Takamaka Rum Review
Updated: Feb 16, 2022
Takamaka - it rolls beautifully off the tongue.
Today we're looking at two 2021 releases from the almost faultless Habitation Velier range. Luca Gargano has selected exceptionally well in his quest to bring lesser known distilleries as well as individual designations & styles to rum lovers around the world. Will these pure single rums from the Seychelles measure up?
The Seychelles - another tropical paradise not immediately associated with rum. One could be forgiven for noticing that Luca's tireless quest to uncover gems of the rum world is more than coincidentally back to yet another white sand fringed utopia :-)
Takamaka rum is produced from fresh local cane juice at the Trois Frères distillery. Located on the east coast of the the largest Seychelles island (Mahè), just south of the equator in the Indian Ocean. Established in 2002 the distillery has only been exporting it's rum for the last few years - a small selection of the standard distillery releases are now available at The Whiskey Exchange in London.
The Habitation Velier range of rums are dependant releases - meaning that they work closely with the distilleries from production to selection and bottling. The lineup has a focus on pot stilled, highly flavoured, lesser known distilleries and/or styles & designations. These releases of pure single pot stilled rums from Takamaka are clearly no exception.
Onto the tasting....
25ml of each rum, left to open up for 30 mins, nosed first and then tasted, lower abv unaged first. Assisted today by the sublime sounds of Chris Botti.
Habitation Velier Takamaka White - 56%, 1200 btls
100% pot stilled, unaged cane juice rum. After a period of resting in stainless steel tanks, it was bottled at 56% with no added sugar. This rum has a congener level of 466.2 gr/hlpa - fairly funky stuff. Crystal clear as you would expect.
Nose: A zesty cane forward rum. Clean and rounded. Grassy without the bad manure edge you occasionally find. Alcohol integration isn't perfect but not bad. It's offering a little floral & menthol - although not the intoxicating floral salty citrus spearmint Kiffir lime leaf of Bielle.
It's got some grassy, earthy notes - but not the deep rich earthy grassy cherry peppermint richness of Labat.
Perhaps unfair to compare it to such royalty in the cane juice rum world.
No bad notes, other than perhaps a little harshness from the alcohol. A very enjoyable nose, if a little muted. I've reviewed a lot on unaged cane juice rums over the last couple of years - I'm a big fan - and this sits mid pack. Not stand out, but clearly well made.
Mouth: A really fun mouth feel - soft and velvety for a flash and then straight into zingy freshness. Slight gap at the back but a good lingering zingy cherry sweets finish. Surprisingly (and enjoyably) savoury in the mid palate - with a lovely contrasting sweet menthol around the edges.
The taste is a slight step up from the nose.
A few minor faults and not as big or interesting as some (or as I'd hoped from it being pot stilled). All in all a well made and enjoyable rum. [82pts]
Habitation Velier Takamaka 2018, aged 3yrs- 60.8%, 1150 btls
As is so great with all HV bottlings, we are gifted a plethora of rich information on the front label. This rum was distilled in 2018 and bottled 3 years later with a bold congener level of 564.4 gr/hlpa. It was bottled at barrel proof of 60.8% with no added sugar. Over the course of 3 years spent tropically aging, in French oak, the angel's share was over 11%. A blend of 2 casks with an outturn of just 1150 bottles.
Nose: Oh hello! It's cane juice - but not as we know it! A very brief initial blast of zesty cane is quickly replaced by soft spice and creamy vanilla. Incredible butter sweetness. Beautiful freshly polished oak furniture. Sprite. And back to the butter candies. With fresh cane juice remaining gently there in the background.
I'd not heard particularly great reviews on this one - yet I'm finding it delicately delicious. Will the taste deliver...?
Mouth: A little muted round the edges at first, but the taste spreads from mid palate and starts to fill the mouth. The youthfulness of this works really well, keeping the freshness of the underlying spirit very much to the fore, whilst introducing balancing softness. There's a whisky edge that's quite unexpected - I can't find any further details about the French oak barrels used for aging but they've had a bold and not ideal influence.
For me the taste doesn't deliver on the nose. A rich well made rum, albeit not overly complex and sadly the toasted malt profile doesn't work for me. Shame as the nose is excellent. [80pts]
The small release numbers, combined with an understandably strong following of the Habitation Velier range, have made these rums quite hard to find. They are a decent & interesting addition to any rum line-up and worth the release price.