North East specialist rum blender Ian Linsley recently set up a new company to launch what is thought to be a world first.

The international Rum Fest 2016 event in London, in October, was the stage for the launch of a distinctive and exclusive limited edition rum that has already caught the imagination of spirits connoisseurs and rum ambassadors.

Called Expressions, this exclusive rum has been created by specialist rum company, the Old Man Rum Co. The Northumberland based business is run by Ian Linsley who has a long history in the rum and drinks industry.

Ian grew up in Alnwick but left the region for many years before returning back to revive the Alnwick Rum Company in 2003, a business his father worked in for many years from the late 50s. Several years ago Ian sold out to pursue his own ambitions.

Expressions is the first product to be produced by Ian and his Old Man Rum Co. It is an exclusive, limited edition run, with only 250 bottles available.

Retailing at £1,800 a bottle this is no ordinary rum. Expressions is a 100pc pure pot still rum, a unique blend combining seven rums aged from between 25 to 33 years old from distilleries based in the Caribbean. Three of the distilleries have since closed and stopped producing, so Expressions is not only unique in its blend but cannot be replicated again.

For Ian, its creation represents a lifelong ambition to realise his father’s dream. The new rum is based on knowledge passed down from his father. This heritage inspired the name of the new company. Ian Linsley said: “This rum is a beautiful blend of aged rums. It’s pure pot still and uniquely blends rums of more than 25 years old. Its real difference is its rarity, as some of the distilleries we’ve sourced from no longer exist.

“It’s not simply a classic, exquisite rum it’s a personal goal achieved. My father would have loved to have seen this day and the realisation of his knowledge.”

His rum was one of the stars at the annual Rum Fest in London. Perhaps, more importantly, pre-order sales were in double figures at the event. He got the endorsement and support of TV presenter and rum ambassador Ian Borrell at the show.

Ian said: “Expressions made an impressive debut at Rum Fest. Expert opinion was very positive. We got some direct sales and many strong leads, including interest from the Far East. We’re confident there is a market for a premium rum product like Expressions.”

Old Man Rum Co secured some regional financial support. Through the 1-2- 1 business advisor support of Tracy Clarkson available through TEDCO’s Start and Grow programme together with access to specialists, Ian secured a £25,000 Virgin Start up Loan.

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