RUM LABELS


An Old French Rhum Label.
This type of label are amongst The Rumelier's favourites.

About Rum Lables

One of the most interesting things about collecting bottles of rum is reading the information on the label.
The label usually tells you the country where the rum was produced or bottled. However, sometimes this is not always clear and if this is the case it is usually a good rum to avoid.
The label will often give an age statement telling us how old the rum is. However this can sometimes be confusing, as some rums state the age of the youngest rum in the blend, eg. Bacardi 8 Year Old. Then some labels state the oldest rum in the blend, eg. Zacapa 23 year Old. The youngest rum in this blend is actually six years old according to their website.
One of the reasons for this huge discretion is the fact that there are no common rules for rum producers in the Caribbean region. What is law in one country is not in another. This applies to all aspects of rum production. Whether it be how much and when the excise duty is paid on the rum, to how long it has to be aged in the barrel before it can be bottled as aged or anejo rum.
Some distillers use the "solera system" to age rums, others are not allowed to. It is hard to figure out how you age a barrel of thirty year old rum when evaporation rates, commonly called the "Angel's Share" run at about 6% annually. So there are a lot of inconsistencies in rum production, so be careful when reading the label to make sure you get the facts right.
The label will also tell you the strength of the rum in the bottle. Usually this is around 40% alcohol by volume, but, be warned and read the label carefully as there a lot of overproof rums on the market. Two of the most popular overproof rums are Wray and Nephew Overproof rum from Jamaica and Bacardi 151 from Puerto Rico. However, most Islands have their own versions of a strong rum, which is usually drunk straight up as a shooter, often followed by a chaser of water.
Some rum labels on the back of the bottles often give some history of that particular rum or of the country of origin. There can be a brief history of the producer or distillery. Another common attachment to the bottle can be various methods for making a favourite cocktail, using that particular rum.
Collecting old rum labels is a popular hobby with some people. The Rumelier has a small collection of vintage rum labels. His favourite labels are the old French Rhum labels from the early nineteen hundreds. These often have characateurs of West Indian or African descent, usually accompanied by poorly spelt English words translated from the original French. A lot of these labels are not always politically correct. They are usually brightly coloured and can be found in numerous sizes, from small label size all the way up to giant poster size. These poster size labels are highly desirable as collectable items, so fetch high prices on auction sites such as eBay and are great additions to any Rum Bar or collection.

The best website about rum labels is "Peter's Rum Labels". If you want to search for anything about rum labels this is the site to check out. It is a very informative site which has links to various rum related sites such as rum distillers, bottlers, museums, retail stores, e-stores, collectors and clubs.
Collecting rum labels is also a way of keeping a momento of a finished bottle, especially one of your favourites or one that is no longer available. However, this can sometimes be difficult when trying to remove a label from a bottle. Self adhesive labels are the easiest to remove. The glued on ones can prove much more difficult, but can sometimes be removed by a long soak in water or put over some steam from a boiling kettle. A sharp razor blade is neccesary to help scrape the label off. Some people suggest freezing the label off or using soap in the water when soaking the label.
If you are fortunate enough to have a bar in your house, a good way to display your labels is to glue them to your bar counter and then cover them in resin. Obviously they then become worhtless, but do make a great display and conversation piece.

This is a Rare Rum Label from North Wales.
One of The Rumelier's best friends farther was manager for this company.


The Rumelier has a small collection of original vintage rum posters. These have been collected from various parts of the world. They add a colourful flavour to any rum bar and give it a certain antique look and feel. Mix these in with some old rumeribilia and it gives the whole bar a vintage feel.

The Giant of Rum Posters.
No information can be found about this old rum.
This Poster Could ba a Giant Label.
Old French rum producers usually made the best posters.
Mrs. Rumelier infront of some posters at RL Seale.
These are more modern posters.
Rum Posters Come in all Shapes and Sizes.
Todays Companies Should Re-Introduce This Practice.

An Old Bacardi Poster from Cuba.

Miniature Rum Barrels

The Rumelier likes to collect miniature rum barrels. Some of these are branded with the distilleries names and others are just plain oak barrels.
It is fun to pour your favourite rum straight from the barrel and is a great conversation piece when your friends visit.
However when you take the rum out of its bottle, where it is no longer ageing and put it back into a barrel, the ageing process will begin again and the taste of the rum will gradually change and keep changing until you take it out of the barrel again. This can completely change the taste of your favourite rum, and not always for the better. This is where you begin to appreciate the art of a master blender and the amazing things they do with the rums that are available to them.
The best example in The Rumelier's collection is an old Bacardi barrel from Cuba. Obviously this is from the pre-Castro days, and was actually purchased from a Cuban living in East Germany at the time. The legs of the barrel are the wings of the famous Bacardi Bat logo. Unfortunately due to the test of time it no longer holds rum, but is a great display and conversation piece.(this barrel is pictured below, top left)
Oak barrels are a good way to experiment with trying to age your own rum. If somebody gives you a cheap bottle of white rum that you would probably not use, why not try and age it in an oak barrel and see what happens first hand when the rum comes in contact with oak for prolonged periods of time.
The Rumelier currently has three bottles of Castillo Silver ageing in an oak barrel waiting to see what happens and how the taste will differ from month to month.
If you do decide to experiment with your own ageing of rum it is important to cure your barrel first. This usually means filling the barrel with clean water and letting it rest until the barrel stops leaking. You will need to keep filling up the barrel if it is leaking. Once the barrel has stopped leaking then drain the water out making sure that the water is clean. Keep filling the barrel until all the debris or dirt have come out.
Use a funnel to fill the barrel with your experiment rum. To help the ageing process and to increase the contact with the oak you can add oak chips into the barrel. This is a technique used by many distillers to increase the oak flavour and colour in their rum's.
Another fun thing to do after you have filled the barrel with your experiment rum is to remove the label off the bottle that the rum was in and paste it onto your barrel. This will help you remember what rum is in the barrel and it makes a great decoration for your bar.
Some rums are available in miniature tin barrels, such as Brugal from the Dominican Republic.(shown below) The Rumelier usually empties these into an oak barrel which helps with a further mellowing of the rum.

A Small Selection of Rum Barrels.
Putting your rum in an oak barrel will continue to age the rum.
An Old French Rhum Lablel.
Ron Abuelo from Panama.
Another Simple French Rhum Label.