Wray and Nephew

J Wray & Nephew is a renowned overproof rum produced in Kingston, Jamaica. It is referred to as ‘Spirit of the Island’.

Wray & Nephew rum has been Jamaica’s most loved rum for over 200 years. It is present throughout every aspect of daily life in Jamaica. It is used to welcome newborns into the family or cure a headache by rubbing it onto one’s forehead. It is even used to cleanse the earth of evil spirits.

It is the only distillery to employ a female Master Blender, Joy Spence.    


J Wray and Nephew with lots of glass windows and its name attached on the wall
J Wray and Nephew building


Wray & Nephew rum is a full-strength, extremely versatile yet flavourful white rum which is bursting with character.

Subtle notes of over-ripe banana, walnuts, charred pineapple are expected. The notes are followed by a warm finish with lingering notes of rich fruits. The interesting palate is a signature funk of Wray and Nephew. It is often referred to as hogo by rum enthusiasts. 

The term ‘hogo’ was used in the 18th – 19th century rum trade to describe sulphurous odours coming from distilling raw sugar cane juice. It is also Creole slang for the French term ‘haut gout’ which means high taste. Today, ‘hogo’ is used to describe the tricky and deceptive aromas of the rum, which creates an element of surprise ‘funk’ when tasting.

Hogo can be tamed by the use of lime, sugar syrup and honey. This makes Wray and Nephew perfect for Mojito, Daquiri and Ti’ Punch.       


A bunch of bananas with one cut to pieces
Two walnut halfes
A fresh pineapple
Collection of various fruits


The sugar cane used to produce Wray and Nephew is collected from the New Yarmouth Estate – which is an area well known for producing very sweet and fruity rums. However, Wray & Nephew rum is molasses-based.

Their distillation takes place in a combination of both column and pot stills at the New Yarmouth Estate.

Fermentation takes place over a 30-hour period using a sugarcane molasses wash and proprietary house yeast.

The young rum is said to be filtered for crystal clarity. However, very little is publicly known about the New Yarmouth distillery. Only a few people outside of the company have been there.



John Wray founded The Shakespeare Tavern in 1825 in Kingston, Jamaica. It was the place where he shared his best blended rums. The Shakespeare Tavern was highly successful.    

Wray and Nephew bottles with their yellow label in closure machine
Inside of Appleton factory

In 1860, Wray recruited his 22-year-old nephew, Charles James Ward who was a gifted entrepreneur to the business. Two years after Ward was made partner, and thus J Wray and Nephew was born.

John Wray retired in 1862 and left Ward to lead the business. Under Ward's leadership, the company grew strong and prospered. At which time J Wray & Nephew won three gold medals at the London International Exhibition.

Charles James Ward passed away in 1912, leaving the business to trustees. Before his death, Ward donated the Ward Theatre to the Jamaican people in 1912.

In 1916, Wray and Nephew was sold to Lindo Brothers & Co. Shortly after this, they also purchased the Appleton Estate rum distillery. Since then, J Wray and Nephew has changed hands several times, before its latest acquisition by the Campari Group in 2012.