A little trip to my side of the world… Takamaka is a small and not so old rum distillery in the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean. We are not sure if many rum enthusiasts know that the Seychelles made rum (or even heard of the Island…)! I’m from Mauritius and before our journey into rum, the only thing that we knew about the island was their famous (and protected) Coco de Mer (coconut of the sea), nicked named Coco-fesse (coconut-bottom).
And the story goes…
“Deep in the Trois Frères Distillery, Takamaka rum is blended, spiced and aged in a uniquely Seychelles way by the D’Offay family. ”
“…organic sugarcane is grown in four different regions of Mahé by an independent cooperative of farmers. Once harvested it is crushed on site at La Plaine St André.”
Takamaka is not a very well known brand in the UK but this might change with a rebranding and their upcoming relaunch, and some special releases. We first came across Takamaka rum when we received a bottle as a gift from a friend who’s originally from the island. A few years after we went to a rum tasting held by Cottons Notting Hill, and is where we experienced their rum range for the first time.
The tasting was enjoyable, and I remember that we picked their coconut rum as our favourite even though we are not big fans of flavoured rums. We thought that it was one of the best tasting coconut rums that we’ve tried. I don’t think they had the Zannannan (pineapple) and overproof at that time. We are not sure if theirs is still our favourite coconut rum. We are not sure if theirs are still our favourite coconut rum, as we’ve tried a few more since, some good, some not so good… Nowadays for us to purchase a flavoured rum it would have to be something really amazing. On that note, we haven’t bought one in a very long time… even though spiced rum seems to be all the new kid in the block at the moment, or as they say in the UK, it’s the new Gin.
We very recently had the chance to try three rum/rhum samples, which are going to be used in some form (diluted or blended) in their upcoming releases.
The samples were:
1. Pure pot still 100% sugar cane juice aged in French oak (Medium toast char) and bottled at 64.13% ABV
2. Pure pot still 100% sugar cane juice aged in French oak( (Medium toast char +) and bottled at 61.83% ABV
3. Column still 100% molasses aged in Four roses ex-bourbon and bottled at 62.22% ABV
We were pleasantly surprised to see that two were from 100% cane juice and 100% pot still! We only knew about their column still and their use of molasses. From the initial tasting, it did not disappoint, and I guess that’s what you would expect from any decent single cask rum/rhum. Our favourite was the 61.83% ABV cane juice rhum. It had complexity, full of flavour and packed a punch, we liked the notes that the extra toast char gives. These were not the only casks that they had, AFAIK. It will be interesting to see how these rums/rhums are used in their future releases. We will definitely keep an eye out for them.
I recently had a chat with Richard (Marketing Director), about the distillery, their rums and future releases. Here are a few quotes from him:
“We have been doing cane for almost 10 years but it started in such small qty that it’s taken quite a while for us to build up any sort of aged stock that we would be able to use. We hope that in the next 12 months we should produce around 4,500 litres of cane. Against our new molasses distillery being able to do around 200,000 litres.”
“We started blending for a variety of reasons. The most important was we love what the cane produces, especially in new French oak, but in the same way we loved what imported Barbados rum (Foursquare) and our own molasses rum brought to the table. We approached it in a similar way to blended scotch whisky in essence looking to highlight what we love about each rum. Important was also – as a small distillery that is still developing (only 20 years old) – by approaching the blending In this manner we are more than the sum of all parts – allowed us to release what we believe are some really exciting rums “
“There are aged molasses and cane blends planned releases for later in the year and a separate velier release… the velier releases –(there are two) both are 100% Seychelles cane – one is unaged and the other a blend from a couple of casks.”
It was good to learn a bit more about Takamaka rum, lots of interesting info, especially about the fact that they produce both molasses and cane juice rums, their blending process and the upcoming Habitation Velier releases. We can usually trust Velier when it comes to bottling quality sugar cane spirits, so they should not disappoint! And with that release on the horizon, maybe this will put their rums on the radar of those rum enthusiasts who haven’t had their rum before.
This is definitely not the last time that we hear of Takamaka. Hopefully, we’ll have the chance to try some of their other releases.