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.)
Compagnie Des Indes Long Pond 12 year old – review
Distilled: December 2003, bottled in 2016, cask #JLP6 and bottled at 44% strength.
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.
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.
Photograph kindly provided by CDI for this article.