St. John Bay Leaf Oil | Bay rum has been an integral part of the history of the Virgin Islands and its people for centuries. The use of bay leaf oils for beauty and health remedy has been a long standing tradition. With its unique climatic and exceptionally rich soil, the island of St. John provided an ideal place for bay trees to thrive and St. John's bay leaf oils quickly acquired a worldwide reputation of being distinctive and superior.
The Invention of Bay Rum | In 1838, Danish chemist Albert Heinrich Riise became interested in this local remedy and discovered that by mixing St John bay leaf oils with fine Virgin Island rums, it created an amazing fragrance. His unique invention was awarded the Centennial Medal in 1876, as well as awards in New Orleans and Chicago.
The Mad Men Years | In 1957, John Webb hired a Madison Avenue agency in New York City, to represent St Johns Bay in the United States and soon could be bought in America's leading stores such as Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. Between 1957 and 1963, a series of outstanding ads were placed in the New Yorker magazine. As a result, the distribution of St Johns Bay Rum grew considerably and in the early sixties it was sold in most fine men's stores and departments stores in the United States. Industry consumer products giant was so intrigued w
ith St Johns Bay Rum that it acquired the company in 1963. With a worldwide market in mind, Warner Lambert registered the famous St Johns trademarks in countries around the world. Warner Lambert added moisturizers, talcs, soaps, deodorants and two new fragrances, St Johns Cutlass Cologne and St Johns Indian Gold Cologne. Warner Lambert installed the equipment to produce high quality fragrance on St. Thomas. Virgin Island Ownership | In 1978, Columbus retailer Jerry Woodhouse bought the St Johns brand from Warner Lambert. Mr Woodhouse concentrated on increasing sales locally on St.Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. This reestablished the St Johns brand at fine hotels, gift shops and better retailers across the Virgin Islands. Mr. Woodhouse's efforts also helped St Johns fragrances enter Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers to name a few. Even Hollywood took notice with St Johns Bay Rum featured on episodes M*A*S*H and movies like "Down and Out in Beverly Hills." Mr. Woodhouse introduced and two new scents, St John Island Spice Cologne for men and St Johns J'ouvert for women as well as St Johns sun care products formulated for the especially powerful Caribbean sun.
A New Beginning | Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 dealt a severe blow to the Virgin Islands and destroyed the St Johns factory. Dedicated employees rallied to salvage what could be recovered from the wreckage and were able to resume shipping to customers within a few weeks. With the global internet expansion, St Johns created its first E-Commerce store: stjohnsbayrum.com and starting reaching fans from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and many more. In 2006, to celebrate St Johns Bay Rum's 60th Anniversary, a limited edition bottle was produced to celebrate St Johns unique 'fishnet' bottle.
St Johns Today | In June of 2015, the St. Johns brand was acquired by a group of private investors led by CEO, John Fontana. Together with a team of industry veterans, Mr. Fontana is transforming the St Johns into a small batch fragrance factory that exclusively produces all of St Johns award winning fragrances. As of July 2015, the factory is under construction so that guests can visit and tour St Johns fragrance factory. Together with the many loyal St Johns fans, customers, partners and vendors, the new team is busy building a renewed St Johns for all to enjoy.