Rum Journal: A Secret Jamaican Rum

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 8, 2014

Above: Smatt’s white and gold rums

APPLETON. J Wray and Nephew. Myers’s. These are the undisputed heavyweight champions of Jamaican rum.

For a fine sipping rum, it’s Appleton (we like the 12 year). For a powerhouse white rum, it’s J Wray & Newphew overproof (or Rum Fire). Of course, there’s also the stratospheric Edwin Charley, also made by Appleton in severely limited numbers, along with a batch of small, mostly unheralded producers. For cocktails, or a floater, it’s Myers’s.

The aforementioned names have traditionally led one of the Caribbean’s most passionate centres of rum for what seems like aeons, until, most recently, the debut of the excellent Blackwell Rum.

But there’s another rum from Jamaica you may not have ever heard of, a rather mysterious, hard-to-find spirit — one that remains something of a secret in Jamaica.

It’s called Smatt’s, named after the pirate Black Jack Smatt.

The largely unknown, small-production brand, the brainchild of Ashley Smatt blended by Jamaican master blender Derrick Dunn, has two varieties: a white and a gold rum, which sources local Jamaican sugarcane and is distilled in a combination of both column and pot stills, with the final product being a blend of rums using both methods.

Smatt’s emphasizes its water, which comes from “natural mineral springs” in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, according to the company. The water is then “filtered through volcanic and limestone rocks to create a pure base element.”

Smatt’s remains something of a secret, still unknown to the wider market save for select shops and bars in London and the like.

We were able to obtain a bottle in Montego Bay, trying the five-years-aged Gold Rum, which comes in a rather beautiful, slightly frosted bottle adorned with an embossed gold ship.

The rum has a classic amber colour, with a strong aroma of oak and molasses.

The flavour profile features strong notes of coconut, charcoal, spice, caramel, pepper, molasses and a hint of oak.

What stands out is the rum’s smoothness — while it has the underlying power typical of a Jamaican rum, the finish is utterly smooth. Very smooth. This is not a full-bodied rum — rather, a lighter-bodied, refined spirit. On the rocks, the rum takes on a quality closer to cognac, slightly richer with stronger hints of charcoal.

Ultimately, it’s a rum that gets better the more you sip it. And that’s always a good thing.

All in all, a very good, elegant rum. We recommend it neat.

The secret is out.

— CJ

Popular Posts cape santa maria

The Best Caribbean Beach Resort You’ve Never Heard of 

There’s a boat just offshore called “Escape.”  It’s bobbing in some of the most brilliant, dynamic turquoise water I’ve ever seen, a few meters from a stretch of sand so bright and so white you have to squint to look […]

Marriott Is Opening Its New St Regis Resort In Aruba 

aruba st regis inside the restaurant with chairs

It was more than a decade ago that Marriott opened its first-ever Ritz-Carlton resort in the Dutch Caribbean: the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, which at the time was the island’s first true five-star resort.  Fast forward to 2024, and Marriott is set […]

From All-Inclusive Resorts to Beaches, Travelers Are Falling in Love With Antigua and Barbuda

antigua barbuda frontier airlines the peninsula with sand

The plunge-pool villas at Hammock Cove. The historic streets of Nelson’s Dockyard. Pool days at Sheer Rocks. Unforgettable honeymoons. Vibrant meals of pepperpot and fungee. Beach bar hopping on the south coast. Endless serenity in Barbuda.  Travelers keep flocking to […]

Related Posts sandals south coast with trees

From Montego Bay to Ochi, Why to Visit a Sandals in Jamaica Right Now

Dunn’s River Falls. The Pelican Bar. Seven Mile Beach. Rick’s. The White River. Rose Hall. Jamaica never stops calling.  Whether you’re looking for the bustle and energy of Montego Bay, the laid-back cool of Negril or the abundant natural beauty […]

Caribbean Photo of the Week: Long Island in The Bahamas

long island bahamas

The latest Caribbean Photo comes from Caribbean Journal reader Heather Knechtges, who sent in this stunning shot on the beach in Long Island, The Bahamas. Have you taken a great photo in the Caribbean? Send it to with CPOTW […]

At Turks and Caicos’ Regent Grand, A Different Way to Experience Grace Bay

regent turks

Grace Bay Beach; the restaurants, the shopping, the boating, the golf. They’re all a big par of the reason why Turks and Caicos has been one of the hottest destinations in the hemisphere over the last few years.  But hidden […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You