Jamaican Rum Rum Jamaica

Jamaica has been famous for its rum production since as far back as 1655 when the British Naval fleet conquered the island and began dispensing local rum, rather than French brandy as the liquor ration to its sailors. Rum is styled as light or silver (clear), gold or amber (brown), dark or full-bodied, and spiced (aromatic). Jamaican distillers produce all four styles, including some premium aged rums that are usually consumed straight as shots. Rum quality is generally judged by age and aging process, the older rums being more intense and premium in quality, while rums aged less than a year tend to have little flavor.

Much of the rum made in Jamaica is exported to blenders and bottlers outside the country. Various brands are available under different labels depending on whether you are in Europe, the U.S. or elsewhere.

The island currently boasts six distinct distillers and one blender/bottler. The distillers include:

J. Wray & Nephew Limited Long Pond Distillery Monymusk Distillery National Rums of Jamaica Ltd Port Morant Worthy Park Estate Ltd.

J. Wray & Nephew Limited produces possibly the most famous of the Jamaican rums, Appleton Estates. Eleven rums representing all classes of rum are produced by this distillery, including some premium aged rums. Appleton Estate Reserve earned the honor of “Best in Category – rum” at the 2009 World Spirits awards. Most Appleton rums are readily available in the US.

Long Pond produces two rums, both significantly aged (20 and 25 years). These are dark rums. The Long Pond distillery historically was the birthplace of what is now Captain Morgan, distilled currently in Puerto Rico. Long Pond is bottled by Bristol Spirits in the UK.

Monymusk produces three rums, an 18 year aged, a 19 year aged, and an 8 year aged. These are premium dark rums, reflected in their cost.

National Rums of Jamaica Ltd is the producer of Myers brand rums, including Myers Legend and Myers Original Dark. Myers is also readily available in the US.

Port Morant rums are distilled in Jamaica and then sold primarily to Europe to be blended by private labelers. Port Morant makes a 10 year light brown rum and an 8 year light brown rum.

Worthy Park Estate produces only one rum, the Worth Parkpot still, a light rum distilled in a copper pot still. Like Port Morant, Worthy Park distills rums in Jamaica and exports them for blending and bottling under other brand names.

All the Jamaican rums are molasses based, usually from sugar cane grown on the island, making them usually described as full-bodied and pungent.

Unlike the distilleries, Dr. Ian Sangster blends and bottles Jamaican rums such as Sangster’s Conquering Lion Overproof, a white rum purportedly preferred by local islanders, and Sangster’s Old Jamaica Banana, Pineapple, Orange or Coconut rums.

Sea Wynde rum is made of blends of five different rums distilled in both Jamaica and Guyana, so is not purely Jamaican, but is of some Jamaican origin. Sea Wynde is known as a mellow, sipping rum.

Coruba Jamaican rum is distilled in Jamaica, but not sold there commercially. Appleton also makes a “Coruba” rum.

Anyone wishing to try Jamaican rums has plenty of choices, in flavor, strength, and price point. Enjoy!

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