Treasures from Jamaica, at Excellence Rhum

30 March 2023 | Buyer's Guide
Treasures from Jamaica, at Excellence Rhum
Here are three little wonders that Excellence Rhum invites you to discover, three Jamaican rums resurrected from the past: a first rum bottled by Maison Acker, Merrall & Condit Co., vintage 1840, a second rum bottled by Maison Matignon, vintage 1860 , and a third Jamaican rum of direct import, vintage 1889, bottled in Rodez by Chayriques frères.

Jamaica entered the 19th century with the status of the largest rum producer in the world. Its rum is the most popular on both sides of the Atlantic. The characteristic of Jamaican distilleries is the distillation in double retort pot stills, which gives it unique, structured and powerful aromas. Each spirits house, each trader, in the United States, England and France, must present a Jamaican rum in its range. The most prestigious houses thus select the best rums.

Acker, Merrall & Condit Co., Rum from Jamaica, vintage 1840

In 1817, Matthew Hope and his son James left Europe to settle in the United States. When his father died, James, 22, took over the management of the grocery store founded by his father in 1820. His brothers, Thomas and Anthony, joined him.

Subsequently, John Condit, William Merrall and David Acker became clerks in the business. The three men fetch the rarest, most refined grocery products, including vintage wines and spirits, for their customers. They were making a place for themselves among the economic elite of the city. The company became Acker, Merrall & Company, in 1858, then Acker, Merrall & Condit Co. in 1868. It was during this period of success and expansion that this Jamaican Rum, Acker, Merrall & ConditCO was bottled, vintage 1840.

Subsequently, the company continues to grow. Several stores are opening in the United States but also in Paris. The company goes through the ages. Mickaël Kapon, son of one of Acker's business partners, takes over the company and transforms it into a wine and spirits company. He performs the first auctions.

Acker is now the oldest auction house in the United States and one of the largest retail and wine auction houses in the world.

Matignon, Rum from Jamaica, vintage 1860

Maison Matignon was founded by François Alexandre Matignon around 1840, in Cognac. His main activity is the sale of Cognac, which he promotes in his advertisements that can be found in newspapers throughout France. Vintages, notably an 1820 Cognac, are advertised for sale.

Being also owner in Libourne, he enriches his catalog of great Bordeaux wines such as Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Saint-Julien, Sauternes or Margaux; very luxurious wines.

Matignon embarked on the direct importation of rums from Martinique and Jamaica, the most famous already at the time. He sells them in barrels or bottled under his own name: “F.A. Matignon Owner”. Regarding Jamaican rum, he specifies that he sells “old” and “very old” rum. The success is such that he becomes a supplier to the Royal Court of Spain.

This very rare Jamaican rum, vintage, "Special Reserve 1860", is the illustration of the success and luxury of Maison Matignon.

Chayriques Frères, Rum from Jamaica, vintage 1889

The Chayriguès, with a "g", form a family established in Aveyron, of farmers and traders. At 77 rue Béteille in Rodez, capital of Aveyron, a member of the family specializes in wholesale wine sales. But the Chayriguès Brothers, written "Chayriques" on the label of the bottle, have a "Epicerie et Mercerie en Gros" at 75 rue Béteille.

This grocery store offers its customers "colonial foodstuffs, coffees, pasta, vegetables, dried fruits, oils and soaps, rum, brandies and spirits, tea and chocolates, peppers" but also local products such as " cheeses and cured meats".

At the time when rum was experiencing its first golden age in France, the Chayriguès Brothers bottled their own rum, coming directly from Kingston, capital of Jamaica. On the label of this bottle, on either side of the profile of a man illustrating Jamaica, we distinguish two Occitan crosses, representing the South-West of France. In addition, just like on the capsule, the label is decorated with the initials of the trader CF for "Chayriques Frères". This 1L bottle is a real piece of history that you can hold in your hands and even taste; an incredible journey to 1889!

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Written by

Matthieu Lange
Conseiller en spiritueux