The Oxford English Dictionary notes a number of uses and meanings for the word Premium. In the context of this article the meaning is as follows
“Relating to or denoting a commodity of superior quality and therefore a higher price”
Which is pretty simple and easy to understand. So lets take a look at a few Premium rums. In this scenario the word is defined by the fact the rum itself promotes itself as Premium, on its bottle.
I’ll start with a very familiar Caribbean rum producer Angostura. Pictured is their range of recently re-designed rums. They have two Premium Rums in their range using our definition.
The 1919 an 8 year old blend which retails at around £25-35 and the 1824 a blend of rums aged for 12 years, which is usually about £50.
By logic the 1919 is superior to the 7, 5 and the White Reserva. Thus it is labelled as Premium rum. Usually it is more expensive. So it fits the bill to be labelled Premium.
So where does the 1824 come in? That is also noted as a Premium rum but is notably more expensive and presumably superior (by definition) to the 1919. So should the 1824 be the Premium rum in the Angostura range? Are you allowed more than one Premium rum?
Well Angostura certainly seem to think so because it doesn’t end there. Step forward their No1. Cask finish rums. They are labelled Premium Rum as well. The second of these retailed at around £90.
So in the Rum World it appears you can have a number of Premium Rums with different premiums……..interesting.
I’ve used Angostura purely as an example. They were merely the first producer I noted that had “Premium Rum” denoted on more than one bottling. It is likely that others do the same. I’m not singling anyone out here – the whole rum producing community is guilty of using marketing to some extent.
We’ve already established that Premium Rum can start at the middle to lower end of the market. The price of such rums can also get into the upper end at around £90 in the case of Angostura’s 2nd No1. Cask rum.
So why don’t we take a look around the rum market as a whole and pick out a few more rums that are labelled “Premium”? I wonder how low in terms of price we can go.
Pretty low it would seem. Rebellion Premium Black Rum is an entry level mixing rum which is bottled at 37.5% ABV and typically costs around £18 a bottle.
The brand is most well known for its Spiced variant. They also have a Ron Blanco Rum in the range.
As far as dark/black rum this is the only rum they have. So by the definition it isn’t superior to anything in their particular range. So should it be labelled Premium? What is it Superior to?
The only thing I can thing that Rebellion Black Rum is superior to must be Supermarket own label products. So lets take a look at those. Let’s have a little trip to Sainsbury’s.
First up we have their “Basics” range. Housed in a plastic bottle and retailing at £10 per 70cl bottle – this is as cheap as you will find rum in the UK.
There is certainly nothing Premium about these rums. Rebellion Rum certainly is superior to these concoctions. I know because I’ve been stupid enough to buy them in the past. The white is rum from Guyana and the Dark is the same Guyana rum with 2% Jamaican rum added.
But what else does Sainsbury’s offer under its own label? As well as having their “Basics” range they also offer their more regular Sainsbury’s lines and their “Taste the Difference” range.
As part of their more regular Sainsburys branded rums they offer a White and Dark Rum. In keeping with our definition they aren’t labelled Premium but they are another familiar descriptor……….
Superior. Not Premium no, but this is Sainsbury’s Superior White Rum. It has a fair claim to this because it is Superior to the Basics White Rum in terms of both quality and price. They have however decided not to label it as Premium.
Now you might think we are done with Sainsbury’s own brand rums. We aren’t. As well as having arguably the best rum selection of any UK supermarket they also have their own Premium Rum.
This is one of the few Supermarket rums I have reviewed on the site. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference 8 Year Old blended rum. This rum retails currently at £16. I scoured the label hoping and praying that they have used the term “Premium”. Unfortunately Sainsbury’s haven’t. They haven’t used the term Superior either. It is however noted as “outstanding”.
There is however a final twist. Where and who produces Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference rum?
Well it’s bottled here in the UK by Burn Stewart Distillers Ltd. Who have links with the Distell Group. They market some Aromatic Bitters. It is a product of Trinidad & Tobago. Currently there is only one distillery on T&T……….
Angostura. Interestingly enough then that this rum isn’t marketed as a Premium Rum. It is considerably cheaper than its not necessarily identical twin brother the 1919. It also occupies a much lower shelf space than the 1919…..
So we’ve neatly went full circle – So when is a rum a Premium Rum?
On this evidence it would appear to be whenever someone wants it to be. Regardless of the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word.
This opening piece is really just a bit of fun. An opener if you like for the more serious stuff which will follow. It’s not entirely serious but it shows just how things can and are marketed and how people can easily be duped.
Part Two will focus more on the labelling of rums but will go way beyond whether it is marked as Premium or not.