Mount Gay Rum Barrel

Mount Gay Rum Barrel Graffiti – Thankfully Banned for Rum’s Sake

I associate a lot of things with Barbados, most of them great. The oddest (some might say controversial) of my personal Barbados associations, though, is graffiti. I’m not talking the kind of bold and colorful expressions of urban decay that came to define 1970s-era New York City Subway Cars. The graffiti that makes me think of Barbados is more along the lines of what you might see on a Mount Gay rum barrel or two.

As at other famed rum distilleries, the barrels employed in aging Mount Gay are adorned with all manner of symbols, words, and numbers. 

Barrel Notes

Mount Gay Rum Barrel
A mountain of Mt Gay rum casks | Photo by Steve Bennett

All of the etchings carry meaning.

The most important of them denote important information critical to the rum maker’s art. These designations instantly inform the Master Blender at a glance of each cask’s contents, facilitating subsequent stages of blending and production.

Age, unique character, secrets – it’s all hidden in plain sight there, hand-written in white chalk.

Also there mixed in among the crucial codes, though, you might see an occasional Mount Gay rum barrel bearing a more personal sentiment…

Mt Gay Rum Barrel Graffiti | Photo by Steve Bennett

Keith & Sally Miller

John ♡ Janice

Actie was hear


Elena XXX | Photo by Steve Bennett

Seeing the unsanctioned scrawls during my October 2023 visit to the Mt Gay Distillery reminded me of the cactus carvings that Patrick and I happened upon in North Point, Barbados some 10+ years ago. As I noted back then…

There’s something about traveling someplace special that spurs a lot of us to leave behind some sort of a record of our visit.

In the case of Mount Gay rum barrel graffiti, however, the thrill of immortalizing visits to the distillery is gone.

Mt Gay banned the practice recently.

Banned in The Best Interest of Rum


Well, it seems the personal notes began infringing a bit too much upon the official notations. This caused some minor confusion. Nothing that ever compromised Mount Gay’s rum production, though a nuisance that the company smartly decided they’d rather live without. You know, before it could actually mushroom into a real problem. 

As a lover of just about all things Mount Gay Rum, this ban suits me just fine.

Last updated by Steve Bennett on .

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