When you play the association game with the word “rum,” these unions spring to mind for me: Captain Morgan, Bacardi, dark and moody, coconut, student days, 2-for-1 specials, Malibu, Piña Colada. Now, take all of those associations and throw it out the window with your millennial mindset and make way for Richland Rum to enter the craft rum-scene in South Africa.
Recently awarded as Forbes Magazine’s best American rum, the spirit of Georgia has made it’s way to South Africa. Thanks to Covert Distributions, South Africans can now sip on America’s only single-estate, single-barrel rum.
The brand has been making rum for the past 20 years, using two varietals of sugar cane grown in the sandy soils of the Richland Estate, distilling in copper pots and using oak barrels for maturation.
Four expressions of Richland Rum are now available in South Africa – Virgin Coastal Georgia Rum, Old South Georgia Rum, Chateau Elan Port Cask Exchange (www.richlandrum.com).
As we all know by now, I was childishly excited when the invitation landed in my inbox, and what better way than to wind down a long day at work than with a craft spirit in hand? Not a rum drinker myself, but having always listened to the murmurs of a craft rum revolution in the wings, I was thoroughly intrigued, and couldn’t miss this prime opportunity to find out more about these bottles of liquid gold.
The launch was held at the stunning One&Only Hotel in the V&A Waterfront. A small group of handpicked media milled around the bar when I arrived, admiring the sunset through the large floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
We were welcomed with a sour daiquiri cocktail, which I found incredibly tasty and elegant. As I did the rounds and said my hellos to fellow foodie and wine aficionados, I couldn’t help but feel excited for what the evening held. I knew nothing about rum, and even less about craft rum. Always game to learn something new, I settled down as the tasting was about to begin.
We were patiently and slowly lead through the tasting of the four expressions available in South Africa, as well as the fifth one, which should be available in the country shortly.
(As taken from www.richlandrum.com)
Virgin Coastal Georgia Rum
For the Rhum Agricole Aficionado, this is a true treat. Virgin Rum, directly from the still is unaged, unaltered and unfiltered and rested for 60 days in new American white oak barrels. This Rum brings out the floral and vegetal notes of the estate-grown sugar cane to its full potential.
Old South Georgia Rum
If you’re new to rum, this is a great place to start. Especially, if you come from a whiskey background.
Chateau Elan Port Cask Exchange
This is the first release of this limited edition rum. It’s important to clarify that this is a cask exchange an not simply a “cask finish”. There is a big difference between the two. These barrels held Richland Rum for 3 years. The barrels were then sent to Chateau Elan and used to age their port. After bottling, the barrels were returned to Richland to hold the Rum that was originally in the barrel for another year. This is a unique collaboration.
Notes of blackberry, chocolate, and caramel shine through. This is a well-balanced rum with lots of depth. There aren’t many barrels and when it’s gone, it’s gone! make sure to get a bottle while you can.
Old South Georgia Rum Terrapin Double IPA Cask Exchange
This is the first release of this limited edition rum. It’s important to clarify that this is a cask exchange an not simply a “cask finish”. There is a big difference between the two. These barrels held Richland Rum for 3 years. The barrels were then sent to Terrapin and used to age their double IPA. After bottling, the barrels are returned to Richland to hold the Rum that was originally in the barrel for another year. This is a unique collaboration.
The nose is duplicitous. Initially, there are notes of pine and grapefruit. But, it’s immediately met with caramel, berries and vanilla to bring you back to the rum. It’s one of the more interesting rums I’ve tasted. It’s a testament to the art of barrel aging and finishing. There aren’t many barrels and when it’s gone, it’s gone! make sure to get a bottle while you can.
We ended the tasting with some snacks and chats, and of course with a beautifully dark and rich Old Fashioned in hand. Probably one of my most favourite indulgences in this world, this iteration of the classic cocktail was citrussy, warm and bitter-sweet.
With quite a hefty price tag and a tough South African market that doesn’t seem to know a lot about craft rum, I can’t help but wonder if it’s going to be a hard sell. Having said that, with a gentle nudge into the direction of this new category of spirits, which leans more towards a lifestyle choice, it has potential to become a household name over time. I’m excited to see what the mixologists of Cape Town will concoct with the various expressions of Richland Rum, as it’s pretty much a clean canvas at the moment.
I’ll forever be a big fan and a loyal supporter of craft spirits, because for me it’s always about the journey and the ethos behind the brand. Richland Rum is without a shadow of a doubt a premium product, and I love every single expression of their rums for what it is – a beautiful base for a sundowner cocktail. A sipping rum. A special occasion drink. A “I’ve had a long day at work” drink. A lovely winter’s afternoon warm-me-upper. A “just because” glass of liquid gold. A “sharing with my friends” indulgence. Whatever the reason, make sure you invite Richland Rum to add a golden lining to your celebration.
The rums can be enjoyed at Cause|Effect and the Athletic Social Club in Cape Town and is sold by selected retail outlets including Norman Goodfellows and Bar Keeper.
RSP: R850 Virgin Coastal Georgia Rum
RSP: R945 Old South Georgia Rum
RSP: R1230 Chateau Elan Port Cask Exchange and Old South Georgia Rum
RSP: R1230 Terrapin Double IPA Cask Exchange.
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.