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We caught up with Founder Jacco Kroon to find out everything about 1731 Fine & Rare 

 1731 takes its name from the year that the British Royal Navy started offering its sailors a half-pint of rum as part of their wages. Promising full-bodied flavour and rich colour, rum has been an integral part of the region’s history for hundreds of years, and with its association with the British Royal Navy, it has become a part of history for the UK too. Today, 1731 stands for a unique range of rums, each with a distinctive character that speaks volumes about where it comes from. A journey in a glass. The collection consists exclusively of rums that proudly boast their natural colour and flavour without relying on additives. The unique collection of rums from the Caribbean and South America explores a diverse array of Latin flavours and countries. Far more than just a brand name, 1731 represents a new perspective on rum, bringing great taste dating back centuries to your glass for you to enjoy. The 1731 collection consists of unique regional rum blends and unique single origin rums ranging from Central America to the tip of the South American continent.

I took a little time to catch up with founder Jacco Kroon. Jacco also owns ‘Navy Island Rum Company’ and started his rum adventure in the Autumn of 2016. Why did he become an independent bottler? “Before I became an entrepreneur I worked as an ‘Export Manager’ for Demerara Distillers for almost twelve years.” He begins. “Demerara Distillers is a large rum producer, and connected to ‘El Dorado Rum’. During the early days of my career at Demerara Distillers, I was invited by the previous Chairman to travel to Guyana and to visit the distillery. During this trip, I fell in love with this beautiful country and with rum. That is when it all started. We launched ‘1731 Fine & Rare’ in September 2018. We started this adventure because I believe there is a demand for rums that focus on ‘transparency’. I am convinced that consumers would like to know what they are buying. Furthermore, I started with 1731 Fine & Rare because I also believe that rums which are 100% tropical aged, that are produced without added sugars and without additives are the future of rum.” 

1731 has two ranges in the Fine and Rare collection, the Regional Blends, comprising the British West Indies XO, Spanish Caribbean XO, and Central America XO. There is also the Single Origin Blends, consisting of the Belize 7-year-old, Mauritius 7-year-old, Panama 8-year-old, Barbados 8-year-old, Belize 12-year-old and limited Panama 6-year-old. “We launched 1731 Fine & Rare in 2018 in selected markets in Europe.” Jacco explains. “Launching a new rum brand is very exciting and I was very fortunate that most people that I showed the products liked them a lot. That is of course the most important thing. In 2019 I even travelled to Asia to attend Prowein Hong Kong to convince a selection of importers to represent our products in the Asian region. My distribution setup is very good, but the last twelve months have been challenging for most of us due to the Covid19 travel restrictions and lack of events. However, we hope to take the next step with the brand when life gets back to normal. I very much like the rum industry because it is all about ‘people’ and ‘fun’. Being able to create products that people enjoy is very rewarding. I love to travel, I love to make new rum friends and I enjoy organizing tastings during events. Despite all the challenges that we are facing for now I think I have made the right decision to focus on rum.” 

There is a lot going on with this range. Lots of different locations, meaning we have much to consider about what character they will have. Luckily, Jacco has given us a head start with some further explanation as to why he looked to bottle these ranges. “We have chosen the rums in the 1731 Fine & Rare rum range very carefully. We currently have a wide portfolio including three XO Regional Rum blends and five Single Origin rums. I love the XO blends because these show that you can create a unique product by blending different styles of rums together whilst doing justice to the origin of the rums.

The blends were also created on the basis of transparency. I am also very proud of our Single Origin range of rums. The Single Origin range consists currently of five different rums all with their own unique characteristics. We have, for example, two rums from Belize in our range. Belize rums are tropical, spicy, and sweet. The rums from Mauritius are completely different. They are more complex, full yet delicate and slightly dry. The 1731 Fine & Rare rum range offers consumers a great opportunity to taste different styles of rum which are all produced with the same noble objective: to offer a discerning, high quality, and fair rum experience. 

Jacco Kroon - Founder of 1731 Fine & Rare (Pictured)

The rums are aged for up to 8 years in ex-bourbon casks and by tropical aging (that is aged at source in the tropical climate). Tropical aging has an effect on the aging process. Just to explain the aging process quickly, oxygen enters the barrel through the pores of the oak staves, oxidizing the alcohol in the rum into aldehydes and aldehydes into acids. As the liquid ages, the acids react with the alcohol creating esters that add to the aromas and flavours of the Rum. During this time in the barrel, the Rum is being absorbed and excluded from the oak staves introducing more flavours to the liquid. This is why the kind of wood and char level of the staves matter when we discuss any barrel-aged spirit. Especially when we think about tropical aging, pondering the heat and consistent temperatures of the Caribbean, Central/coastal South America, and the Southern United States, especially Florida. The interaction between the rum and the barrel happens a lot faster than in cooler continental climates, apparently 3 times faster!

1731 Fine & Rare BWI XO

And, finally, of these ranges and one that we've featured in a Craft Rum Box. The 1731 BWI XO.

What does Jacco like about it? “The 1731 British West Indies XO is a small batch blend that is a combination of rums from three different islands; Jamaica, Barbados & Trinidad. The blend contains traditional full-bodied ‘Pot Still’ rum from Jamaica, the blend also contains Column & Pot Still rums aged up to eight years from Barbados, and apart from this, the blend contains some lighter, typical ‘spicy’ Trinidad rum aged for up to five years in ex-bourbon oak casks.

The 1731 British West Indies XO blend is very interesting because of the contrast of styles. The Pot Still rum from Jamaica is very recognisable on the nose and this type of rum gives the blend a heavier bodied profile. The Barbados Rums add typical Barbados flavours and smoothness to the blend and the Trinidad part makes it even more approachable by adding a unique spiciness to the blend.

I like to drink the 1731 British West Indies XO straight or on the rocks. But this Rum also makes great cocktails. Our cocktail suggestion is the ‘Zombie’.”

MORE FROM 1731 FINE & RARE

1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old

1731 Fine & Rare Venezuela 8 Year Old

£35.00
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box

1731 Fine & Rare Belize 12 Year Old

£52.10
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO - Spiced Rum Box

1731 Fine & Rare Dominican Republic 5 YO

£34.80
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box
1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old - Spiced Rum Box

1731 Fine & Rare Belize 7 Year Old

£34.00
Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum 70cl 37.5%
Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum 70cl 37.5%

Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum 70cl 37.5%

£20.25
Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum 70cl 63%
Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum 70cl 63%

Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum 70cl 63%

£31.00
Bacardi Caribbean Spiced Premium Rum 70cl 40%
Bacardi Caribbean Spiced Premium Rum 70cl 40%

Bacardi Caribbean Spiced Premium Rum 70cl 40%

£25.75
Mount Gay Eclipse Heritage Rum 70cl 40%
Mount Gay Eclipse Heritage Rum 70cl 40%

Mount Gay Eclipse Heritage Rum 70cl 40%

£24.50
Captain Morgan Sliced Apple Rum 70cl 25%
Captain Morgan Sliced Apple Rum 70cl 25%

Captain Morgan Sliced Apple Rum 70cl 25%

£20.00
Havana Club Anejo 3 Year Old Original 70cl 40%
Havana Club Anejo 3 Year Old Original 70cl 40%

Havana Club Anejo 3 Year Old Original 70cl 40%

£22.50

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.