Recreate famous vintages

Since the Christmas Stuggle is gone and there seems to be more activity on this Forum again I thought its time for another discussion.

Recently I thought about some famous vintages such as 1993 Hampden or 2001 Fiji or 2001-2003 TDL. And since those distilleries are still in Production I wonder why some dont try to recreate those Rums. Of course weather cant be recreated, but this cannot be the only factor for those great vintages. And I bet there are logs regarding the Production process. Its obvious that it takes a few years from production to market release, so in the production year its not clear a rum Will be such a highly regarded vintage in the future. But for those vintages already existing it seems that only a few distilleries are constantly improving. We havent got something close to fiji 2001 in a while. Do you think distilleries are aiming to recreate famous styles?

For me personally I feel like nearly only Hampden is trying to constantly improve. Or is it really all to blame on weather conditions?
I mean with constant high quality you Are able to charge a high price (See Hampden retail prices for example). Ive heard of Plantation trying to recreate rockley and velier trying to recreate Caroni but thats it. So what about NY94, Fiji01 and many others. What do you think, will we see releases that aim These profiles in Future more often?

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For me, it depends only how rich is the distillery (I mean real money) and if the nice casks can be sourced by independant bottlers (mainly).

If the distillery needs money very quickly, they can sell casks to independant bottlers and that’s why you see sometimes “great” vintages (you forget Enmore-Versailles 1994 or Enmore 1991). But to see great vintages, we need a real quality of the sale department which keep the very goods for later. For example, we see a lot of Diamond 2006 released now but will they be better in 10-15 years ? We cannot know cause they have already sold them.

So the management of the casks is hugely important but money at the time too : it is the combinaison of both which allow us to taste or not very nice bottlings in the future.

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Thats a good point. This might also be the reason South Pacific Distillery and Plantation got the contract and we migth rarely see IBs release Fiji rum in the future. But what about NY which is Part of the Appleton company. This Company is a global Player in rum business so I suppose Money cant be an Argument here.

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I think one would need to understand the inner workings of a distillery better. I think their business is not built on those “great vintages”, these are merely coincidence. Their bread and butter is producung several ten thousand or hundred thousand liters of alcohol per year, sell that in bulk, or put it in casks briefly to feed their standard range. These “great vintages” is something that rum nerds glorify, but the distillery might not even be aware of. Recreating that is not something they are interested in.
Or take the 98 Bellevue. Intended for baking, ended up at IBs, distillery got angry and vowed to never do this again. Why they don’t recreate that style and sell it under their own lable? Probably because molasses was involved and that just doesn’t fit as agricole distillery.
Besides, trying to recreate something will involve trial and error, wasting precious production capacity. Running smooth operations and having a stable output is most likely their highest priority. Can’t blame them. But we can hope for more of these coincidences.

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At First thank you for this interesting Point of view, especially with the 98 Bellevue insight which i wasnt aware of until now. In contrast Hampden seems to experiment with their different marks more than other distilleries and they are successful with that, since they can sell their rare cask series for horrendous prices. And as far as i know the HD DOK Mark was originally supposed to be used for Rumverschnitt and not for neat drinking. So distilleries might probably benefit from recreation of succesfull vintages.

Lets hope some other distilleries hop this train and try some more experimental styles as Hampden proves it is profitable.

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One thing people vastly underestimate is institutional memory (or knowledge) held by the employees of any company (especially in manufacturing). The little tricks & trades, not in a negative way, that accumulate over decades or generations. It’s been said that DDL lost quite a bit of this in the early 2000’s with the last reorganization of the Guyanese distilleries. You can also bet your whole fortune that Luca has the old distillery gang very much involved in his efforts to recreate Caroni. The most obvious piece of said memory would be how the freshly distilled Caroni juice should smell/taste because he likely has no idea but some of the former employees do (not to mention every step of the process).

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Great topic! and actually made me googling hard from yesterday :slight_smile:

As @KennyOMG mentioned, it was done with Demerara and Caronis. It is clear for me that the accuracy of Caroni recreation can be verified as there are still some Tate and Lyle’s “original” caronis available (Caroni Navy Rum Tate and Lyle 90 Proof 1960s | Rum Auctioneer). Has anyone done such comparison, please let us know, I’m very curious of how similar the Velier’s Caroni are to the old ones.

Then we have the Demerara rums. From what I’ve read, the Guyaneese rum heritage was having a “factory reset” from time to time and this is why we are now crowdsourcing the marks (Crowdsourcing Guyana Rum Marks). Let’s take Skeldon, or the SWR/SVR, which is vastly talked about recently, as an example. We may ask “how do the El Dorado, SBS, Valinch and Mallet and other DDL-made SWR stuff compare to Velier’s 1973 and 1978?”. But, Is it the right question? The Velier’s Skeldons are also the product of recreation of the SWR style (probably with four-column Savaille Still in Diamond), as the Skeldon Estate ceased operation in 60s. In this case, I’ve never encountered any information about earlier Skeldon bottlings which could be considered more original.

Do you, guys, know about any older bottlings (pre-Velier in terms of distillation year) of Albion, Port Mourant, Versailles, Enmore, Uitvlugt, Diamond or La Bonne Intention? Or, more importantly, have you drank ones?

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Oh, by the way, there is the legendary 1983 vintage of Hampden (I will soon drink), do you have any idea why is it so famously botteled by so many indies and the other 80s vintages aren’t?

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Very interesting read! I agree a lot with @DevidedByZero.
I think it boils down to the fact how “rich” a distillery managing company is and of corse what kind of person sits in the control seat. Hampden seems to be the most sought after distillery at the moment and thus probably is in a relatively good position to spend some revenue into research and experiments.
Alexandre Gabriel from Maison Ferrand who acquired the West Indies Rum Distillery in 2017 probably dont has any finacial worries either and therefore can afford rebuilding and studying historic stills like the vulcan still.
Lance (The lone caner) wrote down his opinion on “superfast aging” here which is related I think and like most of his writings interesting too.

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