Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Amber of the Gods

If we accept that rum is the amber nectar of the gods, then the gods or God himself must be a Jamaican.

In Trinidad, I'll be getting into this carnival as much as my spirit will allow. I, like all Jamaicans, firmly believe that we produce the best rum - and that we also have a huge variety.

Barbados and their Mount Gay and Cockspur - are better than Trinidad. But really there is a great range in flavours around the West Indies. Martinique's rum is unlike those of the English speaking islands, because they (I understand) make theirs straight from sugar cane - and not from molasses. Molasses is the by-product of sugar - making rum a by-(by?) product of sugar - even though it now makes far more money than sugar.

Guyana has a very good rum called El Dorado. Cuba's 12 year old Havana Club is good - smells great. Haiti has a great rum too - the name slips me at the moment. But Jamaican rum stands in a class by itself - particuarly aged rums - there is an Appleton 21 year old, which should be drunk like a brandy. There is also Edwin Charley Black Label - which I think is kind of whiskey like. Younger Appletons. Gold Label Trelawny Rum - which used to be very popular in the 1970s and 80s, but lost out to Appleton special in the 90s. We have a new rum brand called Port Royal.

On top of this we have darker rums which are mainly for export (all the ones I have listed here are gold rums). The dark rums include the ones that the English are probably most familiar with - which are no longer for the Jamaican palate - Captain Morgan, Lambs Navy Rum, Myers. Coruba is dark and sweet and is the most popular rum in New Zealand.

We also make a white rum which is very popular with the masses - called J. Wray and Nephew Overproof. It is akin to lighter fluid - but smells worse. I am embarrassed to admit that many of my own friends have switched from Appleton Special or Appleton V/X to white rum - many mixing it with cranberry juice or coconut water.

You will note that I haven't mentioned Bacardi, which no self-respecting Jamaican would ever consider to be even remotely related to rum - and would place it further down the ratings than I place our white rum.

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