Rum Ho! HMS Golden Spiced Rum

Rum Ho! HMS Golden Spiced Rum

Rum Ho! HMS Golden Spiced Rum

Craft Rum Box | HMS Spiced Rum

HMS Spirits are not exactly the new kids on the block when it comes to spirits. In fact, I wrote about them on my gin website some five years ago when they launched their Mary Rose Gin. In that time they’ve built up quite the following, with some fantastic marketing choices, including sponsoring a boat during Cowes week off the Isle of Wight, where one of the racers flew sails embossed with the HMS Spirits logo.

But let’s put a pin in that for now. I mean, who wants to hear about gin here? If you look on their site, you’ll see a post about a rum.

The team at HMS Spirits have been busy developing a golden spiced rum for release in early 2020. "It been a tough job blending and tasting all the samples but we feel we are close to perfection now. This is our first branch out into other spirits but will not be the last as we already have new and exciting products in the pipeline."

2020? What happened? Well, let’s get the answer straight from the horse’s mouth. Because HMS Spirits Golden Spiced Rum is ready for launch and it’s doing just that through our Spiced Rum Box. I caught up with founder Ben Maguire to get the low down.

Hi Ben, thanks for taking the time to join us today, I've just given the team a little intro on how the brand got started. Could you take the baton from there and tell me about the moment you decided to make a rum, and how that got put into motion?
The rum has always been part of the navigation chart for HMS Spirits, whilst I started in gin, a hobby that became more, when I founded the company I always wanted to ‘think big’ and to me that’s a full spirits portfolio. Rum is an incredibly evocative drink, it immediately takes me back to Caribbean holidays and something I have enjoyed drinking for years, it also fits perfectly with the nautical theme of HMS Spirits, it literally is the spirit of the sea.

HMS adds an immediate prestige to the brand, am I right in thinking you had to ask permission to use it? What was that like?
You’d imagine so wouldn’t you but when looking at names I wanted something that would pay homage to my Grandad’s navel past, HMS Spirits was a name that I never anticipated being allowed but I applied for the copyright and it was granted, along with the name for each of our gins and rum now pending approval.

Tell us about the rum. Is this a blend? Where are the rums from, can you give us a clue to some of the spices you use.
Skipjack Rum blends aged rums from Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad, bringing the spirits of the four islands together into an unmistakable fusion. At the start of lockdown I did my WSET Level 2 and really got into the characteristics of each rum from each island, not only the ones we’ve chosen but the category in general. There’s such a huge difference between rum from sugar cane or molasses and whether it’s distilled in a pot of column still, all adding something different. I am a huge Cachaca fan now too but I’ll leave that to the Brazilians who do an incredible job.

What does this culminate in? Can you give us some nice, juicy tasting notes?Our rum is incredibly smooth, matured in oak barrels before we add the perfect blend of spices. Warming ginger, cloves and cinnamon are combined with vanilla and banana for sweetness, and lemon and lime for added zing. I feel this is the perfect blend for a spiced rum, feedback from friends has been extremely positive but equally you’re never short of ‘testers’

I did sniff out a post on your page to say the rum was due for launch 2020, am I right in thinking you hit some rough water with covid and supply chain issues? Would you be happy to share anything on this?
You’re correct, eagle eyed! The rum has been ready to set sail for quite some time but Covid came and cause huge problems for small, growing but ultimately unprofitable businesses. All of our stockists were and still are independent businesses, all of which closed for some time and some have stayed closed which decimated cash flow. As a business that hadn’t made a profit, not unusual for fledgling companies, we didn’t qualify for any grants of support but did manage to survive thanks to a Bounce Back Loan. My goal once Covid hit was to survive and if so use the time to restructure and reassess every part of our supply chain which I have done. We have moved from a French glass bottle to British Glass and I’ve managed to raise the money to launch the rum.

The Bounce Back Loan has left us highly geared but we are still here and we have a structure to pay it off so I am confident in the future despite having a sour taste in my mouth on the support for small businesses during the pandemic.

Where will this be available?
We are launching via the Spiced Rum Box, something I’d hoped would happen and am very excited about. Being so new we don’t have any listings yet but it will be available via our shop at

What's your plans with this? Have you got any exciting marketing strategies up your sleeve?
This is where things start to get a little exciting! I can't release the name yet due to contracts being finalised but we’re about to appoint a new Chairman who has an incredible pedigree in the alcohol industry and I hope will bring some ‘grey haired experience’ rather than my thinning at a rate of knots experience. Added to that we have just enlisted South Coast based marketing agency, SHELF (www.the-shelf. com) to help us across all social media and a bigger rebrand project including a new, custom, British produced bottle. I think these guys will help improve all our marketing, photography and things like TikTok which I don’t understand at all.

Do you think you'll be releasing more rum down the line?
The rum category is incredibly exciting at the moment and I think we can have a lot of fun in the space, it fits perfectly with the HMS brand as the Spirit of the Sea.

Anything else you'd like to add?
The launch of the rum is an exciting step for the brand as a whole as we move to the new bottles which brings the whole fleet from a 50cl bottle to a 70cl bottle. The move comes after an assessment of the entire supply chain and has facilitated HMS Spirits being able to offer the new 70cl bottle at the same price as the previous 50cl bottle, giving our customers 40% more liquid at a time when everything else seems to be going up in price.

We’d love people to follow our journey at and @hmsspirits on social media.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Ben! Always a pleasure to catch up and to see how well you’re doing. Can’t wait to try this!

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Bernadette Pamplin

Bernadette loves rum. She set up a gin focused blog Under The Ginfluence eight years ago. Since then, her passion has naturally spread from gin, to rum and other spirits too. You can find work from her on Gin Magazine, Distiller Magazine, and Spirits Beacon, as well as content for  The Gin Guide.

She’s also the editor of Rum’s the Word, writing articles on rums featured in the box, as well as other rum related topics. Bernadette has built up six years experience in judging for events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits and works behind the scenes, assisting with organising and participating in panels for the Craft Distilling Expo.