Call me biased, but at my fourth Tales of the Cocktail, the global rum family seemed front and center at the annual cocktail and spirits show. I didn’t do a rigorous analysis, but more than any other spirit, rum seemed to be on the rise–the most sessions, tasting rooms, and special events. As much as I wanted to attend every rum-related event, there were simply too many! So what follows are my personal highlights of rum-related events at Tales, with no slights intended to the events I missed.
In the last few months I’ve seen solid evidence that true premium rum is finally making inroads to the hearts and minds of spirits lovers. Bourbon and single malt drinkers are taking (the right) rums more seriously, and new bespoke limited editions are arriving nearly every week. It’s not uncommon for an entire allotment of bottles priced at $100 or more to fly off the shelf within 24 hours of release.
Pusser’s rum, famous for purchasing the rights to the Royal British Navy rum recipe and recreating its flavor profile, has signaled a change in the components of their top-end fifteen year aged rum. What was until recently cited as a blend of Trinidad and Guyanese rums is now given as just Guyana rums, per a recent U.S. TTB label approval.
While Plantation’s 2017 West Indies Rum Distillery purchase has received the lion’s share of recent press about the brand, the deal also granted them one-third ownership in the Jamaican Long Pond and Monymusk distilleries. Plantation has been strongly emphasizing the Jamaican lately: The high profile Xaymaca blends distillates from both distilleries, while the latest Extreme Series (No. 3) comprises two very long aged Long Pond marques. At a private dinner during Tales of the Cocktail 2018 in New Orleans, Alexandre Gabriel unveiled yet another exotic Jamaican release – a limited edition rum, for a good cause, as well as some very surprising news for rum collectors.
According to the Jamaica Observer, Jamaica’s Long Pond rum distillery has been severely hobbled by a fire. The historic distillery, known for its classic pot stilled Jamaican rums adjoins a sugar cane factory and cane fields. Reports are that a fire in the cane field spread to bagasse (dried cane plant mass) and eventually to buildings holding tanks of rum and the fermentation area. Luckily, no one was hurt.
UPDATE: 7/25/2018 – See end of story for updated information from Ferrand. What immediately follows here is the original story.
Early on my path to rum wonkdom, after exhausting the rum selections at my pitiful state liquor stores, a certain set of elegant looking and pricey bottles caught my eye while scouring the shelves at an out-of-state liquor store. The labels read Berry Bros. & Rudd, and each bottle held rum from a different country. I quickly realized that these were somehow different from the big rum brands. I was fascinated and realized I had much to learn. However, the $120 price tags were prohibitive, especially so for someone not yet well informed on the nuances of different countries, much less different distilleries.