Berry Bros & Rudd can trace its origins back to 1698 when the Widow Bourne founded her shop opposite St James’s Palace. Today the present generation of Berrys and Rudds continue to manage the familiy-owned business from 3 St James’s Street.
So the story goes according to the back label of their bottlings. If you have ever been to the shop in St James’s Street, you might have noticed the “Sign of the Coffee Mill” at the entrance. When the Widow’s daughter Elizabeth married William Pickering, their family continued to run the business and the Pickerings supplied the newly-fashionable Coffee Houses of St. James’s Street. Today, the sign still proudly honours the company’s history.
George Berry was born at the end of the 18th century and by the time he was 23 years old, his name marked the facade of the building. Gradually, wines and spirits started to enrich the company’s portfolio.
The company’s homepage is full of anecdotes about how the company became the purveyor to the Royal Household under King Edward VII , how Cutty Sark Whisky became one of their most successful products during the American Prohibition and how the ancient furniture of No. 3 was stored elsewhere to prevent it from getting damaged during WWII. Another, more morbid anecdote concerns the sinking of the Titanic:
On the day after the catastrophic sinking of the Titanic, a carefully typed letter was sent from the White Star Line to ‘Berry Bros. & Co.’ The letter reports the loss of 69 cases of the firm’s wines and spirits onboard the ship. No mention is made of the lives that were lost.
For a more elaborate history of the company, click here.
To the best of my knowledge, the first rums under the Berry Bros & Rudd respectively Berry’s Own Finest have been released in 2002. From what I have heard, they must have released a few very highly regarded bottlings in their early rum days. Unfortunately that was before I entered the community. However, their more recent releases do not have to hide behind those by other bottlers. Berry Bros & Rudd dilute all rums of their “standard range” to a drinking strength of 46%, only special bottlings possess a higher abv. I am not exactly sure what’s the reason for this but many Whisky bottlers seem to favour this number as well. If we want to find fault with Berry’s it is their frequency of new releases. But if you, like me, prefer quality over quantity that is probably an issue we can live with.
A list of a few bottlings by Berry Bros & Rudd that I got to try:
- Berry Bros & Rudd Fiji 9YO (2001-20010), 46%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Fiji 10YO (2001-2011), 46%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Fiji 11YO (2001-2012), 46%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Guadeloupe (Bellevue) 15YO (1998-2013), 46%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Demerara (Port Morant, Laphroaig Finish) 15YO (1992-2007), 46%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Westerhall Distillery 7YO (2003-2000), 46%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Jamaica (Long Pond) 33YO (1982-2016), 57%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Monymusk 12YO (LMDW) (2003-2016), 55,4%
- Berry Bros & Rudd St. Lucia Distillers 1999 11YO (1999-2010), 46%
- Berry Bros & Rudd Carribean XO (Caroni), 46%