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Compagnie Des Indes Long Pond 12 year old

Recently, I was searching the Malt rum reviews and noticed that there was nothing from both either the French-owned independent bottler Compagnie Des Indes (CDI), or any Long Pond Jamaican rum. So, I’ll go more in-depth on CDI in a future review and for now, I’ll focus on Long Pond.

I‘ve been interested in Long Pond rum ever since I tried the mouthwatering National Rums of Jamaica (NRJ) releases by Velier in late 2018. The Vale Royal VRW 2006 12 year old, Cambridge STCE 2005 13 year old, Long Pond TECC 15 year old and Long Pond TECA 15 year old, all blew my mind. But the TECA really stood out, due to the explosion of funk, different shades of pineapple, stone fruits and cherries.

Long Pond is another distillery and sugar estate, situated in the Jamaican Parish of Trelawny, the other being Hampden. Like Hampden and true to Trelawny style rum, Long Pond uses dunder and muck pits. This makes the lesser-known distillery a favorite among lovers of funky rum. The distillery and sugar were founded in 1753. Locally, there used to be others back in the day, but as rum and sugar demand weakened, they eventually closed. Some ended up being part of other estates.

Today, the Hussey family owns the Long Pond Sugar Estate, as well as Hampden Estate. While Long Pond Distillers Limited are owned by NRJ. After a lot of changes in ownership, including being owned by Seagrams in 1953, the Jamaican government took control of Long Pond in 1978. They divested it in 1993 to a consortium of financial companies and individuals. In 2006, it was bundled, along with the Clarendon distillery in Jamaica and Innswood aging facilities, to create National Rums of Jamaica

The structure of Long Pond distillery’s ownership can become confusing. I wonder how the stocks were shared and will be shared, now that Jamaican rum is in demand? It’s owned in equal shares by NRJ (the Jamaican government via The National Sugar Company), Demerara Distillers Limited (aka DDL aka Diamond Distillery) and formerly owned by Goddard Enterprises, but now under Maison Ferrand. Ferrand inherited the shares when they acquired the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD). 73% of Clarendon distillery are also equally owned by the 3 groups above. The rest of the shares of Clarendon are owned by Diageo.

Rum from this distillery is still fairly hard to come by for a few reasons. Firstly, the distillery closed in 2012 due to leakages found at their dunder storage tanks. This was cited as an environmental concern, as the dunder couldn’t be processed well. Secondly, the is the distillery doesn’t bottle the rum that they distill for themselves. They’re instead either sold by bulk to brokers or to private companies. The rum bought by various brokers ends up being bottled by independent bottlers. This is why you might have only seen Long Pond bottled by such companies. Plantation, Duncan Taylor, CDI and Habitation Velier are the only ones I’ve encountered so far. Some of the rum, most likely high ester stocks, which end up with private companies get blended into German Rumverschnit and cosmetics.

Thankfully, the distillery started fermenting and distilling again in 2017. It has a total of 5 pot stills and an out-of-commission column still (which could be repaired in the future). But currently, there are only two working pot stills.

Below are the different marks produced by Long Pond. Each mark indicates the corresponding ester counts in g/hlaa. (The higher the ester count, the funkier it is.)

I’d like to thank The Cocktail wonk for his two articles on Long Pond. You can check them here and also here. Another resource I’d like to thank is Single Cask Rum.

Compagnie Des Indes Long Pond 12 year old – review

Distilled: December 2003, bottled in 2016, cask #JLP6 and bottled at 44% strength.
Color: hay.

On the nose: A lot of mild yet persistent spice and fruit scents. I initially get tropical fruits like estery bananas, fuji apples and tropical fruits. Behind it are spices like vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and hints of toffee and cacao. There’s something like caramel and stale banana bread at the back as well.

In the mouth: A symphony of fruits and spices. To use the term, tame here would be like saying vodka has flavor. My first sip brings a rumble of tastes like vanilla, nutmeg, ripe bananas, honey, fuji apples, hints of kiwi, cloves, pimento dram, cacao nibs and nuts.

Conclusions

This is a straightforward, tasty and simple rum. Lacking on the nose, yet eventful in the mouth. I find this suffers from being watered down too much: I wish this was bottled at 46% or 48% strength.

This is the first continentally aged and watered-down Long Pond I’ve tried. Being aged in the climate of the European Union, has toned down the funk aspect. But then, I also don’t know from which mark this cask is from. I guess, I possibly unknowingly, shot myself in the foot by having the high proof and high-quality Velier NRJ releases as my benchmark.

Single cask rum notes that there aren’t a lot of 2003 vintage Long Ponds, as not a lot of distillates were sold to brokers. JLP6 (Jamaica Long Pond 6) could indicate that there are at least 5 other casks out there being held back and aged longer.

Score: 6/10

Photograph kindly provided by CDI for this article.

CategoriesRum
  1. Avatar
    Jon says:

    Wow I’ve never heard of this distillery, familiar with the other players in Jamaica. Just like you and George Clinton I’m a huge fan of the funk.

    Will keep an eye out for Long Pond bottlings in the states. Like how it’s another dead distillery like Caroni.

    1. John
      John says:

      Hi Jon,
      Thanks for commenting. It’s not surprising you’re not familiar with this one. I suggest you watch out for the National Rums of Jamaica releases by Velier. The four bottles I mentioned above are all from Long Pond. But I think there are now a few from Monymusk. Habitation Velier also has an aged and unaged Long Pond release now. All imported by La Maison and Velier in the US.

      It’s not a dead distillery anymore. But it will be a while before we see some regular releases from them.

      Cheers

  2. Avatar
    Welsh Toro says:

    An excellent and informative review John. My fondness for Long Pond goes back to the Duncan Taylor single cask bottlings from a few years ago. I’m sipping a delicious 15 year old expression (51.9%) aged and bottled in Scotland in 2016 whilst reading. The ester ‘muck pit’ – lol – has diminished to reveal an absolute fruit bomb with a tiny bit of funk to remind you of its origin. You sometimes find these bottles gathering dust in old independent wine and spirit shops that do direct business with Duncan Taylor. Well worth trying to hunt down.

    I have a bottle of the Velier Long Pond Teca which I find extremely drinkable despite its fiercesome reputation and although tropically aged at a higher strength has a distinct family resemblance with the Duncan Taylor aged in Scotland. I’ve always steered clear of Compagnie Des Indies and that’s largely due to the low abv levels. Rum needs to pack flavour and I’m looking for 46% at least. Cheers. WT

    1. John
      John says:

      Hi WT,
      A Duncan Taylor bottlings was actually the first time I saw a Long Pond. But I never had any of them. I have a bottle of the NRJ Long Pond TECA 2007 and Vale Royal 2006(?) and they are delicious. I’m looking forward to getting more Long Pong bottling.

      I’m pretty new to CDI so they’re still pretty interesting to me. I don’t really mind the low abv as a lot of their releases are a new experience to me.

      Cheers

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