Another post for the rum wonks out there…
Following an earlier blog entry about rums approved for U.S. sale in late 2015, here are my top picks for new rums that should be appearing on store shelves and back bars in early 2016. I’ve previously written about searching the TTB site for recent TTB label approvals, and that’s a good starting point if you’re not familiar with the TTB and/or label approval.
To construct the list below, I ran a query against the TTB database, constrained to the past two months, and cherry-picked the label approvals of broadest interest to the rum community. There are certainly more rum approvals than listed here. While many small U.S. distilleries make rum, their scale and distribution is limited, so I’ve omitted them. Also, be aware that there is often a significant length of time between label approval and bottles appearing on the shelf.
One challenge of looking at TTB label approvals is that there’s no clear way to determine if it’s a new product or simply a small change to an existing product’s label. I made a best effort to filter out existing products with tiny label changes, but I may have overlooked something. Feel free to let me know if an offering here is already available.
The big news in the list below is the El Dorado “cask finishes.” Starting with the beloved El Dorado 12 year from Guyana as a base, the folks at Demerara Distillers Limited then additionally age the rum in one of four additional casks – red wine, ruby port, white port, or Sauternes (a sweet French wine). Images of these El Dorado cask finish labels have been floating around on Instagram for months, and I’m quite excited to see them making their way here to the U.S.
While a few expressions from the well-regarded Rhum JM brand of agricole rhum from Martinique have been available in the U.S. for years, the new bottlings listed here are the first vintage-specified releases (1999, 2003) that I’m aware of. The 1999 is aged for fifteen years in oak barrels, the 2003 for ten.
Having met the Skotlander rum folks at Miami Rum Renaissance this past April, I’m excited to see some of their releases arriving on U.S. shores. Hailing from Denmark, they have at least four expressions available in Europe, named—simply enough–I, II, III, IV and V. “III” is an interesting sea buckthorn-infused expression, which I sampled at Rum Renaissance. For Skotlander’s initial American releases, they’re going for basic white and aged expressions, although the aged uses sherry casks and is finished off with a touch of molasses
The Gunroom Navy Proof rum caught my eye, as it’s a blend of rums from Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, plus something labeled “secret origin,” then bottled at 109 proof (or higher). A few rum nerds may recall that the Banks Five Island is a blend of rums from Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Java, the Javanese component being Batavia Arrack, made from sugarcane and fermented red rice. Could the Gunroom Navy’s “secret origin” refer to Batavia Arrack? I have no evidence in either direction, but it’s interesting to speculate while awaiting the Gunroom’s arrival.
The new Duncan Taylor Trinidad 1991 bottling is the first new addition to their lineup in more than a year. They already have two Trinidad Caroni bottlings, but this new 1991 expression is explicitly from the Angostura distillery and aged for 20 years.
To see more information about a particular bottle in the table below, simply click the “TTB Link” in the appropriate row. The label imagery is always at the bottom of the page that comes up. Enjoy!
|Name||Notes||Link to TTB label|
|Duncan Taylor Trinidad 1991||Trinidad. 20 years||TTB Link|
|Skotlander White Rum||Denmark||TTB Link|
|Skotlander Cask Rum||Denmark, sherry cask||TTB Link|
|El Dorado 12 Red Wine Cask Finish||Guyana. 12 years||TTB Link|
|El Dorado 12 Ruby Port Cask Finish||Guyana. 12 years||TTB Link|
|El Dorado 12 White Port Cask finish||Guyana. 12 years||TTB Link|
|El Dorado 12 Sauternes Cask Finish||Guyana. 12 years||TTB Link|
|Rhum JM 1999||Martinique. Distilled in 1999. 15 years.||TTB Link|
|Rhum JM 2003||Martinique. Distilled in 2003. 10 years.||TTB Link|
|Gunroom Navy Rum||Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, “secret”||TTB Link|
|Ron Barcelo Imperial Onyx||Dominican Republic||TTB Link|
|Javali Cachaca||Brazil||TTB Link|
|Cubaney 15||Dominican Republic. 15 years||TTB Link|
|Tiburon 8 Reserve Blend||Belize, 8 years||TTB Link|
|Don Q Single Barrel 2005||Puerto Rico||TTB Link|
|Yahara Bay Jamaica Rum||Jamaica||TTB Link|
|Yahara Bay Barbados Rum||Barbados||TTB Link|
|Yahara Bay Trinidad Rum||Trinidad||TTB Link|