This week on Bottoms Up we’re seeking a little bit of history… rum history! Did you know that Mount Gay Barbados Rum was established in 1703 and is the oldest existing brand of rum in the world? We have the story and the tasting on this week’s episode as we move from sailing to “black gold” in just a matter of a few minutes.
Run Time: 11 Minutes, 17 Seconds
Mount Gay Barbados Rum
Mount Gay Rum is produced by Mount Gay Distilleries Ltd. of Barbados, the easternmost island of the West Indies. The oldest surviving deed for the company is from 1703, making Mount Gay Rum the oldest existing brand of rum in the world.
The current majority shareholder of Mount Gay Distilleries (since 1989) is Rémy Cointreau. Rémy Cointreau is a French alcoholic beverage company that produces cognac, liqueurs, spirits and champagne. The company is a result of a 1990-1991 merger between Rémy Martin and Cointreau.
Mount Gay Rum is sold in 110 countries, and its primary export market is the United States of America.
The island of Barbados is formed of coral limestone, a porous stone which acts as a natural filter for the groundwater deep beneath the island. This water is subsequently filtered three more times, resulting in some of the purest water available.
Barbadian sugar is among the finest in the world, yielding exceptional molasses. In the 18th century, Barbadian molasses had come to be called “Black Gold” because of the additional revenue it provided after the process of refining crystalized sugar from sugar cane.
The art of fermentation truly begins when molasses and coral filtered water are combined with a proprietary strain of yeast, selected exclusively for Mount Gay Rums. Since opening the doors of the first still house, this process has been conducted in the open air of Barbados.
For over three hundred years, the distinct bold character of Mount Gay Rum has been developed in traditional double copper pot stills. An innovative distillation technique in 1703, this process has been in continuous use by Mount Gay ever since.
In tropical Caribbean climates, the process of aging is unpredictable. One year could mature a rum as much as three years or as few as six months. For Mount Gay the focus is on maturation over aging. Today, Mount Gay Rums are matured in charred white oak barrels, barrels which previously held American whiskey.
Blending has become a true craft. It is this alchemical merging of controlled practices and skilled intuition that has guided master blenders for years. Allen Smith holds sway over the craft of blending at Mount Gay Distilleries. An individual batch of Mount Gay Rum contains dozens of different distillates, single and double.