John Paul Jones Seaweed Rum

John Paul Jones, 1747-1792

We are enthralled by the story of JPJ’s namesake, John Paul Jones. Born in 1747, the son of a gardener, Jones started his British naval career at the young age of 13 and ended it at 17 after witnessing the abominations of the slave trade. Inspired by the American revolution, he emigrated to North America and joined the newly founded continental navy, rising in the ranks and becoming an infamous enemy of the British. He was even a great friend of Benjamin Franklin! In 1792, Jones fell dead at the age of 45 in Paris. It was there where he would lie for over a century, embalmed in an alcohol-filled coffin, rumoured to have been rum!

Seaweed Flavoured Rum? You Have to Try This…

One of the stars of Eat & Arts Fest: Under the Sea was a welcome cocktail made with John Paul Jones Rum. JPJ is steeped in Arbigland sourced seaweed so it definitely brought the maritime flavours to our evening! Before discovering JPJ we had never heard of seaweed flavoured rum and have since discovered that it is a relatively new practice. We are obsessed, the seaweed brings out uniquely light and dry notes in the liquor and a delectable taste!

Scroll down for an interview with Finnian Gill from JPJ  and learn more about the story and the inspiration behind the brand!

Can you tell us a little about the founding of JPJ? How did it start, what’s the story?

The company was founded by three friends, all made redundant at the start of the COVID pandemic, Ollie, Finn and Jack. None with any experience in the alcohol industry but all taking a keen liking to it (and rum in particular) from the other side of the bar. The company is named after the Scottish born founder of the American Navy, John Paul Jones who was born a few hundred yards away from where we harvest our seaweed.

What seaweed do you use for your flavouring and whats the process of using it from the sea shore to final product? Is there a history of using seaweed as a flavour profile in liquor? 

We handpick Scottish Spiral Wrack seaweed from a beach a stones throw away from where John Paul Jones was born. We then steep the seaweed in the rum for a few days once we have aged it. In terms of seaweed as flavouring only one other rum I am aware of uses it, which is Tidal Rum who are based in Jersey, other than that there are a few gins but it’s a pretty big niche to say the least.

What spices are used in the flavouring process and how did you decide what you wanted to include?

We use the seaweed to create a drier flavour profile than almost all rums, the combination of that and the use of ginger and pepper creates a savoury rum that has next to no alcohol burn and a really balanced freshness due to the quality of ingredients used. When choosing our ingredients we tried to incorporate the basics of seasoning ( when you season food with salt and pepper it brings out the flavours that are already there). Obviously you can’t just grind S+P into your rum, but we set out to find ingredients which would do the same thing through the steeping process

What cocktails does Lowland Rum suit best?

Lowland rum is quite light in flavour profile despite being dark in colour, so is very versatile, delicious in a Mojito but the ginger and barrel flavours really show through when used in an Old Fashioned. Other than that it’s delicious neat and Jonathan Ray of the Spectator recommended it with soda, ice and a slice of orange.