Stolen Rum’s Founder Jamie Duff Talks About How He Started the Delicious Brand

If you you’ve been out and about in NYC you most probably been acquainted with Stolen Rum, it’s taking night life by storm and we got chance to talk to founder of the emerging rum brand Jamie Duff. Check out how he got started!

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Photography: Mae Richards (

What events in your life to led to the inspiration and creation of Stolen Rum?  
It was a series of observations over time. I worked in bars and restaurants in some way or another, since I was 16 and during law and marketing at University to pay my way through. I loved the hospitality industry; creating experiences for people. I was also a rum drinker, and always wondered why there were no cool, authentic rum brands. I wondered why there were no brands that I would be proud to bring to a party and tell my mates about. My friends were all drinking vodka (this was 2007), scotch etc, and they seemed to be a lot cooler than my Mt. Gay rum. Once I had conceived of the idea to start a rum company, I wanted it to represent the decision I had made in my life. I threw away a very good career in law to follow my dream and inner desire (death wish!). Ultimately I wanted to stand for something, and be my own boss, and hopefully inspire others to do the same. At times I still don’t know what the end point is, but I just trust, and totally follow my instinct.

How did you come up with the name? 
It was Kelvin Soh (our designer) and I. It was all about capturing the essence of the business, products and brand that I had in my mind. It was all about ‘stealing life back’.

Where is it from? 
We work with a world-class distillery in Trinidad and Tobago. The spices we use to macerate, are all 100% natural oils and tinctures from Morocco, Madagascar and Colombia, and are all extracted and blended in New Zealand.

Why did you pick Trinidad, over any of the other Caribbean islands with a history of rum or distilling it at home in New Zealand? 
I initially did try and make it in NZ, using cane spirit from Australia, and aging it in wine barrels from the New Zealand wine industry (Pinot, Chardonnay) I wanted ‘inclusive, world class rums’. However, it didn’t work well, and to create a world-class company, I needed world class expertise and products – NZ does not have the expertise in rum. I loved Jamaican Rum, but, it is very polarizing. I wanted a rum distiller that made rum that people would say, ‘I don’t like rum, but I like this’. Trinidad made such rums.

What’s unique about stolen?
Innovation, and authenticity.We use 100% natural oils and tinctures, the best sourced from around the world, to macerate with our rum (the Spiced Rum in our case in the USA). This process to my knowledge no one in the alcohol industry really uses – it is expensive, and old-school. Most large companies flavor their spirits using sugars and synthetic flavors. And, all the people at Stolen embody ‘stealing life back ‘ we have all chosen to work at Stolen by taking a jump in our previous lives, to this life at Stolen.

What’s your fave cocktail and why?
Equal tie – Hemingway Daiquiri, and Gin Martini (dry, slightly dirty, stirred).
Hemingway Daiquiri has an amazing history, and tastes good, and easy to make with different rums. Martini is the same (gin wise), but virtually the opposite in taste to the Hemingway. I could drink variations of each, forever, and not get sick of either.

Where is it available to buy and what bars can we find it in in NY? 
We just hit the pavement here but you can currently find us at The Ace Hotel, Louie and Chan/303, Handys Liquor Bar, Pravda, St Jeromes/ Rivington F&B, Jeepney/ Maharlika, Bonnie Vee, The Derby, The Jade Hotel, and Baby’s All Right and Three Diamond Door in Brooklyn.

What’s coming up next for Stolen? Any events coming up? 
A lot coming up; Global guerilla tastings, parties.

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