Ownership history of the distillery and the often separate sugar cane operations are vague. According to thelastgreatgrathouse, ‘The original owner of Long Pond Estate was William Reid who acquired the property in 1709’
- Long Pond as a distillery dates back to 1753 ‘when both a sugar factory and rum distillery were created here’. [cocktailwonk].
- Seagrams bought Long Pond in 1953, securing supply for their Captain Morgan Rum brand that was borne in 1944.
- In 1977, the Jamaican government took over the distillery, eventually selling it to private vested interests in the 1990’s
- In 2009, ‘Everglades Farms Ltd. owned by the Hussey family, acquired the estate’. [hampdenrumcompany.com]
- The distillery closed in 2012 until Maison Ferrand [blog], bought the West Indies Rum Distillery [in Barbados] in 2017 [prnewswire.com]. This purchase, says cocktailwonk ‘included in the assets were one-third ownership of National Rums of Jamaica, aka NRJ. The other owners of NRJ (also at one-third ownership each) are the Jamaican government and Demerara Distillers Limited’.
- In 2018, the Long Pond distillery was struck by fire [rumporter.com].
Long Pond [LP] was the Roseisle [SW] of rum in the 1900’s, known for producing high-ester [cocktailwonk.com] styles purely for blending purposes. Using an array of pot & column stills, they were able to replicate popular rums in & around the surrounding areas of Trelawny.
The 2006 Vale Royal was a replica style made at Long Pond, as too was the 2005 Cambridge. Both 2003 & 2007 vintages however are official Long Ponds, bottled in partnership for NROJ by Velier. Today we re-try all four, after first exposure at TWE Show 2018 [blog] – in low-to-high ester order.
Code names are given for particular congener ranges. Wedderburn represents one of those ranges, considered as a high yet acceptable drinking congener count. Higher ester rums like the 2003 & 2007 vintages [to follow], would have typically been used to ‘funk-up’ blends, not necessarily to be sipped on their own. rumdiariesblog tells us: ‘VRW (Vale Royal Wedderburn) from the John Dore Pot Still with an ester range between 150-250 g/hL AA.
- N: Oh yeah, this is malty-esque waxy banana funk on another level. Out of all these four however, this has the complex funk without too much of the madness.
- T: Tight with a slight butyric touch, but underlying is waxy banana funk. It’s one you can chew – a vegetal>malty chew with fruity dunder-covered fence posts. There’s a lovely consistent flow through with each sip.
- F: Lifts clear, beautifully dry with toasted vanilla sugars [amongst many other descriptors], before a liquorice conclusion.
- C: The nose contains the most ‘wows’, though it’s all good throughout and my rum of the festival. Currently available [through TWE], but with only 24 bottles destined for the UK, you may need to look at online retailers based over the pond [no pun intended].
Scores 90 points
Long Pond 2005 13yo NRoJ & Velier ‘Cambridge’ 550/700 11 continental flavoured casks [3648 bts] 62.5%
As I reported last year ‘The original Simon Thompson Cambridge [STCD] distillery closed in 1948 [though some say 1947]. Like the Vale Royal, this Cambridge distillery-style was produced at Long Pond, and is a high-ester style rum’ [Blog88].
- N: Slightly detergent-y with plenty of wood and burned vanilla.
- T: Strong and butyric like the Vale Royal, but it lifts away with water and boy does it need it. Diluted, it becomes sweeter & thick with notes of bananas, cider & wheat beer. With a short travel, it’s straight to the finish.
- T: As clean as a blade, save for a chew on vegetal caramel sugars.
- C: I had three goes on this. It’s super stuff though the Royal Vale trumps it [by 2] on all levels.
Scores 88 points
It’s time to get ester-heavy!
Long Pond 2003 15yo Ob. [NRoJ & Velier] 1300/1300 Continental flavoured 9 casks [2484 bts] 63% Blog1
- N: With a funky eggy dunder profile, imagine the 2007 [coming up], with an omelette on top.
- T: The Foz spots cabbages. Today, this is a struggle for my palate, compared to at the TWE Show.
- F: A drying cask-y finish that lifts right off.
- C: Tricky rum, one I over-scored last time. “More surprising than good”, one chap concludes.
I took a sample home and last night I warmed up to it with a unique CS Don Q and a 16yo Uitvlugt [notes to follow] as sighters, but what could prepare me for this?
- N: It’s a hard one to get my head around, even after a few hours at home. I still get the funky egg, now with detergent notes, but they aren’t upsetting traits in this context. The molasses is strong and anyone who has tasted [blackstrap] molasses will know how complex it can be [notes to follow]. Without writing a shopping list, the profile is consistent.
- T: Gosh, the arrival is hard to describe also. It oozes in warm and fast with the most alien and potent medicinal fruits & wooden planks that have been liquidated and injected in my mouth with a pipette. It then lifts off almost immediately, but that was one seductive & addictive opening.
- F: Fisherman’s Friend’s, cinnamon, chilli & > 5-spice, plastic fibres, raspberry syrup, a little aspirin,….. going on,…. with various colourful changes.
- C: Very much a curiosity, and more besides.
With scores ranging from 88 to 84, 86 seems fair today.
Talking of molasses. I can’t remember which stand was offering it to try, but kudos for doing so – tried in isolation to the Long Ponds.
Jamaican blackstrap molasses
- N: All-sorts of complexities here. Sweet-as with a touch of Marmite, miso and all manner of Bonfire Lollies.
- T: Such a strange/unusual arrival. Then the black treacle/molasses unravels and lingers.
- F: Bitter-sweet personified with a complicated/unfamiliar conclusion.
- C: So much going on. What an enlightening experience.
There’s still one more ester monster to conquer. Here we go.
We tried this over and over, such were the necessary acclimatisation requirements.
- N: So weird, superb & overwhelming, again, it’s off all normal scales. Descriptors quickly tell a whacky story of super-dusty wax capacitors, marzipan, loft insulation, Angel Delight, Marmite,…..
- T: Potent ‘weed’, black fruity funk and sticky black dusty liquorice – all deeply consolidated.
- F: Dunder < molasses remnants that are a little sweet, but more savoury~bitter.
- C: It’s certainly bonkers, and a bit brilliant.
Scores 88 points
With special thanks [once again, again], to Andrea.
Next time, there shall be whisky!
Research links & further reading: