Originally posted 29 May 2012
A reader named Joe sent this picture of a pair of rum bottles that raise some interesting questions. They are dated 1943 and contained Cuban rum “flavored with aromatics.”
They were imported by the Loucraft Corporation and bottled by Distillers Sales Company, and have the Courtesy Club trademark. Courtesy Club was primarily a whiskey distributor – this is their only association with rum that I have found. What I find most interesting are the words “flavored with aromatics” on the label. That implies that this was a spiced rum, and according to most sources, the first branded spiced rum to be marketed outside the Caribbean was Captain Morgan, which started production in 1944.
Whatever was in these bottles, they were a product of interesting times. The ships that carried them dodged U-boats to voyage from the sunny islands to the midwestern plains, the crew risking their lives to deliver a cargo of spirits. They sailed in the wakes of 18th Century pirates, Confederate blockade runners, and 20th Century bootleggers, and who can say whether they followed the traditions of merchantmen before them and tapped just a few bottles for the crew’s mess?
If you know anything about these bottles and the liquid they once contained, please send an email – Joe and I are both very curious to know more of the story.