Is rum set to be the new gin?

Douglas Blyde

The name of Richard Davies’ rum brand, Neptune, came to him in a dream.

‘I woke at 3am in the throes of kicking around brand names, and frantically began googling, finding associations between the Roman god of the sea and rum, including videos of guys pouring it overboard as appeasement. I was amazed such an obvious name for a rum hadn’t been used.’ The glow of his phone having disturbed his wife, Davies spent the remainder of the night in the spare room.

A ‘massive believer in destiny’, the horse breeder and former hot air balloon pilot approached fourth-generation rum master, Richard Seale, of Barbados distillery Foursquare. ‘Foursquare is a flag bearer for total honesty to the extent Seale has been known to carry sugar-testing kits to dip-test other people’s rums for purity.’

Every three months, Neptune releases 2,500 Italian flint glass bottles of bourbon barrel-matured, Christmas cake-scented organic rum, using ‘beautifully soft British spring water’ from an undisclosed source to gently tame it from 63 per cent to 40 per cent. Fortunately, capacity may be increased when the ‘rum explosion’ Davies anticipates occurs. ‘Compared to gin, which is basically boring, flavoured vodka derived from a base chemical, rum is very honest. There’s romance in distilling in a loving way, something from, let’s face it, squashed sugar cane.’

Douglas Blyde

Although a young business, Neptune, pitched against 6,000 bottles from other brands, took gold in Hong Kong’s China Wine & Spirits Awards and silver at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition since launching early this year.

I peer at the back label. ‘Disregard the god of the oceans at your peril,’ it reads. ‘If you do get wave-tossed and thrown on shore, may a bottle Neptune be washed up beside you!’