The world seems to be awash with new rums and towards end of 2013, I was contacted about a rum that I had never previously heard of. The whole premise was explained to me. There was a clear idea of a marketing direction and it was already selling in numbers……due to its association with a charter yacht! I was intrigued, and was supplied with a sample of the rum to try. This is the story of Rum Jungle…..the rum named after a 75′ charter yacht…..named after a book….named after an area rich in uranium…..
Legend has it that in 1871, 40 miles south of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, a bullock cart carrying provisions (including rum barrels) to construction workers became bogged down in a jungle near the East Finniss River. A week passed before rescue and as you can imagine, within that time, the rum was consumed. The now rather merry bunch decided to call the area, Rum Jungle.
In August 1949, Uranium was discovered in Rum Jungle by a chap named Jack White (not that one) and his aboriginal partner. He receives and award the equivalent of £25,000 from the Australian Government. In the years between 1954 and 1963, the mine was a major supplier of Uranium to the U.S to assist with their cold war effort but it eventually closed in 1971.
1953 saw the renowned war correspondent Alan Moorhead publish his iconic book ‘Rum Jungle’ which was written about Australia’s ‘fabulous wilderness country’.
In April 1967, Hugh Agnew, Senior Captain of the yacht, traveled to Rum Jungle in search of work following spells as a surveyor in Port Hedland, a miner in Mount Goldsworthy and a ferry driver in Darwin. As the wet season had run late, he found no employment and so hitchhiked to Mt Isa in Northern Queensland.
In September 2000, a 75’ motor yacht is renamed Rum Jungle and starts its 12 year odyssey to become one of the best known charter yachts in the UK and western Europe. With a formidable reputation for service and for fun, Rum Jungle has played host to countless bon vivants, bounders, aristocrats, royalty, athletes, beautiful ladies and some perfect gentlemen. Throughout libations have included more than just a hint of rum, often accompanied by Cuba’s finest cigars.
Speaking to Liz Meade of Rum Jungle, the whole idea behind the creation of a Rum was to play on the obvious nautical connection and to form a fun brand extension to the charter yacht. If you are going to be serving rum on board your very own charter yacht…why not make it your very own rum! On 31st July 2013, ‘The Original Rum Jungle’ was launched! It forms the basis of the signature drink to be found enjoyed when on board the yacht which is the ‘Stormy Jungle’………fiery ginger beer, lime and a few drops of bitters, all topped off with a heavy-handed pour of Rum Jungle.
This experience of a great day out on a huge charter yacht accompanied by like-minded people sipping Rum based concoctions will hopefully then leave people wanting to grab a bottle. The rum itself is not a sipping rum, therefore it would be unfair of me to treat it in that way. Indeed, in my initial communication with Liz, it was clear that it is firmly sat in the mixing market to compete with similar brands.
You’re all interested in how it tastes though…….so here goes……..
In the glass: The rum is a lot lighter than it appears in the bottle but it is still a deep dark red with the occasional flash of dark brown. It smells lighter than the colour would suggest, leading me down the path of caramel colouring. Straight away there is Demerara sugar and faint toffee. There is a little alcohol burn on the nose and the smallest whiff of vanilla. It’s certainly not unpleasant to smell, that’s for sure, but it is firmly planted, for me anyway, in the mixing market.
In the mouth: The rum has a very thin mouth feel and it leads with alcohol and pepper. This gives way to butterscotch but it is most certainly not too sweet. There is a slight vanilla but the finish is very short and peppery. It tingles all the way down and ends with a faint taste of Werther’s Original sweets.
The rum is aimed at the mixing market and it has the ideal product placement, aboard a charter yacht of the same name! It is a heavily crowded market place at this level and it may struggle against established brands with a higher profile, which is a shame as it can more than hold its own against a lot of its direct competition. Perhaps though it has something that all of the more established brands don’t have……It has the ability to evoke memories of the first time you tried the rum…..sitting on the deck of Rum Jungle as you cruise the Solent, sipping on a long, cool drink whilst enjoying a cigar from the on board humidor…….
………..it also works very well with cola, ice and lime when drunk in the far less glamorous surroundings of your garden!
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