It's like the Ghost of Christmas Present in Dickens' story. Rotund, jolly, and with a lesson to teach. And like that ghost, it's not one to be written-off lightly. A whiff from the bottle is a glorious train wreck. But it's much better on the dry-down as the cinnamon and cloves are balanced a bit more by the bay leaf scent. I love it as a splash, and the great thing is that the sillage isn't that long-lasting, so you can douse yourself amply and love it. It's a barbershop stroll down memory lane in a great, wholesome way. Get yourself some, catch an island breeze, and enjoy.
Just the bottle and label alone evoke fond memories of being a young boy sitting cross-legged on the bathroom counter and intently watching my grandfather's every move as he methodically went through the machinations of his daily early morning wet-shave ritual.
Every time when he was done carefully shaving and then cleaning the straight razor, along with the lathering cup and brush, he would look at himself in the mirror while stroking his cheeks to check for any missed spots while reaching for the clear glass bottle of Edouard Pinaud's CLUBMAN VIRGIN ISLAND BAY RUM Aftershave Splash and proceed to douse his face, neck and chest with a couple of healthy handfuls of the stuff.
With his hands still dripping of this beautifully spicy and exotic, bay tree filled far-away-tropical-paradise smelling after shave, he would then rub my cheeks, the top of my ears and head with the excess and I would smell just like grandpa's aftershave all day long...and I absolutely loved it. I reveled in it then and deeply cherish the memory today.
So imagine my shear delight when I recently came across this classic product...I purchased the larger 12oz size bottle, which looks almost exactly like the bottle from almost 50 years ago except it's now a shatter-proof plastic instead of the thicker glass bottle it used to be packaged in. Ok, I can live with that, being more safety-conscious in today's world.
But the real test was what was inside that bottle...did it look the same with that lighter yet rich looking brown color?
YES...the color and overall look is exactly the same as I remember it from almost 50 years ago. So far, so good.
Did it feel the same with its silky smooth texture along with its unique soothing, cooling and refreshing tingle?
ALMOST...it seems to be lighter-bodied now with hardly any cooling sensation, though it is still quite soothing and refreshing.
And most importantly, did it smell the same with it's heady exotically spicy base along with its subtle yet very punchy combination essences of bay tree, clove and a hint of pepper and cinnamon?
Sadly, NO...it did NOT. It is now a shadow of its former self sidelined by a complete lack of balanced pungency or striking character...its now WAY too clove-heavy with very little essence of bay tree (which is similar to clove but exhibits much different sillage on dry down) and virtually zero cinnamon oil or Peruvian black pepper emanating from today's formulation.
It's a perfectly acceptable and wearable "old school" type of scent that's perfect for running weekend errands or a casual mid-afternoon lunch with a current or former lover, but do NOT expect to get the same product formulation as 50 years ago...it's now seemingly a MUCH different, almost unrecognizable after shave than that of the original.
Barbershop to the core
This is one of the best Bay Rums in the value/price ratio score, some bay rums are way too expensive for what you get (Royall, Caribbean Imported, Saint John's, Dominica Imported, West Indies, etc) while Pinaud gives you a great value for a very inexpensive price.
Take note that a said "one of the best" because for me, Ogallala offers a better product than Pinaud.
Regardless, this is an excellent Bay Rum and deserves respect.
4.5 stars only because the 5 stars belongs to Ogallala.
Cons: Too much cloves and too loud.
Rum, spice, cinnamon, a bit of rum. Classic and with a bit of a Christmas feel. Agreeable and excellent value. Good projection.
Pinaud's Clubman Virgin Island Bay Rum is a bay rum in name, mostly, and it shares some things in common with the real deal. However, to my nose, there's little to no bay in there. VIBR is a nicely balanced, warm-spice combo of primarily cinnamon and clove that goes on smelling like gingerbread cookies. After drydown, it's the clove oil that lingers longest, providing an all-day slighty spicy, slightly antiseptic smell. That sounds worse than it is, really, since the lingering aroma just smells "clean", with a little spice.
If you want a real, classic, green-herbal-spice bay rum, go with Dominica. If you want a vanilla-spicy version, or want your bay rum enhanced with other essential oils, Ogallala is your brand. I still wear VIBR, though, because even more than the original Clubman, this is Barbershop in a Bottle. And there are worse things in the world than going through your day smelling well-groomed.