I worked in a bar for six years and went from knowing nothing about booze to, well, knowing a bit more.
One of the things I learned was that I loved Spiced Rum. Mixed with coke, it gave a warm, rounded taste, to be enjoyed rather than a means to get sozzled. It was the first spirit that I became partial too.
I’ve explored a few spiced rums, and noticed the differences between them. The big brand names do have their own flavours, but there isn’t much to distinguish one from the other, and understandably so. When your products is a big seller in a competitive market, you aren’t going to stray too far from what has been proven to work. Not when there are shareholders to keep happy.
So, if you want to try something truly different, then you have to go craft. It’s the same as with beer. Seek out the smaller distillers (brewers), or the farms that do everything on site. When you find the places that make their product because they have a passion for it, you’ll get the truly diverse and interesting flavours.
And so it is with Dark Matter. Scotland’s first and only rum distillery present their wares in a quite scientific fashion. Bottled like it’s just come out of a lab in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, it is as far as the big brands as you can get. It looks like an experiment from a Marvel Spiced Rum villain. (The sample sent to me came in a large test tube!)
The rum, from a land of whiskies, is made with fresh ginger, green peppercorns, long pepper and allspice berries. Yup, all real and fresh fruit and spices.
The aroma lets you know straight off that you’re not dealing with a run of the mill spiced rum. There’s a depth to it that brings Christmas puddings to mind. It is a warming, natural aroma – not too sweet.
The taste brings out the ginger and the allspice. It’s warming as well, but the fact that they are using such young rum adds to the heat from the peppers.
It’s generally more spice than rum. I don’t think this is a bad thing. Quite often, rum is infused and used as a conduit to deliver flavours. In this case, the flavours are so dominant that the carrying rum flavour is not so in your face. Good. If I wanted straightforward rum, I’d buy rum!
A wonderful & award winning Christmas drink, Dark Matter Spiced Rum has 40% ABV, 70cl VOL and an RRP of £35, and is available from a range of retailers nationwide. Stockists can be found at www.darkmatterdistillers.com.