Tortuga Rum Company Ltd.
Only 16 of 23 labels are shown. Underplayed labels are variations with minor differences.
Tortuga Rum Company Limited, Cayman Islands|
Majestic Distilling, Lansdowne, Maryland|
Monumental Distilling Co.
OAK Park Distilling Co.
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The company was established in 1984 by Robert and Carlene Hamaty while both were working for Cayman Airways. Robert, a captain, and Carlene, an in-flight supervisor, started the company with two blended rums, Gold and Light. While piloting for Air Jamaica, Robert got the idea from passengers who boarded his plane carrying Bermuda Rum. Realizing Bermuda did not have the resources to distill its own rum, he investigated, only to discover that it was actually made in Jamaica and the alcohol shipped to Bermuda to be bottled. Tortuga Rum is a combination of Jamaican Rum and Barbadian (Bajan) Rum specially blended for the Cayman Islands.
The name, Tortuga, chosen by Robert and Carlene, was derived from the original name given to the Cayman Islands, "Las Tortugas," meaning "The Turtles." Needless to say, Tortuga has done nothing but expand and grow since its beginning.
Founded in 1984, Tortuga Rum Company has grown to become the largest duty-free liquor business in the Cayman Islands. Husband and wife team Robert and Carlene Hamaty, started the company while they were both employed by the islands national airline, Cayman Airways. Robert was a captain (previously for Air Jamaica) and Carlene was an in-flight supervisor. While piloting for Air Jamaica, Robert noticed passengers boarding his plane carrying Bermuda Rum. Realizing Bermuda did not have the resources to distill their own rum, he investigated, only to discover that it was actually made in Jamaica, and shipped to Bermuda to be bottled. That was when he decided the Cayman Islands should have their own rum too, and the idea of Tortuga Rum was culminated. They started the company with two blended rums, Tortuga Gold and Tortuga Light. Tortuga Rum is a combination of Jamaican Rum and Barbados Rum specially blended for the Cayman Islands; therefore it is like no other.
The name, Tortuga, chosen by Robbie & Carlene, was derived from the original name given to the Cayman Islands, Las Tortugas meaning "The Turtles". The Hamatys, having no marketing or promotional experience at that time, overcame many obstacles and setbacks and pushed forward, seeing the opportunity to sell local products duty-free to visitors of the island, by both air and sea.
Shortly thereafter, Robbie and Carlene started their own distributorship from a small warehouse on North Sound Rd. Not long after, a second waterfront "Tortuga Duty Free Liquors" store was opened.
The first Tortuga Duty Free Liquor store was opened in 1987, while the Hamatys were still employed by Cayman Airways. It was a very small store located near the waterfront in Georgetown. A company called Overton Traders was the appointed distributor of the first Tortuga products in the Cayman Islands
In 1990, Robert Hamaty's career as an Airline Captain unfortunately came to an end, due to medical reasons. This was when he decided to give the company his undivided attention and plunged full force into the marketing and promotion of Tortuga Rum Co.
In 1991, the Hamaty's then opened a "Tortuga Duty Free Liquors" store, next to the warehouse. This became known as the tour bus stop. Here, cruise ship passengers on island bus tours, were able to view ancient artifacts, tropical birds, and sit in shaded comfort under large patio umbrellas after shopping for duty free liquor and souvenirs to take home.
The Tortuga Rum Cake story officially began in 1987. It was at this time that Carlene started baking rum cakes at home, using a family recipe that had been handed down through generations. She of course used Tortuga Rum as the main ingredient. Encouraged by rave reviews she received while baking the cakes for friends, Carlene Hamaty began testing local demand. The Tortuga Rum Cake made its first "public" appearance on the dessert menu of a local restaurant, and was an instant hit. The demand for the rum cakes became so great that in 1990 a 1,700 square-foot commercial bakery was established.
The trademark ingredient is a generous amount of premium five-year old, oak barrel aged Tortuga Gold Rum, not available to the public. Each cake is individually hand-glazed with this rum before packaging. Although the authentic Tortuga Rum Cake contains no preservatives, a vacuum-sealing process ensures a shelf life of six months and will keep indefinitely if refrigerated or frozen.
Tortuga Rums now consist of 11 different varieties. The two original Tortuga Light Rum & Tortuga Gold Rum followed by Dark, 151 Proof, Banana, Coconut, Spiced, Rum Cream, Rum Liqueur, Rum Coffee Liqueur and the latest addition, Tortuga 12 year old Premium Gold Rum. Tortuga Dark Rum received prestigious awards two consecutive years at the Caribbean Rum Tasting Contest in Barbados, and Tortuga Coconut Rum took an award in the same contest in 1997. Also, Tortuga Light Rum won a silver medal, placing second in 1998.