7 products

The Colours of Rum - Part 3

Shifting focus to the mainland, Guyana offers what are arguably the world’s most full bodied rums. It’s also the most storied region. The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in Guyana. Circa 1815, the British took control and wasted no time ramping up sugar production. Rum followed. Partly due to cost and material availability, stills were constructed of Greenheart wood, an abundant, local hardwood. Historically, Demerara rum was considered heavy, similar in some respects to dark Jamaicans, with burnt as a common descriptor. That style found particular favour with the Royal Navy blenders. Hundreds of rum distilleries once dappled the coastline, but dire economic circumstances forced consolidation and closures - of which Uitvlugt is perhaps the most famous. That led to the formation of Demerara Distillers Ltd, now Guyana’s sole rum-making entity. Ten stills, including three heritage wooden stills can make nearly anything under the sun, but the most iconic and sought-after flavour profile remains that of the heavy, oily rums emanating from centuries-old historical equipment.

Those looking for a contrast will find pleasure in agricole-style French Caribbean rums produced on several islands to the north of Guyana. While they may lack the global footprint of molasses-based rum, rigorous regulations and strict adherence to high-quality production standards make it hard to find anything less than stellar examples out of Martinique and the lesser known Guadeloupe. The latter has regulations somewhat similar to Martinique’s AOC but allow for molasses-based rums and batch distillation. As one of the last "hidden gems" in the world of spirits, these rums, sometimes a combination of both free run juice and molasses, are faraway from the marketing ploys and bill boards of multinational brands. Bottlings from Bellevue distillery and the even more obscure Montebello are the highlights here.