The tradition of rum ageing at the West India Docks
The tradition of ageing rum in the west india Docks initiated in the 17th century. When it was discovered that the ageing of distillates in the Docks of London, which has a much different climate
compared to the Caribbean, added a more delicate feature to the rum and less evaporation compared to when the rum was aged at the distillery of origin.
Ageing in the Caribbean under dry conditions and fluctating temperatures, means that the rum is subject to high evaporation and oxidation, which helps to accentuate the rich, complex, woody character of the distillate.
Meanwhile ageing at the London Docks which provides as steady temperature of 8° – 12 ° Celsius and a high humidity (Rarely below 95%) Which means much smaller volume loss. This ageing method produces a more delicate rum with a light floral and fruity aroma profile and less wood impact.
London Dock X.O. Jamaica ”P.X. Cask Finish” Rum 42% Vol.
This Rum is a blend of distillates from the Worthy Park and Hampden Distilleries in Jamaica. After the principal ageing in old bourbon casks the rum has received a further cask finish refinement in old P.X. Sherry butts. This gives a rum with a dark amber color and a taste with delicate notes and hints of raisins, brown sugar, figs and vanilla, added to the powerful body of the medium ester level classic Jamaica Rum.
London Dock X.O. Trinidad “Sauternes Cask Finish” Rum 42% Vol.
Our London Dock Trinidad Rum is sourced from the Caroni and Angostura Distilleries. After the traditional ageing in old Bourbon casks this rum has then received an extra ageing in Sauternes casks. This gives a rum with a subtle vinous taste and flavor with hints of peach, apricots and honey, combined with the typical rum flavors like brown sugar, molasses & Vanilla with hints of ripe banana.
London Dock X.O. Barbados “Madeira Cask Finish” Rum 42% Vol.
The London Dock Barbados Rum is an opulent blend of rum from the Foursquare and West Indies Distilleries. The London Dock Barbados Rum has received a complementary cask finish ageing in sweet madeira casks after the traditional ageing in old bourbon casks. This particular ageing process adds additional flavor components to the rum, with hints of vanilla and caramelized tropical fruits finished a slightly spicy long, elegant and smooth aftertaste, with a rich flavor of ripe banana, toasted oak, molasses and spicy ginger.
The traditional ageing of rum in the Docks of London initiated in the 17th century.
The London West India Docs
The West India Docks were a series of three docks on the Isle of Dogs in London, England the first of which opened in 1802. The docks closed to commercial traffic in 1980 and the Canary Wharf development was built on the site.
In 1796 the government set up committees to inquire into the state of London’s port. In 1799 the West India Dock Act was passed. The initial plan was for a new dock at Wapping, but this would have meant pulling down over 1,000 houses before the dock could be built.
Further downstream at the north end of the Isle of Dogs the river was deeper and nobody lived on the land. In July 1800 excavations for the new dock began. Huge warehouses were built for produce from the West Indies, and security was provided by the West India Dock Company’s own police force.
The company was given a 20-year monopoly (agreement that no other London company could import goods from the West Indies) on London’s West India trade. As a result, the company could be sure of success.
Before the 17th century, London did not really extend eastwards beyond the Tower of London. Ships arrived in the Pool of London, near the Tower, and waited there to be unloaded.
The River Thames is tidal so even large ships could travel quite far upstream to deliver their cargoes. Wooden wharves and warehouses were built to receive the goods and to collect duty on them for the City of London and the monarch.
As the river became increasingly overcrowded in the late 18th and early 19th century, the docks were built and The first one was the West India Dock. London’s docks continued to develop throughout the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries.
Why were the West Indies docks build?
By 1800 about a quarter of Britain’s income came from imports from the West Indies, mainly from sugar, coffee and rum. Rum had to be cleared through customs within 30 days of arriving in London, so a three month wait for unloading was a problem.
Customs officers could seize the rum if it had not been cleared so all the profits from the voyage would be lost. During the mid-17th century, 200,000 British citizens (4% of the population) emigrated to the Caribbean. Many of those acquired large estates called plantations and grew sugar using slave labour.