A interview with Andrew Laing about the new rum series „Kill Devil Single Cask“ Rum.
Marcus: Andrew, would you introduce yourself briefly. A short swing in the roots of your (family) whisky business, but especially how you and your brother come about rum.
Andrew: Personally, after university I worked selling whisky in the Far East and Middle East for other companies, before starting my own small independent bottler “Edition Spirits” in 2010, with the First Editions brand still represented in Germany by Peter Sondheim’s Bestwhisky. In 2013 with our family company’s restructuring I merged Edition Spirits Ltd into the newly-formed Hunter Laing & Co and since then have had the pleasure of working with my father Stewart and brother Scott. Clearly we are primarily a scotch whisky company, specialising in single cask bottlings of malts and grains, and will always remain so. However in the last few years we have had the chance to acquire some nice stocks of aged rums and thought it would be a nice idea to offer some of these to our existing whisky customers. We follow the same philosophy as with our whiskies – bottling single casks of rum only when we think they are at the perfect stage for drinking, and of course not chill-filtering or adding caramel or anything else. Truly authentic products then, just like our whiskies! We believed the name “Kill Devil” was suitably fun and exotic-sounding, being an old Caribbean description of the spirit.
Marcus: If your business engages the possibilities of the rum market? Rum is always interesting and has a great potential, especially in the area of authentic rums. How do you see this? Are there plans?
Andrew: As I said, our focus obviously remains on the whisky side of our business but there is a potential for the rums to complement this nicely in certain markets such as Germany and Italy where high quality rums already have a large following. We will continue to slowly grow the Kill Devil range, bottling more and more interesting casks from different territories with different styles. There are a lot of interesting casks in our warehouse to choose from, to bottle in the months and years ahead, so please continue to watch what we are releasing.
Marcus: What was your biggest challenge with the Kill Devil Single Cask Rums?
Andrew: Gaining confidence with understanding specifically what the rum enthusiasts are looking for, when it came to choosing which casks to bottle. Obviously we have a good understanding of what most appeals to whisky drinkers but we have built this knowledge up over years, however with good feedback from our distributors and from having spoken to many consumers at a few shows, I feel we are on the right track with the Kill Devil selection!
Marcus: How many casks of rum do you have stored in your warehouses, and when did you, or your family, start collecting these casks?
We don’t like to put figures on these but we have sufficient stock to sustain and grow the range. I personally bought some of these casks back in 2008 or 2009, and we’ve acquired other parcels before and since and of course will continue to source interesting rums.
Marcus: Can you say something about the origins, where they from? Are there cask that you are proud to own them?
Andrew: As with the whiskies, we will always put the names of the distilleries on the labels unless the distillery asks us not to do so. Of course, the countries of origin are primarily in South America and the West Indies – especially Jamaica. I particularly enjoy the Jamaican rums because of their intensity – as you know they’re often described as the “Islay malts of the rum world”.
Marcus: Will you release again a blend like you did before? It is the only one at the moment. Or was it a test?
Andrew: I’m pleased to say our “Caribbean Blended Rum” will be an ongoing product – it’s been very popular so far!
Marcus: Would you allow a sneak peak at rum(s) that can be in the next release?
Andrew: Some interesting rums from Guyana and one or two from Jamaica will be in the next list – including one from Monymusk, which as well as being a beautiful rum is I think a lovely sounding name.
Marcus: Are you making some „finished release“ like Islay finish or finished in another special Whisky barrel?
Andrew: Although we do occasionally rum-finish whiskies, we have no plans to whisky-finish any rum.
Andrew Laing, thank you for the interview.
Firmensitz Hunter & Laing Company LTD
Kill Devil Single Cask Rum