Well, if you’ve read the Ian Fleming novels and seen the films, you know that 007 is really more of an equal-opportunity drinker. And one can’t help but think he’d skip the vodka-tini in favor of a slug from a commemorative bottling of Blackwell Rum ($35), scheduled to hit shelves in November.
That would be the gentlemanly choice, given the distiller’s rather familiar relationship with Mr. Bond’s creator.
British-born, Jamaica-raised Chris Blackwell essentially grew up playing on Fleming’s Oracabessa Bay estate, known as GoldenEye; he later served as a location manager for (and makes a brief appearance in) the first Bond film, 1962’s Dr. No. Scenes from 1965’s Thunderball, featuring the property’s iconic seawalls, were filmed on the estate, as well. And, of course, GoldenEye also served as the title of the 1995 Bond film.
Blackwell went on to purchase GoldenEye and created a luxurious resort that includes the original Fleming villa, the very site of Bond’s birthplace. The author penned the novels from a desk that still affords spectacular ocean views from a bedroom window. There are now numerous luxe properties in Jamaica, but Blackwell’s Island Outpost hotel brand is one of the Caribbean’s most storied. He comes by his Bond affinity honestly, and with no hype.
Of course, Chris Blackwell is also the founder of Island Records, which brought reggae to the masses along with a number of legendary artists like Grace Jones, Marianne Faithful, and Roxy Music. But, born into one of Jamaica’s oldest rum producing and exporting families, he recently added distiller to his titles of hotelier and music impresario.
Blackwell Rum started operation in 2008. And, while the debut of the latest Bond film, No Time to Die, has now been pushed back again, into 2021, this special limited edition will precede that release.
“James Bond has been a big part of my life, from my childhood lunches with Ian Fleming at GoldenEye to being a location scout on the first movie,” Blackwell says. “It was a pleasure working alongside the No Time To Die production team in Jamaica, and providing our rum for the set in Bond’s house, which has made this very special relationship come full circle.”
In the rum world, adding flavors and spicing after distilling is more accepted than with other spirits—even encouraged. But the well-guarded family recipe for Blackwell Rum yields some complementary Caribbean-aligned flavor and spice notes (think hints of vanilla, citrus, and nutmeg) without additional additives. Straight up, on the rocks, with some simple fruit juice or in a proper cocktail, it will leave you shaken, stirred and stoked with island spirit.