The Shillingford Estate on the west coast of Dominica distills rum from sugar cane juice, using a water mill to crush the cane. I found the regular bottling — what is locally called a “red” rum — to be too rough on my palate. To my surprise, I deemed the spiced iteration worthy; it would be just the thing in a planter’s punch.
For 300 years, sailors in the British Royal Navy received a daily rum ration, which was doled out by the ship’s purser. In 1979, entrepreneur Charles Tobias secured the rights and formula and began British Navy Pusser’s Rum on Tortola in the BVI. I find it a splendid product, with notes of vanilla, toffee and a hint of orange.
Made in the Dominican Republic since 1888, this rum uses molasses as a base. The distillate is aged in American white oak barrels (formerly used for aging American whiskey), then rums from three to eight years old are blended for the final product. The result is a clear amber spirit. I enjoy the butterscotch character, with a presence of spicy orange. It is a fine drink on its own.
This article appeared in the November 2014 print edition of Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report under the headline “Caribbean Rums.”