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Lost Years Rum

Lost Years Rum has saved over 100,000 sea turtles.

You see, every year, thousands of newly-hatched sea turtles flip-flop their way across treacherous beaches to the slightly safer solitude of the waves. They won’t be seen again for almost a decade. We have no real idea where they go during these ‘lost years’. Sea turtles are a vital part of our ocean ecosystem, and have been since the time of the dinosaurs. Despite roaming the seas for over 110 million years, today six out of seven species are classified as either endangered or threatened.

Lee Smith was told this sobering information on a family holiday in Jamaica back in 2019, after a more pleasant experience visiting Hampden Estate. His son Billy challenged his dad to do something good for the turtles and, having previously considered creating a rum brand, he and wife Trudy settled on the idea then that they would launch one dedicated to saving them.

Each bottle sold raises money to support SEE Turtles, a charity that ensures the cash actually gets to the front line and makes a tangible difference, assisting numerous local groups and community conservation projects across the Caribbean and Latin America. The donations aren’t linked to profits, it comes straight off the top line, so there’s a contribution for every drop sold. Lost Years Rum has also a zero plastic approach, using more costly eco-friendly materials, and offsets its carbon emissions by planting seagrass.

The rum itself is overseen by one of the oldest rum blending houses in the world, E&A Scheer, working to a brief that tasked them to create a range of approachable rums that were still quality and had provenance, covering both aged and unaged, with premium sippers and versatile spirits that can be mixed, all showcasing different styles from the Caribbean and Latin America. Simple, right? Over the course of many months and dozens of samples, four rums were eventually bottled: Four Island, Arribada, Silver Moon, and Navy Strength (the latter of which picked up a Master medal in Rum Masters 2021 just four months after it was launched). Every one of these Lost Years rums are unadulterated, with absolutely no sugar, caramel, or flavours post-distillation. Since their launch, spiced rums have followed too.

Founder Smith thinks rum is the most versatile and varied spirit in the world, and outside conservation, what Lost Years does best is make a good case for that argument, with industry award judges awarding its rums 15 medals in the brand’s first 18 months.

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