Guyana

I am currently working on some general information on Guyanese Rum. Below you can find information on and profiles of some of the (former) distilleries and styles/ marks as well as tasted bottlings. For further information on Demerara rums and the histories of the distilleries let me refer you to the article The Demerara Distilleries by Marco and the reviews on this page.

A list of DDL’s marks:

marks

Albion

The Albion Estate was a sugar plantation along the Berbice river founded by William Innes. Dating back to 1802, they most likely started planting sugar in or just shortly after 1840. As usual, it seems very likely that it didn’t take them long to start distilling rum to make use of the accruing molasses. After several mergers and ownership changes, Albion Estate, like many others, ended up in the hands of the Booker Group in 1939. Today it is still producing sugar for GuySuCo. When the Albion Distillery shut down for good in January 1968, their Wooden Coffey Still has been brought to Uitvlugt Distillery, which should be responsible for all of the “true” Albions we know. The mark “AN” might stand for Albion and Nigg, the plantation next to Albion Estate. It seems plausible that the two merged at some point in time. Interestingly, we can find this mark in a table containing all of DDL’s marks, where we learn that the Savalle Still (from Uitvlugt) and thus not the Enmore Wooden Coffey Still took over the production of the Albion style. The originial Albion Still probably got scrapped when some of Uitvlugt’s remaining stills have been brought to the Diamond Distillery around 2000. Fun ‘fact’: The Port Mourant Still most likely spent some time here before it has been brought to Uitvlugt.

Blairmont

  • Velier Blarimont 1991 15YO “<B>” (1991-2006), 56%

Diamond & Unknown

DiamondThe history of the Diamond plantation goes back to the mid 18th century. Even though they planted sugar (besides coffee), there is no evidence that they also distilled rum back then. They probably did not even own a sugar mill to process the cane. Diamond seems to have started distilling rum in the early 19th century when they stopped planting coffee, which became increasingly unprofitable. Today, Diamond is the only remaining rum distillery in Guyana and home to Demerara Distillers Limited. DDL is the result of a 1983 merger between the owners of the Diamond-, Enmore- and Uitvlugt distillery. When Enmore and Uitvlugt closed their distilleries for good in 1994 resp. 1999, the remaining useful stills have all been brought to the Diamond Distillery. For rums that have been distilled after 2000, the name Diamond Distillery thus does not necessarily tell us the style of the rum, in fact ‘true’ Diamonds are relatively rare with independent bottlers but from time to time we get a few. Therefore, the following list contains Diamond rums as well as a few other rums which I couldn’t attribute to one of the other styles with certainty.

Enmore

Enmore
Enmore Wooden Coffey Still

The history of the Enmore estate dates back to Thomas Porter (1748-1815), an English merchant from Tobago. In 1782, he bought a few lots at the eastside of the Demerara river to grow cotton. One of his sons, Henry Porter (1791-1858), eventually inherited this lot and it was most likely him who named it Enmore. From then on, the mark E.H.P., which might ring a bell with someone who has a proclivity for Demerara rums, was used as the call letters for Enmore. Unlike we are inclined to believe, the “E” in E.H.P. does not necessarily have to stand for Enmore but instead rather for Edward, as in Edward Henry Porter. Over the years, the Enmore plantation absorbed quite a few neighboring sugar plantations and grew up to one of the biggest estates in British Guyana. The still we associate with Enmore is the Wooden Coffey Still. Made from Demerara greenheart, an evergreen tree native to Guyana whose wood is so hard that it cannot be worked with standard tools, it is the last still of its kind. After the closure of Enmore, the still has first been moved to the Uitvlugt Distillery in 1995 and subsequently to the Diamond Distillery (home to DDL) in 1999, where it is still located today.

La Bonne Intention

  • Velier La Bonne Intention 15YO (1985-2000), 40%

Port Mourant

PM
Port Mourant Double Wooden Pot Still

According to Demerara Distillers Ltd (DDL), the Port Mourant Sugar Estate has been founded in 1732. However, from a map from 1802 we know that the entire region around said estate solely planted cotton at that time. Moreover, no source until 1813 mentions the name Port Mourant, which we now know must have been a cotton plantation founded by Stephen Mourant along the Berbice river between 1802-1813. Cotton quickly went out of fashion and at some point between 1813 and 1821 the estate must have shifted towards growing coffee and sugar instead. Consequently, it doesn’t make much sense that a distillery might have been at work before that period. The Port Mourant Distillery operated at least until 1954 but reports do not mention any further rum output after 1958. According to production lists, the last active years seems to have been 1955; it was just another victim of rationalization measures by the Booker’s group. Their Wooden Double Vat Still has then been brought to Albion and later, after Albion’s closure (1967-1969), to Uitvlugt, Booker’s main distillery. All available Port Mourant rums until 1999 have thus been distilled at Uitvlugt Distillery, before some of the remaining stills have finally been consolidated at DDL. Concerning the year stated by DDL (1732), Marco from BAM has an interesting theory: If this number is/was engraved in the copper parts of the Port Mourant still, it is somehow understandable why DDL might have mistaken it as the founding date of the estate. But what if Stephen Mourant simply bought the still from an upstream or any other estate in the region? Perhaps the metal parts were just bought following the easing of trade relations in 1732 and then combined with the native Guyanese wood. If this is correct, the still, or parts of it might indeed date back further than the period 1813-1821.

Skeldon

Established in the middle of the 19th century, Skeldon Estate’s founders adopted the most modern labour saving practices then available and vacuum pans were installed already early in the estate’s development. The sugar factory’s milling plant with a maximum capacity of more than 90 tonnes of cane per hour was installed in 1890.

Uitvlugt

Savalle
Uitvlugt Savalle Still

The Uitvlugt plantation has been founded at some point between 1759 and 1776. According to DDL, he original owner of the estate was a Dutch planter called Ignatius Charles Bourda Uitvlugt, whose initials are responsible for the marks ICB/U, ICB/C or ICB. GuySoCo mentions Ignatius Charles Border and Ursillya in this context. Uitvlugt started as a coffee plantation but has shifted fully to growing sugar by 1832. The distillery thus should not date back much further than this. Anyways, it quite likely precedes the invention of the Savalle still (patented in 1868), meaning that the still used by DDL today is most likely not (or not made from the remains of) the original Uitvlugt still. Nevertheless, it is very well possible that it has been added eventually to Uitvlugt Distillery, perhaps when the Booker’s group overhauled it in 1960. Following the consolidations of several Guyanese distilleries, Uitvlugt took over the production of Albion, Blairmont, La Bonne Intention and Skeldon. Consequently, some of the stills from these distilleries probably have been moved to Uitvlugt while others, i.e. redundant stills, have been scrapped (the Port Mourant still must have been moved earlier since the distillery was already closed in 1955, but most likely it went to Albion first). Following the fusion with Diamond Liquors Ltd, Uitvlugt has finally been shut down in 1999. Some of the stills survived this next and final consolidation, among them also the French Savalle Still, which is believed to be the actual Uitvlugt still. As explained above, its true origin might also be Blairmont, for instance.

Versailles

Versailles
Versailles Single Wooden Pot Still

Versailles was an estate and plantation on the west side of the Demerara river right next to Guyana’s capital Georgetown. It first appeared on a map from 1776, when it has been owned by Pierre L’Amirault. They solely planted coffee back than and gradually switched to sugar between 1829 and 1845. Pierre L’Amirault should have been a co-partner of the Jerusalem plantation on the east side of the river before that. In 1831, Versailles merged with the nearby Schoon Ord & Meerzorg plantation. Over the years, the owners of the estate changed several times and Versailles absorbed a few more neighboring plantations, before the Booker Bros. got their hands on it. In light of the multiple mergers, the mark VSG might very well be a combination of Versailles, Schoon Ord and Goed Fortuin. Similarily, SXG might simply stand for the latter two. The first sugar mill has been build in 1854, which allowed them to process the sugar cane and distill rum from the resulting by-product, molasses. It is very likely that the distillery also dates back to that time. Unfortunately not much is known about the it but they probably produced until around 1967. What seems likely is that they shut down for good by 1971, when several distilleries merged. What we know is that the sugar factory of Versailles shut down in 1978 and the distillery most likely could not have lasted longer than that. Anyways, their Single Wooden Pot Still has then been brought to the Enmore Distillery and later, via Uitvlugt, to the Diamond Distillery, where it is still producing today.

Official Blends

  • El Dorado 3YO, 40%
  • El Dorado 8YO, 40%
  • El Dorado 12YO, 40%
  • El Dorado 15YO, 43%
  • El Dorado 21YO, 43%

The photos on this page have been provided to Cocktails Old Fashioned by Stephanie Holt and are owned by DDL.