Stalking the TTB:  Upcoming U.S. rum releases from Lemon Hart, Angostura, Diplomatico, Mount Gay, Foursquare, and more!  January to April 2016

Another post for the rum wonks out there…

On the heels of my earlier posts (here and here), the list below contains my curated picks for new rums which should be appearing on U.S. shelves and your local watering holes in 2016. I’ve previously written about searching the TTB site for recent label approvals. If you’re not familiar with the TTB and/or the label approval process, those posts a good place to start before diving in here.

To construct the list below, I queried the TTB database, constraining the results to the past four months. I then exercised editorial prerogative to cherry-pick the label approvals likely most interesting (in my opinion) to the rum community. The original list I harvested from the TTB was huge – several hundred entries–so I made sweeping cuts to bring the list down to a manageable size. Unfortunately, this time around that meant eliminating domestically produced rums. Not that there aren’t some good ones made here in the good old U. S. of A.,  but finding the worthwhile rums can be a needle in the haystack situation. Also, smaller distilleries may put out lots of rum, but they often have limited distribution.

Before getting to the highlights of the new rums, here are the standard disclaimers for my TTB lists:

Reader beware:  There’s no clear way to determine from a TTB label approval if it’s a new product or simply a small change to an existing product’s label. I make a best effort to filter out existing products with minor label changes, but I may miss a rum that’s already available. Please let me know if an offering on the list below is already on the shelves. Also, there is often a significant length of time between label approval and bottles appearing for sale.

On to the fun part!

Mount Gay

Foursquare

Barbados is well represented this time around. The Mount Gay Origin series contains limited edition releases; the label implies 24,000 375ml bottles. There have been several prior Origin releases that focus on a particular dimension of the rum making process, but none have been sold in the U.S. For these first U.S. releases, it’s pure column still vs. pure pot still expressions. This is significant because the artful blending of pot and column stilled rums is something Barbados is well known for. On the Foursquare front, Richard Seale has brought forth two new limited releases (2004 Single Blended Rum, and a Zinfandel Cask Blend). Also from Foursquare is the Doorly’s Eight Year, previously available in the UK. It presumably occupies a space in-between the Doorly’s XO, which is aged for six years in oloroso casks, and the Doorly’s Twelve Year.

Lemon Hart

Big news for Tiki drink enthusiasts comes from the reappearance of Lemon Hart 151, a staple of many tropical concoctions that’s been absent from U.S. shelves for several years. Alongside the 151, the Lemon Hart 80 proof also returns, which is nice, but not nearly as pressing as there are already a number of 80 proof Guyanese rums available.

Diamond Reserve

Lemon Hart is just one part of the Demerara Distiller Limited (DDL) lineup, and there are big moves across the range of DDL rums. What first caught my eye in the search results is a new suite of Diamond Reserve branded rums, the name having been used by DDL outside of the U.S. in the past. The three Diamond Reserve expressions–Superior White, Gold, and Dark–align closely with the existing El Dorado white, gold, and dark rums, also made by DDL. I wouldn’t be surprised if El Dorado takes the same path as Appleton, splitting their unified house brand into separate value and premium lines, i.e., Diamond Reserve for value rums and El Dorado for premium product.

Speaking of El Dorado, the slow emergence of their specialty casked age rums continues. By this point it’s clear that El Dorado’s plan is to take their core 12- and 15-year bottlings and apply a number of cask finishes to both of them–red wine, ruby port, Sauternes, etc… On this list of new rums, it’s the 12 year that gets both Madeira Sweet Cask and Madeira Dry Cask versions, bringing the full set of 12-year finishes into alignment with the existing 15-year finishes.

If that weren’t enough Guyanese rum for you, independent bottler Blackadder adds a 12-year, cask strength “Guyana Diamond” bottling. Another treat from Blackadder is a Caroni 18 year, also at cask strength. We’re lucky these days to have several good independent bottlers trolling the waters of DDL and Caroni rums, but new expressions like Blackadder’s are always a welcome addition.

Diplomatico

Diplomatico makes a surprising appearance with their Planas rum, which the label refers to as a white sipping rum. I unfortunately cannot find anything about this new expression online, so we’ll have to wait and see what the rest of the story is.

Having recently traveled to Jamaica and written extensively about their rums, I’m all about adding more Jamaican rums to my collection. Two new brands have received TTB label approval since the start of 2016: Jamaican Lion and Royal Jamaican. The Jamaican Lion releases encompass white, gold, dark, and overproof. Their labels don’t provide any helpful hints about the source distillery, but they’re all imported by the same company handling the Royal Jamaican bottlings.

With the Royal Jamaican rums, there’s a bit more backstory to latch on to: The Royal Jamaican lineup is made by National Rums of Jamaica (NRJ), and there are already a few Royal Jamaican offerings available in the U.S.–Gold and Legacy White. The forthcoming new expressions are a blackstrap molasses and a twelve year. Given that Royal Jamaican is from NRJ, I’m curious to see how close, if not identical, the twelve year is to my beloved Monymusk Special Reserve, also from NRJ.

Angostura

For fans of the premium Angostura lineup, such as the 1824 and 1919, there’s a new even more exclusive release on the horizon: Angostura 1787. A fifteen year aged expression per the label, it’s the first official Angostura product with an age statement as such. It will be interesting to try the 1787 side by side with the Afrohead XO, also sourced from Angostura with a fifteen year age statement, and which I reviewed previously. Per a conversation with an Angostura representative, I’ve learned that the 1787 may take a while to find its way to U.S shelves, so don’t look for it in early 2016.

By the dutch

Hardcore aficionados of vintage cocktails and punches know about Batavia Arrack, a highly funky, pot stilled Indonesian rum that includes red rice in the fermented mash. However, for many years there was no readily available Batavia Arrack on U.S. shores until Haus Alpenz introduced Batavia Arrack van Oosten a few years ago. That product has burbled along as a slightly esoteric ingredient in the craft cocktail moment since then with no real competition.  A new brand, By the Dutch, is introducing their own Batavia Arrack into the U.S. If you’ve read my post on E&A Scheer (and really, you should), you’ll recall that the Amsterdam-based rum-blender dominates the international market for Batavia Arrack. As such, it’s no surprise that “Amsterdam” appears on the By the Dutch label, making it a virtual lock that it’s sourced from E&A Scheer, like the Haus Alpenz version likely is as well.

On the Cachaça front, there are two brands making their U.S. debut: 100 Limite and Spiral. What I’m particularly excited about though is a new expression from Avua, which I’ve written about previously. The new Tapinhoa-casked bottling joins the existing Prata, Oak, and Amburana.

There are lots more interesting releases in the list below. Do check out their TTB labels and let me know if you find anything else interesting!

Complete List of New Rum Labels

To see more information about a particular bottle in the table below, simply click on the “link” in the appropriate row. The label imagery is always at the bottom of the page that comes up. Enjoy!

Brand NameFanciful NameOriginNotesTTB ID
BundabergSmall Batch Vintage BarrelAustralialink
John Watling’sAmber RumBahamasex-bourbon, up to 3 yearslink
Doorly’s8 yearBarbadosAmerican white oak casklink
Foursquare2004 Single Blended RumBarbados11 years ex-bourbonlink
FoursquareZinfandel Cask BlendBarbados11 yearlink
Mount GayCopper ColumnBarbadosOrigin series. 24,000 bottles (?)link
Mount GayCopper PotBarbadosOrigin series. 24,000 bottles (?)link
TiburonReserve BlendBelize8 years (?)link
100 LimiteSilverBrazilCachacalink
100 LimiteBlackBrazilCachacalink
100 LimiteGoldBrazilCachacalink
AvuaTapinhoaBrazilCachaca, Tapinhoa casklink
Happy BuddhaBrazilBoubon Barrel aged 10 yearlink
SpiralDrinkmakerBrazilCachacalink
Bacoo5 YearDominican Republiclink
Bacoo8 YearDominican Republiclink
Bacoo12 YearDominican Republiclink
Gran LatinoDominican Republiclink
CihuatanGran ReservaEl Salvador“Solera 8”link
Distillerie de ParisAmbreFrancelink
Distillerie de ParisGalabeFrancelink
KanichePerfeccionFranceDouble Wood, by Maison Ferrand for Total Winelink
Saint JamesRhum Blanc AgricoleFranceMartinique/Francelink
Saint JamesRhum AgricoleFranceMartinique/Francelink
Saint JamesRhum Vieux AgricoleFranceMartinique/France 3 years in small oak caskslink
TankPlatinum RumFrancelink
BlackadderGuyana DiamondGuyana12 yearslink
Diamond ReserveDemerara DarkGuyanalink
Diamond ReserveDemerara GoldGuyanalink
Diamond ReserveDemerara Superior WhiteGuyanalink
El Dorado12 Year Madeira Dry Cask FinishGuyanalink
El Dorado12 Year Madeira Sweet Cask FinishGuyanalink
Lemon Hart & SonOverproof 151Guyanalink
Lemon Hart Demerara1804 Single EstateGuyanalink
ContessaWhite RumIndialink
ContessaGran AnejoIndia12 yearlink
Wild TigerIndialink
By the DutchBatavia ArrackIndonesiavery likely from E&A Scheerlink
Jamaican LionDarkJamaicalink
Jamaican LionOverproofJamaicalink
Jamaican LionWhiteJamaicalink
Jamaican LionGoldJamaicalink
Royal JamaicanBlackstrap Molasses Dark RumJamaicalink
Royal JamaicanLegacyJamaicawhite rumlink
Royal Jamaican12 yearJamaicapot stilled, aged in oaklink
ClementCask CollectionMartiniquelink
Admiral BlakePremium White RumMexicolink
CumayaSolera 15 yearsMexicolink
El Ron ProhibidoSolera 15 Finest BlendedMexicolink
El Ron ProhibidoSolera 12 BlendedMexicolink
El TarascoMexicolink
Flor de CanaBlanco ReservaNicaragua“7 year” (?) white rumlink
Ron CartavioBlack BarrelPeru“A base of rum aged 10 years”link
Havana ClubAnejo BlancoPuerto RicoBacardi-made, in Puerto Ricolink
Havana ClubAnejo ClasicoPuerto RicoBacardi-made, in Puerto Ricolink
Cana del CaribeAnejoSpainlink
Cana del CaribeBlancoSpainlink
LegendGold rumSpainlink
Legend5 YearSpainlink
MonteroPalidoSpainlink
Angostura1787Trinidad15 yearslink
BlackadderTrinidad CaroniTrinidad18 yearslink
Royal StandardUnited KingdomTrinidad/Barbados/Jamaicalink
DiplomaticoPlanasVenezuelawhite sipping rumlink

 

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