The Long Pond Chronicles, Part 2: The Whispering Gallery

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[I should probably remark that this series of posts has zero to do with the current ownership of Long Pond and it’s fairly recent reopening. I had also not read anyone’s posts about Long Pond until after I finished this section despite knowing a few different people had visited on sponsored tours. One thing all these writers note is that not much is known about the distillery.

Articles I read:

Long Pond Returns! Jamaica’s Historic Rum Distillery Resumes Operation
Single Cask Rum – Long Pond (has a table to current marks)
Focus on the distillery: Long Pond, secrets of the phoenix of Jamaica
Long Pond rum plan – Husseys mull factory restart as spirits venture

If there is any good reading I missed, please send it my way.]


In the last post, I introduced a large trove of papers I was briefly given access to which documented Seagrams mid century acquisition of the rum merchant, Sherriff which owned Jamaica’s legendary Long Pond distillery. These encompassed roughly 3000 pages that mainly look at bland aspects of corporate formation, but in between a unique story was told.

The papers don’t really have a chronological order and I did not try to reorder them. The narrative that emerges in this section is the unwinding of the pre WWII colonial rum trade which featured countless independent bottlers and a very superstitious mark obsessed culture. Rum sales were slipping and the Seagrams plan was trade the old quirky front loaded buying system for standardized vatted brands like Captain Morgan and Lord Nelson. These nationally available brands would be backed up by modern marketing and continuously available throughout the year. Seagrams didn’t enter the rum market guns a blazing screaming proto-globalism at everyone, but rather slipped into the whispering gallery and made sure all deals were amicable and mutually beneficial. The old system didn’t give up too easily and continued for decades with remnants still existing today. Some hold overs like E&A Scheer are quite large without owning their own distillery.

There is very little talk of science in any of the papers, but this batch starts with a 1952 clipping from Harper’s Wine & Spirit Gazette about a London Lecture on Rum Production from J.A.P. I’Anson who has appeared previously on the blog. Long ago, I had collected a 1971 paper from I’Anson published in the journal Process Biochemistry.

Only the first page of the article is included, but in 1952, the writer, recapping I’Anson’s lecture mentions: “It is important to note that the type of rum eventually produced depends entirely on the composition of the water that is added at this stage. After dilution, yeast is introduced to the resulting fluid.” What the writer likely implies is whether or not dunder is used. In 1972, I’Anson’s article is quite unique. Most of it is spent promoting the techniques of the Rum Pilot Plant and there is mention of centrifuging both treated molasses and completed ferments which were techniques pioneered by Rafael Arroyo (which Cory and I explore today). In the second half, historical details about heavy rum production are mentioned but nothing too revelatory. I’Anson seems like an engineer who made his money promoting modern light rum yet had an appreciation for heritage heavy rum.

The next page included clipping of this article about a new World Bank development program which sought to inject energy into Jamaican agriculture which was seen as a stagnant sector hindered by environmental degradation and neglect. We see what was on the mind of corporate… Don’t forget this was only intended to be read by executives.

Next up is June 1952 export data. It cannot be said whether this is all Jamaican rum or not. Borneo was not exactly lucrative, but it was on the map!

If you can still read cursive, you see the 21 remaining sugar estates of Jamaica. I’m not sure if there is any significance to the order. Why write Appleton above Long Pond? What is with that second column in the lower right? Both Appleton and Long Pond are singled out as unique members of the Rum Pool. They had a special agreement no doubt because they eyed expansion and had a sales capacity that was higher than other estates. As we learned in the last post, Llandovery and Richmond had recently amalgamated as they say in the biz.

If you are going to work in this business, you need to know the ownership and their capacity. This list appears to be before a round of consolidation. I have not cross referenced this list or googled all the names, but what is immediately interesting is that A.E. Muschett, owner of Vale Royal, mentioned in the last post, also owned Kew which closed in 1950. Kew was known to make a continental flavoured rum, but it is not known where it went after closing. Vale Royal already had a continental flavoured rum that they likely got from Georgia in 1940, but it was discontinued after reporting no sales during WWII. The ownership connection was likely not enough to preserve the unique mark and at the moment we don’t even know what it was called.

The list of marks I referenced in the appendix to the last post was derived from this list assembled by C.A. Bloomfield himself, who gave us the astounding 1958 history of the Rum Pool, which is the leading primary source of information on Jamaica distillery operations and consolidation. These two pages are titled:

Marks of Jamaica rum current at 3/17/1948
Revised by Mr. C.A. Bloomfield 10/18/1950

No doubt lists like this were published yearly, but this is the only one ever found in the wild. It is not apparent what exactly was revised. Possibly something was dropped instead of added? Catherine Hall is Barnett and Duckenfield is Jamaica Sugar Estates so we only have Kew missing on this list.

The unwinding of the colonial era rum trade is going to start coming into focus as Seagrams creates both Captain Morgan and Lord Nelson. What was a mark obsessed industry of distilleries selling to private bottlers who vatted their own rum was going to consolidate into products you are somewhat used to seeing on the shelf even today. As a modern drinker, it seems kind of boring and possibly stripped away of rum terroir. Nothing was left but commodity products that had to compete with Bacardi in a race to the bottom we are only beginning to rebound from. The above page thrusts us into the midst of it where Seagrams forms a partnership with the important rum bottler, Seager Evans as a joint holding company. They start dissolving the St. Nicolat brand and begin promoting Lord Nelson. They have to get the okay from a still alive Lord Nelson to use his name so they don’t get sued! The mention of price matching Captain Morgan becomes important because Seagrams had a strategy of using two of their own brands fictionally competing against each other.

What was the original Lord Nelson like? It tracked both St. Nicolat and the legendary Jamaica version of Lemon Hart. Consumer interest was always there for heavy rum. Much of the mythology of consumers driving the light rum craze is driven by marketers. Light rum was cheaper and more importantly easier to produce, so production could always grow at any pace marketing could set. Heavy rum is just truly special and a cultural treasure. It is hard to make and you could never just quadruple production on a whim. There was always increasing demand for heavier mark as we’ve seen in these sales letters but production did not necessarily follow suit though we will see capacity expand at Long Pond. Seagrams likely used slick marketing to brute force a change in consumer taste. There was no other way to dramatically expand sales.

As everyone enters into sales agreements we start to see letters that take stock of holdings. Here is one that notes more proprietary marks: “The red cross against certain Marks denotes they are our monopoly”. Sadly, no page is included that shares these marks. We cannot assume they are Jamaican either. The letter goes on to discuss pension fund matters, but ends in this interesting note of corporate culture:

“You will no doubt appreciate that our Trade, like the Stage, is a ‘whispering gallery’, and in the circumstances I should be most grateful if you would treat the figures I have sent you, and the purport of our conversations, as confidentially as possible.”

Exciting time in the evolution of the rum business.

These pages can be breezed through because the numbers are hard to contextualize. We see what is being phased out in favour of a bigger blander brand. The UK market was about to lose Blue Mountain (Jamaican rum), Old Sam (Demerara rum), Old Rob (Trinidad rum), Many Cargoes (Barbados), and Young’s Liqueur Rum. Personally, I really like the name “Many Cargoes”.

Lord Nelson should not wear a hat!

Omg, they actually took the expert’s advice… (Don’t get confused by all the Admiral Nelson spiced rum label’s out there. There is another Lord Nelson “rhum” label from the 1970’s where Nelson is still hatless, but kind of looks like zombie Nelson.)

There is something very sober seeming about all this. Like these people do not actually drink rum… I love the technicalities because “as Nelson suggests to most people Lord Nelson” but “(without the hat)”.

You have to be very careful when you are trying to reinvent the entire culturally important rum trading system into the bland commodity version. Always commence with a survey.

It is fascinating here how they are really plunging into the unknown. It wasn’t even concretely known how much of the market was Jamaica rum.

“Total rum consumption in this market has apparently shrunk by 20% in two years.”

“It is generally considered that when whisky is also in greater supply, there will be further but not drastic reduction in rum sales, possibly 10% to 15%.

Lemon Hart is surprisingly big and I have a feeling I would like it.

“It is a well established and traditional business and it is very hard, if not virtually impossible, for a new and unknown organization to break in to this close corporation of rum buyers and sellers in any substantial way.”

This statement probably implies a culture rotten with misogyny and colonial style racism, so on the one hand, its nice to see it disrupted and Seagrams was known for a culture that was not afraid to employ women or pay fair wages, but on the other hand, there was a risk of losing product diversity. Is rum in a more equitable place today because of this period of upheavel?

We also get a better introduction to the brewers as significant outlets for rum sales. Breweries ran pubs that sold more than just beer. They also sold a lot of rum and vatted it themselves. We know they were cliquey and probably comically pretentious. Its the oldest of the crusty old guard. It would be interesting if a scholar of UK pubs could tell use more about these large brewers and what their pubs looked like in terms of spirits. Some seems large enough to drink up an entire mark or two!

Here we learn more about the various tied, and partially tied houses. The eventual pitch will be the offer them a bottled product at a competitive price so they no longer have to front load their inventory making a few large purchases a year.

I have never heard of “Light Hart” and apparently it was not well received. We see some incredible cultural details. Much rum poured in pubs was probably consumed with the absolute minimal knowledge of branding. The fact that most people had no knowledge of what exactly they were consuming or the incredible cultural importance of Hampden and Long Pond may be at odds with what I think was at risk if there was consolidation.

More incredible details here. Kia-ora is a gnarly sunny-delight® style orange drink. The name comes from a beautiful Maori greeting, but from the era where colonial powers were trying to erase the Maori language and culture. The founder of the drink supposedly had no particular interest in preserving Maori culture. Erase it in one place while marketing it in another… Kia-ora endured for a long time and still technically exists.

I’m more of a Jamaica rum and hot water kind of guy. The better the rum, the less I feel the need for even a citrus peel. I’ve consumed quite a bit of Mezan XO and hot water.

Types of Jamaica Rum.

There are, broadly speaking, two types of Jamaica rum on the market. The heavy Wedderburn – Plummer type such as “Old Charlie” which is made up entirely of these heavy rums and the rum containing a substantial portion of common clean rums e.g. “Lemon Hart”. It would not be surprising however to find that “Lemon Hart” may tend to increase the quantity of heavier rums in their blend. The limited availability of the Wedderburns has given them a great prestige standing and Jamaica is now taking steps to increase the production of this kind of rum. Jamaica has persistently tried to convince the U.K. market of the advantages of lighter rums and it is possibly true to say that their efforts have been completely unsuccessful. The rum drinking public want good strong-tasting rum. Coming as they do from the working classes of the U.K. they do not object to the heavy Jamaica flavour, in fact, this is an asset. It is for this reason we have advocated the introduction of a heavy Captain Morgan Jamaica rum under the “Black Label” which may very well in a short time become our principle seller.

Incredible details and wouldn’t it be incredible to taste Old Charlie?

Marks.

The Trade are mark conscious to an almost ridiculous extent. For example, Mr. Cooke of E.D. & F. Mann, told me of various excellent quality Wedderburn-types of rum which were every bit as good as Wedderburn but which it was very difficult to place because they did not have the identical Wedderburn marks. This explain the difficulty in introducing Nelson Estate marks. This point has been discussed with Julian & Trower’s salesman, all of whom consider that their chief handicap is the fact that the marks are unknown. Seager Evans have been more successful in overcoming this difficulty due to the fact that they have combined the sale of Nelson Estates’ “Fern Valley” rum with their own well-established “Green Park”. As Seager Evans cannot get enough “Green Park”, they have naturally pushed the sales of “Fern Valley”.

Wow! We are now fully in the whispering gallery! Mark skepticism could come in a few forms. They could just be picky and pretentious which to a degree I respect, or there could be something more substantial in play. Many marks were classified by ester numbers, but they had rum oil or they didn’t and that could not be easily quantified. This phenomenon still exists. Sometimes the GCMS ester numbers read well, but the European buyers are not enthralled and the distillers know something is missing they cannot put their finger on… β-Damascenone!, among the most beautiful known odorants of which certain rums have more of than any other spirit. It has radiance that can valourize esters and the perfumers claim your immune system can bend around it in a state of relaxation. So maybe the new marks are deficient in rum oil?

I do not completely understand how to interpret this fillings business. I’m assuming that fillings are unaged new make.

PGR is the Jamaica Sugar Estates common clean
S◊P is the Sevens common clean
S/IE is the Serge Island common clean

You wondered how these properties justified themselves and it is because they sold!

NYE is the New Yarmouth common clean established 1948
C/JE Caymanas common clean
I/WC Appleton common clean (higher quality) from Raheen estate, 1948
ACB or ΟA/CB, (often seen with the three letters circled) was a “light type” heavier than common clean from Frome.

Whats the deal? Were any of these duds or were they just not trusted by finicky buyers? Interesting sales season notes. Cold weather sells the rum?

It is very interesting to see acknowledgement that the Sherriff business was mostly confined to Scotland. Those figures must represent a lot of their own marks, so London never really got exposed to the pleasures of Long Pond?

Here we see acknowledgement of Hampden being the king of Jamaica! We also see in 1952 a big value spread, and these are all pot distilled rums. The still isn’t determining quality, its the ferment!

I’ve never heard of “top dressing” but you do frequently see “grading up” in the literature. This was the blending of heavier rums to increase the value of lighter rums. Its fascinating that buyers were so finicky that vatted rum could damage their reputation. This market compares in no way to North American whiskey.

This is the first mention we see of E.&A. Scheer, the famed buyer of high ester rum. We see other names as well which no doubt have incredible histories:
The Rum Company of Basle, Switzerland [Basel, which created the Coruba brand]
E.&A. Scheer of Amsterdam
Anton Walte
Segritz and Eggers Franke of Germany
The United Rum Merchants

These are all names we will have to cross reference and explore. I think one or two merged. E.&A. Scheer may have finally gobbled a few. Even within their own company “There is hardly anyone with adequate rum training to walk straight into this job.” Incredible! Who is Mr. Cooke of E.D.&F. Mann? Another firm couldn’t find a suitable sales guy! Did anyone ever truly know of rum?

We’re back in the whispering gallery. I like the sound of Major Ison! The rum merchants had apparently resisted consolidation for a long time.

So Old Sam was a Demerara rum. And they basically offer to buy everyone.

They are building a dossier on the brewers.

Everyone of these brewers has recognized the trend of the time, although some are naturally concerned about it and anxious to arrest this movement. In all instances my approach has been that, while the trend appears inevitable, it should not result in a clash of interests between our company and the brewers. On the contrary, now is the time when we can best turn this trend to our mutual advantage. Several other interesting ideas have developed from this :-

The trend is a decline is rum sales unless marketing, which no one is large enough to undertake, can prop it back up. To bridge the old and new system, they propose the brewers buy standardized vatted rum (supported by marketing) they bottle themselves as well as buying up their old stocks which is important because the previous system featured front loaded buying.

Here we learn that the Moonlight Jamaica rum brand which would be discontinued in the new sales plan was composed of:
PGR/K Jamaica Sugar Estates common clean (That “K” may be a mistake and it may really be the “E” noted here.)
IWO Frome wedderburn

On the same page we see one company being setup to do business with Captain Morgan while another is setup to deal with Lord Nelson. Two brands artificially competing against each other was the strategy. At the same time, we learn that they were competing against Lemon Hart Jamaica which was quite significant.

Sales of unknown marks were not easy as we see again here. I would not be surprised if they were trying to sell Long Pond’s fairly new CB/S & CBS/W super wedderburns which we will learn later weren’t exactly the highest in esters. Charlie Julian seems to be brilliant and had incredibly unique experience as a blender. It would be incredible to find rememberences of his skills. He created the first version of Chivas and is considered among the most significant blenders of the 20th century. Remind me to ask Berry Bros. & Rudd to find us some literature celebrating Julian.

So did they do it all? I think so. Did they continue with Blue Mountain? That was a new idea for me. That is a lot of balls in the air!

We learn more about Edward Young which was established in 1797. Blue Mountain was their Jamaica rum (I love the name), Old Sam, their Demerara, and Old Rob turned out to be from Trinidad. Those wines were economically significant back then and are basically priceless today, fetching startling sums.

Everyone of the brewers who vatted their own rums which was about to be lost had near superstitious blending opinions and a lexicon for judging marks that we really just know so little of today. Tons of ideas were passed down over generations that have vanished. My opinion is that today we allow too few blenders to vat too large scale a product and this doesn’t allow enough minds in the industry.

Two brands competing against each other:

What I think we see here is talk of offering a mark to the bulk market which may have been previously 100% tied up in a brand. Going back through the mark listings, I don’t see FV/NS anywhere. Could FV be Fern Valley? If we go back in this post to the talk of Seager Evans, they sold Green Park, but could not get enough so they were also selling Nelson Estates “Fern Valley”. Because it is not a listed mark, it may also be a vatting.

At the end, we see Seagrams getting caught trying to push light junk and got called out!
A/GP/W Green Park Plummer
◊A/GP/W Green Park Plummer

My interpretation is that they think Lord Nelson will be less financially successful than Captain Morgan. I cannot really tell which one is more prestigious in the beginning.

It was 1952 and we were at 600 puncheons when we started this saga and now its almost 1956 and we’re at 1000!

It is July 19th, 1955 and a scandal erupts! Someone in Holland who received a supply of Long Pond’s most prestigious ST/C♥E from someone in London diluted it before reselling it in Germany as the same mark! The solution is to sell all of the ST/C♥E to the more trustworthy Schiebeler & Co. Even though Seagrams is somewhat blowing up the U.K. rum trade, it is interesting to see their deeply held commitment to very old continental customers. Quite a few redundant memos relate to this scandal meaning it was discussed for quite a while before this decision was made. The Seagrams purchase of Long Pond and Sherriff seems to have been mutually beneficial for near everyone in the industry (except Lemon Hart!).

Something really interesting we see here is the allocation system. One allocation is increased as a matter of courtesy to help a buyer recover from a fire. The Demerara allocation is also increased for this customer but with a price increase. Aging abroad may not have sucked profits from distillers as is commonly thought because demand was so high for specialty marks that allocation could raise the price. If profits were made from maturing the spirit, they no doubt came with risks such as the fire we see here. It has been strange to see that industry superstition prevented many buyers from embracing stocks that were already multiple years old.

It is 1955:
On the same page we see a memorandum that the Rum Importers Association is following the Scotch Whisky Association and recommending their members not to resort to TV advertising.

Somehow we are back in December of 1954. We see a remark that barrels are not acceptable to their customers and this may mean that used whiskey barrels had not yet entered the trade. Could whiskey barrels have not begun until Seagrams sold enough Captain Morgan and Lord Nelson to age it however they pleased? (Eventually in the next post we learn that Myers may have pioneered barrels introducing the idea to Seagram).

We see the incredibly cool memo that in order to produce more ST/C♥E, they accept there being less CBS/W or LP/S. LP/S was likely Long Pond’s second most prestigious mark while CBS/W was their newest and least prestigious. What exactly traded? Did more ST/C♥E steal vat space from CBS/W and possibly specialty muck, dunder, or even vinegar from LP/S?

A big block of Caroni moves which I suspect was nothing too special.

Here, we see more allocation action of marks. E/HS and HH/HS were both among Long Pond’s top marks. “Stripped on the estate” is likely the price before any transport charges and may only be something that applies to one estate such as Long Pond purchasing rum from another before it is placed in wood and transported at great expense.

“Mr. Ison agreed with Mr. Jarrett that these Long Pond marks were superior to the Green Park rum, and he appreciated that the quicker ageing results and better quality of the E/HS and HH/HS rums would probably effect a saving in quantity used in their blends and storage charges, etc.”

Incredible to see this grand arôme talk! In this era, they used to use the exhaustive test of systematic dilution to see how far a rum could be stretched. This was also sometimes called quantitative tasting because it was assessed organoleptically but given a numerical result. Buyers weren’t just savants, they had tools and techniques. This result could rapidly be used to make these determinations of savings in blends. One strong mark, loaded with rum oil, could power many multiples of blends.

The note on rum containers is related to the previous comments on that topic.

It is 1954 and we see our first mention of University of the West Indies. In my experience this incredible school is like Boston’s M.I.T., producing exceptional engineers. It is no doubt the foundation of the modern rum industry.

Green Park closed in 1955, but it’s two plummer marks, A/GP/W and ◊A/GP/W were relied upon by a few customers like Seager Evans where it was a cash cow. We then see both mention of Long Pond filling the void with it’s marks and Hampden possibly reproducing it. I don’t think anyone was competing to fill the void so much as it was amicable and a bit of Jamaica rum production tetris due to how the Spirits Pool operated. The 1958 JAST journal mentions that Green Park’s marks were eventually produced at Frome.

It looks like Lond Pond finally worked out its cooperage problems after those early years!

The mentioned mark, VR/W, is the Vale Royal wedderburn. Because these guys are not overly superstitious like the U.K. buyers, they are able to buy surplus aged versions of this mark on the market instead of buying new make from the Rum Pool. Very slick…

CMS and SM/CG appear to be Demerara marks. This is the first time in these papers we see anyone buying inventory for a customer’s needs four years into the future. Schiebbler & Co., remember, was given rights to nearly all of ST/C♥E. I suspect the profit for production is separated from the profit for trading the rum.

The deal to replace the Green Park marks results in a significant increase in production demand for premium marks at Long Pond. HW is a Hampden wedderburn and 200 puncheons seems like a very significant number. Hampden powered a lot of rum! 752 puncheons of continental rum were made that year so this deal represents 1/4 of it all! You can start to see why Hampden (just like Long Pond) never had to bottle their own rum (there actually was a few Long Pond labels available for use in the far flung parts of the world).

Carrying over into the next page, we see demand for Hampden’s infamous DOK high ester rum, Vale Royal’s VR/W wedderburn, and R/ONW the “old export common clean” from Richmond.

All of these are super wedderburns from Long Pond listed in order of price and no doubt established prestige.

CB/S was one of the two newer Long Pond marks. It is hard to say if we can infer anything about quality because this is a situation where a buyer may not be prone to superstition. We are given some nice leads of where to look for mid century efforts to protect the name of Jamaica rum. The previous major efforts may have been those by Nolan two or more decades earlier.

On the same page there is a minor note that infers Long Pond was selling sugar directly to wineries, likely for dessert wine production.

I suspected as much, because we already knew capacity was up, but in the minutes of this 1954 meeting we finally see acknowledgement that the third still is operational as well as additional vats.

We see our first new sales inquiry and it is denied! Allocations came with long term commitments and you couldn’t just break them because someone random outbid someone slightly. Producers wanted sales capacity investment and follow through to create regularity, avoiding as much boom and bust cycle as possible.

We knew Green Park was closing, but now we also see that Long Pond was getting their cane. I don’t completely understand the talk of higher prices, but we do know Sherriff and Appleton had special agreements with the Rum Pool that differed from everyone else. We also know Green Park’s marks somehow ended up at Frome. There is a lot concern for these marks and this appears to be a unique tasting to try and sort it out. Imagine being there!

This seems so polite, but you can tell they are really freaking out because they need more heavy marks!

Despite rum sales consolidating, we see a new bulk customer try to buy. I’m not sure how to interpret the Murdock rums, but it could be another buy back of unused bulk rum on the market. The foreman cooper is in the hospital and he is still being paid a percentage of his salary. He also appears to have a pension. I’m not sure whether these benefits were normal for the time period or unique to Seagrams.

Allocations, allocations, allocations! Some prices include the wood and some prices don’t. The buyer apparently must account for their cost to return the wood. What is odd is that some prices do not seem to rise as much as you’d think for aged product. Did maturation yield less increase in value than we give it credit for today? This could be important to accusations of colonialism for aging Jamaican rum abroad. However, the nature of today’s market could be a much different ball game. We see one Demerara mark singled out for the period it was distilled and it would be interesting to know what to expect from its quality relative to later in the season. Would it be mellower than a rum produced in peak of summer with insufficient cooling? Many whiskey distilleries did not operate in summer because product consistency simply went out the window… Today, we regard Versailles as a very special still, but then it did not seem to fetch special prices. Was it not fed special ferments?

We descend into some horribly illegible tables that lay out all the big buyers and all the allocations of Long Pond marks as well as Demerara across a few years and give an overview for the sales team. It is titled “Summary of our own Long Pond Rums – Stock and estimated requirements – as at 1st July, 1954”. You can see all of who got what from the most important customers and if we knew the brands they represented, we could strongly infer what the marks were that powered them. After the largest regular customers, you see a total of what was available for sale in the smaller bulk market.

These paragraphs were preceded by a very general inquiry for whiskey, but we sadly cannot cover everything. Of course we all know those Long Pond marks but C◊H is the second continental rum of Hampden after DOK. We are in the most interesting of whispering galleries and seeing some hardcore continental rum business going down! How could you not be interested in DOK 1944?! I guess he couldn’t afford it. As we will find out in the next post, this 1944 DOK may have come from an inventory owned by Myers.

They spell out the situation almost like they knew we would find this and try to understand their bygone era. Do heavy rum marks still require all these letters of interest? Or do they just try to produce as many as they can these days (without major capital investment) because the fine rum market is growing steadily? This memo was dated 25th May, 1954.

Here we see an incredible communication from corporate to the distillery management team about what to produce for the 1954 crop. They also include what they expect the marks to conform to in terms of ester contents. That no doubt was more important than you’d think and greatly helps us understand what they were dealing with. F◊RL is the special mark for Rigby & Evans and I wonder if we can say 1953 was the last year it was produced.

Can we really say all the Long Pond marks are “super wedderburns”? The low ester stuff appears to be produced in really small quantities. S/T and S/T (white) as well ◊S and ◊S (white) have an interesting production spread. Do they differ by fermentation technique or might it only be distillation technique where the white may be a unique lot where tails are processed? Who can tell us? I can only think of a few people and they don’t like to talk. This is before production was expanded with a new still and more vats.

This appears to be another buy back of a Long Pond mark. Interesting typewriter technique. As the market consolidates, Seagrams is careful not to leave anyone stranded.

Italy enters the fray. Interesting, a few different small bulk buyers bowed out of their heavy marks. Were others happy to pick them up? Long Pond’s best stuff had been making it to Toronto and Switzerland on the regular.

I know you were nervous, but the board wasn’t.

This cask note was interesting to me. They were so dependent on timely returns from Europe. They also had to show up to Frome and Hampden with their own casks. This wasn’t the most reliable system because of the risk that bad casks could spoil a rum and damage a producer’s reputation.

We’ve seen bits and pieces, but this memo reinforces the notion that Sherriff did not own Hampden, but was responsible for a large portion of their sales. Holm, who is going to receive this unusual allocation of rum, is not allowed to step on the toes of established continental rum firms. The industry apparently goes to great lengths to operate amicably and with stability.

We will slowly come across a few bits from this historical compilation. Nothing is really about rum or the marks so much as the ownership of the property.

Gin production starts at Appleton in 1953 and Long Pond sees no reason to oppose it. Was it called an Old Tom gin from the beginning? I drank a bottle of it while playing dominos in Hopewell about fifteen years ago. Everyone else was drinking JB & Campari.

Another purchase of bulk rum has been made but we don’t know if they are Jamaican or from elsewhere. The amount seems significant.
I’m slightly confused by the logic of this cooperage note. We see puncheons being offered, but also acknowledgement that they were available because they were unsuitable for storage in Canadian and Jamaican warehouses which were build to store barrels. Would these warehouses not belong to Sherriff or Long Pond implying the barrel trend was started by someone else? (Myers?)

A note from 7th of April, 1953. There was hiccups and hesitancy during the expansion at Long Pond. There was also a lot of chatter about engineering in the sugar mill expansion. The previous engineer had retired and the new engineer was not too keen on his work, but it was acknowledged that the design was somewhat constrained by the war and that the old engineering firm still had all the drawings and foundry patterns which may be key to maintaining the equipment.

A very small bulk buyer enters the scene. Perhaps they represented a grocery store? They are looking for a simple vatted rum but get rebuked on their attempt to label it. Long Pond itself had too much prestige and so too did “Old Jamaica Bell Rum” (which we know from the last post was some hefty stuff).

This pushes us back in time to 1952 and we get to see Colonel Sherriff setup for action. Someone knew their capacity well enough to know they should increase the proprietary Rigby Evans F◊RL mark because they were going to shaft them on their ST/C♥E.

And we’re done! I’ll see you at the next round of papers.

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