You’d expect a rum this iconic, long-lived, and well-regarded to come in a fancy bottle. And yet, here we are with Myers’s Rum… which comes primarily in plastic containers with “easy pour” spouts. It might not look like something you’d proudly display on your bar, but this bottle can be found in pretty much every bar in the world. And today we’re going to find out why.
Fred L. Myers established a trading post in Kingston, Jamaica in 1879, acting as a wholesaler specializing in the trade of sugar, rum, and other spirits. I couldn’t find much detail find about the early origins of Myers’s Rum, but given that Myers was importing spirits it would make sense that he would create a custom blend of rums that he could sell as his house brand at a higher profit margin (a practice commonly done in the scotch whisky market, as well).
At some point, the house brand of Myers’s Rum was sold to the Sazerac company.
Founded in 1869, the Sazerac Company was named after a bar they acquired in New Orleans, the Sazerac Coffee House. Following the establishment of the company, they started marketing and distributing brands of liquor under their name. They produce liquor under various brand names, and in 2019 the brand was further sold to the British spirits giant Diageo.
- Learn More: What Is Rum?
If you are expecting an in-depth discussion of how this rum is made, you are going to be sorely disappointed, much like I was. There is little to no information publicly available regarding the production process, but I have tried to piece together the best understanding I have of what’s happening here.
The details on the company website try to make it sound like this is made from sugar cane juice, but even they admit that the juice is first boiled down into molasses before processing — which means we’re probably starting with backstrap molasses (the dirtiest and cheapest form of sugar available) as the raw material, with the better quality components shipped off for sale as table sugar and other sweeteners.
Once a sugary liquid is created, the next step is fermentation to create some alcohol content. Jamaican rum tends to use interesting and characterful components in their fermentation process, but it doesn’t sound like any of that is happening here. Instead, it seems to be just cheaply and quickly fermented.
According to some advertisements from the mid 20th century, this rum was originally distilled in the traditional Jamaican method of a double retort pot still, which creates an interesting and flavorful rum. There’s some indication that the process might still be in use today, but the company website now specifically identifies that this is made with a combination of pot still and column still processes. Column stills are great for putting out large quantities of spirits very quickly, and usually without a lot of flavor. So this is probably a column still produced rum that is then flavored with pot still produced rum.
Once the rum has been manufactured, it is aged in white oak barrels for an undisclosed period of time before being blended and bottled.
As a Jamaican rum, the use of caramel coloring is permitted before bottling to change the color of the end product. I can’t find any confirmation that this is colored, but I highly suspect it personally.
I don’t think I’ve seen a bottle this cheap since I reviewed Kentucky Deluxe.
The body of the bottle is plastic with a rectangular cross section and rounded edges. The bottle slopes smoothly at the shoulder to a short neck that is capped off by a plastic screw-on top.
I’ll give some credit to the label here, which I do think is somewhat aesthetically pleasing. If you’ve got a cheap bottle and an (allegedly) artificially colored spirit, then there’s no real reason to highlight the contents with a transparent glass bottle. Give me a good label on an opaque bottle and we’re cool — and that’s exactly what they did here. It’s a nice illustration of a waterside warehouse (potentially the Meyers’s warehouse in Jamaica) depicted in bright tropical sunset colors.
Not a bottle you’d display on your bar, but probably one you’d keep stocked behind it.
There’s some remarkably good funk on the aroma here, as you’d expect from a good Jamaican style rum. The first thing I get is some pineapple, followed by rotting over-sweet mango, and banana fruit. Backing that up is some delicious spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, and finally a bit of caramel and vanilla.
What makes this a little disappointing is that the flavors don’t necessarily deliver on the aromas we were promised. I get a lot of darker flavors — coffee, burned sugar, dark caramel, toffee — but only a hint of the fruits. There’s the pineapple, banana, and over-ripe mango in there, but not at the same level of intensity as with the aroma. The coffee provides a touch of bitterness that is a little off-putting, but hopefully will get toned down shortly.
The addition of some ice does a nice job toning down some of the darker components. There’s still the rich coffee in there, but it’s much less powerful and those darker flavors don’t quite cover up the fruit as we saw before. The pineapple, mango, and banana are all making more of a splash here with that nice traditional Jamaican funk backing it up.
I don’t think I’d classify it as a sipping spirit yet, even with the added ice. There’s still not much of a balance, with the bitterness from the coffee still coming through and making a negative impact.
Fizz (Dark and Stormy)
This is absolutely delicious. And probably the single biggest reason why this spirit has been able to survive for all these years: cocktails.
When all of the components are mixed together, this becomes an interesting, complex, and well balanced cocktail. There fruit in the spirit interacts amazingly well with the ginger beer and the lime juice to make something that is as rich and delicious as it is fruity and tropical. Even the hint of coffee bitterness helps add some depth and improves the experience.
What we’ve got here is an amazing dark rum that seems purpose built for making cocktails. The flavors are interesting and tropical, all saturated enough that they come through loud and clear even among strong competitors like ginger beer and lime juice.
I don’t think I’d ever recommend this as a sipping spirit, or even on the rocks. But when you need a good rum cocktail, this is the perfect base spirit to reach for.
|Myers's Original Dark Rum|
Classification: Dark Rum
Special Type: Jamaican Rum
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 40% ABV
Price: $18.99 / 750 ml
Product Website: Product Website
Overall Rating: 3/5
Funky, fruity, and with some deep and rich characteristics, this will be delicious in just about any rum cocktail. Just do not expect much on its own.