Beyond the hype: Small Independent Bottlers

I’m relatively new into rum but in the last one and a half years, things already changed fast.

Prices increased and releases from hyped bottlers are sold out in minutes (Velier, RA, The Whisky Jury…)

The hype does not affect all bottlers.

I always try to get my bottles from a broad range of bottlers. I’ve already bought bottles from:

  • Isla De Ron (Long Pond 2008)
  • The Duchess (Fiji 2004, Ten Cane)
  • That Boutique-y Rum Company (Maderia, Savalle Still/ICBU)
  • The Rum Mercenary / Kintra (Sample X) (Clarendon 2006)
  • Kill Devil (actually not a small indy but their releases aren’t sold out quickly and not really hyped) (Hampden by TWB, Guyana 2001, 2008))

I haven’t bought any CDI yet. The Danish Bottlers a usually too expensive for my budget (I have one bottle by S.B.S., who perhaps are on the edge of the hype)

It is always difficult to estimate the quality of these bottlings you hardly find any information on.
I try to look at the quality of the previous releases, I look at the quality of similar releases (same vintages from different bottlers), and sometimes the risk is well awarded. And sometimes you’ll find a release from a vintage which isn’t ubiquitous.

Which bottlers and releases beyond the hype do you like most?
How do you estimate the quality of a bottle you don’t have any reviews on?

Kill Devil indeed has some great bottlings that for some reason seemed to remain under the broader public’s radar. Might be due to the fact that it is not always that easy to get samples or bottles, meaning that there aren’t that many shops offering them.

I would add The Rum Cask to your list, a large number of good to great releases from quite a wide range of different countries/distilleries at very fair prices. Plus you can get samples from their shop to test them first. Definitely worth keeping an eye ob as well imho. :grinning:


You’re 100% right. I forgot The Rum Cask. But they are also on edge of the hype. Not all releases are sold in minutes, but the more exclusive ones usually are.

Do you really believe sample availability contributes to the hype? I haven’t seen a lot of RA samples and the past and besides TRC I don’t know any bottler who always offers samples alongside their releases. Most of the hyped bottles are sold out far to quickly for getting a sample before buying (If you don’t participate in a online tasting…)

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I had a 30yo Hampden (1990) C<>H mark by TRC recently and it was an extremely good rum almost on par with the RA HD 1989. If you really want to travel the world of rum small independant bottlers are nothing you can go around. TRC, CDI, Kill Devil, they all had interesting rums in the samples I tried and none of them was really bad just some not to my taste.
Regarding that example from above, the 1990 C<>H, availability seems not to be better though since that rum can’t be found to buy anywhere either.