Compared to other spirits, rum has relatively few rules dictating how or where it should be produced. In the drinks world, it’s the free spirit, taking on a variety of forms and flavors.
So it’s no surprise that when we asked a group of rum makers to compare their spirits to music we got incredibly diverse and creative answers. So fix yourself a rum cocktail, turn on some good music and read on. Cheers!
“Our Navy Yard Rum is a bit T. Rex, tuned up to 11 but with a point of view behind the energy. Our Queen’s Share Rum invokes Patti Smith’s Horses album. People can approach it casually, ‘OK this lady rocker has a cool blazer’/ ‘Oh these little rum making Bostonians are cute’ then be a bit surprised—like her we did not come to play. Our lead distiller listens to a lot of William Onyeabor and The Liars, so I am sure that energy becomes part of the rum, too.” -Maggie Campbell, president, Privateer Rum
“The great Jamaican rums have what is called ‘rum funk’: ripe and exuberant fruit notes like the music of James Brown. I met my wife in New York City at a James Brown concert in the Village. Good things come with good music. Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry Rum is our way to play the notes of funk.” -Alexandre Gabriel, owner, Maison Ferrand and Plantation Rum Master Blender
“Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum has begun to touch the spirits of people throughout the world—from New Zealand to Argentina and beyond. Jamaica evokes a certain spirituality—one that exists in our people, our food, our music and our rum. Music has the ability to transcend all cultures and for Jamaica, there is an enormous pride of place for our legendary musicians. So for me, I’d say Bob Marley had a truly magnetic effect across the globe, and what better way to describe our rum than through the words of Bob Marley ‘One love One Heart let’s get together and feel alright.’” -Joy Spence, master blender, Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum
“It might be because the term is so widely used for describing rums, but my first instinct would be to lean towards funk, something along the lines of Marc Broussard or the Alabama Shakes or jazz, though that could also just be the New Orleans bias creeping in. There’s definitely some merit to the effect of the trombone, bass, and tuba, those low reverberating tones wafting out of bars onto the streets, sticking to you like cigar smoke. Add in the voice of Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald. Or maybe go more contemporary with Amy Winehouse or Lady Gaga a la Joanne. They touch on something indescribably ethereal that together really rounds out how Roulaison feels to me.” -Andrew Lohfeld, co-founder and head distiller, Roulaison Distilling Co.
“Our Rum-Bar White Overproof Rum is an unaged, 100 percent pot-still distillate bottled at a whopping 126-proof. The smell when you open the bottle is like when you walk into a room pumped with dancehall music and feel the bass line reverberating through your body. It is raw and full-bodied, funky and aromatic, with an ear to the street. When you get to tasting it, the complexity and depth you get on the palate is like the sensory overload you get from any stage show in Jamaica. The sights, the smells, the sounds are much like our rum. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll never forget it.” -Alexander Kong, export sales manager, Worthy Park Estate
The Spirit Sounds series asks spirits makers to compare their liquor to music: a band, a performer, an album, a genre, a song, or whatever else they feel like. Read the first installment featuring bourbon master distillers.