Having done some research and reading many reviews, I started to realize that the bay rum scent was *THE* scent...the classic benchmark by which others are measured.
Where this was my intro to bay rum and not wanting to invest too much into something I may not enjoy, I found Ogallala's Bonanza Pack (the Ogallala product line in general is always very highly rated) and pulled the trigger. In general, I found that I really like the bay rum scent, so this ended up being a great purchase. At 2oz per bottle, I found that I got an adequate amount of each scent to really get some prolonged usage. I ordered this pack back in April and after shaving every other day and rotating the scents, I probably still have at least 1/4 to 3/4 of an ounce left in each bottle. Here's my take on each, in order of preference:
1. Bay Rum - My favorite, by far. It burns, but it burns good. After the initial sting, it warms my face and lets me know it's doing its job. The essential oils in the formula really a do a great job protecting and moisturizing throughout the day. The scent is really strong after the initial application and after about a half hour it transitions into a "just there" presence. Perfect. I'd buy this one on its own.
2. Limes & Peppercorns - I like this one a lot. It doesn't have quite the sting of the original, but still warms and soothes after a shave. I found this scent be more of a general "fruity" scent than a lime scent, but I still enjoy it. Like the original, it's strong and first and then wears slightly. It's "just there" all day. It pairs really well with the Old Spice (Fiji scent) deodorant that I usually wear. I'd buy this one on its own.
3. Cedar - This one is pretty similar to the Limes & Peppercorns in that it doesn't have that same sting and burn, but it's still great immediately after a shave. There are strong cedar notes to this one and I find that its scent does linger around a lot longer than the first two. I'd probably buy this one on its own.
4. Sandalwood - This one is a lot like the Cedar. It has the same post-shave properties and the scent hang around a lot longer. I rated this one the lowest out of the aftershaves not because I thought it was the worst of the 4, but because I found that preferred the other scents more than this one. I'm still not sure whether or not this would be one that I'd buy on its own.
5. Bay Rum Cologne - I wasn't too sure about this one. I really didn't get too much of the bay rum scent out of this one at all. To me, it gave off more of a woodsy scent, almost like a less pronounced combination of cedar and sandalwood. I definitely did pick up on the spice notes, though. I'll continue to use this until the sample runs out, but I don't know that I'd buy it on its own in the future, mostly because the scent doesn't really complement the deodorant that I wear.
The only product attribute that kept me from giving a 5 star rating was the lack of flow restrictors on the bottles; I had to be very careful to avoid over-pouring. I wanted to rate this at 4.5, but half stars weren't possible. Overall, I love the Ogallala stuff. I'm really happy that the sample pack is available because it's a steal at $16. I've seen other bay rum samplers available at a much higher price point for lot less product volume. If you're newly exploring the bay rum scent, definitely give the the Bonanza Pack a shot. If you're an avid bay rum fan already, this sampler is a great way to add some variety to your shave den.