Federal Merchants


​In 1850, the first oak barrels of rum distillate arrived in Bermuda. Three years later, after much trial and error, the distinctive Bermuda black rum destined to be Black Seal was formulated and offered for sale. They didn’t call it Black Seal at first. In fact, up until the First World War it was only sold from the barrel, and most folks brought in their own bottles for a ‘fill up’. Eventually the black rum was sold in champagne bottles, reclaimed from the British Officer’s Mess, and the corks sealed with black sealing wax. Soon people began to ask for the “Black Seal”. Many years later the idea of the barrel juggling “Black Seal” was born. Over the years Black Seal Rum has become synonymous with Bermuda. It is the essential additive to Bermuda fish chowder, adds the island touch to Bermuda Rum Swizzle, and is the tempest in Bermuda’s favorite cocktail -‐ the Dark ‘n Stormy®.


The history of Black Seal Rum® and the Gosling family began long ago. In the spring of 1806 James Gosling, the oldest son of William Gosling, wine and spirits merchant, set out from England on the ship, Mercury, with £10,000 of merchandise bound for America. After ninety one desperate days on a becalmed sea, their charter ran out and they put in at the nearest port, St. George’s, Bermuda. Rather than pressing on for America, James opened a shop on the King’s Parade, St. George’s in December 1806. A family business for 204 years, Gosling’s is the largest exporter of a Bermuda made product.​


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