Here are your choices.
- It is nonsense to care THIS MUCH about how you dress (you’re on an Ivy site friend) and still argue that you don’t care about packaging.
- Rhys Moore, the CEO of St John Bay Rum, may have found that perfect middle ground between historic preservation and cultural relevance.
- Layered is a word I used in college when one girlfriend asked about… the other girlfriend. That is probably not how the word should be used. When you hear the story of the grass weave around the bottle here, and how that level of attention works its way into a cologne or an after shave, well, I think that’s a better use of the term. For everyone involved.
- A product review.
Let us begin.
When we did the WOCBD reviews (and we are not done yet, Duck Head and Eagle coming), I included packaging, and some people said they did care what the shirt came in. I bought that, but then it dawned on me. You obviously care what package YOU come in. If not, let’s just go to the mall and grab some clothes.
Ok, let’s never go to the mall. For anything. But you take my point.
I’ve seen St John Bay Rum around. So have you, if you shop retail. The bottles were cool, they were wrapped in that grass (they still are wrapped in the grass and damn but there is a story there too). I spent more time than you do investigating the scents, and I spent more time than you with the CEO. And there was always this tiny disconnect. These products are complicated. Layered. (There you go). They deserved a better introduction than the same view they get in my medicine cabinet. Something that tells you that a ton of care went into this brand, into maintaining it and expanding it (ever so selectively). We are attracted to that care around here. And I wanted that message told on the retail level, and also when the product was delivered from buying it online from the website.
Boxes. A retail presentation befitting the product.
Just the addition of a box makes a statement, right? But here is what I am really into. Look at the back.
The labels have raised lettering. And the caps are converting to wood, here is one:
Moving to green (a little jammed up on caps with the supply chain). But now the product is dressed for the date it is going on. And that has to matter to you, because you care if YOU are dressed for the date you are going on.
The second theme is based on my interviews with the CEO. If you go to the website here you get a real sense of the meticulous nature of St Johns, and you can buy right on the site. Or at some retailers (J. Press is one, or how about The Gentlemans Corner in Pinehurst, David Wood in Portsmouth, Travers Mahan in Tulsa, or Kinkaides in Ridgeland, MS ). This commercial restraint is indicative of the lengths that Moore has gone to, in addition to leading with the lead story, to preserve the cachet of the brand. AND YET. You open one of his eco-friendly grass-covered-wood-capped bottles, or a soap, or a for-chrissakes-candle and you get… today. This line has dated values that stand up, but contemporary application. Where do you ever see that? With Ivy, we always walk that line, right? Moore has drawn it for us.
The third theme, well, to get there I gotta tell you this story. I email Rhys, ’cause I have a few bottles of this stuff in my bathroom (and have for a year now, more on that in a second), and I ask, what’s up with the grass around the bottle. No weaving (see what I did there) of words here, this was his response:
the weave wrap is actually palm fronds from the Tyre Palm trees in the islands.We have a network of guys who climb and cut the palm fronds, deliver them to the weavers who dry and slice them into strips and then hand weave each bottle.Some guys keep and collect them. You can tell they are handwoven because you will notice variations in the size of the spaces created by the overlapping strands. No adhesive is used in ending the weave; each strand is tucked in and under another strand to complete the process. Find the end of a strand and start to take it apart and you’ll see how it works.thanks,Rhys
Or, as Rhys Moore, the CEO says, “We wanted people to know this is a product developed by a person, not a lab. With real ingredients, not chemicals. The scent comes more out of leaves and a rum bottle than a test tube.”
This grass story is a reflection. The company has mastered the art of staying true to history and… well, making you smell fantastic.
BEFORE I GO ON. I was not an After Shave guy. I am not a Shave guy. Well, the neck, because we are not animals. And definitely not a cologne guy. It seemed like trying too hard. When I took over the site, I met with the advertisers, and Rhys works about 10 minutes from my house. He gave me a bottle. I wasn’t gonna try it, except in the air, so I could write about it. I bring the bottle home, and leave it on the kitchen island. Trish picks it up, smells it. Shows it to Gramercy. Both of them are like, “Hey, what is this? It’s good.” And I started in with St Johns.
Now that I have been experimenting, let me tell you another quick story. I’ve been working out pretty hard for my tour, and because that photo of me with Mr. Boyer scared the beetlejuice out of me. I get up at three every day, and am working by four. I hit the gym around 10. I work out with Dylan some, Elena some, DJ some. I am sweating my now-okay-but-then-way-too-big butt off. These are hours of total honesty. I can do more than you, less than you, that ring around your middle is smaller or bigger. There is nothing not joked about, nothing not covered. If there was even the smallest idea that what I was wearing was anything other than welcome, I would have heard about it at the same time that Dylan put a puke bucket next to me or Elena told me “there is nothing you can’t do for three minutes.” These fragrances have withstood a tougher social test than any lab can produce, and I am telling you, no worries.
So some reviews. Click on each image to get a more detailed description, and to buy them online.