Dark Matter Spiced Rum

Dark Matter Spiced Rum review by the fat rum pirateDark Matter: Inspired by Science, Driven by Curiosty.  Is the tagline for this newly released Spiced Rum which hails from the less than Caribbean like island of Great Britain.  More precisely from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Yes that hotbed of rum production.  Dark Matter Distillery is actually the first rum producing distillery in Scotland.  When you consider how many distilleries there are in Scotland, over 100 it is perhaps (or perhaps not when you consider most if not all produce Whisky) surprising that none produce Rum.  Or at least they didn’t, until a few weeks ago…….

Dark Matter have a Facebook page which has quite a few interesting photo’s and a lovely looking website.  At this point I’d like to point out that I have a bit more background to add, following discussions with Dark Matter’s Managing Director (and distiller) Jim Ewen.  Hence why I’m directing you to the website for the more immediately available information.

Jim who runs the Distillery with his brother John was very forthcoming and refreshingly honest when I asked about the processes behind the making of Dark Matter Spiced Rum.

As regular readers will know, as well as conducting Rum Reviews I have also been carrying out Hydrometer Tests.  Upon testing the Dark Matter Spiced Rum it was revealed that around 77 g/L of sugars (and/or other additives) had been added to the rum post distillation.  Jim’s answer was as follows

“We have absolutely no issue with saying there’s some added sugar and as you say it’s spiced rum so it’s part of the process and kind of how the spiced category started I suppose. Your hydrometer reading has come in higher than what we actually add which is 60 g/l. Everything is measured precisely so can’t say for sure what’s happening there”

Dark Matter Spiced rum review by the fat rum pirateWhilst this leaves 17 g/L unaccounted for Jim went onto explain the following which I think will explain the Hydrometer reading

” As you see from the latest post we use fresh ginger, fresh green peppercorn, long pepper and allspice berries. We really do hand prepare everything here at the distillery and slice the ginger, crush the long pepper/allspice and pluck the green pepper from the stalks before infusing directly in the rum post distillation.”

To be honest I’m bowled over on two counts here! One is that Jim readily admits that they add sugar and two the fact that they actually are using real fruit and spices.

As the distillery has only been active since April I also asked Jim how old the base rum is, again I got a refreshingly honest answer

“We’ve only been in production since April so the rum is generally only rested a few weeks before adding the spices. As a new distillery we don’t have the luxury of aged spirit. Not yet anyway.”

Once again I like the answer and I particularly like the note that the are planning on ageing some rum.  This, along with information on the website suggesting a white rum will be released, leaves me imagining the possibilities of rums from this distillery.

Jim obviously understood the route I was taking with my queries and he gave me the following information with regard the distilling equipment

” However, we’re getting really clean rum from the still which is a pot with 10 plate column on top(made by John Dore & Co) and a retort on the side.”

Once again very encouraging and I have to say I’m very impressed with Jim’s honestyDark Matter Spiced rum review by the fat rum pirate and enthusiasm for the art.  Kudos to Jim and John (lets not forget his brother!)

So lets move onto the actual rum and lets appraise the presentation.  Much like the website and their Facebook page they have adopted a very strong brand identity and the labelling is deliberately medicinal/scientific.  It kind of looks a bit like a label for a packet of tablets or medicine.  It’s fits in nicely with the rums name and the tagline.  The screw top is a silver screw cap which is also nice and the bottle shape is one of a more stubby variety which always gets my nod of approval.  All in all very well presented and certainly puts to shame some of the larger distillers and producers offerings!

At the moment a bottle of Dark Matter Spiced Rum will set you back £34.99 and is available only in very selected retailers in Scotland and online via Drinkmonger/Royal Mile Whiskies.  Chris Hoban at Drinkmonger kindly kept me informed when they finally got stock in. Thanks Chris!  Unlike many Spiced Rums it is bottled at 40% ABV.

Okay, now finally I’ll get on with actually reviewing the Dark Matter inside the bottle.  In the bottle the rum is a very dark brown, when poured in the glass it presents itself as a slightly lighter brown with orange tinges in the light.

Dark Matter Spiced rum review by the fat rum pirateThe nose is pretty strong but not overpoweringly so like some Spiced Rums.  It’s not sickly sweet or cloying.  Before I had seen the picture above or asked Jim any questions, I had already tried the rum.  I was very relieved when I found that Dark Matter had left the vaniila in the pods and on the vines.  No vanilla here.  I’m pretty smug in that I detected Ginger and Allspice as the dominant notes.  I also picked up on the peppery/chilli like heat. I did think some of this heat was coming from the young rum base and its likely that it is.

The spicing is authentic and smells very real not at all artificial.  To me its been infused as much as it has been Spiced.

So on with a tasting.  The rum is very Spicy. Despite the added sugar it isn’t a cloying drink when served neat. It is hot and spicy with warming notes of ginger and black pepper.  It is slightly viscous and isn’t a million miles away from liqueur.  We aren’t in Baileys territory however.  It’s certainly a drink which if taken as a shot of sipped will be very nice and warming in Aberdeen and less exotic climbs such as mine here in Sunderland.

The finish is slightly bitter and the throat is left with a black pepper burn rather than an alcohol burn.  I like it but some will not enjoy a “Spicy” Spiced Rum.  If you like Spicy food then I think you’ll definitely appreciate this sweet and spicy drink.

Spiced Rum is more traditionally used as a mixer.  I think mixing this with Tomato JuiceDark Matter Spiced rum review by the fat rum pirate would be the way to go.  A rum Bloody Mary could perhaps become this Spiced Rums signature drink.  I tried mixing it with cola and to be honest it really didn’t do the rum too many favours.  It muted all the nice heat and spice I had enjoyed and left me with a slightly medicinal taste which I didn’t find pleasant.

To be honest rating this spiced rum as rum is a bit of a non-starter.  The spices are so dominant that any rum like qualities are missing.  Having said that, that’s the case for most Spiced Rums even Pussers Spiced is top heavy with spices and doesn’t really have a traditional rum flavour.

Marking this rum as a Spiced Rum or even as a drink in its own right I can score it quite highly.  I very much like the unusual profile and it’s a very nice little sipper and a very welcome change.  One of the reasons I enjoy rum so much is its diversity.  By taking on the task of reviewing spiced rums you really have to throw your pre-conceptions away.

Dark Matter have surprised me with this Spiced Rum and have impressed me with their honesty.  The potential of the distillery excites me and I will be more than happy to offer Jim and John any assistance (tasting mostly) in the future.

I wish them every success and look forward to further offerings from them!

4 stars

 

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