Lifestyle

Another Glimpse Into Rum Country

Bar None

with Debbian Spence-Minott

Thursday, October 03, 2019

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This week, we hit the road with a number of our rum explorers and continued on our quest to discover rum worlds right here in Jamaica. The path led us to Lionel Town, Clarendon, where we were once again taken through time. However, on this occasion we discovered Monymusk — one of six rum distilleries on the island. We were graciously welcomed by the marketing duo of Brian Hanson and Ayawna Morgan. Then Robert Gordon, master blender, and Flovia Riley, production manager, shared with us the mystique that is Monymusk. Continue reading; we are eager to share.

About Monymusk Estate

The Monymusk Estate's origin is traced to the late 18th century where the Grant family of Monymusk Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, came into possession of the plantation through marriage, when Sir Archibald's Grant son wedded the daughter of Elizabeth Callandar. In the early 19th century the Grants ended up losing the estate through gambling, it is said.

In 1901, the estate ownership was transferred to the Honorable Colonel C J Ward, the estate at the time being among the oldest rum-producing estates in Jamaica. In 1916, the ownership of the facility passed hands to the Lindo Brothers who maintained possession through to 1928 when the estate was sold to Clarendon Plantation Limited. By 1929, there was another change of ownership; this time, the estate was acquired by the United Fruit Company which maintained ownership until 1936. By 1937, ownership was transferred to the West Indies Sugar Company, which oversaw operations until 1976 when the ownership of the estate was again transferred, this time to the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) via the National Sugar Company Limited. In 1980 National Rums of Jamaica (NRJ) was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Sugar Company Limited with the remit to operate the distillery assets of the parent company. Clarendon Distillers remained a wholly owned subsidiary of NRJ up to 2006. At this time the GOJ divested two-thirds of their shares with a third going to Demerara Distillers Ltd (owners of El Dorado Rum) and the final third to West Indies Rum Distillers — based in Barbados, and who have since been acquired by Maison Ferrand Ltd, owners of Plantation Rums.

NRJ embarked on a programme of modernising the CDL Distillery at Monymusk under EU's IDPCRS Assistance Programme in early 2007. The programme resulted in the erection of a new plant including state-of-the-art equipment in new fermentation and distillation sections. COO of NRJ Neil Glasgow commented, “The rebuilt Clarendon facility uses unique fermentation and distillation practices to produce rums to world-class standards. This mission is supported by fully and professionally trained managers who take great pride in ensuring that the required standards are at all times met for our iconic brands.” CEO of NRJ Winston Harrison noted, “It is no secret that long before the world knew us for sports and music… our rum put us on the map…” However, an unknown fact to most is that NRJ, through its two distilleries (Clarendon Distillers Limited and the world-renowned Long Pond Distillers Limited) is the largest producer and exporter of bulk rums from the island.

Monymusk supplies over 20 different pot and column still marks globally on an annual basis, as well as the premiumisation of rum and innovation, in a way that appeals to and engages the millennial consumers. Harrison added that the education of consumers and stakeholders is another important pillar which underpins the responsible consumption campaign.


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