The Hayman family to open rum blending house in London
London’s first rum blending house in more than 100 years is set to open next month.
The Hayman family is opening Charles Mercer & Co, which will be based in a four-story merchant’s house located of London’s The Strand. The new company will follow in the traditions of London’s late rum blending houses by sourcing, blending and marrying a range of aged Caribbean rums from the capital.
James Hayman, from gin specialists the Hayman family, said: “For over one hundred years, the streets of London were home to a bustling network of merchant rum blending houses. The merchant’s skill lay not in distilling but rather in the sourcing, blending and secondary maturation of the rum. Our family was involved in the trade for some time – sourcing stock from West India Docks to create our own proprietary blends. We are proud to play a role in bringing the lost craft of rum blending back to the city.”
Brand director Jonathan Gibson said: “Over recent years, people have come to understand the important role that gin has played in London’s social history but rum’s story remains untold. London was for along time at the heart of the global trade in rum, with blending houses playing a vital role in creating the finished rums that were widely enjoyed in the 18th and 19th Centuries. With Merser’s we aim to explore that history, to bring back those lost traditions and to encourage a renaissance of interest in London rum.”
The project has included the creation of a London bonded warehouse for secondary cask maturation and the restoration of a 19th century merchant’s house from which the brand will prototype its blends, entertain trade and host consumer tours. The Merser’s brand aims to celebrate the layers of flavour that a traditional approach to rum blending can bring.
Hayman said: “We have taken great pains to make our London rums the same way they were made here over one hundred years ago. We source the best Caribbean rums we can find, we blend them to create balance, nuance and layers of flavour and then we marry them in cask – right here in London – for a period of months just as our predecessors did. We do not add sugar, flavours or colour. What you see is a natural product of distillation, careful blending and cask maturation – distilled in the Caribbean but very much made in London.”
Merser’s Double Barrel launches in the UK in October priced at £38 with a listing in Waitrose. Further blends will follow over the coming months. The Merser’s brand will be distributed in the UK by Symposium.