Rumaniacs Review #091 | 0598
Overproof rums started out as killer cocktail ingredients, meant to boost anything they were put into by, I dunno, a lot. For many years they were pretty much the bruisers of the barflies — low-life, lightly-aged mixers (or occasionally unaged whites) which only islanders drank neat, largely because they had the least amount of time to waste getting hammered. Still, as time passed and cask strength rums became more fashionable (and appreciated), the gap between the strength of a cool aged casker and an overproof shrank, to the point where a 75% bottling of a “regular” rum that’s not labelled as an overproof is not out of the realms of possibility – I know several that stop just a bit short of that.
One of the old style overproofs is this rum from the Takamaka Bay rum company located on Mahe, the main island of the 115-island archipelago comprising the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. The company is of relatively recent vintage, being formed in 2002 by the d’Offay brothers, Richard and Bernard d’Offay, and sourcing sugar cane from around the island – they are, according to their website’s blog, one of the few distilleries in the world that make rum from both juice and molasses. They have two copper pot stills and a columnnar one, and this white rum, now discontinued and replaced with the 69 Rhum Blanc, is an unaged, unfiltered column still distillate with possibly a touch of high ester rum from the pot still. I’ve read on a Czech site that the rum is triple distilled from cane juice and then diluted, which was later confirmed by Bernard d’Offay.
Colour – White
Strength – 72% ABV
Nose – Sweet and light soda pop, like a 7-Up…with fangs. Tons of herbs here, grass, thyme, mint, light lemon zest. Sugar water. Light fruity esters. Bananas, nutmeg, cardamom.
Palate – Fruit juice poured into my glass, clean and light. There’s the crispness of green apples, cane juice and red cashews, melding well with the tart creamy sweetness of ginips and soursop. Herbs remained – parsley, dill and mint. It was hot and delicately sweet, presenting with force, yet it also reminded me somewhat of a tequila, what with a background of brine and olives and a faint oily texture on the tongue
Finish – Quite good. Long, dry, spicy, fruity, redolent of bananas, red currants, blackberries, watermelon and sugar water.
Thoughts – It’s really quite a good rum, and I’m sorry to see it’s no longer being made. Before I got a response from Takamaka Bay, I thought the column still produced this from cane juice spirit (this proved to be the case). It’s a mixer for sure, though anyone who finds it and tries it neat won’t be entirely disappointed. It’s a fiery, flavourful white which may now no longer be made, but lives on in its slightly lesser-proofed brother…which I have a feeling I’ll be looking for quite soon.