Rhum Agricole – Arcane Rum from Mauritius!

Arcane Rums

Here´s sunny rums from a sunny island…Mauritius!

Arcane rums are made from pure cane juice, a rhum agricole. As always when you come back from a rumfest, in this case the Rhumfest Paris, there`ll be rums to try out and to write about. I`m starting with the three expressions from Arcane, plus a spiced rum called “Beach House Rum” (not Arcane but from the same producer)

The three expressions in their range are the Delicatissime, Cane Crush and the Extra Aroma. The Extra Aroma I tried for the first time at Maria Loca during Daniele Dalla Polas Tiki Night and I was amazed by the strong banana flavor of this rum which mixed wonderfully with his amazing tiki drinks.

On the webpage it says  –  What Arcane stands for is this : in a white rum or in a 12 years old rum, you will always taste, in different versions,the magnificence of cane aromas. Arcane rum is always made from the distillation of pure cane juice.

So let´s start with the Cane Crush, it´s a very aromatic rum with lots of fresh “green” sugarcane flavors, grassy, floral and lively. It´s distilled twice, first in pot stills on Mauritius and then a second distillation in small alambics is made in Cognac.These alambics are the french variant of the alembic – which is an arabic word for a type of still that originally was used to make perfumes and it´s the alembic still the modern pot still is based on.

So in short, here´s my thoughts on the rums, remember this is how they taste to me, to you they may taste a bit different since we all have different taste perceptions:

CANE CRUSH

Color – crystal clear

Nose – It´s crispy and fresh, grassy and a bit floral in the nose with slight hints of citrus.

Mouth – A very pleasant flavor, fresh and crispy just like like the nose but a little bit peppery with a fruitness and roundness backed up by the typical grassy agricole flavors of fresh cut cane.

Finish –  I find the finish to be medium long  with a fresh light cane flavor that stays for a little while.

A very pleasant and tasty rhum agricole that can be sipped easily and also mixed equally well, it´s tasty and balanced.

EXTRA AROMA

Color – Golden light mahogany

Nose: Here´s something entirely different….this rum has a strong nose of banana and coconut and the notes of grassy agricole flavors are quite restrained.

Mouth: Banana….hints of coconut and something perfumey and floral, hints of cane and some grassiness. It`s a tropically flavored aged agricole rum with strong banana and coconut flavors if that makes sense. It`s like a spiced rum with coconut and banana and quite sweet. I believe it´s a “like it or not” type of rum. Personally I like as a mixer because it mixes well in tiki drinks and tropical cocktails.

I tried it the the first time in Paris at Maria Loca when Daniele Dalla Pola did his “Arcane Jungle Bar” tiki night and made tiki drinks with among others, this rum which mixed wonderfully in his drinks.

The pronounced banana and coconut flavors (and some other tropical fruits) paired with the aged rhum agricole notes makes a statement to try to best describe it, if you like those flavors you`ll probably like this rum, if you don´t like banana and coconut you won`t like this. In tiki drinks and exotic cocktails it´s wonderful and I like the aftertaste of coconut.

In the description it says “12 year old solera aged in oak barrels” which does not mean that all the rum in the bottle is 12 years old but that there´s a percentage, how small, we do not know, that should be 12 years old in the blend of younger rums.

Finish: Aftertaste of coconut that lingers in your mouth for a while that gets me to think of a brown coconut that has been cracked and all the brown pieces spread out on the ground. The name “Extra Aroma” surely is true, this rum has a LOT of aroma! but as a sipper there´s bit of a sugar-bomb warning.

DELICATISSIME

Color – very light golden

Nose – A bit herbal and spicy, with hints of freshly cut grass, vanilla and some spice.

Mouth – Hints of vanilla, peppery, pronounced herbal grassiness and hints of floral notes as well, lively agricole flavors.

Finish – Spicy finish that ends with sweet notes of vanilla

This rum mixes as well as the Extra Aroma in exotic cocktails and I found that mixing the two, or any of them with Cane Crush is just as great, any of these rums adds a lively flavor to cocktails. This is a young golden rum that has been aged for 18 months in oak barrels and it`s kinda dryish but with sweet vanilla aromas.

Afterthoughts:

For sipping, the one I prefer is the Cane Crush because it´s the cleanest and driest of them to me and for sipping neat I prefer a bit drier rums that has nothing added to them. It also makes a fine ti punch of course.

For mixing I find them quite versatile, especially with tropical type of drinks, the flavors just comes together….

I have no idea if these rums contains any additives but I`m positively sure that there´s some kind of sweetness added to the Extra Aroma since it has such strong banana and coconut notes. I believe it may have natural flavors added or at least so I hear, and then some sugar, but there´s no info…anyway, it´s not cloingly sweet, it more makes a real strong statement of banana and coconut.

Then we have the bottles, I really like them, they have a cool design and the labels look exotic which pairs well with the rums they contain seeing to where the rum is made. But I would like to see more info on the labels as to what the rums contain as well, the more transparency the better.

BEACH HOUSE SPICED

Beach House Spiced

And now on to the last one, a sort of bonus in this post,  it´s a spiced rum.

This spiced rum is not the Arcane brand, it´s called “Beach House Spiced” which is a rum infused with tropical floral and spicy flavors dominated by orange which comes in a very pretty bottle at 40% abv. The nose is very floral and perfumey with hints of orange and spice. To be honest it´s  too sweet for my palate but I can see it as a cocktail ingredient and also as a dessert rum – or if you like it sweet, as a sip on the beach at sundown which it says it´s designed for. I think this rum would benefit from a reduction of the sweetness though especially since the spice flavor is a bit on the floral side. But those with a sweet tooth will probably love it.

Now on to the drinks!

Funky Colada

Funky Arcane Colada

With some funky grassy, sugarcane, banana and coconut flavors from the rums paired with the darker roasted coconut water and nutty macadamia and orgeat flavors, this is my funky Colada!

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Cane Crush

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh pineapple juice

30 ml/ 1 oz roasted coconut water

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz macadamia nut syrup

7.5 ml/ 0.25 oz orgeat

15 ml/ 0.5 oz Coco Real

30 ml/ 1 oz fresh lime

Dash pimento dram

Blend all ingredients at high speed for 5 sec in a blender with 2.5 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice. Pour into snifter and add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a pineapple crown. The roasted coconut water can be difficult to find but can be subbed with unsweetened and if possible, fresh coconut water.

The Pina Colada is in my opinion an underestimated drink and it´s one of my favorites. It`s also a fun drink since it lends itself to a lot of experimentations!

Coffee Dots

Coffee Dots

 

A coffee flavored take on the ”Three dots and a dash” which is one of the classic tiki drinks. Coffee is one of my favorite tiki drink ingredients,so why not combine the two? That´s how “Coffee Dots” was born…

Adding an agricole rum with rich banana aromas gives this drink an extra tropical dimension.

15 ml/0.5 oz each of fresh lime and orange juices

15 ml/0.5 oz honey-mix

60 ml/2 oz Arcane Extra Aroma rum

15 ml/0.5 oz strong Kona coffee, cold

7.5 ml/0.25 oz pimento dram

Dash Angostura bitters

Blend in blender at high speed with 2 dl/ 1 cup crushed ice, 5 sec and pour into a snifter

Garnish with a pineapple leaf and 3 coffee beans

Banana Daiquiri Speciale

A Banana Daiquiri a day….is the #DRINKTROPICAL way!

Arcane Banana Daiquiri small

Banana, both fresh and in syrup paired with rich coconut palmsugar syrup flambèed in 80% Stroh for the sweet…

Fresh lime juice for the sour and for the strong, Arcane Extra Aroma and Delicatissime blends together into a sumptuous tropical daiquiri drink….there´s no other “weak” in this except for the crushed ice….but the spice “to make it nice” is there in the dust of cinnamon and in the rums. Now this is not a Planter`s Punch but an extra lush banana daiquiri!

22.5 ml/0.75 oz fresh lime juice

1/2  banana, sliced

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Extra Aroma

30 ml/1 oz Arcane Delicatissime

15 ml/0.5 oz banana-palmsugar syrup*

Blend in blender with 1 cup crushed ice for 10 sec and pour into a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a piece of frozen banana and a dust of cinnamon.

To make the banana-palmsugar syrup:

For a small bottle of syrup, make a simple syrup with 2.1 ratio of coconut palmsugar and water (about 1 cup of sugar) and slice 1/2 banana in it and mash slightly with a fork and boil on medium heat for a couple minutes but do not let it caramelize. Take off heat and add 2 tbsp 80% Stroh ¨(or other overproof rum good for flambeeing) and flambè before leaving to cool and flavors to set for about 30 mins, then strain and bottle.

Beach House Bird

Beach House Bird

This drink is an experiment, since I wanted to try the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient and due to it`s pronounced orange aroma I decided to use equal parts hibiscus grenadine and the spiced rum instead of simple syrup in a Jungle Bird since orange and Campari pairs so well.

It tasted like a sort of lightly floral Jungle Bird with hints of bitterness…

As for the Beach House Spiced as a cocktail ingredient, it works just fine and can be used instead of for example orange liqueur or simple syrup giving a subtle floral, slightly exotic perfumey character to the drink. Now this drink has Campari which in itself adds a lot of flavor with it´s herbal, bitterness so you get it in double measure here :-).

22.5 ml/0.75 oz Campari

30 ml/1 oz fresh lime juice

7.5 ml/0.25 oz hibiscus grenadine

7.5 ml/0.25 oz Beach House Spiced

45 ml/1.5 oz Appleton Extra

Shake with plenty of cracked ice, strain and pour into a old fashioned glass filled with fresh cracked ice.

I think that was all for now….enjoy the drinks if you decide to try them 🙂

Rum from Cuba – Ron Cubay!

Cubay Rums

Ron Cubay is a rum i only had a chance to briefly try at the 2013 UK Rumfest as their table was swamped, and at this last years rumfest i tried them again and up for review i have here the 3 year old white rum, Carta Blanca, the Anejo 7 anos and the Ron Cubay 10 year old Especial Reserva. They are rums of the Spanish style, light, elegant and typically Cuban.

In Cuba rum was first made in the 1700th century when molasses from the Far East was brought there by Columbus via Spain. Growing well in Cuba, the sugarcane became the most important crop and in the 19th century rum production really got going.

Ron Cubay was founded in 1964 in Santo Dominco, Villa Clara, centrally located in Cuba and was only intended for the Cuban market until 2010 when the first shipments for export arrived in Europe and in 2013 i first saw it at the UK Rumfest and briefly wrote about it since a quick tasting usually only gives a very brief first impression.

Ron Cubay is produced with only Cuban molasses from sugar cane since the Cuban legislation forbids using foreign molasses to produce Cuban rum and they are produced by the distilleries of  Cuba Ron S.A which also produce Havana Club and distributed in the UK by JBE Imports.

Distillation is done with a Column Still which typically gives these lighter style rums. The rums are aged in American white oak ex whiskey barrels which are re-charred. Nothing is added and Ron Cubay is a 100% natural product with 100% Cuban materials.

Only 3 out of  5 expressions are marketed in the UK, the 3-year-old Carta Blanca,the 7-year-old Anejo and the 10-year-old Anejo Reserva Especial, but maybe also the new Ron Cubay Extra Viejo which they had up for sampling at the 2014 UK Rumfest is released for purchase in the UK – a light gold colored rum which is mix of white rum and extra aged rum reserves.

That is old Cuban rums that are aged for an average of seven years and then some of the best whites that are aged for nearly 13 years in white American oak barrels. From what i remember of the taste of this rum, it had a quite intense fruity flavor, balanced and no harshness at all which was expected. The bottles are individually numbered and comes in a velvet leather effect gift box.

The other two rums are a 4-year-old Carta Dorada and a 5-year-old Anejo Suave, which naturally i haven`t tried, neither do i know if they are able for purchase in Europe, but i guess not, at least not yet.

Cubay collage 2 rums

CARTA BLANCA

The Carta Blanca (38% ABV) is designed for cocktails and is a vibrant, only slightly sweet rum. The color is white with faint yellowish tones. On the nose it`s pretty “green and young”, with green sugarcane and some slight pepper notes, it´s a typical daiquiri rum.

In the mouth you get the same green freshness with a little fruitiness and slight sweetness, it´s not harsh at all but does have some refreshing pepper notes that makes this rum lively, definitely great for cocktails but can also be sipped neat if you wish.

ANEJO

The anejo is 7 years old (38.0% ABV) and has a medium golden amber color. The nose has a lovely honeyed sweetness, with hints of caramel and toffee mixed with a mellow fruitness, like mashed apricots.

In the mouth it´s fruity, just slightly woody, a bit of vanilla, hints of apricots and peaches and warm rich dark sugar.

A good sipping rum but can of course also go in cocktails.

Cubay Reserva Especial

ANEJO RESERVA ESPECIAL

Deep amber in color the Anejo Reserva Especial is 10 years old (40% ABV) it has a rich nose, like a golden stream of honey with apricot, peach and vanilla notes drenched in sugarcane and light hints of spice.

In the mouth i feel more vanilla paired with honey, toffee and peaches, it´s warm and caressing and so soft, just a very slight hint of spices.

I think this rum has a lot to offer and even while it´s not so widely known yet everywhere it will be. I`d use the Carta Blanca as a mixing rum, the Anejo, which i think i prefer of the three i`d use for both sipping and mixing and finally the Anejo Reserva Especial, for sipping when you want something easy on the palate to relax with.

I made a classic daiquiri with the Carta Blanca, that`s the natural thing to do….but there´s a whole range of things you can mix with it that`s not daiquiris! i just happen to really love that drink 🙂

CUBAY DAIQUIRI

Cubay Daiquiri

2 oz Ron Cubay Carta Blanca

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Shake ingredients with ice cubes and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or glass.

This drink is simple and yet it´s so perfect! if you want to really taste the rum in your drink this is the drink to make, rum, lime and sugar, the basis of so many cocktails not the least the tiki drinks! if there was no daiquiri invented there`d be no tiki drinks!

Also this is the perfect cocktail to test how good a rum is because you cannot get a tasty daiquiri with a bad rum. With Ron Cubay the daiquiri is good so my thumb is up!

Cubay Rums 2

Here´s their UK Website.

See other Ron Cubay Anejo rum reviews on RumRatings

See other Ron Cubay Carta Blanca rum reviews on RumRatings

See other Ron Cubay Reserva Especial rum reviews on RumRatings

Deep down from Louisiana – Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum

Rougaroux bottle

This rum surprises me… it´s that good…and it makes one hell of a “Corn `n`Oil!

Rougaroux Rum is made by Donner-Peltier Distillers located in the middle of the cane fields in Thibodaux, Louisiana using pure black strap molasses and raw sugar grown and milled from a family owned farm just down the road from the distillery. They also produce a gin, a vodka and a whiskey called LA1 Whiskey because it´s Louisiana`s first aged whiskey since prohibition.

The name Rougaroux comes from french and cajun folklore legends:

“Deep in the heart of Southern Louisiana Cajun Country lurks a mysterious creature known as the Rougarou, (Roo ga roo). It lingers in the sugarcane fields and swamps, emerging only during a full moon to exact justice on the wicked”

– Because of their monster flavor, we chose this name for our rums”

And flavorful this rum sure is…

I have only tried this dark one and so i have yet to try the white rum which i have heard is also very good having a thick molasses and brown sugar character)

I had heard about Rougaroux rum but never yet tried it when i one day was sitting at the Carousel bar at the Monteleone in New Orleans with a few friends during the Tales of the Cocktail this past summer. One of them suggested i try a rum Alexander with Rougaroux dark which i did and i found it so good i felt i just had to review this rum, here we had something really interesting!

This is a blackstrap rum – but it´s quite different from the other two blackstrap rums i have. They do of course have similarities, like that typical “yummy” blackstrap/molasses flavor but Rougaroux has also an almost demerara-like flavor profile to it with a bold, mysterious, thick and full bodied flavor – and it is (of course) also perfect for tiki drinks…( a big plus in my book…)

But Rougaroux is not as black-ish in color as the others, instead it has a very dark brown color with beautiful almost”reddish” mahogany hues. The label is also really cool i think and so fitting for this rum.

Using Louisiana raw sugar cane and blackstrap molasses they create a white rum which is further aged in white oak barrels (for how long is not known) There is no caramel or other additives in this rum.

Nose: The nose gets me directly to think about a blackstrap with demerara aromas…Deep wood and sugarcane, mash of ripe tropical fruits, a hint of crispy citrus and fresh sugarcane. It`s big on the nose.

In the Mouth: Here comes some vanilla notes along with the wood, it`s deep and oaky with hints of orange peel, sugarcane and molasses. It`s rather balanced and pleasant to sip on and the flavor stays with you for quite some time.

What i find interesting is that it reminds me of  El Dorado 12 year old…and i`m kinda puzzled by that – but i love it! I really like those dark, thick, flavorful rums that got “punch” (and can stand up in tiki cocktails) Also a white rum can have that same character – which i suspect their white “Sugarshine” rum may have…since it´s said to have thick molasses and brown sugar  flavors – a tasting is required! and i can`t wait to try that one as well.

Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum won in 2013, bronze at the San Francisco World Spirits and gold
at the World Spirits Award and in 2014 it won silver at the World Spirits Award and gold at the Beverage Tasting Institute.

If i would pick three words to describe this rum it would be dark, deep and balanced…they call it a whiskey sipper´s rum.

Well, after trying this i can safely say that i prefer to not be without it and that is despite i already have other blackstrap rums, but this one is more than just a blackstrap rum, it´s different. And it does go very well in tiki cocktails.

Dark Puka Punch

Rougaroux Dark Puka Punch

1 oz Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum
1 oz aged Rhum Agricole
1 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz orange júice
0.75 oz pineapple juice
0.75 z passionfruit syrup (lilikoi)
2 tsp honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, mixed and heated to dissolve the honey, then cooled to room temp)
0.25 oz * falernum

Float a little bit of 151 rum on top and finish with a couple dashes angostura bitters.

Classic tiki drink, tasty and rummy! the Rougaroux plays well here.

* Falernum – you can read about what it is here and how to make your own if you wish (it´s brighter and tastier) here and here.

And on to the next….did i say Rougaroux Full Moon Dark makes a mean Corn ´n`Oil? here it is:

Full Moon Corn ´n´ Oil

Rougaroux Full Moon Corn n Oil 1

2 oz Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum
0.5 oz Falernum
And just a little squeeze of fresh lime…

Build in a rocks glass with crushed or cracked ice.
Squeeze a lime wedge over the top, stir, and throw in the spent lime wedge in the glass.

Sip and enjoy!

Three Dots and a Dash

Three Dots and a Dash with Rougaroux rum and Clement VSOP

Here´s one of my favorite tiki drinks, it´s a Don the Beachcomber drink and that`s quite appropriate here in this post since Donn Beach was a Louisiana native just like the Rougaroux rum is. He made this drink to commemorate the Allied victory and the name of the drink comes from the Morse Code for the letter “V.” Hence the garnish of the three cherries and either a pineapple leaf/spear or a long chunk representing the three dots and the dash for the Morse Code.

I have only switched the original recipe`s demerara rum for the Rougaroux.

1.5 oz amber Martinican Rhum
0.5 oz Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.5 oz honey mix*
0.25 oz falernum
0.25 oz pimento Dram
6 oz crushed Ice

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed for about 5 seconds. Pour into an appropriate glass and garnish with 3 cherries and a pineapple leaf spear or a long shaped chunk.

*Honey Mix

1 part Honey and 1 part Water, gently heated so the honey dissolves and then cooled to room temp.

Here`s some info on where to buy (only in the US and Louisiana for now)

Rougaroux Dark Rum

 

Rougaroux Dark Puka Punch collage

 

See other Rougaroux Full Moon Dark rum reviews on RumRatings

Selvarey Rum from Panama

Selvarey Rums

Hailing from Panama – Selvarey Rum comes in two different expressions – Selvarey White and Selvarey Cacao. It`s distilled in Panama by master blender Don “Pancho” Francisco Fernandez. The name Selvarey means “Jungle King”

Don Pancho was born in Cuba in 1938 and he first began working with cutting sugarcane in the fields with his father. He worked his way up and became the Cuban Minister of Rum. He spent 35 years running the famous Havana Club brand in Cuba before moving to Panama and opening his own distillery.

And he built his own distillery from scratch in a small town called Pesé in the Herrera Province– Panama’s premier sugarcane region and bought a warehouse on the outskirts of Panama City and began stocking it with barrels of rum and out of there i now have these two expressions here to try out and make a few cocktails with.

Selvarey rum is distilled in four copper column stills built in 1922 by American Copper & Brass Works. The rum is then aged in American white oak ex bourbon barrels imparting notes of vanilla and caramel. Water is added to bring Selvarey White down to 40% ABV and Selvarey Cacao to 35% ABV.

Selvarey rums are lush tropical rums, sweet and flavorful and you may sip on it´s own or mix with in various cocktails. The bottles are really beautiful, they look very exotic! they are also sturdy and quite heavy with a thick bottom.

Selvarey White

Selvarey Rum White

The white rum is a blend of three and five-year-old rums, distilled in 1922 copper column stills, aged in bourbon casks and carbon filtered to remove the color while keeping most of the flavors and it is made up of more than a single batch of rum adding to it`s complexity.

From his warehouse, Don Pancho chooses a 3 year-old for its youth and vibrancy of fresh-cut sugarcane, and then combines it with a rich, full bodied, more mature 5 year-old.

The nose is mild and sweet with hints of vanilla and fresh sugarcane plus a little bit of toffee and butterscotch.The mouth is quite viscous and the same notes comes through in the flavor along with creamy butterscotch. It`s designed to be a sipping rum enjoyed with some ice but it mixes well in cocktails like the daiquiri or mojito for example or any that contains citrus which it plays very well with plus the citrus cuts the sweetness a bit and adds that vibrant aromatic flavor.

Selvarey Cacao

Selvarey Rum Cacao

The cacao rum is made from five-year-old rum infused with locally sourced chocolate which doesn`t give the “chocolate bar” flavor but rather a fine flavor of the cocoa bean. Less sweet than the white rum and here you get vanilla notes plus some oak with a mild spice along with the flavor of  natural chocolate.

The color is dark amber/copper and when opening the bottle you immediately get the aroma of chocolate in the air. Selvarey Cacao won the gold medal at the 2014 Miami Rum Fest and was the first flavored rum ever to win the coveted Chairman’s Trophy at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York City.

I decided to first make two cocktails found on the website for a change instead of making my usual tiki drinks and the Rey Cafè catched my attention, a cocktail made with the Cacao rum, coffee and unsweetened coconut milk but i switched the espresso coffee for what i have on hand (and prefer) which is New Orleans Community coffee dark roast – which is strong and flavorful in the same way as Hawaiian Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffees.

Rey Cafè

Selvarey Rey Cafè

1.5oz Selvarey Cacao
1oz strong coffee (cold)
1oz unsweetened coconut milk
0.25 oz -0.5 oz simple syrup or sugar (taste your way)

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes and grate some cinnamon and nutmeg on top.

A very nice cocktail indeed! here you get cacao, sugarcane, coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg wrapped up in creamy unsweetened coconut milk…This cocktail can also be made warm for those stormy fall or cold winter nights.

The next cocktail is a daiquiri for which, the Selvarey white rum is perfect:

Selvarey Jungle Daiquiri

Selvarey Jungle Daiquiri

2 oz of  Selvarey White Rum
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz dark sugar syrup

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lime.

And here is another type of daiquiri, with grilled fruit, this is for the white rum:

Grilled Fruit Daiquiri

Selvarey rum Grilled-fruit-daiquiri

2-3 Pieces of Grilled Fruit (Mango, Pineapple, or Cantaloupe)

2 oz. Selvarey White Rum

1 oz. Simple Syrup (1 part superfine sugar to 1 part water, stir till dissolved)

3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Muddle the grilled fruit with the simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Add Selvarey White Rum and ice. Shake vigorously and fine strain into a cocktail coupe or other glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Grilled Fruit: De-core or de-seed fruit first and cut, so as to expose a large area of fruit flesh. Grill, flesh side down, until grill marks are present (about 2 minutes). Cut chunks of fruit from grilled flesh and use to muddle in cocktail.

You can check to see where to find Selvarey rums here.

See other Selvarey Cacao rum reviews on RumRatings

See other Selvarey White Rum reviews on RumRatings

Kōloa Kaua`i Spice Rum!

Koloa bottle

Up for review is the spiced rum from Kōloa Rum in Hawaii. I wrote about Kōloa rums before and their range of rums including the spiced, but now i got a chance to sit down with it all by itself.

This is to me a cocktail rum, great for mixing up delicious tropical cocktails and tiki drinks, it fits well with from where it comes but of course it can be used in other types of cocktails as well. But me i`m sticking to the tropics!

Interesting is that Kōloa Rum is not made from molasses but instead it´s made from crystallized sugar (but it contains molasses – it actually has a high level of molasses in it) but that sets it apart from both pure molasses based rums and rhum agricole which is made from sugar cane juice. All of the rums are distilled twice in a 1210 gallon copper pot still with a copper column and condenser. The still was built by Liberty Coppersmiths in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1947 and later refurbished for use in the distillery.

The Kōloa Rum company is very young! they have only made rum since 2009 and have already won no less than 17 awards – most of them at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami and then at the  San Francisco World Spirits Competition, well done!

Koloa awards

Kauai, also known as the Garden Island, is where Kōloa Rum is made and Kōloa rum is a handcrafted single batch rum containing pure mountain waters of  Mt. Wai`ale`ale, one of the wettest spots on Earth. The Kōloa plantation was established in 1835 in Kōloa Town and the first harvest which produced two tons of raw sugar was in 1837 and it was around that time that rum production began, so rum does have quite some history on the Hawaiian islands.

There is a Tasting Room & Company Store, located on the grounds of the Historic Kilohana Plantation where visitors can sample from the range of rums and purchase Kōloa rum items and also Hawaiian Fruit Specialties and its Kukui Brand which was founded in 1931 by the Tateishi Family as a means of preserving the wild guava, pineapple, lilikoi, and other abundant fruits of Kaua`i.

I was happily surprised when i heard that they were going to feature one of my cocktails that i made in my other post, the Spiced Coconaut on their new bag that soon will be in the shop! i used some of this spiced rum as a float in that drink. I hope i can one day go there and visit them! i have always been dreaming about going to Hawaii…and here is the bag, this is where your purchases from the store goes…

Koloa bag collage

Nose and Taste

The first thing that hits my nose from the spiced rum is vanilla and cinnamon with clear notes, followed by caramel and spice. In the mouth i taste cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, spice, sugarcane, some oak, quite well balanced and smooth. It would add some real nice spice notes to cocktails, especially if they contain pineapple juice since the strongest flavor is cinnamon.

It´s sweet but not too sweet,  it´s spicy but well balanced – and there´s some hints of roots and also something astringent, i guess that´s what brings me to roots.

Kōloa Kaua`i Spice is a rich and fragrant rum.

Kōloa Kaua`i Spice in Cocktails

As for cocktails with the Kōloa Spiced Rum, the Spiced Coconaut was as i mentioned earlier really appreciated by the folks at the Kōloa Rum and and they made it to be featured on their cocktail catalogue as well as on their Facebook page and it looked this nice:

The recipe doesn`t call for just the spiced rum, rather it´s used as a float together with Kōloa Kaua`i Dark rum and as such it did very well. Here`s the recipe again:

Koloa Rum Spiced Coconaut cocktail

Spiced Coconaut

2 oz Lopez or Coco Real Cream of Coconut

2 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz Kaua`i Dark rum

Float Kōloa Kaua`i Spice ( about 0.25 oz)

Shake it hard to get the Cream of Coconut well mixed in and strain into a coconut mug with ice cubes and float Kōloa spiced rum on top.

Garnish with tropical flower and pineapple leaves.

Next tropical cocktail is strong and tall…and deceptive:

Hawaiian Scratch…  instead of Tropical Itch…

Koloa Hawaiian Itch

Tiki drinks often have some funny names, the Tropical Itch which is the inspiration for this drink was created by Harry Yee, “The Dean of Hawaiian Bartenders,” who is said to have been the first to garnish a drink with an orchid and a paper parasol.

2 oz Kōloa Kaua`i Spice rum
0.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Rum
1 oz Bourbon
0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao
6 oz passion fruit juice
1/2 tsp juice from a maraschino cherry jar to top
A couple dashes angostura bitters to top
Squeeze of fresh lime juice (about 1/4th oz)
Garnish pineapple leaves and slice, maraschino cherry, mint

Shake with ice cubes and strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice, add a half tsp of juice from a maraschino cherry jar and a couple dashes angostura bitters.

Fruity, spicy and quite mild but very yummy…but it´s deceptive – the 151 Cuban will sneak up on you…

Here`s another cocktail for you from Jeff Berry`s Grog Log with the rums switched out for Kōloa Kaua`i Spice and Coconut:

Noa Noa

Koloa Noa Noa

1oz lime juice (or 3/4 of a lime cut into wedges)
1tsp brown sugar
1 dash Angostura bitters
6 mint leaves
1 oz Kōloa Kaua`i Spice rum
2 oz Kōloa Coconut rum
mint sprig, for garnish

Muddle lime juice or wedges with sugar, bitters, and mint. Add ice and rum, and shake. Strain into a double rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig and spent lime shell.

Cool and not too sweet, spicy, minty and with a hint of coconut.

The spiced rum is funny to play with and is versatile to mix with in a lot of cocktails and tiki drinks, i could do many more but time doesn`t permit…that`ll be another time.

Kōloa rums can be purchased at various retailers in the US and also in Australia, Canada and China (see the website) and in Europe at La Gourmandine Rhumerie in France, also online.

From Hawaii to you with Kōloa rum – Aloha!

See other Koloa Spice rum reviews on RumRatings

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – A Femme Fatale Dressed to Kill

LS151 Label 4

Dangerously easy to sip…

The Lost Spirits Rums hit the world with a bang! I have already seen and read several great posts about this rum and have written myself also about the Navy Style and Polynesian Inspired rums.

The Lost Spirits latest addition – the 151 Cuban Inspired Rum – has already been spoken about as well but I`ve been unable to write about until now since I been away to New Orleans and California including a road trip with Bryan and Joanne from the distillery to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego and where I got time to get to know this rum a bit better but time alone with it was needed.

One thing is clear, it`s a very pleasant overproof rum and it both mixes and sips well, even though, if you sip it for a while you will get a “fried” palate due to it`s strength typically what happens when you drink overproof rums neat, which mostly I do not – I use them most of the time in drinks as floats or combined with other rums  –  but you should not let this rum fool you – it`s way too easy to sip.

That said, I recommend it to be used like you use other overproof rums, in drinks, as floats etc.

This femme fatale comes dressed up in a very innocent looking outfit…the stunning label is a work of art with light pastel colored retro style 1930s pre-Castro Cuban theme with palm trees and a Pan Am (?) plane taking off to the sun….(and Cuban daiquiris…) and there`s a lady dressed in fashionable 1930s tropical wear. It`s like the other labels from Lost Spirits, very detailed and in all it`s a stunning label made by Bryan himself.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage 2

1930s Cuba….isn`t it beautiful? makes me wanna go back in time…or at least have a couple of cold daiquiris which btw is one of my favorite rum drinks.

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban label collage

I suspect that the curved end of the label is inspired by the same curved pattern you see on top of the copper still, you can see it in this post by Cocktailwonk, it´s pic number seven from top.

Of course your mind goes straight to the daiquiri when you see this rum but it´s good for all sorts of drinks both classic, modern and tiki. And here is what i like so much about it, it gives enough flavor to the drink to make things happen, to make it exciting, yet it´s smooth as silk but it kicks your butt!

If you have never heard of Lost Spirits Rums before I advise you to go and read about them here, and here and here……..plus check out their own website. It`s well worth the time reading all the posts because Bryan Davis is like the “mad scientist” up there at the distillery producing both rums and whiskeys. I have noticed that posts about this distillery have a tendency to become quite lengthy and there´s a reason for that, so keep reading the posts…

You might see some fancy tiki drinks with their rums here on my blog – but this is where it starts:

Nitrogen deprivation

Manipulating the biochemistry of the yeast or stressing the yeast, is one important part of the production, read more about that here. Picture Bryan Davis.

I asked Bryan how the idea came about making a 151 Cuban style rum? he said when making the navy style rum is was mostly about making rum with the biggest range of flavor from the fermenter coming through.

But how about making the opposite? With this Cuban style it was the opposite end of the spectrum starting with the super flavorful high quality molasses and then highly rectify it like a Cuban from 100 years ago and then age it using his own scientific approach. Bryan tried lots of different woods and finally blended the Cuban from all the experiments.

The Cuban inspired 151 proof rum differs greatly from the Polynesian Style and Navy Style rums in that it has less of those higher alcohols giving the other two rums their “heavy” type of flavor, this rum here has a totally different flavor profile, more “clean” but I wouldn`t say “light” because there is nothing “light” about any of the rums from the Lost Spirits Distillery. But at the same time as the 151 Cuban differs from the others they still have clear bonds of being from the same “family”.

Well, i have to say the end result is nothing but spectacular!

They are only three people at the Lost Spirits Distillery, Bryan Davis, Joanne Haruta and Joanne`s brother James and if you haven`t seen the distillery and the hand built pot still with it`s smoking dragon head check it out here and here

And check out this video, (click on the left play button at the bottom) :

The smoking dragon pushing out the steam from the still at night….(video by Bryan Davis)

 

Pretty cool eh? it´s all hand built on site.

Tasting

The nose is to me fruity (slightly like pineapple and apricot but not at all as pineapple forward as the Polynesian style, and here´s also vanilla) with a wonderful whiff of lovely soothing butterscotch.

The flavor is intense and has the same fruitness beautifully rounded out by the aforementioned butterscotch, vanilla and toffee aromas. It`s so strong yet it caresses your palate like silk!…that`s why it´s so dangerously sippable.

With a little water in the glass i think it becomes much more Pineapple flavored but compared to the Polynesian (also with a few drops of water in it) it`s actually smoother despite it´s higher strength.

I have used their rums specifically in tiki drinks simply because well, I love tiki drinks – and because they fit so well in these kind of drinks because the bold flavors of these strong rums stand up so well against the fresh mixers and us tiki drink loving folks we just LOVE bold rums don`t we?? At the Tiki Ti we had Nui Nuis made with it and they were nothing but awesome!

But Lost Spirits rums are not only fit for tropical and tiki drinks, they can be used in any kind of cocktails thus making this rum very versatile. One example is the classic daiquiri…so I made one and of course it made an excellent daiquiri that also packs a punch! drink one of these and you`ll dance!

Also, use it as a float in a variety of cocktails..

Then i was pondering what to do next and got to think about two of my old favorites, the Missionary`s Downfall and the classic Pago Pago.

The Missionary`s Downfall is a very tasty drink but it´s not a strong one…so I decided to make a twist of it and change that with the 151 Cuban rum. Be warned though, this drink is potent!

The Drunken Missionary

Drunken Missionary

This drink is so potent it makes the tiki mug “sweat” and “moan”!

0.5 oz fresh lime

0.5 oz honey syrup ( add liquid honey to simple syrup, warm it up a bit, stir and set aside to cool)

0.5 peach liqueur

1 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Inspired Rum

1.5 oz pineapple-coconut juice

Crushed ice

Nutmeg

Fresh mint

Muddle mint with lime juice and honey syrup, add the rest of ingredients and shake it ice cubes until the shaker frosts on the outside, then strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a fresh and spanked mint sprig or two, a couple speared maraschino cherries and lime triangles and grate some nutmeg on top and enjoy!

This drink packs a punch and is VERY tasty!

Pago Pago

Pago pAGO SMALL

The Pago Pago dates to at least 1940, when it appeared in a book called The How and When, and this classic cocktail is a longtime favorite of mine and i`ve had it on this blog before but not with this rum though – so i decided to give it a try. What makes this drink so nice is the addition of Green Chartreuse which not only adds lively vibrant herbal aromas to the drink but also goes very very well with rum!

1 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum

3 squares of fresh pineapple (about 1 oz)

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz green Chartreuse

0.25 oz white crème de cacao

Add all ingredients except the rum in a cocktail shaker and muddle the pineapple with a muddler. Add the rum and a lot of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (double-strain through a mesh tea strainer in order to filter out the little bits of pineapple)

Beware of this drink`s strength…

151 Cuban Nui Nui

Nui Nui LS 151 Cuban

Another favorite of mine is the Nui Nui….and with the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban it becomes a high octane real treat!

1.5 oz Lost Spirits Cuban Inspired Rum
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz orange juice
0.25 oz cinnamon syrup
0.25 oz Don’s Spices #2
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice, blend for 5 seconds and pour unstrained into a chimney or tiki glass with more crushed ice. Insert a long strip (6+ inches) of orange peel into the drink and let some of it hang out.

Well I poured mine into a tiki mug and also added fresh mint.

I was pondering what next to make ( yeah that`s what happens when i have Lost Spirits rums in my hands…) and then i remembered that yummy Coconut Punch i had in London made by Martin Cate at the last years UK Rumfest and decided to make a twist of it starting with making a baked pineapple syrup.

Flaming Coconut Punch

Flaming Coconut Punch

1.5 oz Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz Coconut and pineapple juice

5-6 dashes Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters* for that pineapple and coffee touch. (sub with some coffee flavored bitters and use dashes depending on how bitter they are)

Baked pineapple sugarcane syrup*

Shake all ingredients well and strain into a coconut filled with crushed ice, that is placed on top of a larger coconut that is filled with cracked ice. (or use a tiki coconut mug)

Garnish with pineapple leaves.

Fill a lime shell with overproof rum or drench a few sugar cubes and set alight, dust with cinnamon powder to get the volcano effect.

Baked Pineapple Sugarcane Syrup

Place 5-6 chunks of pineapple in a pan and bake them on high heat until they get brownish, then lower the heat and add dark sugar syrup on top, let it sizzle for a few seconds then take off heat and mash the pineapple chunks with a fork. Set aside to cool and leave for about 15-20 min for the flavors to set.

Oriol`s Dark Magic Bitters is a homemade product by Oriol over at the Three of Strong blog, write to him and see if you can get some. They are not sold commercially. You can sub with some other coffee flavored bitters, or make a different variety by for example muddle fresh coffee beans to get the coffee flavor. Do not use any coffee liqueur as you cannot omit the baked pineapple syrup in this drink.

This drink turned out pretty good! actually VERY tasty! I really like it and I`m gonna keep this one. I think the rum married so well together with the rest of the ingredients. And I love that it also packs a punch…

Now I should be very drunk right? well no…not really…the truth is I don`t make all the cocktails for a post like this in one evening…I prefer to sip and savour over a week or two because with rum it works like this –  you need to re-visit a rum several times to get the flavors of it and to make cocktails too.

And since this rum is overproof  it´s better to pace it…actually I recommend to drink just one of these in one sitting.

So…the Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum…have you not tried it yet and are able to get it? – my advice…do not wait!

Distributors are found here.

LS151 Label 2

The label is really gorgeous!

Lost Spirits 151 Cuban bottle 2

The rum has a beautiful amber color i think.

LS smoking dragon still

Anyone passing by this at night must really wonder what´s going on….

Rum Nation CARONI 1998

Rum Nation Caroni 98

Not too long ago i wrote about the excellent Jamaica Pot Still Limited Edition rum from Rum Nation which i`m very impressed with and now they are launching their next rum which is none other than a Caroni….

I hold the Caroni rums and especially the heavy types very dear to heart because they are so incredibly GOOD! and i`m so sorry about the fact that the old Caroni distillery is no more making these fabulous rums and unfortunately one day they will be nothing but a sweet memory.

But luckily we are not yet there….and so there is still time to enjoy them and they really are true treasures to sip and savor both neat and in cocktails.

The Rum Nation Caroni is 16 years old have been aged both in the tropics, thus imparting the thickness the angels share produce…(the tropical conditions causes a 60% loss of the distilled spirit due to evaporation) and then aged further in Europe in American Oak casks that contained bourbon then rum Peruano 8yo.

It`s distilled in 1998 and bottled this year, in 2014. The sugar content is only 5 g/l and the alcohol proof is 110 or 55%

The result is an intense dark rum with notes of wood, cloves, cola, coffee and aromatic herbs.

The bottle is a beauty to behold…and the label a work of art – it has the characteristic stamp on it – the stamp on the bottle is due to Fabio Rosso being an avid stamp collector in younger years and now adding a touch of class to the bottles with the stamps and a nod to the country of origin – which i find lovely.

Rum Nation Caroni 98 3

The Caroni Sugar Factory

There were originally more than 50 different rums brands produced in Trinidad – by 1950 it was only 8 and today only Angostura is left. Caroni was established in 1918 on the site of the old Caroni Sugar factory and operated until 2002.

The Caroni sugar factory started to operate a cast iron still in 1918 and at that time there were some eight or ten other sugar factories operating, each producing different types of rums and these rums were bought up by merchants and sold to rum shops all over the island. There were all kinds of “blends” and concoctions being made by both the merchants and the rum shop owners and sold over the counter as “petit quarts”

Eventually Caroni increased the quality of the distilling process and went from the original cast iron still to use a wooden coffey still – until 1945 when they got a copper still which was followed by a single column in 1957 and then a four column Gerb Herman still in 1980.

They produced a number of products like Superb White Magic Rum, Creole Punch Rum, Special Old Cask Rum, Felicité Gold Rum, Caroni Puncheon Rum and Caroni Bay Rum.

For nearly 100 years Caroni has had large sugar estates on the island and was the major producer of molasses. Sadly now since it`s closed no more of their magnificient rums are produced and when it´s gone it´s gone.

And that is sad because the Caroni rums are unique. That said i must confess i haven`t yet tried many but the ones i`ve tried have all been outstanding and original in the same way as the demerara rums are.

And i must say the flavor of the so called heavy Caronis DOES remind me quite a bit of a demerara rum, it has the same full bodied character but without the demerara flavor – but there`s something similar…it has the same type of character despite of being a totally different rum.

My taste notes:

Nose – In the nose i feel wood, orange peel, sugarcane and tropical fruits.

Mouth – It`s smooth with hints of wood, kola and toffee, aromatic spice and tropical fruits.

A few drops of water mellows it out and brings out more fruitiness and i get the flavor of apricot. I like the fruitness in it and it´s not too sweet either with a sugar content of 5 g/l.

Cocktails…

I tried it in a daiquiri and as expected it made a great daiquiri and what i call a “Caroni daiquiri” with it´s distinct flavor from the Caroni rum.

But i have had so many daiquiris posted on this blog that i lost count, so i opted for something else and here`s my take of a really nice cocktail called Creole Fix which i found on Pinterest and which led me to this post (this awesome cocktail was created by Ania Robbins for Texas Tiki Week)

Creole Fix

Rum Nation Creole Fix 2

2.0 oz Rum Nation Caroni-98

0.75 oz fresh orange juice

0.75 oz lemon/lime juice

0.5 oz rich cinnamon syrup

A couple good dashes of Bitter Truth creole bitters (or Peychaud`s) on top of the ice gives the drink both a pretty color and a layer of spicy “creole-bitters/peychaudish” flavor that you`ll feel the taste of by the end of drinking.

Speared cinnamon powdered orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish!

Shake and pour into tall glass filled with crushed ice.

This is a refreshing fruity-rummy drink and it got a wonderful aroma from the cinnamon powdered orange slice…it`s rummy, fruity, a little spicy and the Caroni rum flavor does shine through.

Rum Nation Creole Fix 3

My conclusion:

The Rum Nation Caroni-98 is a excellent sipping rum and also equally good for various cocktails thus making it a versatile rum fit for a king or queen:-)

If there´s anything i could think of that could make it even better would be a bit higher proof, like 61% to give it some more punch – but in that case, not really for sipping – more for say…tiki drinks 🙂 – but at 55% it´s good for everyone. And besides, nothing stops a tiki drink maker from adding a overproof float if you wish…i think we are quite notorious for that…

If this rum was on the shelves here i`d definitely buy it as a staple for my homebar. I must say that Rum Nation does not disappoint me!