A few members on Ministry of Rum Facebook Group have been reliving the weird history of 10 Cane rum. This is the story I’ve been able to piece together this morning.
Moët Hennessy launched 10 Cane in Spring 2005 for “discerning clientele in search of a luxury rum”. A press release at the time declared “10 Cane is created through the multi-stage, small batch distillation of very high quality cane juice, drawing upon the expertise of Moet Hennessy Master Distillers at each stage of production.”
Marketing from the time stated the 10 Cane name was derived from either the harvesting of 10 sugar cane stalks together into a cane-bundle or that the sugar from 10 Cane was needed to produce each bottle. The rum was double-distilled from fresh press cane juice, in French pot stills, and matured for either 6 or 10 months in French oak barrels. The initial bottling was packaged in an enormous, rectangular bottle which could only be displayed on top shelves in bars and stores. After it’s initial nation-wide launch, with an MSRP of $40, 10 Cane bottles lingered on store shelves for a few years until Moet decided to try again.
Sometime around 2011, 10 Cane was re-introduced with a 90%-10% blend mixing the fresh press cane juice rum with a small amount of molasses-based rum. This toned down some of the original blend’s agricole notes while also boosting the more traditional rum notes for American palates. Along with the rum blend change, Moet changed the rums packaging using a more traditional bottle with a much smaller footprint. It also carried a lower MSRP ($30) but, like the first blend, it sold poorly so Moet tried a third time.
In 2013, Moet gave up producing 10 Cane in Trinidad and instead hired R.L. Seale to produce the brand’s last blend in Barbados. Initially, in Barbados, they bottled the remaining stocks of Trinidad blend the company held. These bottles have no “Product of” description on the front of the bottle. Once those stocks were depleted, R.L. Seale began bottling an all Barbados blend for them at the Foursquare Distillery.
According to Distiller.com, the last 10 Cane version was comprised of two rums: “The first was a pot-distilled sugarcane juice rum that was aged around a year; the second was a molasses-based rum that was column-distilled and aged for around 7 years.” Rather than repackage the rum again, Moet kept the existing packaging only changing the country of origin which now said “Product of Barbados”. Even with an even lower MSRP of $25, the changes did not work. Consumers were either tired of the ever changing rum profile or unimpressed by the brand’s marketing. By 2015, Moet ceased production of 10 Cane completely.
Now, of course, I feel a need to hunt for dusty bottles of all 4 versions so I can do a side-by-side-by-side taste test of all three blends.