Rum has long been the mainstay of the Caribbean nations - think Jamaica, Seychelles and tiki tastic drinks in that category. But did you know there's some rums being produced right here in the Australasia region like Thailand and Cambodia? No? Neither did those members who attended our Rum DMC evening on Monday 4 May 2015. Joined by Michael and Curtis York from boutique rum distributor Quittin' Time, we hunkered down to taste rums from 3 up and coming Asian producers and put them up against 3 longstanding Caribbean producers.
First up was the category of rhum agricole which is traditionally distilled from sugar cane juice as opposed to molasses, so producing a fresher, zingier rum. Representing the "king" rum in this category was La Mauny from Mauritius, which was pitched against Chalong Bay, a newcomer from Phuket. Although only being in the game for less than 3 years, the Thai rum had already picked up various awards. But that wasn't enough to dethrone the king on this occasion as members voted clearly in favour of the La Mauny. Long live the king! For now.....
Moving on to the category of aged rums, members were treated to the Riviere du Mat, a lovely little number from the Reunion Isles before tasting an experimental batch from Samai Distillery, which only started up in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in February 2014. As it has only been aged for 5 months, the Samai would technically fall foul of the Australian definition of rum, which requires all rum to be aged for at least 2 years. Perhaps it was local Cambodian honey used to sweeten the stuff, but more than one member declared it their favourite rum of the evening and the Samai took the gong for the challengers in this round!
So it was one all heading into the final round....would the king be dethroned? It was up to the Takamaka spiced rum from Seychelles to claw proceedings back from Filipino newcomer Don Papa. Perhaps it was the bubblegum notes of the Don Papa. Or perhaps it was the out there packaging (did you know there's 50 animals found in Phillippines depicted on the label?). At the finishing line, the Don grabbed victory for the challengers by a narrow margin!
To cap off the evening, the wonderful drink masters at Papa Gedes produced a treacle cocktail made using the Takamaka spiced rum. A huge thanks to Quittin Time and Papa Gedes for an awesome night!