JOHN WATLING’S rums are fermented and distilled from hand-cut, freshly pressed sugar cane molasses. Since The Bahamas does not have a sugar industry of its own our Master Blender scours the Caribbean for two distinct distillates which are then transported from the Caribbean to John Watling’s home in Nassau at the historic 1789 Buena Vista Estate.
The heavy distillate is known as firewater while the lighter, more neutral distillate, is known as kill-devil. In order to create JOHN WATLING’S rums the firewater must be aged in American white oak barrels for up to 5 years. The kill-devil distillate is sometimes aged together with firewater in a similar way to create further products used for the blending process. As the distillates mellow and are transformed into rum, they breathe through the pores of the wood barrels and slowly evaporate.
Evaporation amounts to 10 percent of the barrels’ contents each year known as the “Angel’s Share”. The ageing process is accelerated by 2.5 times faster than in colder climates due to Nassau’s tropical heat and its proximity to ocean breezes. This makes JOHN WATLING’s Buena Vista rum comparable in age to a 12 year old Scotch.
Before barrelling, the firewater undergoes a process known as charcoal filtration to perfect it further. Some of the charcoal used is made from locally carbonized coconut husks. After filtration the firewater is aged in American white oak barrels either singly or as a pre-blend.
Once the distillate has been transformed into aged rum and has been judged ready by our sixth generation Master Blender, the barrel is emptied. His knowledge, passed on to him by mentors, spans more than 175 years of accumulated experience in the art of rum-making. If the aged rum does not meet his standards it is left to age in the barrel until he decides it is ready.
There are two aged distillates that emerge from the ageing process: a single-barrel rum and pre-blended rum. Each of these rums, at varying ages, is an ingredient in a formula for the Master Blender, who uses time-honoured proprietary techniques to blend and craft all JOHN WATLING’S rums.
All products made at John Watling’s Distillery are hand-packaged. This ensures a finely crafted, quality product that is made by local hands. At John Watling’s we try to use the least amount of mechanization possible while never compromising on quality.
Each bottle of JOHN WATLING’S rum is adorned with a section of Sisal Plait woven by hand at South Andros and Cat Island.Sisal (Agave sisalana) is a succulent that yields a stiff fibre traditionally used in making twine, rope and also dartboards. The term may refer either to the plant or the fibre, depending on context. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as sisal hemp because hemp was for centuries a major source for fibre, so other fibres were sometimes named after it.