Mekhong The Spirit of Thailand. I’m not sure how much translation plays a part in these things but from what I can gather this “rum” (I’ll explain later) is named after the river Mekong which runs through Thailand. Yes I know the spelling isn’t the same. I’m using what is on the bottle though it is often spelt Mekong as well.
Which is just one of the confusing aspects surrounding Mekhong – The Spirit of Thailand. If you try typing Mekhong into a search engine the predictive text may direct you to Mekhong Whisky.
I’ve only had this bottle a few months and I haven’t found any evidence online that the company behind this “rum” Bangyikan Distillery have every marketed this as whisky or rum. I’ll try and sort out of the confusion, Mekhong is made from molasses (approx. 95%) and 5% rice. Which makes it almost a rum. Add into this conundrum the secret recipe of natural spices which is added to the blend bottle it at 35% and we have a spiced rum. Pretty much. Quite why it ever got called a whisky I’m not sure. Again probably something lost in translation or maybe just naivety with regards anything which is a brown spirit automatically being whisky. If you know more please let me know I’d be interested to hear the true story.
I bought this on the basis of a fairly pleasant and inexpensive experience with another Thai offering. Sang Som, which was a pretty pleasant spicy rum which mixed very well. The rum is available for around £18 in the UK and is bottled at 35% ABV which is pretty standard for a spiced offering.
The Mekhong comes in a fairly standard bar bottle with red and yellow ribbons around the neck. The presentation is pretty dated and quite oriental. It envoked me into a purchase so it must be doing something right!
The rear of the label is refreshingly honest in how to approach this rum – it almost warns you off drinking it neat or on the rocks “While Mekhong’s spicy sweet aromas and well-balanced taste are rewarding when enjoyed alone, they’re at their very best when combined with a long, cool mixer, some fresh Thai food and a crowd of cocktail loving friends” So it’s the Morgan’s Spiced of Thailand…..
When I first opened the Mekhong I was immediately reminded of Sang Som. Both rums exhibit a sweet herbal like nose. I really cannot place the aroma (please help someone). It’s sweet and spicy and yes I can see why you would enjoy this with some spicy Thai food. A nice cold Chang beer and a small glass of Mekhong would be ideal. I dare say its not a bad digestive either with all the herbs that make up the aroma.
Sipping the spirit reveals a kind of spiced pine kind of flavour. It tastes almost like how a Christmas tree smells in some ways. It’s pretty strange. It’s much more herbal and aromatic than Sang Som. It’s also not as sweet as the aroma would have you believe and it the flavour doesn’t last at all in the mouth. In fact it fades pretty fast.
Mixing the Mekhong you can make some pretty decent long drinks. The rum is inoffensive and easy going. Experience tells me this isn’t an aged rum and a lot of the flavour profile is from the added herbs and spices.
As a rum Mekhong doesn’t really cut the mustard. It’s more Tai Chi and Fen Shui than Pirates and buxom serving wenches. As a spiced mixing “spirit” it’s pretty okay but nothing spectacular. Where Sang Som offered a bit of rumminess Mekhong doesn’t even seem to try. Puzzling how it was ever though to be whisky and equally puzzling to anyone who approaches this thinking it’s rum. It isn’t but I’ll give it a rating anyway!
This spirit is available from