Jamaican rum has a particular mystique, and many rum geeks consider Jamaican rum’s unique flavor profile their favorite. In what follows, I highlight some of the many interesting yet lesser-known aspects of Jamaican rum.
Jamaican rum is particularly known for its strong aroma and flavor, emphasizing fruits like pineapple and overripe banana. Some people call its special aroma “funk” or “hogo.” These flavors derive from fermentation ingredients like dunder, muck, and cane acid, which are rarely used in other rum-making regions.
2) Jamaican Rum Distilleries
Campari owns Appleton Estate and New Yarmouth, while National Rums of Jamaica owns long Pond and Clarendon.
Jamaican is famous for the many marques (or marks) that each distillery makes. Much like a bakery makes different types of bread, all Jamaican distilleries make several different types of rum, each with a specific flavor profile. Each style is named with a unique sequence of letters and numbers, for example, NYE/WK.
Rum geeks love to decode what each marque’s letters and symbols represent.
4) Featuring its Heritage
Just over a decade ago, there was only one Jamaican rum brand featuring the distillery where it was made: Appleton Estate.
Today five rum brands highlight where they were made. It is an important step toward rum being viewed as a premium spirit, equal to the finest whiskies and brandies.
The new brands are Worthy Park, Hampden Estate, Monymusk, and Long Pond.
5) Jamaican Rum Regulations
Jamaica registered a geographical indication (GI) for its rum in 2016. The GI defines the exact requirements required for a rum to be labeled and sold as “Jamaican Rum.” Jamaica’s GI provides its rum with the same legal protections as spirits like champagne, Scotch whisky, and cognac.
6) Famous Stills
Jamaican distilleries are famous for their double retort pot stills that create a flavorful, heavy-bodied rum in a single distillation pass. All six distilleries use this type of still. One distillery has six double retorts, and two more have five!
7) Women Leading Rum
8) Rum Verschnitt
Jamaican rum was once so popular in Germany that Jamaican distillers crafted a type of “rum concentrate” sold to Germany. It was diluted with local neutral spirits before sale as “rum verschnitt.” You can still buy rum verschnitt today.
9) Unexpected Uses
10) Government Rum
The Jamaican government is in the rum business. It holds a 1/3 share of National Rums of Jamaica, which in turn owns the Clarendon and Long Pond distilleries and their respective brands, Monymusk and Long Pond.
Want to read more about Jamaican rum? Check out my collected writings here.