The Mission

Dave Rum Shopping in Grenada Mkt copy

We are fortunate to live in a Golden Age of Rum.  Seems like every month, a fine new rum is launched, and it's rarely expensive. Magic stuff this rum; the spirit that hundreds of years ago simultaneously lent discipline to Navies and gave Pirates courage - and it gets better every day.  Actually, Rum is in its third Golden Age right now.  

Rum's first Golden Age occurred during the 18th and 19th Centuries, when it starred center stage in World trade.  Cultures and races were transported across oceans to feed Europe's addiction with sugar and its derivative spirit.  Then Britain prohibited intra-colony trade, molasses and rum trickled, and revolutions fomented.  But people gotta drink, so grain-based spirits were developed from North American grains.  By the mid-1800's, technical advances, notably the Coffey Still, improved the quantity and quality of rum, but they arrived too late.  Beets were replacing sugarcane as the source of sugar.  The Caribbean's slave-based economy receded for more than a hundred years.  Rum fell into disfavor.    

Sailing to Discover Rum

Coaxing more speed out of a big catamaran in the Eastern Caribbean, trying to arrive at the next island in time for a rum sundowner.

Lagoon 500 sail trim

Rum's second Golden Age rocked in the early part of the 20th Century, and Cuba took center stage.  Americans seeking respite from prohibition and a good time partied in Cuba, discovering rums with an excellence of flavor not found in other liquors.  As we said goodbye to the Nineteen-Fifties (some said Good Riddance) America lost access to Cuba's great rum.  Rum's supply exceeded its demand.  Stockpiles of great rum lay fallow in oak casks for decades …  

The 21st Century dawns bright for Rum.  
Why now?  Why not?  It’s rum’s time.  Rum is so widely varied; it’s really several spirits in one. Many rums rival Vodka for their mixability, have a history and pedigree the equal of the best Scotch whisky’s, are as imbued with culture and character as Tequila, and are most often compared favorably with fine Cognac among spirits professionals.  In any case, Rum is for celebrating.  We need more of that.  

In over twenty years of searching for rum by sailboat and motorcycle, covering hundreds of thousands of miles, visiting scores of islands sprinkled over four oceans, professionally judging and sampling hundreds of rums from every fertile continent, I’m always reminded of rum’s diversity.   

Dave Russell
Curator, The Rum Gallery
Co-founder, International Rum Council

Explore The Art of Rum.  Drink responsibly.  It's a matter of taste.  
Rum Gallery has nothing to sell, nor is it affiliated with any distiller, brand, importer or spirits distributor.

© Dave Russell 2017