Tag Archives: Slavery

Rabbie Burns & Rum, Havana Club Anejo 3, 40%

Burns Night is usually associated with whisky – but in Rabbie’s day the spirits of choice were Irish Whiskey or Rum!

Modern Rabbie c/oSundayPost

This was before Aeneas Coffey invented his patent still allowing the art of blending to fuel the rise of Scotch Whisky.

Rabbie at one point contemplated heading to Jamaica – but his growing poetry fame held him at home.

Cuban rum c/othewhiskeynut

Havana Club 3 is a Cuban Rum. It’s unlikely Rabbie tasted any as the island was under Spanish control at the time.

Despite being aged for 3 years – Havana filter the rum in charcoal to leave the colour a pale straw hue – & possibly reduce the pungency too!

Nonetheless there’s a fresh & fruity grassiness to the nose.

Very mild & mellow on the palate – yet a pleasing black peppery spice enlivens up the finish leaving a prickly tingling on the tongue.

Label info c/othewhiskeynut

Entertaining neat – but more commonly used as a base for mixing.

I wonder if Rabbie would have approved?



Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract, Richard Atkinson

I found this book a compelling read.

Some rum for Mr Atkinson? c/othewhiskeynut

Ostensibly tracing the failures & fortunes of one family across the generations – it also captures the ups & downs of the British Empire through the involvement of that same family.

In doing so it details the centrality of the slave trade to British prosperity – the wars fought to maintain that wealth – and the role Rum played in holding it all together.

In the 18th Century Britain ruled the waves.

It’s ships exported manufactured goods, captured slaves from Africa to work the colonies in the Caribbean & N America & imported rum, sugar, coffee, cotton & tobacco from the exploitation of those slaves.

It made Britain – and all the other European powers involved – extremely rich.

The sailors on those ships were given a daily rum ration – not abolished until the 1970’s – and members of the authors family were central in procuring some of that rum – as well as overseeing the Jamaican colony where a lot of it came from.

A compelling read c/othewhiskeynut

The book is a fascinating insight into a dark period of human history where the complete subjugation & exploitation of one people for the unsustainable profits of another was deemed ‘good business’.

I just hope the rum I enjoyed while reading this book came about by a much more sustainable & equitable manner.

A highly recommended read that brings to life the horrors of the past & sheds some light on today’s travails.


Scottish Rum Festival, 2020

I’d much rather have been at the live event – but COVID has moved us all online with the attendant technical glitches, slow response times & the sad loneliness of drinking alone in front of a computer screen.

It does however enable us to taste a wide variety of spirits, have the producers & brand owners tell their stories as well as allow some limited form of interaction.

A rather wet Saturday afternoon had me, my computer & 10 Scottish based rums ready to roll.

Rum is experiencing a bit of a boom.  I’m on it because I enjoy it – it suits my palate.

Irish Rum meanwhile is a little behind the curve with only Ion & Blacks releasing Irish distilled rums to date.

So what was on offer?

Ninefold Pure Single Rum, 40%

Ninefold Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Distilled in Dumfries using imported mollases this white rum had a lovely fruity funkiness on the nose. A lovely oily palate with an enjoyable spice on the rear.

A very engaging 1st release.

Devil’s Point Golden Aged Rum, 38%

Devil’s Point Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

A Deeside – near Aberdeen – based distillery coming out of the craft beer scene, Devil’s Point Golden Rum had a sweet funk, silky smooth on the palate with a soft spice on the rear.

An easy drinker.

Mutagga Cask Aged Golden Rum, 42%

Mutagga Rum c/oMutagga

I’d previously encountered this rum at the Fife Whiskey Show – I had the pleasure of attending just before lockdown – and it was a joy to re-experience it’s crisp , clear & slightly smoky funky appeal. Distilled just outside Edinburgh on direct fired alembic stills & aged in whiskey casks.

A lovely rum.

Liv Navy Strength Rum, 57.5%

Liv Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Another Mutagga product. This is an overproof unaged rum showing off the flavours purely from the raw ingredients & distilling process.

A powerful experience.

Rumburra Orach, Golden Rum, 42.3%

Rumburra Rum c/oRumburra

This Fife based company imports their rum mainly from Barbados & does the final processing & marketing of the brand in Scotland.

An easy & accessible sweet rum.

The Rum Festival had a highly informative discussion with Dave Broom & Dr Stanley Mullen exploring the Scottish connection with the slave trade, sugar, rum & the whole imperialist domination of the Caribbean that built much of the wealth currently enjoyed in Scotland – and the West in general – today.

As an interlude – here’s a wonderful blend of Caribbean & Scottish musical culture.

The 2nd half kicked off with the following,

Seawolf White Rum, 41%

Seawolf Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

A very well presented white rum with pronounced funk on the nose. Distilled in Scotland for a popular pub chain focussing on mixing, Seawolf is nonetheless a lively & spicy little number.


Banditti Club, Glasgow Spiced Rum, 44%

Banditti Club Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Now I must admit spiced spirits are not my scene – it’s the art of distillation I’m more interested in – so this offering from Glasgow Distillery – apart from the entertaining history attributable to the brand – was a bit of a diversion for me.

J Gow, Fading Light, 43%

J Gow Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Great to be reacquainted with this rum from the Orkneys. Unusually matured in chestnut casks this mildly funky & rather spice forward offering stands out from the crowd.

Very nice!

Brewdog, Five Hundred Cuts, 40%

Brewdog Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Five Hundred Cuts would be an aptly named Tory election manifesto – but here is another spiced rum alluring to the variety of botanicals used in the mix. Brewdog are expanding far beyond their beer range with this spiced offering.

Sugar House, Scotch Bonnet, 47%

Sugar House Rum c/ospiritofalba

The bootle looks cool & it’s slightly unusual to have a white spiced rum. Of all the spiced rums this one would appeal to me most.

Hard to pick my winners from such a varied & enjoyable selection – but Ninefold Pure Single Rum & J Gow Fading Light stand out for me.


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