Our new blog has set sail and we’ve welcomed you all aboard the good ship John Paul Jones Rum. So now we can turn our attention to sharing our passion for what we do with discerning adults of exquisite taste (that’s you). The question we’ve been asking ourselves is, ‘Where to start?’ And the answer we’ve come up with? Explain the origin of our exceptional range of infused rum by starting at the beginning (like any good story). Let’s set sail!
What is rum made from?
If you’re asking, ‘What even are the main ingredients of rum?’ Wonder no more. Rum begins its life as sugarcane. More specifically, most rum is made by distilling molasses, which is the dark treacle residue that’s left over after crystallised sugar has been made from sugarcane juice. Traditionally, that’s why rum tends to come from areas where sugar is grown and produced, such as the Caribbean.
Why does the world need JPJ Rum?
Now that’s a much more interesting question! The thing is, while we’ve established that rum can essentially be very simple, not all rums are created equal. In fact, many mass-produced cane spirits mimic natural or ‘spice’ flavours by using a large amount of artificial ingredients or unnatural flavour extracts. There is a high lack of transparency across the category, another obvious example is the widespread practice of adding sugar after distillation (up to 25g/L) to ‘cover’ a lower-quality spirit underneath.
Taking this one step further, many famous and popular ‘dark’ rums don’t gain their colour from ageing in wood at all: they’re actually just white rums with added colourant (E150a). This is so they look like a quality aged rum, as the average shopper associates dark spirits with a more premium liquid. The reason they don’t taste like it is that the makers have chosen to avoid the expertise, time and expense it takes to make the real thing. Hence why many rums struggle to make it past the Coca-Cola mixer and Tiki cocktail bars.
Our inspiration John Paul Jones, the legendary naval adventurer, wouldn’t have accepted anything but the best. There are no shortcuts to excellence, so right from the beginning we knew we had to create flavoured rums in a different way. Believe us, the proof is in the drinking!
A new direction.
We make rum the proper way. We don’t add any caramel colouring, artificial ingredients or flavours. We also never add sugar to our rum after it’s distilled. These are techniques that run-of-the-mill rum brands use to mask the flavour of the spirit, which is only necessary if the spirit needs to be masked! Instead, we steep (this is the technical term for infuse) our rums in food-grade ingredients. This means John Paul Jones Rum is actually more similar to a Scotch Whisky (often regarded as the gold-standard in spirits production) than a standard rum when it comes to how it’s made.
John Paul Jones Lowland Rum.
We’ve explored how less revolutionary rum brands synthetically reproduce the flavours and colours of a quality dark rum, so now we should give you the lowdown on how we do it. Properly. All of our rums start as a white rum, which we import from the Caribbean into Scotland (see our recent blog for more on the rum’s origin). In the case of Lowland Rum, we then age it in charred American oak, which imparts both colour and subtle flavours from the oak. These notes of vanilla, herbs and spices are achieved naturally. We age Lowland for the perfect amount of time to achieve a consistency of colour and flavour. Once it’s ready, we steep the newly aged rum in food-grade botanicals (including, of course our signature ingredient, spiral wrack seaweed) before we bottle it.
How about white rum?
Every rum on the planet begins its journey as a white (transparent) spirit, known as white rum. Most white rums do not see any ageing or wood contact at all, hence their clear appearance. Your standard, headache-inducing white rum is normally unflavoured and raw. This is why drinkers tend to view white rums almost like a harsh vodka—something that desperately needs a mixer or to be used as in cocktails.
This brings us to the first ever seaweed infused white rum. John Paul Jones Ranger rum doesn’t go into barrels for ageing. But, that’s about all it has in common with pretty much any other white rum you can think of. Unlike its outdated predecessors, Ranger is steeped in beautiful food grade botanicals (we’ll go into in more detail on the botanicals in our next blog). This results in Ranger having a flavour profile that doesn’t need to be hidden: you can enjoy it neat or with tonic water and savour the taste of the natural botanicals.
In our next blog, we’ll be explaining the different types of rum. We’ll also explore our steeping process and the botanicals we use to impart flavour into our range. In the meantime, why not buy a bottle or two and enjoy the taste of a truly revolutionary rum?
Until next time…
Ollie, Finn, Jack