and deodorants.

Bay rum cologne consists of a mixture of rum, spices and bay oil. Bay oil is derived by distillation of bay leaves, preferably from the West Indian Bay Tree Pimenta racemosa, also known as the Bay Rum Tree native to the West Indies. Additives may include cloves, oranges and other fruit or spices that lend a distinct aroma to the basic scent.

While once extremely popular and widely used and accepted in barbershops around the country and the world, bay rum popularity as a cologne and after shave has declined with the advent of highly advertised and sometimes overrated designer scents and fragrances for men. However, what most people don't know and manufacturers keep mostly to themselves, is the fact that a lot of the basic formulas of more modern and popular scents for men's eau de cologne, aftershave and cosmetics contain bay oil.

It is unlikely you will find bay rum for sale in your local grocery store, but several variations and brands of bay rum products are still being produced and can be found in specialty, men's toiletries and cosmetics shops.

The formula for bay rum after shave or cologne is not a patent or secret and various recipes can be found easily on the web or in paper publications. If possible, use leaves from the bay rum tree. Alternatively, sweet bay (Laurel nobilis) leaves can be used as a substitute.

For those who want to brew their own - here are some bay rum cologne and aftershave home recipes:

Bay Rum Aftershave Lotion
4 Ounces plain Vodka
2 Tablespoons Jamaican Rum
2 Dried Bay Leaves
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Stick of Cinnamon, broken in pieces
Fresh Zest from a Small Orange

Combine all ingredients in a container such as a bottle or mason jar with a tightly fitting lid. Put the closed container in a dark, cool place (not in the refrigerator). After two weeks, strain mixture through several layers of cheesecloth, paper towels or a coffee filter. If necessary, repeat until no residue remains. Put in an attractive bottle or atomizer and splash on or spray face after shaving.
Bay Rum Eau De Cologne
2 oz. Crushed Dried Bay Leaves bay rum cologne
1/4 oz. Ground Cardamom
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
16 oz. Jamaican Rum

You can use an empty liquor bottle or other container with a lid or screw-on top. Combine all ingredients and shake well. Let stand undisturbed for about a week, then strain or filter content until no residue remains. (paper coffee filters work great)

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