For the love of rum,

the underdog

and Heinrich Brüssouw

For us, love and rum mean the same thing. That is why we gave up our jobs to produce rum full time – risking it all.

We all liked it when we tasted it for the first time. Yet, it is when we started producing rum that a “liking” escalated into a full-blown love affair.
This is the story of how each of us fell in love with rum:

“I love rum, because it tastes amazing.

In my opinion, there is no spirit that comes close to a decent aged rum. Last year’s International Wine and Spirit Challenge says it all: a rum was awarded the best spirit in the category.

The taste is one thing, but it is mostly the personality aspect of rum I can’t get enough of.

I use this comparison a lot: “a gin drinker lets life happen to them, but the rum drinker happens to the world.” I can’t say that enough.

Especially with regards to aged rum and in a South African context. People constantly underestimate it.
The best example here is local rugby player, Heinrich Brüssow, who plays the position of flanker.

He is short and small, which is very unusual for a flanker. Still, he changed the role of that position in rugby forever – by being brave and doing the unexpected.

If you ask me, a good, aged rum has similar qualities. People in South Africa underestimate it immensely. They think it makes you stink and that you need to be a pirate to drink it.

In my opnion, a good, aged rum is something that changes the perception of spirits in South Africa. That is what I like about it so much: it is the underdog in the background. However, as soon as you get more familiar, the game changes.

Rum approaches life differently and in its own way that people do not think is possible or appropriate. Yet it makes the world a better place.

That is what I love about rum.

It is unpredictable and game changing. It plays by its own rules.

Something that other spirits don’t do.”

“I have not been a rum lover all my life.

For me, it started during a business trip to Mozambique whilst I was still working as a young engineer.
My seniors took me to a bar and fed me buckets of Caipirinhas.

I did not feel very good the next day, but it was the first time I drank a Caipirinha and I thought it was one of the most delicious drinks I have ever had.

From there on I started flirting with rum.

Like Lon, I was struck most by how versatile rum is. Whether you drink it neat with cucumber and sugar around the glass, mix it with Coke or fruit juice or make smoothies from it, the options are endless. It makes so much sense: a spirit made from sugar should just be tastier than a spirit made from wheat or something similar.

When I got into the rum game with Trevor and Lon, it was a business decision because we identified a gap in the market. However, since we started working on the brand, my passion for rum grew to the point where I now literally love rum.

It is very hard to make a decent rum, so when you find a rum that is incredibly delicious, you really know that the distillers put their blood, sweat and tears into the product. And this I have a lot of respect for.

It feels like the rum category has always been the underdog in the world of spirits. Therefore, when you come across someone that sells and makes a successful rum, focusing on quality but also increasing production, it warrants a lot of respect for the distiller. Especially when taking into consideration that it is an uphill battle to make a decent rum.

In short, I think I fell in love with rum through Whistler. I have always been intrigued by rum, but I never really loved it and now I am a moerse fanatic rum fan. “

“My first encounter with rum was purely coincidental. The first drink I had at university was a rum special at my ‘local’ in Pretoria. I would describe this as my first date with rum, but I really fell in love with it when we attended a rum course presented by Luis Ayala at the Moonshine University in Kentucky, USA.

There we saw what rum really could be by getting the opportunity to taste a wide variety of different rums, and to see how it is made. The versatility of rum won me over in the end.”