In 1984, while working for Cayman Airways, Captain Robert Hamaty and his wife Carlene, an in-flight supervisor, founded the Tortuga Rum Company, Ltd. They introduced the first rums of the Cayman Islands, primarily to appeal as a souvenir to the growing tourist and cruise passenger business. In 1987, they opened the first Tortuga duty free liquor store and later that year introduced the now world famous Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cake.
For years Carlene had baked rum cakes for special occasions, using a four-generation old family recipe. Friends in the food business encouraged her to make it part of the Tortuga line. First offered at a local restaurant, her moist delectable cake was an instant hit.
By 1990 the demand was so great that the company expanded with a bakery, making their cake the Caribbean's first commercially produced rum cake. A custom vacuum-seal packaging machine was added in 1991. The process prolongs the cakes' shelf life for up to twelve months or indefinitely if refrigerated or frozen – ideal for distribution anywhere in the world.
In 1997, Tortuga Imports/Tortuga Rum Cake Company opened in Miami, Florida to handle worldwide distribution, mail order and online sales. Headed by Robert's daughter, Monique and her husband, Marcus Simmonds, the company was named to the INC5000 list of fastest growing private businesses in United States for four consecutive years.
The Tortuga brand is well-known by the more than 20 million annual Caribbean tourists and cruise ship passengers. Tortuga Caribbean Rum Cakes are the #1 export of the Cayman Islands and named the 2012 "Best Cruise Souvenir" by Porthole Cruise Magazine for the eighth consecutive year. Tortuga products are sold in gift and specialty food departments and gourmet stores throughout the Caribbean and North America, in onboard gift shops of nearly 100 cruise ships and shipped to 70 countries around the world.
Review of Tortuga's Rum Cakes:
Original Rum Cake: The color is light golden, the texture is medium, has rum-soaked pecans on top. The aroma has traces of vanilla, nutmeg and bananas. The sweetness level is medium, the moisture content is low.
Coconut Rum Cake: The color is light golden, the texture is medium and the cake has coconut flakes on top. The aroma is rich with coconut and light vanilla. The sweetness level is medium, the after taste has marked coconut notes.
Key Lime Rum Cake: The color is light golden, the texture is medium, the aroma has light citrus notes. The moisture content is low, the after taste is protracted but the lime flavor comes across a bit synthetic.
Reviews were done by Luis & Margaret Ayala