Spirited’s latest edition of Unbottled continues our exploration of rums, where we check out four very different examples and the trends in the world of rum that created them.

The global rum market has been showing steady growth around the world, driven by a number of trends that has thrust the cane spirit into the global spotlight.

One of the more noticeable trends in premiumisation, with consumers showing an interest in high quality, aged, artisanal rums. Another is the increased diversity in rum styles, particularly with spiced and flavoured rums that are well used in the cocktail world.

We look at four totally different rums recently released in the Singapore market that are the result of those trends.

Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend

Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend

One of the biggest enduring trends in the world of rum is premiumisation. While rum brands rely on their core rum expressions to drive volume, many – and more – are beginning to introduce special, limited edition, exclusive, or otherwise rare releases to appeal to serious rum aficionados and collectors.

Borrowing a leaf from the Scotch whisky industry, we’ve already begun to see a lot more longer aged rums packaged as special editions, single cask releases, vintage releases, or even one-off rums aged in more unusual casks, released in the market these days.

One of the more interesting recent special releases is the Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend. The Jamaican distillery recreated the legendary rum originally crafted by J. Wray & Nephew on the estate in the 1940s, best known as the rum used in the original classic Mai Tai cocktail. Appleton Estate master blender Joy Spence took the original formula and tapped her distillery’s formidable inventory, faithfully resurrecting one of the most sought-after unicorn bottlings in the world. Only 1,500 bottles of Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend have been produced, and due to the rarity of aged stock, is unlikely to be ever produced again.

We’d give you tasting notes, but that will spoil the surprise wouldn’t it? In any case, we’re likely to be seeing a lot more aged rums – as special bottlings – in the coming future.

Only 96 bottles of Appleton Estate 17 Year Old Legend are available in Singapore. For purchase enquiries, contact Campari Group RARE Division’s Sales Executive, Cathy Sun at Cathy.Sun@campari.com.

Project Alcatraz

Santa Teresa 1796 Rum

The telling of stories play a big part in the selling of rum. But storytelling takes an even greater importance in this day and age with rum’s ongoing market fragmentation and a competitive industry that’s more unregulated than most.

Rum enthusiasts would likely be aware Mount Gay as the oldest recorded rum distillery – established in 1703 on Barbados, if you’d like to know – or have heard of Nicaragua rum brand Flor de Caña’s sustainability story.

Then you have Santa Teresa 1796 Rum. Recently introduced to Singapore, Santa Teresa 1796 is Venezuela’s oldest rum brand. But instead of harping on history, it tells the story of its social responsibility programme, Project Alcatraz, which has helped rehabilitate gang members into responsible members of society, particularly through rugby. Project Alcatraz has led to the disbanding of over 11 criminal gangs and produced over 80 outstanding athletes since 2003, with 15 of them in the national rugby team. Talk about giving back!

Yet even a great story such as this can’t help if the rum is bad. Thankfully Santa Teresa 1796 is an outstanding award-winning premium rum, triple-aged and blended from rums aged for up to 35 years using the solera method. This is a rich and complex rum with big candied tropical fruits and burnt citrus on the nose, while on the palate offers a veritable symphony of flavours ranging from wood spice and chocolate to honey and caramel. It’s perfect as a sipper, we’d enjoy this as a Rum Old Fashioned as well.

Stories that tug at the heart, conscience or personal motivations help move product, which is why bars and stores would be keen to carry them. We can expect more storytelling from rum brands to come our way, and rums shaped to align with those tales.

Santa Teresa 1796 Rum is available at select bars across Singapore and can be purchased from La Maison du Whisky at a recommended retail price of S$135.

Canerock Jamaican Spiced Rum

Canerock Jamaican Spiced Rum

The history of spiced rum runs as far back as the origins of rum in the Caribbean itself. In the days of yore, Caribbean sailors and colonists were known to add spices and other botanicals to rum to improve flavour but also help preservation. But in modern times, flavoured rum take on new meaning particularly in the world of cocktails.

If you visit bars often enough you’d recognise some of them. There’s Malibu Rum, which is coconut flavoured, while Puerto Rico’s Don Q makes an entire range with different flavours including passionfruit, and of course, many spiced variants such as Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and Black Tears Rum.

One of the latest to be introduced in Singapore is Canerock Jamaican Spiced Rum. Produced by Maison Ferrand – which makes the Plantation range of rums including their stunningly popular Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum – Canerock blends aged rums from Jamaica’s Clarendon and Long Pond distilleries and then infuses that with a melange of adjuncts such as Madagascan vanilla, Caribbean coconuts, and Jamaican wild ginger. The result is a shockingly harmonious rum with woody sweetness of vanilla, fresh spicy bite of ginger, and a tropical creaminess from coconut. You’ll enjoy this lengthened with ginger ale or cola.

What other flavours will we see in rum? Only time will tell.

Canerock Jamaican Spiced Rum is available exclusively at retail from CS Fresh and Cold Storage in Singapore at a recommended retail price of S$99, as well as select bars across Singapore.

Bago Founder's Batch Rum

Bago Founder’s Batch Rum

Then there is blending of rums across regions. While blending of rums sourced from across the Caribbean and Latin America is extremely common – possibly the most notable example being Plantation Rum – there is now a trend towards the blending of rums from around the world. In the past couple of years we saw the introduction of the likes of Equiano Rum, which combines rums of Barbados in the Caribbean and Mauritius in Africa, as well as House of Cane, putting together an ‘Asian-Caribbean Rum’ with cane spirit drawn from Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, Venezuela, and Thailand.

The latest in this trend is Bago Founder’s Batch Rum. Specially concocted for Caribbean restaurant Lime House, Bago rum comprises of a blend of three different rums – a 23-year old solera aged rum from Thailand, unaged pot still Jamaican rum, and a 3- to 5-year old Caribbean rum that itself is predominantly blended with rums from Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago.

In Bago’s case what you get here is a bouquet of tropical fruits like pineapple, coconut, banana on the nose, along with woody spice and grassy notes. On the palate you get much of the same, along with chocolate, licorice and some fresh funk from the white Jamaican rum.

Bago Founder’s Batch is excellent for making cocktails – particularly a Rum Old Fashioned or Planter’s Punch – but can also be enjoyed over ice with a squeeze of orange, or splashed with coconut water.

The advantage of blending is that it allows producers to create styles and combination of flavours outside the house style of individual distilleries. But blending across regions help create interest – and tells a story! – that can only add more diversity and fun into the world of rum.

You can find Bago Founder’s Batch Rum at Lime House, or purchase it direct from Spun Spirits at a recommended retail price of S$99.

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