Karukera are an Agricole Rhum producer from Guadeloupe. Karukera is the original
Arawak (Caribbean Indan) name for Guadeloupe. Despite the very slick presentation (which caused me to overlook this brand) Karukera have been distilling and producing rhum since 1895.
The Esperence distillery in Sainte Marie – “Certain Origins do not Deceive” is the companies tag line. Karukera have a very nice website unfortunately for me its all in French and resists translation. There is a lot of information there and I can pick out bits but not a lot unfortunately! In all honesty the relatively modern presentation of all the Karukera rhums make me wonder if all this history is entirely correct.
Digging around the internet I can find little information on the brand. How long has the Karukera brand really been around? In the end I contacted Cyril Weglarz of DuRhum.com who gave me the following information “Karukera is a brand created in 2006, they mainly age and buy rums from other distilleries (from Guadeloupe and Martinique), and the white rhum from Longueteau. They just have an ageing facility, no distillery” Cyril is one of the Rum Reviewers who like me is not afraid to scratch the surface rather than rely on being spoon fed by Rum and Brand Ambassadors.
If you can find a bottle of Karukera Gold and Silver – their entry level rhums they will set you back around £30
here in the UK. They are bottled at 40% ABV and both tested 0-5 on the Hydrometer Tests. As a Rhum Agricole it should be made from Cane Juice rather than molasses. Beyond this I’m afraid I have little more information to offer. White usually unaged Agricole Rhum is very popular in France as it Ti Punch – a simple mix of sugar syrup, lime and white Agricole rhum.
As part of the reviewing process I’ll be testing out the Karukera Silver in a Ti Punch as well as on its own and in mi
In the glass (as you have probably guessed) the rhum is entirely transparent – no signs of any ageing etc. It is likely it has been filtered to achieve this. The nose is quite typical of White Agricole.
Grassy, vegetal with some stronger notes of varnish and shoe polish. At 40% ABV the shoe polish and varnish notes are much more subdued than with some white agricoles which are bottled at higher ABV’s. The nose is quite nicely balanced and it reminds me very much of Wray and Nephew White Overproof or Rum Bar Overproof. It has that element of funk. Though maybe just slightly more refined and understated.
Sipped the rum it is surprisingly quite smooth and easy to drink. The “funk” is more subdued than the nose. You get some nice notes of vanilla, peach and maybe even some red wine notes. The overall sipping experience is fairly short – the flavours are quite short lived and are replaced quickly with vegetal Cachaca like notes – which also disappear quickly leaving only really a little spice on the finish. It’s sort of okay but beyond this review I doubt I’ll be sipping it again.
Karukera Silver works surprisingly well in a variety of mixed drinks – even with cola it seems to rub along quite well. Something I definitely wasn’t expecting. For a Ti Punch it is perhaps a little to light and easy going to really make it to the top but its not at all bad. Cocktails such as Mojitos work particularly well with this rum. It’s light yet quite punchy (if brief) flavour profile mean that the drinks are well balanced but not overloaded with strong funk or vegetal notes.
This might well be a good entry into White Agricole a way of feeling your way but it is not the “good stuff” that many people enjoy. In the UK it is also worryingly expensive at around £30 per bottle. It’s not bad but not great either.