Continuing my focus on the rums in my collection from the island of Mauritius, I’m about to up the stakes by introducing you to a 151% Proof (75.5% ABV) rum going by the name of Tilambic 151. It may be worthwhile refreshing yourself on rum production in Mauritius by reading my article on Green Island Rums.
Now you’re all refreshed and up to date, the word Tilambic is a Mauritian Creole word meaning ‘small still’ and it relates to the stills that the farmers utilise to create their own rums (moonshine). The image on the label is of an alembic still and is there to evoke images of the ‘small stills’ used locally rather than to provide a window into the production methods employed to create this rum.
Tilambic 151 is unavailable in Mauritius as it is produced and bottled under licence solely for Green Island (UK) Limited by International Distillers Mauritius. This company was formed in 1960 under the name of Gilbeys (Mauritius) Ltd but the current facility including a bottling plant was created in 1972. They are also responsible for the production and bottling of the two previously featured Green Island Rum products, the Superior Light and Spiced Gold. The rum is distilled in 30 ft column stills and is then aged for 7 years in ex-whisky barrels in temperature controlled conditions ensuring a constant temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. The rum contains no added sugars, caramel flavouring or colouring and gains its flavour and colour from the casks. The rum remains unfiltered at the time of bottling but is reduced to its bottle strength of 75.5% ABV. It retains a wonderful golden colour and looks really approachable…..but is it?
In the glass: The rum is a light golden colour and there is a really woody aroma. This is followed by a little peppery spice and prune aroma, all wrapped in light vanilla. I did have to let this sit to let the alcohol dissipate.
In the mouth: Straight away there is a sweetness and peppery spice on entry and the star anise that I tasted in the Green Island Superior Light is here. This is very very oaky. It’s almost bourbon-esque in how the woodiness shows itself and then completely dries this rum out. There is a hot mouthfeel towards the end to let you know you’re drinking an overproof rum. Vanilla and caramel round this one out but the finish is quite short and very very dry with the oak sticking around longer than anything else. Very surprising and remarkably drinkable.
This is an interesting rum and offers up some really concentrated flavours. Best to use as part of a cocktail or as a cocktail float rather than sipping although adding little water opens up the sweetness and reveals more depth to the rum. It’s a rum that demands respect as it could quite easily floor you if not treated properly but its a worthy adversary for those who are looking for a flavourful and surprisingly light 151 proof rum.
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