It takes me back to the days before anti skid brakes were a thing.
On emergency stopping with a truck & trailer, it was common to lock all the trailer wheels keeping an eye on which way it would swing before pumping the brakes to keep on line.
This released copious amounts of white smoke – burning rubber – which is what I got from Sea Dog Dark Rum.
Now I know Jamaican Rum is renowned for it’s funkiness – described by Alexandre Gabriel, Master Blender for Plantation Rum as ‘overripe banana, overripe tropical fruit, meaty gaminess and green pineapple’ in an article here – but I just get flash backs and the acrid smell of a pile up on the M1 motorway.
Old Sea Dog is as ubiquitous in Ireland as OVD is in Scotland.
Both brands have cornered their markets far better than that unfortunate driver back on the M1.
The opportunity to taste and sample a variety of styles & flavours before committing to a large bottle.
Lidl are currently showcasing The World Of Rums – including offerings from;
Panama – La Réunion – Cuba and Jamaica.
Rums are often categorised into styles based on their former colonial occupiers. It’s not particularly scientific or pretty – but neither is the use of Scottish Regions to define the flavour of whisky.
Being Lidl – it’s likely to be sourced private label brands too. As confirmed by ‘Imported & bottled by: ‘Pabst & Richarz Vertiebs GmbH‘ on the outer packaging.
But what interested me were the differences of flavours showcased by the individual rums themselves.
Panama. Sir Francis Drake. 6 Years Old. 40%
Spanish style. Light, buttery & sweet.
Pale straw. Vanilla sweetness followed by darker molasses & treacle notes. Soft & sweet palate – a bit too sweet for my liking – but develops a pleasant oaky spice from the cask ageing.
Easy & enjoyable.
La Réunion. Coeur Du Soleil. White Rum. 37.5%
French style. Rich , fruity & complex.
Clear spirit. Pungent vegetal nose – reminds me of Mezcal. Palate was smooth & characterful. The earthy herbaceous notes give a slightly savoury yet sweet appeal that slowly fades.
Cuba. Ron Santero. 3 Year Old. 38%
Spanish style. Lean & clean.
Clear spirit. Soft subtle & sweet. After the other 2 rums, Santero’s delicateness just merged into a bland neutrality for me. Cries out for mixing.
Jamaica. Caribica. Brown Rum. 40%
British style. Funky, heavy & bold.
Light brown. Noticeable funkiness on the nose – reminds me of burnt rubber. Syrupy palate. The funk is lost a little to a treacly dark sweetness, but re-emerges on the finish.
Is Jamaican funk the Islay peat of the rum world? Finding it challenging.
An interesting & entertaining taste experience.
I’d have thought there’d be a rum here to please every palate.
La Réunion’s Coeur Du Soleil was the one for me. The powerful mix of sweet, sour & savoury notes demonstrated the full bodied style of ‘Rhum Agricole’ using freshly pressed sugarcane juice bottled straight off the stills.
C’est très bonne.
What is your style?
A brief guide to styles of rum can be found at the handy Tenzing blog here.
I gotta hand it to Lidl for expanding my spirit drinking range.
This bottle of rum from Réunion – hence the French connection – emanates from the Indian Ocean via a Parisienne suburb.
There is no Riviére Saint-Jean distillery on the island – but a Riviére du Mat distillery founded in 1886 – appears to be the source of this offering.
There’s also a ‘Saga du Rhum‘ museum on Réunion to further explore the rich history of distillation – including the sorry tale of sugar, slavery and colonial exploitation. Hopefully those days are long gone. Meanwhile – the rum is still here to enjoy.
A deep ruby brown colour greets you – followed by an attractive oaky tannic nose on a dark molassey underbelly.
The palate was quite delicious.
The smooth warming sweetness morphed into a gorgeously drying spicy explosion. Very reminiscent of some rye whiskeys I enjoy.
Not had a rum like this before!
I’m feeling Riviére Saint-Jean accentuates the cask influence with it’s 6 years in wood.
The renewed & growing interest in brown spirits doesn’t just stop at whiskey.
Rum is also showing an increase in appreciation.
The enterprising Íon Distillery near Omagh, County Tyrone, is banking on this appreciation by producing a rum aged in whiskey barrels!
I couldn’t resist trying it out.
A bottle was promptly sourced via the fast & efficient KWM Wine & Spirits online store in Kilkeel.
Íon – meaning pure – combine the history of the past blended with a sense of people & place finished in a modern innovative twist.
Sugar cane molasses from the Caribbean are distilled in a ‘doubler style’ copper pot still, infused with spices, cut with locally sourced water & laid to rest in ex-bourbon barrels.
Ogham style markings – found on ancient stones around Ireland – are used as an attractive motif on the bottle – along with images of the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley’s Castle – who possibly downed a few bottles of contraband rum in her time!
I poured a glass.
The lovely golden hued liquid gave off a gorgeously spicy bouquet of cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg over an underlying gentle toffee sweetness.
Light in body, the soft caramel notes gave way to a growing spiciness & warming heat in a smooth delivery.
The spices left an enjoyably prickly sensation at the end as they slowly faded.
More of a winter warmer to me than a summer sizzler.
Being a bit of a purist myself I couldn’t help wondering what the rum would be like without the additional spices which tended to dominate the more subtle flavours within.
However this is in contradiction to the latest trend which shows spiced rum to be the fastest growing category in this segment.