With three more months in the rearview mirror, it’s time for another methodic scan of the TTB site for new rum releases–or more accurately, TTB approvals for new releases. The list at the end of this post contains my curated picks for new rums with a good chance of appearing on U.S. shelves and in your local watering holes in the next few months. I’ve previously written about searching the TTB site for recent label approvals; if you’re not familiar with the TTB and/or the approval process, that post is a good place to start before diving in here.
To construct the list below, I query the TTB database, constraining the results to the past three months. I then exercise editorial prerogative to select label approvals likely most interesting (in my opinion) to the rum community. The original list I harvested from the TTB for September, October, and November was substantial – well over two hundred approvals–and I’ve made sweeping cuts to bring the list down to the set shown here. Unfortunately, this meant eliminating most U.S.-produced rum. Not that there aren’t great rums made here in the good old U. S. of A., but finding truly worthwhile rums out of a ton of “Me too!” releases can be a needle in the haystack. (Also, smaller distilleries put out lots of rum with very limited distribution, especially true in recent months.) I also eliminated a few imported rums of dubious heritage and interest–typically silver or gold rums at 40 percent ABV from lesser-known brands and without meaningful age statements.
Before getting to the highlights of the new rums, here are my standard disclaimers for these TTB posts:
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. In some cases, producers submit labels for products that may not ever make it to the shelves, for various reasons. In other cases, a release is very limited in nature, maybe only a few hundred bottles and destined for a particular store or bar.
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. In short, just because you see it on the list below, it’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to purchase it.
New Rum Highlights
John Watling’s is a Bahama-based producer who sources rums from around the Caribbean, then blends and ages them on site. They’re breaking into the U.S. market with a cask strength, 133 proof single-barrel overproof rum. No indicator on which distillery they sourced this from, although it does say “pot still character,” so that narrows down the possibilities somewhat.
Avua Cachaca, which I’ve written about previously, is adding a fifth expression to their existing Prata, Amburana, Oak, and Tapinhoa bottlings. The new addition is a higher proof version of the Prata, coming in at 90 proof compared to the regular 84 proof.
Normally I’d have filtered out the Charlestonian Silver Rum from this list, as it appears to be yet another micro-distiller produced, unaged rum. However, I included it here because it’s the first rum from Charleston, SC–based Rational Spirits after they parted ways with Lost Spirits. No THEA aging in this one, but the label does say it’s “Officially Delicious.”
Flor de Caña brings its Blanco Reserva 7 to the U.S. after releasing it via travel retail a few years back. Although the label doesn’t make a seven-year age claim, it’s implied that the rum has the overall characteristics of a seven year aged rum after filtration to remove color.
If you’re a fan of high-proof, ultra-funky Jamaican rums, you’ll want to grab the three Golden Devil rums from California-based K&L Wines quickly. They’re in very limited quantity and will soon be snapped up by Jamaican-obsessed folks like yours truly. A twenty-four year aged Hampden Estate leads the lineup, adding a full ten years of age above K&L’s previous Faultline fourteen-year Hampden. And the nine-year Monymusk and ten-year Worthy Park are worth snapping up here too. Rums with that age from those two Jamaican distilleries are incredibly difficult to come by in the U.S. All three expressions are bottled in Scotland and weigh in at 100 proof.
Colombia’s La Hechicera finally makes an entrance into the U.S. market after being in Europe for several years. The label says it’s a solera blend of rums from 12 to 21 years of age, and that no sugar is added. It would be interesting to try this side by side with the Dictador 20, also from Colombia.
Since their recent purchase by Remy Cointreau, Barbados-based Mount Gay has released a stream of upscale, limited releases–the latest is the 1703 Master’s Select, limited to 24,000 bottles. The label reads, “Hand selected and blended from 55 reserve casks matured 10 to 30 years.” It’s bottled at 43 percent ABV, which is lower than I’d expect given the price sheets I’ve found for it. It’s unclear whether this release replaces or augments the existing top of the line “1703 Old Cask” expression.
A relatively new American company focusing on importing Colombian produced rum, Parce has received attention for their eight and twelve year expressions. They’re now expanding the lineup to add a three-year aged product; no indication whether it’s filtered for color.
After the successful O.F.T.D. Overproof launch, Plantation Rums returns to the vintage edition side of things. As of late, we’ve seen a general refreshing of their product naming and labels. While some highly limited bottlings are coming, the news of note this time is a renaming of the Barbados 2001 nine-year rum, which goes into the Grand Terroir line and gets a fancy new label.
The top of the line “Cuvée 150 Ans” Limited edition from Rhum Barbancourt finally arrives on U.S. shores—no age statement on the label, and it clocks in at a relatively low 80 proof. Expect to pay close to $1,000 if prices outside of the U.S. are any indication.
Continuing a yearly tradition, St. Lucia Distillers releases the fifth edition of their highly regarded “1931” collection. Previous editions, readily identifiable by different label colors, have gotten lots of love and were snapped up quickly–expect the same to happen here with the fuchsia-colored fifth edition label.
To see more information about a particular bottle in the table below, simply click on “Link” in the appropriate row. The label imagery is always at the bottom of the TTB page that comes up. Enjoy!
|Brand Name||Fanciful Name||Origin||Comments||TTB Link|
|John Watling’s||Single Barrel||Bahamas||4 years 66.2% ABV||Link|
|Avua||Still Strength||Brazil||45% ABV||Link|
|Cachaça Lua Nova||Brazil||42% ABV||Link|
|Cachaça Salinas||Balsamo||Brazil||42% ABV||Link|
|Cachaça Salinas||Umburana||Brazil||42% ABV||Link|
|Capitan Bucanero||Viejo Reserva||Dominican Republic||40% ABV||Link|
|Capitan Bucanero||Viejo||Dominican Republic||40% ABV||Link|
|Capitan Bucanero||Viejo Blanco||Dominican Republic||Blanco 40% ABV||Link|
|Charlestonian||Silver rum||South Carolina||Rational Spirits, 40% ABV||Link|
|Cross Keys||Barbados||5 years, 40% ABV||Link|
|Flor de Caña||Blanco Reserva 7||Nicaragua||40% ABV||Link|
|Golden Devil||Hampden||Scotland||Jamaican – Distilled 1992, 50% ABV – K&L Wines||Link|
|Golden Devil||Monymusk||Scotland||Jamaican – Distilled 2007, 50% ABV – K&L Wines||Link|
|Golden Devil||Worthy park||Scotland||Jamaican – Distilled 2006, 50% ABV – K&L Wines||Link|
|Ibituruna||Prata||Belize||Cachaça 40% ABV||Link|
|Ibituruna||Ouro||Belize||Cachaça 40% ABV||Link|
|Isla Grande||30 years old||France||40% ABV||Link|
|Ko Hana Hawaiian agricole rum||Hapa||Hawaii||Native Hawaiian sugar cane||Link|
|La Hechicera||Solera 21||Columbia||Blend of rums from 14 to 21 years, 40% ABV||Link|
|Lundu||Silver handmade||Brazil||Cachaça 40% ABV||Link|
|Mount Gay||1703 Master Select||Barbados||Aged 10 to 30 years, 43% ABV||Link|
|Parce||3 year||Columbia||43% ABV||Link|
|Plantation||Barbados Grand Terroir||Barbados||8 yrs Barbados, 2 yrs France, 42% ABV||Link|
|Barbancourt||Limited Edition||Haiti||New to U.S. 40% ABV||Link|
|St. Lucia Distillers||1931||St. Lucia||Batch No.5. 46% ABV||Link|