Rumaniacs Review R-155 | 1010
By now we’ve looked at Hana Bay and its other incarnations like Whaler’s and Spirit of Hawaii from Hawaiian Distillers a few times (here, here, here, and here) and there’s nothing new to say abut it. It is no longer being made and the company bio is brief.
Hawaiian Distillers made Hana Bay rum from around the 1980s forwards and in 2002 it switched to being made in Kentucky by the brand owners at the time, Heaven Hill, who had acquired the brand from the Levecke Corporation in that year…though they may have just tossed it on the scrap heap, since I can’t find much that says it was made into the new century by them.
However, Hana and Whaler’s returned to Hawaii…Maui specifically, where Hali’imaile was founded in 2010 by a branch of the Levecke family and has its premises…I’ve heard they began making rum again in around 2014. Although the sugar industry, family connections and tropical climate would suggest it, rum is not actually their focus there – whisky, vodka and gin are, which is probably why their distillery makes rums of zero distinction. Hali’imaile’s claim to fame is to have worked to develop Sammy Hager’s Beach Bar rum, but that’s hardly an endorsement of the other rums they make and it’s been suggested that the Hana Bay wasn’t even made on Maui anymore. They don’t bother saying much about any rum on their website which may be an implicit statement about it, or simple embarrassment.
This rum is different from the Original Hana Premium (R-144) in that it is a white, with all that meant before (slight ageing then ruthlessly filtered to colourless blandness). So it lacks that pale hay colour of the Original, and the label is also not gold-edged but-silver edged, a sort of subliminal messaging as to what it is, if one is colour blind or too drunk to pay attention.
Strength – 40%
Colour – White
Label Notes – Silver edging (not gold), different medals from “Premium Rum”
Nose – Weak, wispy and thin. Acetones, pears, sugar water, yet mostly the sense one gets is of bitterly astringent alcohol. Some nail polish and the smell of plastic film stretched over new furniture.
Palate – It’s a rum with some bite. White fruits, sugar water, vanilla, coconut shavings. There’s an odd touch of brine here and there, but mostly one strains to find much beyond alcohol
Finish – Neutral spirit burn. One could as easily be tasting vodka with some added elements that remain difficult to identify
Thoughts – You can probably get more out of the nose and the taste if you have it first thing in the morning (as I did, to taste it for this review without anything getting in the way). That said, who would want to? There’s too little even with that, to make a sip worthwhile. Best to dunk it into a personal (or indifferent) cocktail experiment where you don’t want to waste a good (or even a real) rum.