The Art of the Possible: The World of Private Label Rums

The Art of the Possible: The World of Private Label Rums

We have all been there, walking down Rum aisles in a shop and mixed in among the established, well-known brands or worse populating the bottom shelf are brands with questionable names and pedigrees. It would be easy to dismiss these “unknown” brands as bad times; destined to be in punch at some college party.

However, like with most things with the Rum world, there are hidden surprises everywhere and this article will help you navigate and understand the world of private label Rums so you do not miss the best products that are in the mix.

How to make a dream reality…

The creation and deployment of a private label Rum is a daunting task and challenges the passions of the people behind their development. In every case it begins with an idea and desire to create something new that has not been seen in the market.

The next step is connecting with a reputable broker or consultant who can decipher what you are trying to create. Everything is taken into consideration from the aroma to the finish of the Rum and then it is a matter of sourcing the components that will become the blend of liquids that will become your unique private label Rum.

For some their paths lead them to one of the top names in the Rum industry: E&A Scheer. Warning: here comes the Rum nerdy history part I love!

E&A Scheer is a historic Amsterdam based company that’s history dates back to the 18th century. Originally, the company owned a fleet of ships that transported goods between Europe, Africa, and the West Indies bringing sugar and Rum to Europe. By the 19th century, they focused their shipping concerns on Bulk Rum and Batavia Arrack. Today they specialize in creating custom-made Rum blends using a catalog of 200 different Rum types sourced from over 25 Rum distilleries from about as many countries.

For those who are looking to acquire older rare Rums for bottling they need look no further than the The Main Rum Company in Liverpool. A division of E&A Scheer, this company tracks down and purchases Rum from around the world, ages it in small casks, and ages it in their facility in Liverpool until they deem it ready for release. This is perfect for the client who is looking for a Rum with certain pedigree that is unlike any other in the marketplace.

There are other private companies around the world that work with a network of consultants who assist clients in building their brands. Regardless of the path taken eventually the prospective brand owner finds themselves sitting at a table with an array of samples from different distilleries.

Capturing the world in a glass

This is where “The Art of the Possible” is unleashed and imagination becomes reality. This involves the client and blender, working together to find the right balance of Rums that leads to the final product.

Denizen Rum demonstrates a private Rum brand that began with a three-year-old Aged White Rum blend, then expanded to an impressive eight-year-old Merchant’s Reserve displaying how a brand can go from being a boutique private label to earning a spot on many back bars across the United States.

Both blends have a foundation in Jamaican Pot Still Rums, but the three-year old is balanced by Trinidadian Rum from Angostura distillery and the Merchant Reserve Blend takes the high ester flavors of the Jamaican Rums and marries it with Rhum Grand Arome from Martinique creating a one-two punch that impressed bartenders and Rum connoisseurs around the globe.

What is cool is at the time I am writing this I have learned that they have a third release arriving later this year. Denizen Vatted Dark comprised of Rums from Guyana and Martinique that is blended in Amsterdam with the goal of achieving the same flavor profile that British Naval Rum had until 1970. Coming in at 100 proof this release is sure to get the attention of Rummies who enjoy the Naval proof sub-category.

A dynamic example of The Art of the Possible is the Larga Vida XO Rum. This Rum is a private label that is a blend of nine Rums from produced by tropical countries that uses a variety of barrels factored into add to the complexity. The creators desired a multilevel flavor experience that is unique to other Rums in the market.

From bottle to store

The final stage is arranging blending and bottling and it is not uncommon in the United States to see Florida, Texas, California, Kentucky, and New York used for this purpose. After bottling, the last and possibly most challenging part for Private Label Rum is finding distribution that can get the product on the shelves.

Now we are back at the beginning walking down the store aisle looking at all the Rum. As you browse the bottles and look at the labels here are some things to look for.

+ Specific Country/Distillery of origin
+ Details about maturation
+ Details about the blend (more information the better)
+ Glass bottle

- Vague origin description “Product of Caribbean”
- No details about product maturation or blend
- Generic Cliché art work with no details
- Plastic Bottle

If you spot too many things in the negative column, you are probably looking at bulk sourced Rum that is being dumped on the market. There is no craft to this product and it is best to spend your money elsewhere.

In the positive range you have the opportunity to explore and celebrate the creativity and diversity of well crafted Rum. Remember these are brands not developed by the large scale producers, but built on the hopes and dreams of the private creators.

In combination, these two sectors offer the Rum World innumerable opportunities for exploration. Let curiosity be your guide, read the labels, and have fun discovering all of the flavor experiences available to you. Take a moment and look at the Rums in your home bar, do you have any favorite private label Rums?

Cover image: The Main Rum Company

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