Gosling Brothers

Hamilton, Bermuda | C.1806

Photo Credit: Whitney Vaughn Outerbridge

Like every good road trip, James Gosling’s sail to America didn’t go exactly as planned. In the spring of 1806, Gosling set off with a life’s worth of merchandise, hoping to make his fortune in America. After an unexpected ninety-one days on a windless sea, his crew’s supplies were running dangerously low.

To avoid the fate of meeting Davy Jones’s locker of lost sailors, Gosling and his crew sailed into the nearest port – St. George’s, Bermuda. After stepping off his boat and onto the glistening white beach, he knew he would never make it to America.

Accompanied with his brother Ambrose, James rented a shop on Front Street in Bermuda’s new capital Hamilton. They creatively named their store Gosling Brothers, and initially sold off the wares from their ship. They were quickly introduced to the first oak barrels of rum that had arrived in Bermuda and after much experimentation (and tastings), they created a distinctive black rum that they began to sell to the public.

The brothers initially sold their liquid treasure straight from the barrel where customers brought in bottles for a fill up of “Old Rum”. As demand rose, they began to sell their supplies in old champagne bottles reclaimed from British Officers. The bottles would be resealed with black wax resulting in patrons asking for the “Black Seal”, and the rest is a deep, dark, delicious history.

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