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“To barge in to brewers who have been vatting their own rums for some time is a difficult business, and in fact the few flies that Chris Sherriff has put down in the course of his recent calls have produced an almost unanimous reaction against it.”
Last spring I was given the opportunity to look at a unique series of documents from a strange collection. These were an assortment of 3000+ pages related to Seagram’s mid century purchase of the Long Pond distillery and Chivas. The vast bulk of all the papers were tedious and boring but in between a very unique story was told that picks up where we left off with the J.A.S.T. journals which document a lot of Jamaica rum industry consolidation and the formation of the Rum Pool. I will try and tackle these papers in a series of four posts with maybe a fifth.
The fifth post would be about reconciling and comparing everything learned with the beautiful chapter on Jamaican rum from Hugh Barty-King & Anton Massel’s Rum—Yesterday and Today (1983). Pretty much all I knew about Seagram’s operating in Jamaica came from their chapter.
This is sort of a look at amusing dirty laundry and a far cry from what the industry looks like today. I came out of this loving Jamaica rum even more. Wading through this all, the marks feel even more enchanted. Something to note is that documentation of marks is extremely rare. You can google until you are blue in the face and find zero. Something else to note is that this is only a blog. I do not intend to write a book, but I do feed the writers that do. I spend most of my time exploring the schizosaccharomyces fission yeasts that made the heaviest marks and in the end I will likely start my own distillery. If the organization is poor, it is because Cory and I are busy reintroducing fission yeasts to the industry.
In the first lot of papers, we learn about the state of the Long Pond estate at purchase. We learn about their cooperage issues as well as an intimate look at their inventories for each mark plus their labour situation. Even though marks appear everywhere in the documents, there are a ton of things you don’t learn such as what the hell they tasted like or how exactly they were made. When you browse the documents, you almost have to pretend you are coming on board, because they were hiring! We just dismissed Bradgate (and some other guys), so you’re hired! Welcome to orientation! You’re in charge of estate improvements, production, labour, sales, and long term strategy. Also, Excel does not exist yet so you must tabulate everything by hand.
This story starts in 1945, but most of the documents are from the early 1950’s. They also jump around and become redundant because they contain many letters with supplements. There is definitely no linear flow and all you get is a lot of incredible industry glimpses of the likes few have ever seen.
The first thing we see is a purchase letter from a large long time buyer of bulk rums. They wanted more of their favorite marks and list them in order of importance. ST/C♥E came to Long Pond in 1948 from the defunct Cambridge estate and was considered a continental style rum. LPS, HHHS, EHS, ST, ◊S, and CBSW are all considered “super wedderburns” from the Long Pond estate and likely listed in order of prestige. They were remembered in 1958 as “a cross between a continental flavoured type and the Wedderburn type, a full bodied rum somewhat heavier in flavour than the Wedderburn type.” The same 1958 remembrance notes “it now also makes a substantial quantity of an extra light type of rum.” (column still). The F◊RL mark was a private mark for this buyer and that will be acknowledged later.
At this time, there was a glut of common clean rum in Europe and Jamaican producers were organizing via the Rum Pool to restrict production. Shifting to heavier mark production was not a simple proposition and it is hard to say what the limitation was. Something to note which will be reinforced later is that they were making common clean rum from pot stills. A pot still does not necessarily make the rum heavy, fermentation does. Garbage in / garbage out is always the governing rule.
What we see here is a quick September inventory overview and a differentiation between “At Home in Bond” and “Stocks in Jamaica”. A “Services Rum” category existed which comprised “Empire Vatted” rum. This was vatted in bond and comprised of spirits from empire and non-empire origin which was charged a tax according the distribution of the constituents. The below reference (taken from google) teaches us how to calculate preferential duties:
“Purchased” rum in Jamaica was from estates other than Long Pond and bought through the Rum Pool. September is important because there is a season for rum purchasing. We start to see many pages of intimate inventories and it is worth sampling a page:
Many of these are Long Pond marks, but the third entry appears to be PGR/R from Jamaica Sugar Estates which was a common clean mark and the fourth entry is KH, a common clean mark from Hampden. OWN may have been from Richmond which was an “old export common clean”, slightly lighter than a plummer. M/IW could be a wedderburn from Frome. Minor common clean marks lying in inventory appear to be from all over the place and there is even United Estates HL mark.
The other pages continue with different years. Demerara gets its own page and there is a beautiful entry for a 1947 mark titled “Versailles” (the famous wooden pot still) when all others gets symbols. Pages follow that tally “vatted and racked” rum from Jamaica, Demerara, Services, and Trinidad.
We find the formula for the renowned Bell Vat and the proportions are surprising. It is 70% Long Pond’s best marks! Later on we’ll see comparisons of the quality of Bell Vat to others when sales efforts are described (next post).
Pure vatted Jamaica rum was kept around. ST is a Long Pond mark. Wedderburns, Plummer, and Common Clean could be purchased from all over through the rum pool. R/ONW was from the Richmond estate located at Laughlands, and, as noted previously, was categorized as “old export common clean”. Notice, this vat is 50% heavy rum.
In another delicious vat, we see LPS from Long Pond, the IWO wedderburn from Frome. C/IW may actually be I/WC which is the mark from Raheen (Black river) which was transferred to Appleton in 1948. P/IW is another Frome “approximating to Wedderburn”. S/♥/F is a common clean from Sevens, in Clarendon. ACB, (often seen with the three letters circled) was a “light type” heavier than common clean from Frome. P.V. could be pure vatted Jamaica rum from above and not a mark. CJE was a common clean from Caymanas in Spanish Town. Everything appears to be listed in the order of value. Wow! This vat may only be 17.5% heavy rum.
Another pure vatted rum sees Long Pond’s HH/HS and ST. IWO is the Frome wedderburn. L/WW is a heavy common clean from Llandovery in Laughlands. R/ONW is the “old export common clean” from Richmond estate again located at Laughlands. PGR is the common clean from Jamaica Sugar Estates. Over 50% heavy rum!
In this more modest vat we see 4% of a prestigious Long Pond mark followed by various wedderburns and plummers then the “old export common clean” from Richmond and various other common clean. Another with over 50% heavy rum! This looks distinct!
Finally, we see the Empire Vat. State management districts were regions with state controlled liquor set up as an attempt to control bootlegging. They were created in 1915 and likely encompass parts of Scotland. PGR/E was a second tier common clean mark from Jamaica Sugar Estates. ◊SG was likely a modest Demerara mark and E from Caroni was likely an unremarkable mark. This product was probably incredibly budget and priced to out compete illicit spirits. Don’t get too excited seeing Caroni. This was Caroni before it was modernized by consultants from the Rum Pilot Plant of Puerto Rico and that era was even different than the $400 collected Caroni’s which have a secret I’m not at liberty to tell.
We start to see detailed sheets for each major customer which show what marks were being allocated and what could be supplied. Running the sales effort became juggling all the marks as well as projections for both production and demand where nothing was assured. What emerges in these documents is the end of a colonial era sales system where companies in Europe hosted Jamaica rums for further maturation and blending and competed for access via allocations. In the present era, if the prestige of the marks was better understood, there would be a lot of value in the hosting/access model and it could overcome a lot of sales and distribution problems. There is a ton of room for demand to drive up price. In the above page, Sherriff, the parent company of Long Pond was giving Hill Thomson access to both Jamaica and Demerara rums.
This page gets included as a reminder of Long Pond’s own inventory and is likely listed in order of prestige. ST/C♥E was always in demand so what was the limiting factor? Was it fermentation duration and vat capacity? Or luck to have it successfully ferment (no doubt to a very low ABV thus producing a small yield)? What was the difference between ST and ST(w)? ◊S and ◊SW? (The W is for “white”) There was a CB/S but CBS/W was discontinued? Did those products differ by fermentation or distillation technique (such as unique fraction recycling)?
We finally get a glimpse of the purchases from other distilleries:
VR/W was a wedderburn from Vale Royal in Trelawny which will become important later.
F/IW was the fourth wedderburn from Frome.
MMW was a wedderburn from Monymusk in Clarendon.
R/IW was the first wedderburn from Frome and I think H◊CS may have referred to a previous equivalent mark. Many old distilleries were consolidated to Frome which had a large sugar refinery.
F◊P was a plummer from Frome.
PGR was a common clean from Jamaica Sugar Estates.
TT/L was a common clean with “distinctive flavour” from Llandovery in Laughlands.
R/ONW was the “old export common clean” from Richmond.
RH was the common clean from Rose Hall in Little River.
C/HP was a common clean from Monymusk.
O/CG was the second common clean of Worthy Park.
◊HL was the first common clean of United Estates.
DOK, of course, is the first continental rum of Hampden.
That is a hell of a variety of purchased rum! How distinct might they have been if they maintained unique customers for so long? And who is absent? No Serge Island? They had three common cleans. No Green Park? That will become important later. No Barnett? They had one common clean mark active. Ironshore had three common cleans… No Appleton, Holland, Sevens, New Yarmouth, Caymanas, Inn Wood, or Bernard Lodge? Maybe someone else sold all of those.
We know there was a glut, but wedderburns were a bigger business than common clean and plummers look like an after thought. Whats the deal with that?
Captain Morgan enters the picture and it is not the same Captain you know… Not many people remember, but this brand entered the market as a Jamaican rum and to be honest, I cannot even tell you at what year it devolved into a tragic spiced rum. It is hard to interpret this first incarnation but we see some ten year old rum in that blend and a lot laid down for the future! I would be excited to drink that!
Urgent Bradgate! Corporate can’t find the DOK and TT/L (that funny common clean with “distinctive flavour”! This is what a rum emergency looks like.
F◊RL is the special mark for Rigby & Evans which is why it only appears in their column. We start to see the sales work sheets for the colonial era big buyers. All these marks are Long Pond.
This page is a gem! Look at those folds! This was folded up and went in someone’s breast pocket! Blue pen ◊ and a blue pen ♥!
Other Jamaica rum stored in UK! That cursive, that print!
Hand printed mark action! Long Pond in cursive never looked so good!
The corner of that page was torn in sexual frustration late on a friday after incessant tabulating!
Vatted and racked in the UK!
Too much cursive!
VRW is the Vale Royal Wedderburn
TTL was a common clean with “distinctive flavour” from Llandovery
NYE was a common clean from New Yarmouth
PGR was a common clean from Jamaica Sugar Estates.
HL was the second common clean from United Estates.
DCF was a special light type from Frome, possibly just lighter than plummer.
SMG was one of the numerous common cleans of Monymusk
DCL was the second common clean from Inns Wood.
AH is not the clearest, but due to the order it is likely another common clean.
I’m not sure what it means when DCL gets differentiated as “pot still”. W/CH isn’t obvious at the moment.
Here we learn that F/◊R/L is the special mark for Liverpool wine shippers Rigby & Evans which was a big buyer of bulk rum. Being a mark may imply a distinct fermentation and distillation and not just a vatting of different distillates. We then see acknowledgement of fairly new marks, but how do we interpret them? They are typically listed last so is that still their order of prestige? Because of the ordering, are they common clean rums that improved over the years into a new classification? If this firm had private marks in Demerara, did they share any expertise in improving them?
The next pages start to take stock of the copyrights and labels and we see what was out there. The labels are kind of lame and do not always acknowledge Long Pond.
Some labels were established decades prior and used as far away as New Zealand. No one was winning awards for marketing innovation…
From here we segue into the labour situation and learn about the employees.
Long Pond lists no fermentation chemist and that role was likely filled by S.M. Dalrymple the chief distiller who appears to be paid quite well relative to others. On another hand written page, we see redacted information that the top four employees were British and everyone else was Jamaican. Old colonial labour structures were still in place.
On this page and another, we are introduced to the status of the cane fields which show neglect. Many improvements are proposed with major ones being a change in cane variety as well as row spacing. They also plan for new tractors and new mules. Numerous comparison are made to the Vale Royal estate.
The next page introduces plans to upgrade the sugar refinery capacity so that rum production can in turn be increased. However, we are introduced to a snafu: “An additional 1500 gallon still had been ordered but it is believed this order may have been cancelled.” We’ll see more detail on that later, but it was not the easiest to conduct business half way around the world before long distance telephone. “It has been the prevailing contention that the sugar factory had to slow down for the distillery but this was not necessary last season even with existing equipment and Bradgate expects the distillery to be able to make 650 puncheons again this year on the same equipment and on time.” Do not worry, everything is slowly getting ironed out in this saga…
Rum containers, however, are another story…
The barrels are condemned by the Collector of Taxes because they are leaky! Tax assessors only allow for so much loss to the angel’s share and anything else is a leak or theft. You do not allow leaks because they can be misconstrued as theft and accusations can fly therefore no one wants to supervise inferior barrels. Jamaica apparently at this time has zero traditions for cooperage. It all relied on random stuff being returned from abroad and reconditioned. Even as ex bourbon barrels were eventually phased in decades later, I doubt systematic studies of quality were ever performed that could establish a tradition. I’d consider this before a GI is established limiting anyone’s present day operation.
Labour finally gets acknowledged and it may be safe to say before the sale, Long Pond was exploitative. They are noted as housing only 5% of their staff as opposed to the 50% housed by other estates. We then learn about the inherited problem of squatters and grass tenants. 200-300 people were allowed to live on the land starting in 1942 by the previous manager and have been allowed to grow their own cane. If they stay for ten years, they own the land (somehow this must be resolved by 1956?). It is proposed they are moved elsewhere on the estate.
With the grass tenants, we see mention of Michael Manley who would go on to become a democratic socialist prime minister. The plan proposed here seems like a short run way they would cope with the very unjust colonial system that originally established the estates. It was fascinating to learn about Manley in the Boston Review’s When Jamaica Led the Postcolonial Fight Against Exploitation. The new owners of Long Pond seemed to know that in a labour dispute, unions could quickly shut them down.
Apparently, there was some sort of corruption scandal with a field superintendent who had to be replaced and Dalrymple is mentioned as his interim replacement. This is very interesting because we previously saw Dalrymple described as distiller. It is sort of making the entire operation seem rudderless. Who specifically is responsible for the success of the marks and how much attention does it take? Is there terroir driven spontaneity where the marks will make themselves if the washes adhere to the old formulas?
The next note on labour is particularly interesting:
They project a stable year and have some interesting help. The BITU industrial trade union was formed in 1938 and appears to still operate. We have already mentioned Manley and the TUC was the Trade Union Congress who appear to have been undergoing a lot of transition in those years. One thing to note is that Rafael Arroyo promoted some of his ideas, such as higher ABV ferments, as a way to be resilient against labour disputes where a typical low ABV ferment may spoil if it sat undistilled.
The documents start to revolve through the issues:
I have to report that the containers used for 1952 crop rums received at this warehouse from Long Pond Estate are in very bad condition. Made of very old material and apparently used for previous crops, these containers are being continually coopered and repaired for worm-holes, porous and defective staves and racked and repaired for broken staves, and although four coopers attend on each of the two days that the stores are opened, losses have already been comparatively heavy, through leakage and evaporation.
You are already aware of these facts, and it would appear that there has been no improvement in the packages received since 3/4/52 when you visited the warehouse, to look into the matter. […]
Scathing! The next letter recaps a few previous letters and shows the counter claim that they don’t leak at Long Pond but they do leak at Rock Wharf… A next letter apologizes for not having better casks due to costs. I know they are new to operating Long Pond, but this just seems a far cry from how Seagrams operated in other domains. It wouldn’t have been economical to introduce ex North American whiskey casks right away?
What we’ve found here is a 70 year old cooperage scandal so its important we have the fun we can with it. Imagine these guys pacing the room in the heat and hacking away at typewriters writing these letters!
Our letter 4th April cont…
We would ask you to check very carefully whether some of the packages you are sending out are indeed worth while sending, as it seems to us the cost of freight etc., plus losses destined in storage might meet the cost of purchasing new wood for replacements.
The collector has informed us that much of the wood being used for filling our Rum is poorer then generally used in the Island and advises us to discard many of these old packages.
Your letter 16th April.
“with reference your letter of 4th ****., we regret we do not agree with some of your remarks in regards to casks which we forward to you.
We have several letters on our files written by the previous Manager during 1949 and 1950, in which he stated he was perfectly satisfied with the containers which we were forwarding to Jamaica.
Before we decided to forward any appreciable quantity of re-coopered containers this matter was gone into thoroughly, and we were led to believe that it was very much more satisfactory for containers to be re-coopered here.
We will admit that the general run of containers might not be quite as good as we should like owing to our not being able to purchase a large number of new Puncheon replacements each year. Nevertheless, we consider that our casks should be capable of holding Rum in Jamaica and during shipment to the U.K. without excessive loss, provided they are carefully handled and tightened up prior to filling.
As you are no doubt aware, we in Glasgow handle Rum from practically every Estate in Jamaica and Demerara, and we consider that our casks are as good, and if not better, than most other re-made casks.
One point which seems very strange to us is that it was only when we took up the question of heavy losses that it was brought to our attention that the condition of our re-coopered casks was considered poor. If this is the case why have you not previously informed us of this fact.”
Our letter 25th April.
“The question of bringing to your attention the poor condition of second hand casks was not, we thought, necessary. As you have examined and re-coopered same before shipping we gathered that you considered they were in good condition or that they were suitable for being filled and you were prepared to accept losses that might occur through poor wood. However, apparently you consider that the containers you have shipped are in reasonable condition and it appears that there is a difference of opinion.
We can only state what our opinion is when you query these losses.
We now enclose a copy of a letter received to-day from [next page not included…]
What does all this mean? I feel like we are left hanging.
Oh yeah, they fire Bradgate. After all we’ve been through, I’m still not sure how I feel about him. I hold some things against him while other times I feel really bad that he had to field so many curve balls. He did go out to pasture with a cushy job in Canada. More from Bradgate later.
And so begins the strategy (against the odds!):
To barge in to brewers who have been vatting their own rums for some time is a difficult business, and in fact the few flies that Chris Sherriff has put down in the course of his recent calls have produced an almost unanimous reaction against it. That of course doesn’t mean that it cannot be done. The man in a brewery who has to be contacted and persuaded in order to effect such sales of vatted rum is the wine and spirit buyer.
If you read on you’ll see the difficulty in establishing a new sales strategy. The brewers were a difficult group to influence and on top of that rum sales had a season so it would be hard to employ someone full time.
(1) This would be the easiest way in; (2) buyers of bulk rums, vatted or otherwise, usually buy for the year at one particular time of year, which in fact is October/November, and (3) such a procedure would allow any buyer who required more rum during the course of the year to ring either the agent or Sherriff direct which in fact has proved to be the most likely way this could be handled.
What you see here is discussion of the move from selling individual marks in the old colonial system to standardized vattings such as Captain Morgan or Lord Nelson.
The incentive to breaking the old system is that a buyer could dramatically reduce inventory costs if they could reliably have a supply through out the year.
As you might know and have observed, Sherriffs and Long Pond have been sleeping for many years and all has been taken out of the place and very little put back in. A very short sighted policy has been adopted with the result that to-day, Long Pond is a disgrace to the Sugar Industry in Jamaica and results and profits that should have been achieved are just not achieved. I would like you to have the opportunity, but no doubt you have not the time, to examine much of the correspondence I have written and the replies and non replies which I have had over the past couple of years. One would get the impression that I have been knocking my head against a brick wall and that I have been dealing with figures in a Pantomime whose one idea seems to have been to thwart any commonsense suggestions and to ignore any views expressed here by people on the spot.
Yikes! And yet the marks survive! Can Long Pond be restored? The next page by this writer itemizes a list of grievances that we have already covered so I will spare you. It seems that quite a few people were acutely aware of the situation as Long Pond was changing hands. I will add this note because Long Pond’s canes were ravaged by mosaic disease:
This year an increased planting program was carried out and the total of 336 acres was replanted during last Fall and Spring for the 1953 crop. This, I believe is the largest replanting program since Long Pond has been in existence but it is still not sufficient as replanting should be carried out over, say, a maximum five year’s cycle which means on our total cane acreage, a replanting of nearly 400 acres per annum. In addition to this, time has to be made up for past neglect and throwing out of the Mosaic variety of cane as early as possible.
What are Seagram’s ambitions? Everyone needs to know…
Regarding machinery, it is not possible for our Consultant Engineer or myself to make any recommendation as we are in the dark as to what productive capacity may be required in the next few years. You will appreciate that a Unit suitable for a 5,000 ton factory may not be suitable for a 8,000 ton factory and so on.
We learn even more about the appraisal. They need new crushers because they are competing for cane from independent farmers who are paid on the sugar yield. If they get a better yield elsewhere they will make more money. The 1,500 gallon still comes up again. Someone was under the impression that the current still was worn out but that is clarified as not the case. We see more acknowledgement that cooperage is a mess. And then we encounter a new minor scandal where completion of a new manager’s house grossly exceeded estimates of the architect. Housing for labour comes up again and it is stressed about how Long Pond must starting housing its staff.
On a following page we see a recommendation for the “Appointment of Chief Engineer and Factory Manager with experience and administrative ability. The man sent out from Glasgow last October was an imbecile and so completely useless that he had to be returned.”
Um, that sounds like a hell of a set back.
My comment to Glasgow that they might wish to talk with Mr. Muschett re their interests here was made because of their apparent lack of interest or knowledge of affairs and lack of confidence or disbelief in our views here. With regard to the local running of the Estate, it seemed that the views of Head Office Staff out here for minute periods only were always more acceptable than the views of those of us on the spot. I hoped that should they ask Mr. Muschett some questions, confidence and belief would be placed in our comments.
I am not sure of what you mean by “situation respecting Vale Royal properties”. Do you mean an interest in purchasing the place? I am rather inclined to think that Mr. Muschett would only sell as a last resort, on the other hand I may be completely wrong. One thing, his health is far from good and it would be no surprise to me if his active interest in the business be curtailed at any time.
Interest in purchasing Vale Royal will recur. One thing we know is that they have had declining success. Vale Royal used to make a continental rum which they may have gotten from Georgia when it was absorbed in 1940 but stopped in 1949 after no reported sales during WWII. They only produced one wedderburn mark.
Long Pond still needs a Superintendent, “a much superior type of man”. I don’t know how you could steal Scholefield if you were thinking about purchasing the Vale Royal estate and don’t want to piss anyone off. I did not know that Lemon Hart owned Kew, but Kew did close in 1950 so Mr. Parkin would be a free agent. Kew was also known to make a continental rum, but it is not known where it ended up after closing.
This letter continues with so much drama and I’ll skip rehashing it but I will leave you with this quote: “I regret that it is out of the question and indeed there is not just the time available for me to adopt the role of Field Superintendent as well as General Manager or to be a “private detective”. This guy is about to crack. 1951 was a hard year at Long Pond.
1951 Crop report
Now to refer to my 1951 Crop Report which you have quoted.
You of course cannot know of the circumstances which surround the taking off of that campaign. It will be remembered that in the space of two months in the closing months of 1950 shortly before the commencement of the 1951 Crop, the three senior members of the company left or were cleared out – the Manager, the Field Superintendent who was learning and the ex Field Superintendent who was in the role of adviser and also overseer, Hyde Hall and Etingdon. This left myself in a very unenviable position and apart from the hullabaloo that surrounded this incident (the timing of these dismissals was most unfortunate) Trade Union action and Labour Relations throughout the industry were at a critical stage in the Island. During this most difficult initial period of which three months were in the Crop Campaign, I had to carry out the duties of both Accountant and Manager, which to say the least was absolutely absurd in such an industry as this and during the crop period. It was also quite unnecessary had matters been arranged better. However by working sixteen hours per day for some eight months, the largest drop ever produced at Long Pond was taken off in a record time for which – strange to say on completion – not one word of thanks came from the Directors. A small gesture but something that would have been highly appreciated by us all.
During this period I thought the new Field Superintendent did his best in conducting Crop operations, worked very hard and on completion I was prepared to make particular mention of commendation in my Report as i had advised against him being appointed previously, and, during the visit of Messrs. C.B. Sherriff and H.N. Dron, whilst I spoke of his good efforts, I mentioned he was not the type of man to occupy this position. It is of course now known that his efforts were not all in the right direction. Furthermore recent investigations by myself are likely to indicate further irregularities that I suspected.
This sounds a lot like working in a restaurant. Bradgate is like a restaurant manager who also has to host and do dishes because too many people were fired for doing cocaine during the shift. There have been many people I have wanted to fire over the years, but I also didn’t want to cover their shifts nor try to hire someone new because I didn’t want to train them…
I’m omitting a few things from this August 7th 1952 letter, but it does leave off with noting Mr. Muschett from Vale Royal is in the U.K. and would be worth tracking down to have a chat.
They separate continental rum, but we do know in 1952, 546 puncheons were made. For 1953 it was 630. These were two odd years. 1952 resulted in tremendous overbuying which created incredibly weak demand for 1953. This was the roller coaster of the industry. In 1952 Ironshore also closed down. They made three common clean marks, but didn’t seem to be purchased by Long Pond. In 1952, Llandovery closed and the marks were transferred to Richmond (which in turn closed in 1970). Their first mark fetched as much money as a plummer but was considered a heavy common clean and their TTL mark was a common clean but renowned for it’s distinctive flavour. It was known to be bottled as a pure mark which I believe was rare. If they didn’t have esters, did they have rum oil?
A lot was learned, but at the same time very little has come into focus. What is Seagram’s ultimate plan? Are they in over their heads? How are the marks so resilient if this place was managed so poorly? There is more to come.
PGR Jamaica Sugar Estates common clean
PGR/K Jamaica Sugar Estates common clean (That K may really be an E)
J◊CBR Jamaica Sugar Estates common clean
◊S/IE Serge Island common clean
S/IE Serge Island common clean
LFK/S Serge Island common clean
HM Grey’s Inn neutral alcohol
L/WW Llandovery heavy common clean
TT/L Llandovery common clean with distinctive flavour
R/ONW Richmond common clean
A/GP/W Green Park Plummer
◊A/GP/W Green Park Plummer
ST/C♥E Long Pond super wedderburn from Cambridge estate, 1948 (Still at Long Pond)
LP/S Long Pond super wedderburn
HH/HS Long Pond super wedderburn
E/HS Long Pond super wedderburn
S/T Long Pond super wedderburn
◊S Long Pond super wedderburn
CB/S Long Pond super wedderburn
CBS/W Long Pond super wedderburn
VR/W Vale Royal wedderburn (This appears to be at Long Pond today)
CH/II Barnett common clean
RH Rose Hall common clean
RH/W Rose Hall common clean
I◊I Ironshore common clean
ISA Ironshore common clean
A Ironshore common clean
DOK Hampden continental flavoured (named for Dermot Owen Kelly Lawson, an early 20th century distiller)
C◊H Hampden continental flavoured
◊H Hampden continental flavoured
H/GML Hampden continental flavoured
HW Hampden wedderburn
KH Hampden common clean
WSN Hampden special light type
H/RE Hampden special light type
RC/H Hampden special light type
EHK Hampden heavy type
(Hampden today notes LROK [light rum Owen Kelly] started production in 1952, but we don’t see it in this list. Owen Kelly possibly died in 1952 and it was an honorary mark. Was another mark renamed?)
R/IW Frome wedderburn
IWO Frome wedderburn
M/IW Frome wedderburn
F/IW Frome wedderburn
P/IW Frome approximating wedderburn
F◊G Frome plummer (perhabs the original plummer? Make sure you read Matt Pietrek’s post, many of the 19th century wedderburns appear to be hosted at Frome. We do know who was consolidated to Frome in the first early round.)
F/I◊B Frome plummer
W/B Frome plummer
F◊B Frome plummer
T/IW Frome plummer
F◊P Frome plummer
Lc Frome common clean
◊WG Frome common clean
◊TS Frome common clean
◊HS/R Frome common clean
S♥ Frome common clean
S♥F Frome common clean
C/AC Frome common clean
R/IGC Frome common clean
RC/F Frome central (Special light type)
RH/F Frome central (Special light type)
K Frome central (Special light type)
RL Frome central (Special light type)
RLS Frome central (Special light type)
EC Frome central (Special light type)
DC/F Frome central (Special light type)
◊RK Frome light type
ΟA/CB Frome light type
D/BW/A Appleton common clean (higher quality)
I/WC Appleton common clean (higher quality) from Raheen estate, 1948
◊H Holland common clean
MMW Monymusk wedderburn
M/R◊S Monymusk common clean
MRS Monymusk common clean
C/HP Monymusk common clean
MG Monymusk common clean
MM/T Monymusk common clean
RDC Monymusk common clean
S/MG Monymusk common clean
EMB Monymusk common clean from Bog estate, 1949
S◊P Sevens common clean
NYE New Yarmouth common clean established 1948
C/JE Caymanas common clean
LP Worthy Park common clean
OC/G Worthy Park common clean
IW Inns Wood common clean
DCL Inns Wood common clean
◊KL Bernard Lodge common clean
◊HL United Estates common clean
HL United Estates common clean
Keep in mind, if a mark is produced today, but not in this list, its history should be recent enough that it should be fully known and we can put first names on it. It is not likely that any marks existed in 1952 that were not represented here. Producers need to cough up the names so we can celebrate the inventors.
Matt Pietrek has an incredible post over at Cocktailwonk showing the marks currently produced in Jamaica accumulated from a lot of private correspondence which is quite special. In the next post of this series, I’ll cross reference things as best I can.
Known Jamaica Marks recorded in 1903 by a colonial excise survey:
These were only provided as samples for government forms that were in use related to excise. They may only represent places this one officer visited.
C/B Albion Estate, St. Thomas
C/A Albion Estate, St. Thomas
SE Albion Estate, St. Thomas
E/A Cherry Garden Estate, St. Catherine
C/P Hillside Estate, Clarendon
P Perrin Estate, Clarendon
D/BW/R Appleton Estate, St. Elizabeth
EMB Bog Estate, Clarendon
DI Bog Estate, Clarendon
GE Ewing’s Caymana, St. Catherine
N/RS Ewing’s Caymana, St. Catherine
M/LV Ewing’s Caymana, St. Catherine
RR Rock River Estate, Clarendon
SE/WD Rock River Estate, Clarendon