(Taken from the Rumaniacs webpage)
“In late 2014, a number of dedicated rum reviewers, mostly from Europe, came together to form the group known as the Rumaniacs, whose site this is. In the initial correspondences and meetings, the group discussed the formation an online repository for reviews and descriptions of rums, old and some not-so-old, the majority which was out of production or sold out, and many of which had few records of any kind, or had been forgotten entirely.
There were a number of reasons for this idea to seem like a good one.
It was felt that with the sheer variety of rums in existence, combined with the plethora of companies that have been making rum throughout the centuries (from massive conglomerates selling worldwide, to small moonshiners serving a local market, to independent bottlers taking a few barrels and producing something unique and in small batches), then without such a database, much of the history of the older brands which these companies once made but then moved away from, was being forgotten, if it was ever even recorded. Examples were rarely (if ever) saved or stored for future generations to try against modern variations except in unusual circumstances, or by collectors and enthusiasts.
The tradition of the major distillers selling stock to rum brokers and merchants was common in the colonies of the UK and France. Rum was mostly but a mere side-business. The “brands” of these sugar estates were the marks written on the casks, regardless if they contained sugar or rum. With the fall of sugar prices and rise in popularity of other alternatives over the last decades, many distilleries and rum-producers went out of business or were consolidated into larger operations, with their individual brands being gradually subsumed by more popular ones, or retired altogether. The Rumaniacs wanted to write about these.
Lastly, we wanted to record something of the development of early rums as part of the reviews, to showcase the changing production methods and their impact on rum profiles; as well as the historical shift from rums bonded to the many small estates whence they originated, to more centralized, larger operations that often eliminated smaller producers and their sometimes unique rums. The early development of agricoles (“rhum habitant” or “rhum de vesou”— rums made entirely out of the fresh juice of the sugar cane) created unique rums but here again, market forces and popular tastes resulted in reductions of the many varieties that were once available.
The sponsor of the Rumaniacs agreed to send us samples from his private stocks on an ongoing basis, which we will review using a common nomenclature and scoring system. We also agreed to pool resources and share our own rums as opportunities arose, so that the size of the review database could grow, and hopefully enthuse not only a new generation of rum drinkers but serve as a resource for people who want to know something about older rums they may have heard about, or seen, or inherited…but never tasted.
This initiative, with luck, will address the wishes and needs and memories of all those who are interested in old rums.<