Rum Nation is an Italian independent bottler and affiliate to Rossi & Rossi s.r.l., the family company of the Rossi family, that, among others, also compromises the whisky bottler Wilson & Morgan. Its roots date back as far as the 1920s, when Guiseppe Rossi was dealing with wines and olive oils. His son, Mario Jr., started dealing with wines and liquors in 1956 and was the first importer of Laphroaig, and later Rhum Barbancourt, in Italy. Mario’s son again, Fabio Rossi, inevitable grew up between bottles of wine and spirit. Hence it is not very surprising that Fabio eventually stepped into his dad’s footsteps and started to bottle his own selection of rums and whiskies.
During a Scotland trip in 1990, when Fabio was sampling barrels and striking deals for the upcoming launch of a new whisky line called Wilson & Morgan, he saw some rum barrels from Guyana and Jamaica lying next to the whisky casks in the warehouse.While he liked what he was tasting, Fabio claims that he did not know anything about rum at that time. A couple of years later, Fabio approached Silvano Samaroli, head of the independent bottler Samaroli who has been doing business with his father Mario Jr., for advice. He bought the barrels and bottled them with the goal to gather the best rums from across the world. So Rum Nation was born in 1999.
From todays point of view it seems crazy that Fabio still got to buy these barrels after a couple of years, but back in the days barely anyone knew much about rum and no-one could foresee the path the business was going to take.
Especially these old bottlings from Guyana and Jamaica were responsible for the success of Rum Nation as they are widely regarded for their great quality. Their only downside is that they have all been bottled at drinking strengths of 43% and 45%.
Two features of Rum Nation are worth mentioning. Firstly, they do not mention the distilleries but the area of origin on their labels. The intention was to convey the different characters of the rum-producing countries. This might be helpful for beginners but it is a pity for advanced aficionados. Especially both since both could be mentioned on the label. Secondly, Fabio has been an avid stamp collector. That is why you will find a postal stamp of the country of origin on every bottle.
This changed recently, when Rum Nation launched the Small Batch Rare Rums (short: SBRR) collection. The new bottlings come at or close to cask strength (if you are picky, there has been a handful of releases with 50+% already), contain more information on the label and do not come with an actual post stamp anymore. I for one welcome this changed mindset and am excited of what is yet to come. Finally, it should be stated that Rum Nation typically does not bottle single cask rums. Instead they blend different barrels of one distilled batch. But who knows, perhaps this is going to change as well.
A list of some Rum Nation bottlings:
- Rum Nation Barbados 12YO (1995-2008), 43%
- Rum Nation Guadeloupe Vieux, 40%
- Rum Nation Demerara (Port Mourant) 23YO (1989–2012) , 45%
- Rum Nation Demerara 25YO (1990–2015), 45%
- Rum Nation Demerara Solera No. 14, 40%
- Rum Nation SBRR Diamond 2005 11YO (2005-2016), 58,6%
- Rum Nation SBRR Enmore (EHE) 1997 19YO (1997-2016), 58,7%
- Rum Nation SBRR Enmore (KFM) 2002 14YO (2002-2016), 56,8%
- Rum Nation SBRR Port Mourant 1995 21YO (1995-2016), 57,7%
- Rum Nation SBRR Port Mourant 1999 17YO (1999-2016), 57,4%
- Rum Nation Supreme Lord VI (Long Pond) 26YO (1986-2012), 45%
- Rum Nation Supreme Lord VII (Hampden) 23YO (1990-2013), 45%
- Rum Nation Supreme Lord VIII (Monymusk Distillery) 25YO (1991-2016), 55,7%
- Rum Nation SBRR Hampden 1992 24YO (1992-2016), 61,6%
- Rum Nation SBRR Hampden 1998 18YO (1998-2016), 66,3%
- Rum Nation SBRR Jamaica 30YO, 48,7%
- Rum Nation Jamaica Oloroso Finish 8YO (Worthy Park) (2007-2015), 50%
- Rum Nation SBRR Savanna 10YO (2006-2016), 54,2%
- Rum Nation SBRR Savanna 15YO (2001-2016), 52,8%
- Rum Nation Panama 10YO, 40%
- Rum Nation Panama 18 YO, 40%
- Rum Nation Panama 21 YO, 40%
- Rum Nation Caroni 1998 16YO (1998-2014), 55%
- Rum Nation Caroni 1998 18YO (1998-2016), 55%