This morning @therumlocker attracted a new Instagram follower: An account of a, new to me, rum called Bajan 1966. I hadn’t not heard of the rum and know absolutely nothing about it so I checked out their web site. I was not impressed.
A new product, using a name that catches my eye and makes me turn my head, simply for the name. Set aside the impropriety of using the slang “Bajan” the fact that I prefer rums from Barbados made me want to take a closer look at this one.
Their web site hints that it is an aged spirit, so I might have a pretty good idea from where it is sourced. But there isn’t any information on its origin other than “the heart of Barbados.” In fact the site has no information about the rum: not where it was distilled, not how long it was aged, nor where it was aged, not where it’s bottled. There isn’t even an image that allows complete inspection of the labels.
My first head shake and warning sign came with their opening sentence, “An ultra-premium rum so rich with history and culture, you’ll feel pride with every sip.” It appears they are selling a story to make it “ultra-premium.” I bet it comes with an ultra premium price too.
Their website is a nice bit of marketing about the history of rum in Barbados and natural advantages that help define its terroir, but there is no specific information about the spirit they want me to buy. They tell us it’s a mix of pot and column distilled rum, that it’s aged in heavy charred ex-bourbon barrels, and contains “no added sugars, flavours or perfumes.” But what they are pitching to me is the quality of rum from Barbados in general, not their specific product.
To me that seems a little deceptive, an exercise in sophistry. The result is a failed intent to encourage me to buy their product… a different rum of Barbados in a different pretty bottle with a name to honor the island’s history. In other words they are off on the wrong foot with me, especially as I’m pre-disposed to buy almost any nice rum that comes out of Barbados. Especially if it’s affiliated with a distillery that exports aged rum often packaged by independent bottlers.
So, I tried a quick search which didn’t turn up any reviews or other information. I couldn’t find any TTB label approval, though my results for trademarks were interesting. It seems the holder of the trademark for “Bajan 1966” also applied for the trademark to “Bumbu.” I’m slightly curious why that was abandoned (a case of ambush Trademark?) but just the association with Bajan 1966 sealed the deal for me. It appears too much like the work of a charlatan trying to prosper from the good name of Barbados and the artistry of the island’s distillers and craftsmen.
I won’t spend time looking for a bottle. Instead there will be no excited anticipation, I’ll just take the news with a skeptical shrug and see what happens. Not only do I have a lot of unanswered questions but their initial marketing efforts have turned me away.