Tiki Lovers have a small range of rums which are designed for “Tiki Drinks”. This is Tiki Lovers Dark Rum – Finest Caribbean Blend.
Tiki Lovers rums are produced and bottled for Haromex Limited who also responsible for distributing and importing brands such as Pusser’s, English Harbour and Hampden Estate to the UK. This, if you like, is their own brand bottling.
Tiki Lovers is available in 3 variations White, Dark and Pineapple (I haven’t heard nearly as much about this Pineapple rum as that other one………..).
For the Tiki Lovers Dark variation for review here they have blended Jamaican Pot Still rum aged around 2 to 3 years along with similarly aged Pot/Column blended rum from Barbados. They then add a “splash” of Trini and Guyanese column distilled rums to complete the blend. Those in the know in the Tiki world might not be surprised to learn that is bottled at a Zombie topping 57% ABV.
A 70cl bottle of this will set you back around £25-30 in the UK if you can still find it as distribution isn’t great here. It’s easier and cheaper to find it on the continent (approx. 20 Euros).
The presentation is unsurprisingly Tiki based. Its a standard bar style bottle with a decent quality metal screw cap. My bottle came with a little card neck sleeve indicating that back in 2011 this won best Overproof rum at the Berlin Rum Festival. It also notes the white won a Mixology award in 2016. The White is bottled at 50% and even the Pineapple comes in at a hefty 45% ABV.
As this was bottled on the continent it also denotes that Caramel Colouring (E-150A) was added but we guessed that anyway…….
I’m not huge on the whole Tiki thing. In fact I’m not really interested in it at all. I don’t mind the odd cocktail but I don’t do it at home. I do drink quite a lot of mixed drinks though (rum and coke being the obvious one) so I should still be able to assess the merits of this rum.
Now straight up people may have a problem with this being marketed as a “mixing rum”. If you do that’s cool – its not something which I associate with poor rum as many do. I just think it often means younger rum – not bad rum per se.
So lets put this one to the test.
In the glass as expected the rum is very dark. A very dark orange/brown. Probably kicking around the same colour as Pusser’s only slightly more vibrant.
On the nose the first thing that hits you is the strong vanilla note. It smells very much like a spiced rum. It smells a liitle artificial. Vanilla essence?
As this is bottled at 57% ABV you also get quite a lot of alcohol on the nose. Beneath the vanilla you can get nose some of the Jamaican rum in the blend. Familiar bruised bananas and almost a little bitterness on the nose. There are also notes of toffee and caramel.
Sipping this rum at full ABV is quite spicy there is quite a lot character to the rums in this blend. It’s bitter sweet with strong notes of Demerara sugar quickly being cut off by dry oaky bitterness. The finish is hot and spicy – full of pepper and plenty menace. It’s not massively complex in terms of a sipper and the flavours are quite short.
It would seem silly to review this rum solely on its “sipping” qualities when clearly it is not made for that purpose.
So lets drown it with cola. Diet Cola to be precise.
Mixed it makes an enjoyable if vanilla heavy rum and cola (think Old Monk toned down a couple of notches). I would have liked to have seen more of the young Jamaican rum come into play and add a bit more complexity as it is pretty one dimensional.
For the price and with the added ABV it offers a competent value for money mixer. I personally wouldn’t choose it over Woods for example but it isn’t terrible by any standards.
I feel it would have been better without the artificial vanilla note. If there isn’t an element of Vanilla essence (or something) in this rum then I apologise to the producers but it certainly tastes that way.