Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is a small South American country entirely covered by primary forest... Read more
Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is a small South American country entirely covered by primary forest. Wedged between Venezuela and Suriname, it also borders Brazil to the south... Read more
Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is a small South American country entirely covered by primary forest. Wedged between Venezuela and Suriname, it also borders Brazil to the south. Life here revolves around four major rivers, the Essequibo, Berbice, Corentyne and Demerara.
The History of Guyana Rum
Since the 17th century, this former English colony has been a huge producer of cane sugar. And when you say cane sugar, you say molasses. At the height of production in the 19th century, it is said that each of the country's nearly 200 plantations had its own still. One can therefore imagine that these phenomenal quantities of molasses gave rise to equally impressive quantities of rum.
Among other things, this rum was destined for the British Navy, and was even the main component of the blend used for the sailors' daily ration. Distributed mainly in the UK and Canada, it was little known in the rest of Europe.
At the end of the 19th century, Guyana, like all sugar cane producing countries, suffered the full force of the sugar crisis. In its golden age, there were almost 200 distilleries, but by 1949 there were only 9 left, then 5 when it became independent in 1966, and finally only one today.
Rum production in Guyana
Demerara Distillers Limited
What makes Guyana 's rums special today is that part of the country's rum heritage has been preserved in the last remaining distillery: the Diamond Distillery, owned by Demerara Distillers Limited. You will hear most often of " Demerara rums", named after the river that borders this distillery. Some of the stills from the surrounding plantations and distilleries, which have now disappeared, have been preserved here, so that they can continue to produce rums with very distinct and inimitable styles.
Thanks to these pieces of history that have been kept in operation, in some cases since the 17th century, styles of rum are produced whose names thrill enthusiasts. Here are the main styles produced, as well as their stills, each name corresponding to the plantation of origin:
Port Mourant : Double pot still with wooden vat
Enmore : Continuous wooden column
Versailles: Pot still with wooden vat
Diamond : Double Coffey Steel Column
Uitvlugt: Savalle Column
The distillery also produces a light rum in a multi-column complex, as well as a highly concentrated 'High Ester' rum in a small, specially designed still.
What are the famous "Marks"?
Demerara rums are often associated with little codes, a series of mysterious letters that allow us to find our way around, provided that we are a little initiated.
These codes, called " marks ", correspond to a style of rum. Each still is capable of producing several styles, or several concentrations. Thus, one will find the EHP or ELCR marks for theEnmore still, for example. But DDL has also managed to recreate the styles of defunct stills using the stills it has at its disposal. This is the case of the Albion style, made on the Enmore column and bearing the AN mark. Knowing the mark of a rum allows one to find one's way through the profusion of styles that the Demerara world has to offer.
The official bottling brand for Guyana rums is El Dorado. The range extends from El Dorado 3 year old, a white rum which is actually an aged filtered rum, to El Dorado 25 year old. These are blends of different styles of rum distilled at DDL. The brand also offers vintages of each style, Port Mourant or Enmore for example, bottled unfined.
Guyana rums can be found in many other blends, including navy rums such as Pusser's and Dos Maderas rums.
Finally, independent bottlers quickly became interested in this fascinating universe and offered numerous versions of these famous styles. This is the case of Silver Seal, Rum Nation, Mezan, Cadenhead's, Velier or La Compagnie des Indes, among others. Read less