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General questions or discussions about particular brands should be posted here.


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Old 10-12-2011, 08:18 PM   #11
Arctic Wolf
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Wow so much to talk about here!

Let me jump to the bottle, Everyone underestimates the importance of the bottle and the label. The truth is that only a miniscule number of people actually read reviews or seek out advice when purchasing a spirit, and if they do seek out advice it is usually from a store clerk who is probably not an aficionado of the spirit they are asking about. What people are really looking at in the liquor store is rows and rows of bottles and labels, and whatever catches their eye. (We had a 25 Year old whisky in Alberta that was heralded by whisky writers all over the world as being one of the very best Rye Whiskies in the World. Yet, when I walk into a liquor store in the very City where it is distilled and ask for advise on whisky, it is rarely mentioned. It sat for the most part of the last five years with the bottom shelf whiskies ignored because of its completely uninspiring bottle and label.)

When its 30 Year Old sibling was released this summer, they gave it a spiffy box, jumped the price by 20 bucks and sold out in a few weeks. Presentation Matters!

As for Name of the rum, Edward Hamilton's Private Selection Pot Still Rum works for me.

I like the idea of:

Distilled By:
Date Distilled:
Date Bottled:
Aged in First rum White American Oak:


On each label. Not only is this honest, the information also allows the consumer know what kind of taste profile to expect.

As far as it goes, a nice professionally designed label is just as important as the the bottle. Nothing says inferior more than a label that looks like I could have printed it off my home printer.

As for the Screw Caps versus Corks:

Every bottle ever air shipped to me with a metallic screw cap has leaked. It stains the label and definitely gives the impression of inferior quality. If there is any chance that some markets will be air shipping the rum in pallets, then avoid metallic screw caps. I have had no troubles whatsoever with plastic caps, but in my mind I still sense disappointment when I see a cheap plastic cap on a bottle. My preference is those new high density synthetic corks which give me that nice satisfying 'pop' when I open them.

I have some definite ideas on the rum itself, but I will let you digest my thoughts on the bottle and label first.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:34 PM   #12
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As an architect, I agree that design matters, of course, but that being said,
good design does not require overly expensive packaging or printing.

A garish (and probably expensive) package may entice a certain type of clientele, but I don' think that's who you are aiming at. Simple and elegant
would seem appropriate in your case to me.

I agree with Arctic Wolf about the cork versus screw cap. Cork is the way to go.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:53 PM   #13
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If I know the rum is the same I'd pick the corked bottle every time. Screw tops just seem cheap. But I have never bought a bottle of rum because of the looks. Usually it's based on reviews from similar taste profiles or recomendations from friends, with many being from this forum.

If I were to design a bottle, the neck would be long enough for my hand to hold comfortably, a long area for the cork like the older bottles with the main tank somewhat like the El Dorado 12, 15, and 21. But then I also like the heavy bottles from Zafra and Zaya too.

SGB
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:59 PM   #14
Arctic Wolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabuzak View Post
As an architect, I agree that design matters, of course, but that being said,
good design does not require overly expensive packaging or printing.
That is absolutely true. Something that 'pops' at the consumer need not necessarily be expensive. But it needs to 'pop'.

Another factor to consider is the constraints placed on the bottle and label design based upon what the chosen bottling company's equipment can and cannot do. It is not only expensive to design a bottle, it can be far more expensive to retrofit the bottling plant to accommodate a different bottle shape. I suspect the choice of bottle shape goes hand in hand with the choice of who does the bottling.
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Old 10-12-2011, 11:51 PM   #15
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While I agree that the majority of customers make their buying decisions based on appearance, I don't think nearly enough time has been spent discussing the specifics of the rum itself. After all, this is a forum for those who enjoy rum, not glass bottles. I personally would like to see a rum aged between 8-10 years, preferably a demeraran or jamaican styled rum.

As a bourbon fan, I'd also like to see something a little higher than 80°. Perhaps 90° or even 100°, I can cut it to my preference. And while it may be a stretch, a true single barrel offering (unlike what Cruzan offfers) would be interesting as well. On this bottle could be listed distillation date, barreled date, and bottled date. As well as the barrel number and the barrel's entry and exit proof.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabuzak View Post

I agree with Arctic Wolf about the cork versus screw cap. Cork is the way to go.
Hahaha! So of course last night, when I got to open the newly arrived El Dorado single barrels, one of the corks broke off. Luckily, I managed to remove all the pieces before they fell into the rum.

I think that may be only the second time that's happened to me (with rum), so it hasn't turned me off to corks.


Last edited by Tabuzak; 10-13-2011 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:56 PM   #17
Rutherford H Mountbatten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Hamilton View Post
So, how important is a custom bottle to you as a rum fancier? I'm not talking about the label that might look like an eighth grade art project, but the bottle itself. It is my contention that if the contents speak for themselves you don't need to increase the cost of a product with the packaging. On the other hand, if you don't have as much confidence in your product and are marketing a product to a less-informed mass audience then you need as much help as you can get. From my experience, producers can add from one to five dollars a bottle to a product simply by over-spending on the bottle.
I had the cork on my St. James Hors d'Age break in half, with the lower half ending up in the liquid despite careful attempts to get it out the top, about 2/5 of the way through the bottle. Having to scramble to rebottle it was not a good experience. Not with rum, but I've had fake corks too tightly wedged in the bottle break apart from the wooden/plastic top they're connected to before, which also sucks.

A plastic screwcap protects the rum better than other enclosures, and also allows the top of the rum bottle to be better designed for pouring.

If you're producing rum for the rum's sake, a screwcap would be better -- we would get a technically superior product for less cost. For visual art, we can buy visual art. Getting a good deal on liquid art is far more appealing to me.


I do like the idea of providing us information about production. As we learn more about different rums, we can better know which ones to enjoy based on how the production method manifests itself in the taste.

Offering something more unique, like a funkier Jamaican rum, gives us something less like the dominant rums on the market, which is appealing
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Old 10-19-2011, 04:29 AM   #18
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I'm in advertising (an art director) and any design needs to be tailored to who you think your target market is. It's very common that someone would ask to design something that appeals to everyone, and this is a big mistake. Once a target market is identified, then you need some insights into what that target market values. Once this is all established, it makes it a lot easier for a designer to execute something that will appeal to that audience.
Identities typically start with logos and then into executions: packaging, advertising (print and web), the voice of the company, etcetera.
A typical thing someone might say to me is we want it to be friendly, clean, classic, etcetera. This misses the point, friendly to who, classic to who?
I worked on some stuff for Toyota Tundra. Their style guide lays it out, they use images of construction workers, cowboys, rough and tough men. Is that their target market? Somewhat, but they are also playing on the fact that many men who just use the vehicle to drive to their office job imagine themselves, or even wish, they were rough and tough so by purchasing a Toyota Tundra they can lay claim to that. They can become that.
That's how advertising works, it's based on happiness and dream fulfillment.
And if the people on this board (I know I'm going to buy a bottle) and people like them are your target market you have the perfect research vehicle. Congratulations on your new venture.
pbc
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:13 AM   #19
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Ed, first, I hope that your rum(s) will be available in the "A-1s and lesser" countries (I mean CEE-LOL). I spare a place on the shelf!

Quote:
corks vs screw tops. And plastic vs metal screw caps.
Without any hesitation, IMHO metal screw cap is the answer, at least for white / less than 7y old rums.
In these highly organic years, it would be trendy to use an "organic" stuff like cork.
but :
- cork is ok - only if top quality - for ageing wines that can (and the portuguese cork has no match for this purpose and is linked for centuries with Bordeaux and the Burgundy) BUT rum once off the barrel does not age anymore. Just evaporates. That's why, for what I've seen until now, corks used on rum are not "true" corks.
- most are amalgamated(?) with glue to make it hold together. So far for the organic point of view! (metal is more easily recycled) And it may break as s.o. stated elsewhere in this thread. Metal caps never break, all that can happen is you loose it, but then I guess the bottle has been emptied...
- cork is much more expensive (even the cheapest quality) than metal. And you need something on top of the cork.
- cork may give a bad taste to the liquid it should protect. I experienced it with a 10y English Harbour not long ago. Happily, rum is not wine and evaporation has had most of the bad taste away. Probably also gone is what makes EH10 an outstanding rum. But I'll never know as I won't buy another bottle.

I could go on for hours... Cork is not really the answer for rum sealing, but for the trendy/posh look.
Your brand of rum will appeal at first to the "rum aware" who considers the inner is more important than the "container". So, the simpler the better.

Please do not consider plastic. Cheap looking and totally obsolete, comes it from petrol or coal... ebonite would be a substitute but is fragile.
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:58 AM   #20
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Natural corks are, as has been pointed out, unnecessary. Good synthetic corks are esthetically pleasing. I'd pay an extra dollar a bottle for them.

As for screw tops, I'll take cheap-looking-and-bad-for-the-planet plastic over shiny-but-leaks-if-air-transported every single time.

The challenge for Ed here will be to market something otherwise unavailable (or why do it) but not so niche that it can't be done profitably (or why do it). Tricky.
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