Rum… it has inspired quintessential pirate activities like swashbuckling, smuggling, and plank-walking for centuries. Real life swash and buckle may no longer be a side effect of rum drinking but when music industry legend Chris Blackwell launched his eponymous Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum in Jamaica only, smuggling suddenly made a come-back… Americans were sneaking as many bottles of the ‘Black Gold’ into their luggage as they could carry. But as Blackwell Rum launches Stateside this month, citizens need smuggle no more…


The story in a nutshellÂ… Chris Blackwell: First it was reggae, now itÂ’s rum.


Chris who? You may be familiar with the name Chris Blackwell… An inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he founded Island Records and is credited with putting the likes of Cat Stevens, U2, Grace Jones, and Bob Marley on the map – to name but a few. Next he went on to found Island Outpost, a group of eclectic yet luxurious resorts in Jamaica, each with a very individual take on the concept of “island chic.” Most notable was the recent reopening of the group’s flagship property, GoldenEye Hotel & Resort, set in sleepy Oracabessa Bay on the island’s North Coast… The estate was the Jamaica home of author Ian Fleming, and the place where he wrote all of the James Bond novels.


Music, hotels… and rum? Ever the enterprising entrepreneur, Mr. Blackwell has set his sights on something very new… Or, depending on how you look at it, you could say he is returning to his roots. Chris hails not just from one of Jamaica’s oldest families, but from one of Jamaica’s oldest rum-producing families – we’re talking 17th century – so it is not an unnatural next step for him to create his own brand of rum.


What was the goal? And who else is involved? In partnership with advertising industry guru, Richard Kirshenbaum – who has steered such leading beverage brands as Moet et Chandon, Dom Perignon, Guinness, Don Julio, and Ciroc Vodka, among others – the creation and launch of Blackwell Rum has been an unhurried labor of love. The goal was to create a rum that would blend effortlessly with a variety of mixers, yet could also be enjoyed neat. Working with the team at J. Wray & Nephew at Appleton Estate, the rum producers to whom Blackwell is related, the team of Kirshenbaum and Blackwell achieved their perfect blend…


What does it taste like? Capturing the essence of the island in beverage form, Blackwell Rum us a luminous dark rum with a deep amber glow, and a robust alcohol content of 40% that belies its soft, well-balanced finish. The subtle scent of tropical fruit is backed up with flavors of toasty coconut and honeyed tropical fruits, and hints of citrus – to sip it is to be transported.


How to drink it… Mr. Blackwell prefers to drink it neat, no rocks. But the collection of Blackwell Rum cocktails that were developed by the bartenders at each of the Island Outpost resorts, which includes the signature GoldenEye cocktail, offers many different ways to ‘get into the spirit.’ Named for the recently opened GoldenEye Hotel & Resort, the birthplace of James Bond, the GoldenEye should be made with 007 in mind – shaken, not stirred. (See recipe below.)


Where to get it, and for how much? Blackwell Rum is available to consumers in New York and New Jersey as of today, and will roll out in Florida and California as of September 1st, followed by Illinois as of October 1st. Suggested retail price is $29.99 for a 750ml bottle. A portion of the proceeds from all sales of Blackwell Rum will be donated to the Oracabessa Foundation, the GoldenEye-supported charity that drives community and environmental sustainability in the Oracabessa area.


To make the GoldenEye:

3 shots Blackwell Rum

1 shot lime juice

1 shot orange juice

1 shot pineapple juice

2 shots simple syrup And ice

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake. (For a frostier version, throw it all in the blender and blend until smooth.) Garnish with orange or pineapple slices to serve.