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.
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.
Today, Rum Cake Lane and Tortuga Rum Avenue are the signposts leading to a 10,000 sq. ft. headquarters and state of the art bakery, where free sample trays of freshly baked rum cake morsels tempt visitors while they observe Tortuga Rum Cakes being baked, hand glazed with the 5 year old premium rum, then vacuum-sealed This facility is able to produce between 5,000 and 6,000 Tortuga Rum Cakes each day in three sizes: the 32-oz. large size, the 16-oz. medium size and the 4-oz. mini. Following the golden original flavor, decadent Tortuga Chocolate
Cake was introduced in February 1998 and quickly matched popularity. Launched in June 1999, was the Tortuga Blue Mountain Coffee Rum Cake. Equally seductive! November 2000 brought us Tortuga Banana Rum and Tortuga Coconut Rum flavors.
This location is also the perfect photo stop, with ornate wrought iron gates opening onto landscaped grounds decorated with antique artifacts, and an aviary housing tropical birds including Tortuga's pet macaw, 'Captain Tortuga'.
Although Tortuga Rum Cake has become world-famous, the recipe still remains a secret! Many requests have been made over the years for the recipe to the Authentic & Original Tortuga Rum Cake, some as prestigious as Gourmet Magazine. But all who inquire are politely declined, as this secret recipe has never been disclosed to the public
Soon, the Hamatys realized that cruise ship passengers were interested in T-shirts and souvenirs, so they added a Discount T-shirt shop connecting to the warehouse. Complete with duty-free liquor and souvenir shopping, historical artifacts and exotic birds, the North Sound Road warehouse area was now ready for tour buses and taxis.
In 1998, a second bakery had to be built to handle the growing success of Tortuga Rum Cake. The Hamatys opened 'Tortuga Duty-Free Liquors & Bakery' in West Bay, next door to the famed Turtle Farm. Decorated in bright colors resembling an old Caribbean cottage,and located on the waterfront, it features a large veranda and gazebo out back where all visitors can sit and relax with a cold drink and snacks, while gazing out at the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea. Along with duty-free liquor and a large souvenir shop, large picture windows look directly into the bakery, allowing all visitors the chance to see the World Famous Tortuga Rum Cake being baked fresh daily. Free samples are available for everyone who visits.
Needless to say, Tortuga Rum Company is a constant 'growing' concern. The worldwide demand for Tortuga Rum Cake has become so great, that a third bakery had to be instituted. It is located in the heart of George Town, just steps away from the cruise ship docking piers.
Tortuga Rum Company's numerous locations include duty-free shops in Georgetown, West Bay, two shops at the airport and four local retail 'Tortuga Liquors & A Taste of the Caribbean' stores along Seven Mile Beach.
All Tortuga Rum Company locations specialize in carrying a wide selection of 'Caribbean Rhythms' music such as Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Steel band and Dance Hall. A large selection of North American and European music is also available.
There have also been a few unexpected boosts along the way. Morton Dean (left) of Good Morning America presented a Tortuga Rum Cake on the show, to an audience of approximately 200 million people worldwide. Thus, giving Tortuga ,000 worth of free advertising. The now famous confection has also been featured on the Today Show, the popular Home Shopping Network and MSNBC.
Celebrities and politicians alike are certainly not shy when it comes to telling the world what they think of Tortuga Rum Cake. Former presidents of the United States, as well as famous movie stars and athletes are among the list of celebrity names to have delighted in this delicious rum cake!
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.
Tortuga gift boxes have been artfully crafted and designed to contain various sizes and quantities of Tortuga Rum and other Tortuga gourmet products.
Tortuga Rum Company also provide a wide variety of products such as: 6 flavors of Tortuga syrups, Tortuga Rum Punch, Tortuga Rum Mints, 3 flavors of Tortuga Rum Fudge, Tortuga Rum Truffles, 5 flavors of Tortuga Rum Gourmet Coffee, specially blended Tortuga Rum BBQ Sauce, Tortuga Steak Sauce, Tortuga Hell Fire Sauce, Tortuga Jerk Sauce, Tortuga Wildflower Honey, Tortuga Citrus Honey, Tortuga Pepper Jelly and Tortuga Rum Plum Pudding.
Another very exciting project was introduced in December 2000. Tortuga Rum Fever & Caribbean Party cookbook. Grand Cayman author, Barbara Curry Daily, has written the Caribbean's largest cookbook featuring more than 400 rum-spiked island recipes made with Tortuga rums and Tortuga gourmet products. Supermarket guru Phil Lempert of WOR Network Radio, enthusiastically declared ' I love this book! It made me smile and made my mouth water'.
Tortuga is now a global name. Their office in Miami, Tortuga Imports Inc., handles the constantly growing year-round mail order business and services thousands of repeat customers worldwide. Tortuga Rum Cake is found on board luxury cruise ships like Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines. In addition Tortuga Rum Cakes are available throughout the Caribbean and Mexico at leading retail shops in Antigua, Aruba, Tortola, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, Cozumel, Cancun, Mexico City, St. Thomas, Nevis and St. Barts. Airport locations in Mexico City, Houston, Texas and San Juan, Puerto Rico have them as well. Tortuga Rum Company has franchises in Jamaica and Barbados, where Tortuga Rum Cake is merchandised and sold as the Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cake. Robert and Carlene Hamaty have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort into creating their company. They are proud to be known as one of the pioneers of developing a global awareness of Caribbean fancy food items. From the inception in 1984, the name Tortuga Rum company has since become synonymous with one of the world's finest confections: Tortuga Rum Cake. Cayman Islands #1 Export and souvenir item.