Move over #ginlovers – rum is taking over as the drink of choice. Drinking spirits neat, straight up or on the rocks has seemingly become a popular choice amongst young adults, which has helped the rum market to flourish.
Ron means rum in Spanish, and Ron is also a shortened from Ronald, and Ronald is the first name of the legendary pornstar Ron Jeremy. But what has he got to do with rum? I hear you ask.
When I learned about the story behind the Ron de Jeremy rum brand I was amazed and intrigued. Normally when someone wants to start producing any kind of spirit, they already have the key product in mind; what it tastes like, what flavours they want to use and so on. One of the many things that makes the Ron de Jeremy brand so different from other spirits is the way the brand and product came together.
The Ron de Jeremy brand was developed way before the actual rum. It took the brand owners seven years from the first draft to blend a perfect rum and get it on the shelves. Most amazingly, the brand was so great all the top people in the rum industry were excited to get involved.
So how did two men from Finland come up with an idea that everyone loves…?
Many of the best ideas come to you after a drink or two. Two Finns, Olli and Jouko, were enjoying their after-work drinks when they saw a rum poster on the wall and realised rum is called ron in Spanish. Ron… and as they started to speculate on the most notorious Ron they knew, they thought… Ron as in Ron Jeremy! They both had a marketing/advertising background so it was easy for them to come up with an idea and the label for their ‘special Ron’ dedicated to Ron Jeremy. After a few more drinks, Jouko drew the future label on a bar napkin. They had a good laugh and left the idea for the time being. The guys were too busy setting up their company, Advertising Agency King Helsinki.
Some years later, the idea for Ron de Jeremy rum came back to the surface and they decided to make it happen. But first they needed to speak to Mr Jeremy himself. After a few enquiries, they managed to get the number for one of the most well-known “actors”. For those who might not know Ron Jeremy, here’re some facts:
Jeremy is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the person with the most appearances in adult films, over 2,000, in fact. He has also directed almost 300 films and worked in non-adult films, TV, and more than 50 music videos, as well as video games and talk shows. He’s a renowned public speaker and is considered a very successful businessman and worldwide icon.
When Olli made the first call to Mr Jeremy, he had to convince him to meet in person as they wanted to present the great idea face to face. After few minutes of wooing over the phone Jeremy finally agreed to meet the guys for their presentation. It took Olli and Jouko half an hour to sell the idea, and Ron was clearly impressed.
“All kinds of things have been presented to me during my 35-year professional career, but nobody came up with this!”
They had their marketing idea; now all they needed was a product!
The rum-making process
The second step was to find out how to make rum – the only experience they had was of drinking it. Thanks to the wonders of Google, they found out about Luis Ayala, the most appreciated rum expert! At first he kindly declined to take on new customers but he agreed to read their presentation, after which he changed his mind: “nothing could prepare me for this!” he said.
The guys then travelled to see Mr Ayala, where he guided and explained everything you need to know about rum and the process. Three days of tastings and 900 bottles later, Olli and Jouko finally found what they would describe as ‘a good rum’ (Finns are known for their modesty!). Ayala then helped with finding a master distiller for the production.
They headed to Panama to meet Cuban-born Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, one of the most respected master blenders. He has previously worked with the Havana Club and he is behind many award-winning rums. Don Pancho helped them create the perfect blend for Ron de Jeremy Reserva.
Today the Reserva contains rums from Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana and Jamaica which all add to different characteristics to the blend. These rums from the Caribbean are taken to Holland, where they get blended, bottled and shipped to 25 countries.
This is a brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s all about having fun. When it comes to Ron de Jeremy rum, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Due to the nature of Ron Jeremy’s previous work, some customers have disapproved of having his face on a rum bottle. At one point, customers in Canada filed a complaint about the vulgar nature of the label, which caused shops to take the bottles off the shelves. Quickly the government realised there wasn’t any legal reason to do this and Ron made it back onto shelves.
Finland has a reputation for being a ‘Nanny State’, so it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve had issues with the concept of Ron de Jeremy. Finland is the only country that has to have a different label on the bottles due to the regulators being concerned that the label with Jeremy’s face on it may lead to sex and alcoholism.
Mostly people love the idea, it’s fun and the rum is actually very, very good and tends to surprise the drinkers.
So what are the products?
Not only have they got four rums, including two spiced, the Hedgehog Gin (Ron Jeremy’s nickname was Hedgehog) will be launched in early May. This love potion is the first gin to use botanicals such as Damiana, Ginseng and Guarana, also known as love herbs due to their alleged abilities to boost your sex life. Damiana is used by Mexican women to stimulate love-making and the Aztecs used it to prevent impotence. Ginseng increases stamina and Guarana boosts energy levels. A perfect mix for this love potion.
Ron de Jeremy XO, 40% ABV, is a super-premium blend of rums from Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana. These rums have been aged for up to 15 years in American oak barrels previously used for bourbon. This is a perfect sipping rum and should be served neat or on the rocks.
The rums used to blend Ron de Jeremy Reserva, 40% ABV, have been aged for up to eight years and the flavour from the bourbon barrels complements the finish perfectly. These golden rums are also from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana. Ron de Jeremy Reserva has won several gold and silver medals across different spirit competitions.
Ron de Jeremy Spiced, 38% ABV, and Hardcore Edition, 47% ABV, has a perfect blend of vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed and coriander. If you like herbal drinks such as Jägermeister you must try Ron de Jeremy Hardcore Edition! The rums blended are from Trinidad and Barbados.
All these products are great if you want to create great conversation at a party or in a bar and, most importantly, they all taste as good as they sound! Check Twitter and Facebook for your chance to win Ron de Jeremy Reserva SIGNED BY RON JEREMY! It wouldn’t be rum porn without the boobie prizes – Ron de Jeremy t-shirts goes to two of the runners-ups. THE COMPETITION HAS NOW ENDED.