Spirits Importer Emporia Brands Launches Bounty Rum, The Spirit of Saint Lucia

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Saint Lucia Distillers, acknowledged as one of the foremost rum distilleries in the Caribbean, is launching the Bounty Rum brand in the United Kingdom during Notting Hill Carnival (26th & 27 th August 2018), the biggest carnival in Europe, in collaboration with its retail partners, Taste of Saint Lucia and the award-winning mid-century tiki bar Trailer Happiness – 177 Portobello Road, London.

“This new release will complement the existing brands of Chairman’s Reserve and Admiral Rodney, whilst establishing the origin of Saint Lucian rums” says Philip
Gillier, Export Manager at Saint Lucia Distillers. Bounty Rum – “The Spirit of Saint Lucia” – is the most popular brand in the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia. Launched in 1972, the brand is a staple of Saint Lucian life and is enjoyed by all Lucians as the national rum brand. Bounty has become a national icon and sponsors a whole range of cultural events such as Carnival, Independence Day, Jounen Kwéyὸl (Créole Day) and local community days (Friday Night Jump Up).

Sly Augustin, Owner of Trailer Happiness adds “As a Saint Lucian living abroad, I am very happy and proud to take part in the launch of Bounty Rum in Europe, which couldn’t have taken place anywhere else but at the Notting Hill Carnival, celebrating Caribbean culture in London since 1966. Bounty Rum is the ultimate Carnival Rum brand from Saint Lucia”.

Jack Rackham, Managing Director of Emporia Brands, comments: “I am delighted to announce the arrival of the Bounty range that we will be launching at Notting Hill Carnival, where St Lucia Distillers have been a leading rum sponsor of bars and carnival activity over the past 8 years. Having launched Chairman’s Reserve into the UK and becoming the number one export market for this great brand from St Lucia Distillers, we are excited by the new proposition the Bounty rum range provides.”

Bounty Rum will be officially launched in the UK through spirits importer Emporia Brands this summer and will sponsor Trailer Happiness on Portobello Road and The Pioneers Festival throughout the Notting Hill Carnival weekend.

The Bounty Rum range consists of six rums: Bounty Premium Gold (40%), Bounty Premium White (40%), Bounty Dark (43%); and three flavoured rums: Bounty Spiced (40%), Bounty Coconut (25%) and Bounty Lime (25%). All rums are blended with distillates from Saint Lucia Distillers’ unique Coffey still with the exception of Bounty Dark which has some pot still to give further character and complexity. All of the rums are aged for a minimum of 2 years before bottling. They will initially be available through TheDrinkShop.com.

This comprehensive range of rums enables the consumer to get a flavour of Saint Lucia. The versatility of the range gives bartenders the opportunity of mixing both traditional cocktails as well as experimenting with exotic flavours.

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Piña Colada
35ml Bounty Gold
20ml Bounty Coconut
30ml Pineapple Juice
1 fresh Pineapple wedge
15ml Lime Juice

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Zombie
25ml Bounty Gold
25ml Bounty Dark
15ml Bounty Spiced
25ml Grapefruit Juice
15ml Lime Juice
Dash of Absinthe
15ml Passion fruit Syrup

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Mojito
40ml Bounty White
20ml Bounty Lime
20ml Lime Juice
8-10 mint leaves

Laimon Fresh Tasting Notes

Laimon Fresh

Mixers seem to be the new trend at the end of 2013, and with the new year looking promising, I think it will only get bigger. With names such as Fentimans, Jax Coco and ZEO already featured, and brands such as Glo Worm looking at making a splash in 2014, it’s the turn of the sub-category that is in-between a soft drink and a ready-to-drink that I’ll be focusing on here.

Laimon Fresh is a new sparkling juice drink containing 100% natural ingredients of lemon, lime and mint, launched in the spring of 2013. Yes, you’ve probably guessed it, the near components of the classic mojito, which is exactly what the makers have gone for. Designed to be a life saver when friends ‘pop in’ or you’re found hosting last-minute entertainment, the idea is that you add a splash of white rum and some ice and voilà!

Question is, does it work? There’s plenty of brands like this out in the market, but would this stand out? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Laimon Fresh – 0%

A fresh combination of the mint, lemon and lime on the nose, with the mint dominating slightly more. Low carbonation on the palate, with all three flavours coming through in waves. Light, refreshing and a little kick on the back.
Try it with Bacardi Superior. The rum comes through, although doesn’t mask the lemon, mint and lime flavours. Well-balanced yet short.

Not bad, not bad at all. A definite summer thirst, and although it won’t break any barriers, it does the job, which to be fair, makes it a winner. I know some bartenders will not take my word for it, but there are a few that are willing to give Laimon Fresh a go, even combining with a variety of different spirits for a quick fix.

Laimon Fresh has been doing the rounds in London, Plymouth, Barcelona and Madrid, catching the eyes of many retailers and consumers alike. You may have even seen it on TV! I can see Laimon Fresh being the underdog in 2014, now the word is out and it does well to cater for both the soft drinkers and spirit lovers of the world.

Give it a go.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

New Laimon Fresh Shakes Up Cocktail Making

Laimon Fresh

With the party season just around the corner, having a stock of drinks in “just in case” becomes essential.

Enter Laimon Fresh the new all natural, delicious lemon, lime and mint flavour carbonated soft drink that thinks it is a Mojito. Available from Tesco, Waitrose’s and Ocado the drink comes in cans and bottles and can be a life saver when friends “pop in” or time is short when last minute entertaining.

With a splash of white rum and some ice, Laimon Fresh turns instantly into an impressive Mojito cocktail that will convince even the most committed mixologist that there is an easier way.

For the more adventurous cocktail maker, Laimon Fresh, bursting with fruity flavour, can also be mixed with a variety of different spirits for quick fix cocktails that are perfect for every occasion. Of course leave out the alcohol and Laimon Fresh is still dressed to impress as a delicious mocktail.

For more information visit http://www.uk.laimonfresh.com

Chairman’s Reserve Tasting Notes

Chairmans Reserve

Everyone loves something that’s award-winning, and there are many out there that can call themselves that. But to win at three of the major award ceremonies in the world, ‘Best in Class’ in the 2008 IWSC awards, Gold in the 2007 Drinks International Rum Challenge and Double Gold at the 2008 San Francisco Worlds Spirits Competition, as well as the distillery itself being recognised as a nominee in the category of ‘Excellence in Craftmanship’, you know your onto a winner (pun fully intended). That’s the story of Chairman’s Reserve. The golden rum that set the bartending world alight when it was introduced back in 1999, but how did it all come about? Well lets take a look –

Chairman’s Reserve hails from St. Lucia in the West Indies and created by the St. Lucia Distillers within the walls of the Roseau Valley Distillery. Crafted using naturally filtered rainforest water, six rums are individually aged in ex bourbon barrels including Jim Beam, Jack Daniel’s and Buffalo Trace for 5 years, and then, using artesian distillation techniques, the rum is triple distilled using a Coffey Column Still, John Dore Copper Pot Still and a Kentucky Bourbon Vendome Pot Still. After the final distillation, the individual distilled rums are married together and then reintroduced to oak barrels for a further six to nine months.

So a rather unique craft to create the Chairman’s Reserve, but how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Chairmans ReserveChairman’s Reserve – 40%

A vanilla and honey nose with ripe exotic fruits pushing their way through. On the palate it gives off subtle sweet characteristics of spice with the vanilla being slightly more potent. Slight kick follows, but it leaves a mellow after-taste soon after.

Chairman’s Reserve White Label – 40%

A blend of three to four year rums, gently filtered to remove colour. Subtle citrus and raisin notes on the nose, with a smooth offering that turns into a developing pepper spice on the palate. Sweet notes of vanilla come through, a creamy texture is present and a fresh citrus finish completes. Hints of dry spice lingers.

Chairman’s Reserve Spiced – 40%

Contains local spices and fruits including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, coconut, all spice, lemon and orange.Also has Richeria Grandis – known locally as “Bois Bande” – a bark renowned in the Caribbean as a potent aphrodisiac to give an added kick to the rum.
Dry spice on the nose, with the orange and nutmeg coming through. Reminds me of rich Christmas pudding. Very smooth on the palate, with a a smooth offering of spice and sweet flavours. Orange dominates to the long finish. A little dry.

Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Casks – 40%

On May 2nd 2007 St. Lucia Distillers was struck by a major fire and suffered great problems with storage space for their casks. In the melee that followed the cellar master, Mr. Cyril Mangal, was forced to find space for ageing casks in the most unusual places. Having done so, the cellar team had a memory lapse and forgot the casks that had been laid down and were only recently discovered. A blend of rums ranging from seven to twelve years in age.
Intense nose of coffee, raisins and vanilla on the nose, blending well. Rich spice on the palate, with sweet honey, toffee, glazed fruits and hints of coffee all present. Well-balanced, with a great finish of raisin.

Some great sipping rums, with instant realisation of why this brand has won awards. Bartenders love it too, creating recipes such as this –

Chairman's Mojito
Chairman’s Mojito

Chairman’s Mojto

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

60 ml Chairman’s Reserve
25 ml Fresh lime juice
25 ml Simple syrup
5/6 Mint leaves
Soda

Method –

Gently muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup and lime juice in the bottom of the glass. Add Chairman’s Reserve rum and ice and top with soda. Stir and garnish with a mint sprig.

Simple and refreshing, two words you wish to hear when it comes to a rum based cocktail. A great addition to any night out, or indeed your own night in. Oh, and it’s award-winning too. Chairman’s Reserve received the Rum Trophy at the International Spirits Challenge this year and, with 4 gold medals out of 6 rums entered, was also awarded the trophy for best individual distillery – ahead of all the malt whiskies, cognacs etc. And to cap it off, at Ian Burrell’s Golden Rum Barrel Awards 2013, Laurie Barnard, the eponymous chairman who sadly passed away last year, was elected to the Hall of Fame. Raise a glass.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

RIGHT Gin Tasting Notes

This is the gin that got me back. I’ve never been a lover of gin but I first tried RIGHT way back at the Restaurant Show in 2009 when it was under the portfolio of Cellar Trends. And WOW. I don’t know whether it’s me and my sweet tooth but RIGHT gin doesn’t seem to give you a dryness that has always put me off the category. It’s filtered 5 times from corn all the way from the USA and then given the mix of 8 botanicals including juniper, coriander, bergamot, lime and bitter orange.

RIGHT Gin

So with this in mind, the aroma of a soft mix of all 8 botanicals is present, with the coriander poking its way through as the more dominant flavour. On taste, the bitter orange powers through, with the citrus lemon refreshing your palate as black pepper notes lead you to a sweet after-taste that lingers, and begs you to have more.

RIGHT gin is a classic on its own or over ice, but shouldn’t be discounted from being used in cocktails such as Tom Collins or Mojito, and is a great addition to a Martini. Priced at around £35, its in the league of the premium gins and should be rubbing shoulders with Chase Williams, Tanqueray 10, G’Vine or Martin Millers Westbourne on any back bar.

This is a spectacular gin, and will be the first addition to my own bar.

Purchase a bottle here – http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=4927

Check out RIGHT website here – http://www.rightgin.com/

Funkin Puree Passion Fruit Margarita & Cosmopolitan Tasting Notes

Funkin Puree are a well-known brand of fruit purees commonly used in most bars and restaurants. When I contacted Funkin regarding the use of their purees back when I worked at Casa Tapas, they sent me 3 ready-to-serve pouches to try – Cosmopolitan, Mojito and Passion Fruit Margarita. The Mojito pouch has unfortunately long gone but today I review the other two classics.

Passion Fruit Margarita –

Funkin Puree Passion Fruit Margarita

I mixed the pouch with 1 25ml shot of Jose Cuervo Silver and stirred in a high-ball glass. As you can see by the picture, the cocktail would look a lot better with more ice in it – I only used two cubes for a short drink. As you can imagine, the distinctive smell of passion fruit hits your nostrils straight away and it seems to mask the tequila aroma. Upon taste there was a subtle sweet passion fruit texture until it hits your throat where it seems to release itself on your senses. You get the slight kick of the tequila but the mixer seems to subtly over-power it and I think it works well.

If you were to choose a tequila to go with the Passion Fruit or even the classic Margartia they have, try to edge for the silver variety. I think gold tequila may clash a little too much with the mix and take the enjoyment away from you.

 

 

Cosmopolitan –

Funkin Puree Cosmopolitan

This was hard to put my thumb on. The taste gave me a slight cranberry and lime on the palate, yet no hint of vodka (although admittedly that may have to do with the choice of the only open bottle of vodka I had – Co-op Imperial). The aromas gave off the same ingredients, yet they seem to mix quite well together. Don’t understand? I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s not the same Cosmopolitan you would order in a bar, and it doesn’t look like one either. But if you did a blind tasting of this, although a little thicker in texture, the only drink you would think is the Cosmo. I think it’s a hard drink to master in a puree style, it’s a little delicate if ordered fresh and is well-known to a lot of people. But I think they have just about done it. Its well worth a try, even if it’s just to check off your drinks list.

You can purchase the whole range of Funkin Purees here including Pina Colada, Daiquiri, Woo Woo and Bramble – http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=5007

 

 

Kraken Spiced Rum Tasting Notes

I’ve been looking forward to trying this again! I think i first sampled Kraken at The Boutique Bar Show 2011 in Manchester, but i had a taste at Imbibe 2011 a few weeks ago. I will always remember the way they sold it to me – a man dressed in a old-fashioned diving suit handing out leaflets, and a ‘sailor’ explaining the myth behind the Kraken Rum in a tale you expect to see in Pirates of the Caribbean!

However you look at it, it works and it’s stuck in my mind ever since. I have to admit, i wasn’t expecting to purchase a bottle so quickly, but on the shopping trip last week (where i also bought a bottle of Chase Vodka), the eye-catching bottle was begging to be bought. And at £21.99 its not a bad price, especially to the likes of Sailor Jerry and Morgans Spiced.

Kraken Spiced Rum

Upon tasting this spiced rum from the USA, the expectation of wild spices doesn’t hit you. Instead, it gently arrives with its vanilla and toffee trails and its lack of a fire edge like Sailor Jerry gives you makes this even more enjoyable. It gives your mouth a slight tingle sensation and gives a rather vivid after-taste that still lingers long after you finish. It’s almost as if this should be categorised under ‘dark’, but personally, it should be at the top of the spiced column.

This is better than Morgans Spiced and better than Sailor Jerry. To me, you must have Morgans with a mixer, it’s just too raw sometimes, and Sailor Jerry is still considered better with a companion in its glass. Kraken? Kraken you can sip on its own, you could have it as the top layer of a Mai Tai, possibly mixed with a Mojito or a Kraken Old Fashioned, which just sounds like heaven in a glass. You need to try this!

Konyagi and Ouza Fire Water taste notes

Konyagi

Konyagi - Tanzanian 'Fire Water'

On a recent trip to Tanzania, my friend bought back with her a bottle of Konyagi, or ‘fire water’. Intrigued by this i googled what i could find on Konyagi (the back of the bottle was of no help due to what i presume was written in an African language) and came up with the following –

INGREDIANT: Molasses, Spices and flavorings
PROOF:  (35%) 
AGE: Not Applicable
TYPE: Flavored

http://www.spiritsreview.com/reviews-rum-konyagi.html

It mentions how its rum flavoured and also described as a liquor so i presume it could be classed with spirits like Drambuie.

Anyway once opened a medicinal yet a slightly more gin smelling aroma hit me with some floral hints edging in there too. Its taste went down rather surprisingly quite smooth with only a hint of a ‘fire edge’ and gave your mouth and throat a slow tingle as it makes its way. This was definitely not what i expected ‘fire water’ to be like and i agree with what the link (posted above) recommends to have this spirit apart of (Mojito or Caipirinha) – it wouldn’t over power any of the other ingredients. I can see it being rather mellow, almost like your average white rum in a way with just that distinctive hint of fire to let you know your drinking something different.

Ouzo
Ouzo - Cypriot 'Fire Water'

Again a friend of mine came back from the island of Cyprus with a bottle of Cypriot ‘fire water’ or Ouzo. Attached to it a nifty 25ml shot glass with Cyprus emblazoned on it adds to the collection nicely! With no back label i once again had a quick search to see what came up, with a more varied result compared to the Konyagi. Ouzo is apparently a popular aperitif in both Cyprus and Greece and is consumed neat or with water and is served ice-cold. Now i have to admit, i didn’t taste mine ice-cold after only reading about this after i had tasted it, but i will freeze it over night, try it again and let you all know if there is any difference.

Its aromas of aniseed had the thoughts of Sambuca running through my head and indeed the taste does bode similar to that of the Italian aperitif. A slight mouth-watering effect hits you as it travels through your mouth, which you don’t really get with the Konyagi. However, Ouza feels a lot more raw and stripped down with a bigger kick of fire as its after-taste.

Now if i had to choose between the two, Konyagi would be my choice. Yes Ouzo backs up its ‘fire water’ tag better than Konyagi does but there is a lot more choice with what you can do with the Tanzanian spirit. Its easy drinking and you could get through a 200ml bottle with a lot more ease than you would Ouzo.

 

The Circle 360 Review

Theres a new champagne and cocktail bar located in the Italian area of the Trafford Centre’s Orient food hall. I’ve watched this bar grow from day one as it’s location is opposite to where i work and i’ve been itching to try it out ever since its grand opening less than a week ago.

I took along a friend and arrived at about 3pm. As you can see the back bar automatically grabs your attention, the large circle with a magnum of champagne in the middle! A good layout of spirits surrounded underneath it including Jack Daniel Single Barrel, Belvedere, Patron and Martin Millers as well as display ice buckets with several bottles of Moet & Chandon poking out the top. Cake stands were also visible for there Afternoon Tea promotion (more about that later).

Speciality 360

Sitting ourselves on white leather bar stools which despite looking like salon chairs, went surprisingly well with the white decor, we were greeted by the bartender on duty with a smile and a drinks menu. I had already previously asked The Circle Club (the company behind the bar) on there Twitter feed which cocktails they recommend with the replies of ‘Pornstar Martini and the speciality 360’, so with curiosity getting the better of me i plumped for the 360 while a French Martini was ordered as well. Now i don’t know if this is me but if you make a cocktail, you make it in front of the customer, not halfway down the bar. It would have been nice to see what ingredients he was putting in to this speciality cocktail (i glimpsed Hendricks gin being used) but i gave the man his dues once he presented me with the finished item.A dark blackcurrant colour with a fresh blackcurrant and cucumber fold as a garnish made a good first impression. It had a smooth velvety taste to it with the constant aroma of cucumber coming from both the garnish as well as the Hendricks gin. Slightly overpowering it sometimes but the blackberry taste counteracted it nicely and made it a very nice mouth-watering signature cocktail.We were a bit confused with what our other drink was as we originally ordered a French Martini however a champagne flute was handed to us which eventually turned out to be a French 75. Obviously thinking the French Martini would be served in the Martini glass and the signature cocktail served in a champagne flute, it turned out we were drinking the drink the other one had ordered. A mistake on the bartenders part but non-the-less the French 75 was a beautiful lemon zest cocktail with the Moet & Chandon champagne top not overpowering the overall complexity at all. After a few sips i also noticed it started to go down very smoothly, as if the drink had settled and it allowed you to enjoy it that little bit more. The glass itself helped, an elegant yet simple thinly stemmed champagne flute that curved at the top to reduce the amount of gasses being released.

A Parisian Re-fashioned followed next for me with an absinthe take on the Old Fashioned classic.

Parisian Re-fashioned

Made with coating the inside of a tumbler glass with Le Fee Parisian Absinthe and igniting for a few seconds, blowing out and starting the 7 minute process of an Old Fashioned. The use of Woodford Reserve bourbon was a particularly good choice and vanilla sugar made my day as the sweet tooth guy I am. To be fair it wasn’t 7 minutes in the making but the drink itself was a well-balanced affair. The vanilla sugar took the edge off a drink which can sometimes come on a bit strong if not enough Demerara is used and it worked well. The burnt orange zest gave some interesting aromas as it mixed with the coating of absinthe and the Woodford Reserve but it didn’t over come you which made it a very drinkable drink.

My friend is a lover of Tanqueray 10 and asked the barman for a recommendation that involved fruit juices. The result was Tanq 10 with both fresh and puree strawberries with a top of champagne served in a Martini Glass. This had a zest tingly sensation to it, possibly due to the champagne top but also to the fresh strawberries used. The gin was hard to tell it was there sometimes but you got the odd taste of the Tanq once you made your way through the layer of fruit.

The Circle 360 bar menu is a simple yet well set out design with a ‘champagne story’ on the inside cover to highlight the bars purpose.

Now i will say this, the prices that the drinks are being sold for are worth it.

Champagne cocktails (Bellini’s, French 75’s) for £6.95

Signature cocktails (Pornstar Martini, Jack Daniels Single Barrel over ice) for £5.95

Classic cocktails (Mojito, Margarita, Long Island) £4.95

Contemporary cocktails (8yr Itch, Grey Goose Le Fizz) £5.45

Martinis (Cosmopolitan, French Martini) £5.45

French 75

Compared to the rest of the Trafford Centre’s bar/cocktails offerings as well as the reputation of The Circle Club i did expect to be paying a lot more for these drinks, especially when they use premium spirits and champagne! This could be a winning formula for them and i hope they stick at these prices for a while to come.

Now as you’d expect there are offerings for wine with what looks like a very good and varied selection in each category (a bottle of Sangiovese, Ceravalo Estate caught my eye for £29.50). The usual suspects of champagne are there with glasses of Castell Lord Cava at £3.50 to £7.95 for a Moet & Chandon Imperial Rose and topping to a bottle of Krug Clos D’Ambonnay Vintage 1996 at £3295. Theres Bollinger, Dom Perignon, Laurent Perrier, Veuve Clicquot and Louis Roederer thrown in there for good measure too.

Soft drinks are available too with the offering of juices, milkshakes, smoothies and tea and coffee as well as fresh cake slices including victoria sponge, cupcakes, scones and lollicakes (cakes on a stick, – popular with celebrities apparently!). They also do a Afternoon Tea priced at £15.50 where you receive a pot of Darjeeling tea, choice of 2 sandwiches, scone, elderflower cake, chocolate choux pastry and fresh fruit tart!

Nearing the end of our visit we were both genuinly impressed with the offerings that The Circle 360 give you in the case of drinks as well as surroundings. The stunning bar set-up is a thing to see and you don’t always feel like your in the middle of a food court when your sat there, something which i thought would put me off.

You’ll be seeing me here again that’s for sure, theres plenty more drinks for me to try!