Well from our 4th birthday (Happy Birthday to us!) to the 50th birthday of one of Australia’s favourite producers of some seriously fantastic rum – Brian Retsall of Lord Byron.

Yep, Brian turns 50 this month and to celebrate such a milestone, what do you think a rum maker does? You probably guessed it; he releases a rum to celebrate! We’re happy to be offering the Lord Byron Birthday Special exclusively to our members.

The Lord Byron “Brian’s 50th Birthday Bottling” is a pure single rum from Byron Bay. A mix of 3 and 4 year old ex-bourbon and ex-red wine cask maturation has given this rum big fruity notes from the wine casks that sit perfectly with the creamy vanillin’s from the American oak influence. Presented at 43% abv, it’s the first of a new direction from Lord Byron.

Now 50 years old is a milestone birthday in anyone’s language – and if you happen to make one of Australia’s finest rums, there’s really only one way to celebrate – a special 50th Birthday Bottle. And this is what we have here – exclusive to the Rum Tribe from Byron Bay. Chocked full of NSW Northern Rivers goodness – 100% sustainably produced with renewable energy, zero waste, good vibes and super-happy cows.

Yes – happy cows! You see, all water used in the fermentation and production of Lord Byron Distillery spirits comes from their own dairy farm off in the Hills outside Byron Bay. So nearly every day, the farm truck transports tanks of water from the farm to the distillery, and every day it takes a load of dunder (the spent left-overs after the wash is distilled) from the distillery to the farm. This stuff is like candy to cows and as such, the Retsall family cows are amongst the happiest anywhere!

Up until now, Lord Byron has only released single cask rums at cask strength. This 50th Birthday rum marks a new chapter at Lord Byron in that this is the first rum they have produced that is a blend of barrel types… AND… is presented at lower-than cask strength. It’s two firsts in one bottle and we’re proud to launch it as our Rum of the Month.

a LIMITED EDITION ‘Navy Proof’, 100% Caribbean rum to celebrate the Coronation of the King of England

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: A lovely combination of creaming soda and liquorice allsorts with a citrusy twist and crispy granny smith apple note in the background

Palate: Such a cornucopia of flavours here – firstly a lovely creamy mouth feel, and a mild ginger spice from those French oak red-wine casks. But then there’s an explosion of stewed fruit and Christmas spices. (Christmas in July maybe?) all drizzled with gooey caramel and vanilla cream.

Finish: It’s light – but it’s also long and constantly evolving and…wow it’s long! I get a lovely lasting wash of vanilla, some very light funky sweet fruit salad notes, liquorice, and espresso (with just a slice of lemon…it’s lovely I made it myself…you should try it! – my apologies to the Beverly Hills Cop Franchise)

Wow – I wish someone made ME a rum this good for MY 50th birthday. At 43% abv this is eminently quaffable neat without doing tooo much damage (well… you know…). HOWEVER, make no mistake – this is big and really interesting in the flavour stakes. Very ‘analysable’ for the rum geeks – but slides right into your favourite mixers with zero fuss or bother at all. This rum is so easy to get along with.

  • PRICE : $99

  • ABV : 43%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Australia (NSW)

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

FROM LORD BYRON

Matured for 3 to 4 years in cask, decanted and then blended together.

This is a premium sipping rum that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or as the base for your favourite mixer drink or cocktail.

Nose: Brown sugar and caramel tones.

Palate: Pepper & honey up front, followed by toasted crème Brulé delivering a long, lingering smooth finish.

ABOUT LORD BYRON

The earliest record of the Restall family in Byron Shire dates back to 1897 when Jack Restall was the local butcher in Billinudgel. Although this fact wasn’t discovered by Brian and Helen Restall until recently, it explains why they have always had a deep sense of affinity with the area and to traditional trade and craftsmanship.

For several years, Brian was the CEO of Cape Byron Power, a local Northern Rivers’ 100% renewable electricity generator located adjacent to the local farmer owned sugar mills at Condong and Broadwater. It was within this role, Brian came to realise that almost all of the food-grade molasses, created by the local sugar mills, was used for cattle feed. Given the sub-tropical environment of the Northern Rivers region, Brian and Helen felt that there was clearly a higher and better use for a small part of this local molasses.  

Brian and Helen have travelled extensively and worked around the world. Brian loves dark spirits and Helen is passionate about light spirits. Together they strive to create a small-batch, handcrafted range of spirits that aims to deliver a superior tasting experience. They are members of the Australian Distilling Association and have been trained and mentored by Bill Lark’s team in Tasmania – Bill, being the first person in 153 years to get a micro-distilling license, and is affectionately known as the “Godfather” of the craft distilling market in Australia.

From the home of Rhum Agricole and for the first time in Australia especially for the Rum Tribe! A brand new Caribbean rum from legendary Martinique producer Rhum J.M – The Terroir Volcanique.

Whilst we’ve jumped into sugar-cane juice derived rums (both aged and un-aged) previously – this month we have the absolute, real deal, l’original. The OG of Agricole, the cardinal crafters of cane juice, the recognized rulers of rhum – an aged Agricole Rhum from the home of Rhum Agricole – Rhum J.M

The Rhum J.M Terroir Volcanique is a column-distilled agricole. It is technically a ‘Vieux Agricole’ has been matured for at least 3 years in American oak with two distinct toasting regimes – intense, and extreme!

Agricole is a Rum (Rhum) variety that can only be produced in Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Madiera and Reunion Island using the juice of sugar cane. ‘Agricole’ (or more specifically ‘Rhum Agricole’) is a term that is protected under an AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) Much like the name ‘champagne’ can only be used to describe a certain type of sparkling wine from a specific area. 

This latest release from Rhum J.M celebrates their place of origin with an ode to the terroir of Mount Pelee – the temperamental volcano that overlooks the distillery and plantation.

A GOLD MEDAL winning Caribbean Rum for the 2020 price of $99

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: Cookie dough, vanilla and brown sugar with tinned peaches and cream alongside a cane-train bin full of fresh cut cane billets.

Palate: Big and bold and certainly takes no prisoners. There’s a huge raw-sugar-sweet fruitiness to this that is kept right in check by the column-distilled crispness of this spirit. Big vanilla cream notes punching right through give testament to the American Oak barrels J.M are using.

Finish: It’s a lovely whirlpool of sweet mock-cream apple turnover, with nutmeg-ey spice, licorice and creaming soda with just the mildest of astringency in the finale.

This is so easy and moorish to drink straight up I can’t even imagine cutting it with a mixer. An ice-cube might be nice on a hot day- but no more. Of course it is your rhum – drink it how you like and damn the haters. Tell them to get their own!   

  • PRICE : $129

  • ABV : 43%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Martinique

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

FROM RHUM J.M

“At Rhum J.M, we produce a rum that we want to be excellent. And our idea of excellence goes beyond that of taste. The J.M enthusiast must have the assurance that behind each of our bottles, passionate women and men have given meaning to excellence. By preserving their ecosystem, by promoting the raw material, by passing on the gestures and secrets of ancestral know-how, and by sharing the love and flavor of a unique product.” Emmanuel Bécheau Director of the Fonds-Préville Distillery

Column Distillation, Aged in American oak barrels having benefited from two types of toasting (intense & extreme), it draws its exceptional character from the environment of Montagne Pelée.

Terroir Volcanique, born from the perfect symbiosis between our unique terroir and the recognized know-how of the Fonds-Préville distillery, combines power and deliciousness to offer a unique tasting moment reflecting the many riches of Martinique.

Powerful and delicious. The perfect illustration of the Terroir and Know-How of Rhum J.M.

Dress Golden

Nose Notes of vanilla, honey and empyreumatic

Mouth Round with notes of tropical fruits and nutmeg Profile Complex | Powerful | Intense

ABOUT RHUM J.M

At the foot of Mount Pelee, a luxuriant nature thrives bordered by two rivers: Roches and Macouba. At the end of the 18th century, Antoine Leroux-Préville acquired a 164-hectare estate in this enchanting place to create a sugar mill. He gave it the name ‘Fonds-Préville’.

A century later, in 1845, the estate was bought by Jean-Marie Martin who gave a new impulse to the sugar factory by transforming it into a distillery. Shipped to Saint-Pierre, the rums with the initials ‘J.M’ were increasingly successful.

In 1912, the distillery was bought by the Crassous de Médeuil family. The two estates (Fonds-Préville and Bellevue) were then combined to form a single estate of 400 hectares. Major improvements are made, which contribute to give J.M. rum its reputation.

In 2002, the Martinique-based family business G.B.H bought the distillery. A few years later, the group undertook a complete modernization of the site to make it a model distillery, a jewel of intelligence and harmony with nature.

To say we’ve been looking forward to May’s ‘Rum of the Month’ for over a year now is a bit of an understatement! Our incredible Karu/Rum Tribe collaboration, code named ‘RUMBLEDORE!’ has finally been bottled and is ready for the ‘Tribe.

  • Matured in a Grand Marnier cask (we think this is a first!)
  • Filled with a single cask chosen by Karu and Rum Tribe
  • Bottled at a Batch Strength of 55%abv
  • First ever Karu Specialty Cask expression

Now Nick and Ally Ayres have been mates of the Rum Tribe since we kicked off back in 2020. In fact, they are OG members of the ‘Tribe and we’ve been thrilled to watch them win medal after medal, award after award for their spirits – and of course, especially their pure, single rum – Outcask!

Nick and Ally and I have been talking about ‘doing something really special’ for around 2 years now – waiting and watching for what that ‘special something’ would be. Then at the start of March last year I got a call from Karu saying they had found that ‘special something’ and I had better get down there quick smart! I arrived about 5 days later and was greeted by a beaming Nick and Ally (and Seb!) proudly showing off a still wet Grand Marnier cask. Ta-DA!

For those unaware – Grand Marnier is a blend of barrel-aged congac and orange liqueur and sugar. The mix is then further matured in oak casks – which is what Rumbledore is.

I am here to tell you; I have NEVER smelt such a lusciously irresistible cask in all my years of sticking my nose into small wooden holes. I just can’t describe how luscious this cask smelled. How sweet-and sticky-and-orangy-and-honey-y and utterly irresistible this thing was. I almost wanted to climb inside!

This was, indeed, the ‘special something’ we had been waiting for.

Now we had to name the cask. You see, Nick and Ally don’t just number their casks – they name them. Usually a topical rum pun. Barilyn Munroe, Edwood Woodward, Craig Stavid to name a few that feature in their barrel racks. After a while we decided on ‘Rumbledore’ and so it became!

And then came the onerous job of selecting what we’d put in it. It’s truly a dirty job to go through cask after cask with the distillers deciding what we’d like to fill it with. But we put our shoulders into the task, and by unanimous decision we all chose a single cask of Outcask rum named ‘Barol Caskin’ which was (at the time) just over 2 and a quarter year old.

So, in the sticky end-of-summer heat in the Devils Wilderness we filled Rumbledore with the contents of Barol Caskin and put it away to let time, and the Devil’s Wilderness climate do its thing. It ended up spending just a little over 12 months in the Grand Marnier cask to allow it to catch the very last legs of the 2024 summer heat before being partially decanted at 3.3yrs old total and bottled at a generous batch strength of 55% abv. (Cut with pure, Devils Wilderness rainwater).

This rum is a whole lot of firsts for Karu. It’s the premier of their new look labeling. It’s their very first ever ‘Specialty Cask’ expression. The first time they’ve used Outcask as a base for further experimentation – and you can take it to the bank that this won’t be the last of the ‘Specialty Cask’ Rums from Karu!

It won’t be the last time we see Rumbledore, either. They have refilled it with more Outcask rum (although not a single cask this time – rather the Outcask Core blend). Will we be seeing how it progresses and have it back sometime down the track? – you can bet your sweet booty on it!

Our ‘Members Extra’ for May is a MYSTERY – Our first Rum Tribe Mystery Rum and its only $99!

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: Just so much deliciousness going on in this nose. There’s orange peel and honey, fairy floss and aniseed. Wafts of black tea leaves and doughnut dough drift through evening jasmine and fruit salad.

Palate: Wow – big and palate coating – with an initial kick of pepper that settles right down (the smallest ‘bloop’ of water eliminates it completely). Big fruity num-nums come bursting out with a delicious vanilla-creaminess that keeps those big 50%abv shoulders right in check.

Finish: Lovely, looooovely finish. It’s as chewy as bubble gum, rich and round, with big sultana notes, licorice allsorts and black coffee, as a sense of the citrus curls in and out.

Whilst this rum doesn’t SCREAM ‘Jaffas’ or ‘Terry’s Chocolate Orange’ – once you learn how it was finished, it all makes perfect sense! There’s just so many layers of flavour here. A cornucopia of fruit salad, candied peel, creamy-vanilla-caramels, aniseed-y and coffee notes – all the way through to floral aromas. This is BIG AUSSIE PURE SINGLE RUM with a European twist (… and a heart of absolute gold!)!

  • PRICE : $129

  • ABV : 55%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Australia (NSW)

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

FROM KARU DISTILLERY

Hey Rum Tribers!

This is the first stop on our specialty cask release for Outcask Rum and, what a stop it is and I’m excited you’re here for it.

We took a single cask of our fully matured Outcask Rum and aged it for a further year in a Grand Marnier cask to see what differences it brings to our staple favourite.

What to expect is a richer aroma that you typically get from fortified or liqueur barrels with subtle sweet citrus of orange with candied spices. I have made a hefty dent in my bottle which is a good indicator we’re onto something good.”

Tasting Notes:

The Grand Marnier cask brings a new layer of sweetness to the aroma of Outcask Rum. Alongside subtle candied citrus, a hint of vanilla and warm spices whilst still keeping true to the notes of tropical fruit and creaminess from the original rum.

ABOUT KARU DISTILLERY

Launched in 2018 Karu Distillery by husband and wife team Nick and Ally, the focus has always been to create quality spirits that highlight the science and art of the distillation process.

Based in the Devils Wilderness NSW the range has grown to include Affinity a contemporary Australian gin, Lightning a navy strength gin, Morita a chipotle vodka and, of course, Outcask – their delicious golden rum. 

Karu is fast becoming one of Australia’s most awarded distilleries, in 2021 Lightning gin took out the Trophy for best contemporary gin at the International Wines & Spirits Competition.

Is this new Dead Reckoning Rum a 3 continent indy rum bottling or a science project? Well both! Follow along with us:

  • Rum sourced from 3 countries (Guyana, Vietnam, South Africa)
  • The Guyanese rum is a 3-still blend (is this a blend of a blend?)
  • The rums (aged between 3 and 5 years) then married into an ex-Makers Mark Bourbon cask
  • That Barrel was then rolled into the Adelaide sun every day for 18 months
  • Some crazy angel share/ABV magic happened
  • Bottled at a perfect 50.3%

We are thrilled to present the latest Dead Reckoning super juicy fruit, fruit salad of a “hot house rum” – The Dead Reckoning 3 Continent Blend!

Now we know that Dead Reckoning has been producing some absolutely sensational rums up in the Adelaide Hills. We’ve also seen that the peculiar micro-climate of the area causes the ABV of casks matured here to INCREASE over time. The incredibly low average humidity of the area means that water is drawn out of the casks at a faster rate than the alcohol. With over 12 degrees difference in average minimum and maximum temps in summer (over 8 degrees difference in winter), combined with the frequent temperature and barometric extreme events of Adelaide means any cask maturing here is really working!

But what if the natural bizarre climate and its effects got you wondering… what if MORE? What if you were to somehow turbo-charge this ‘Adelaide Dry Aging’ phenomenon?  What if you could somehow ramp-up an already insane maturation environment? 

What if… you put a barrel of rum on a wheeled rack and rolled it out into the Afternoon sunshine every day for… let’s say… 18months? (Yes this is what actually happened!) Not only would you use the heat of the direct sun to warm it (up to 52 degrees as it turned out!) but the twice-daily movement of the barrel would add agitation to the list of factors ‘boosting’ this ‘hands-on’ finishing treatment.

But first – you’d need a rum with shoulders big enough to take this… abuse? … torture?… SCIENCE! Justin had already Mhoba and Sampan in mind as he’d never heard of a blend from these countries (South Africa and Vietnam) before. However, he felt this pair needed a third with some real ‘oomph’ to give the blend some muscle. And a 3-still blend of Guyanese Rum at 68%abv was just the steroid this gym-junkie-to-be needed. In the end the ratio was 8% Guyana, 56% Mhoba and 36% Sampan. So this is a blend of both molasses and cane-juice based rums from three continents – hence Three Continent Blend or TCB.

These rums already ranged between two and 5 years of age prior to their ‘Dead Reckoning’ treatment.  They were married into an ex-Makers Mark Bourbon cask and tortured for a further 18 months under Justin’s hellish regime. Every afternoon the rack was wheeled over to the roll-a-door which was (un) ceremoniously opened to allow the full hit of the afternoon sun to smash it (in summer) and warm it’s icicle-ey  (well.. not quite icicle-ey I suppose) bones in winter. Once the sun went down, it was wheeled away and put to bed for the night. I’m not sure if Justin read it a story, or tucked it in – but I’m sure it went to bed each day knowing it was truly loved J

And so what was the result of this ‘Hot House’ treatment?  Well firstly, and objectively, a massive 27% angels share by volume accompanied by a 7.8% increase in ABV. Yep, the blend went into it’s finishing cask at 42.5% and has come out the other end at 50.3%. Both of those numbers are really quite astounding. But, when all the scientific dust is settled, what’s really important is … what does it taste like?

a hand-made, single-barrel, family-run, farm-to-bottle, artisanal-production Cachaça

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: Wow, well first of all it’s a HUGE hit of yummy yummy fruit salad. Then there’s brown sugar, sultanas and subtle wafts of sweet “polythene glue making everything so sweet” (to quote Brisbane’s Regurgitator – a much better earworm). It’s just so big and sweet and… nosey. I could sit here nosing this for a week! It’s all-at-once earthy, floral, meaty AND fruity sweet!

Palate: The mix of still types gives this a creamy mouthfeel, but still a sense of ‘crispness’ of the column still. A medium pepper hit – but that tames very quickly and is much subdued by the second sip. There’s more funky tropical fruit here, but also liquorice, sweet caramel and even some very tame leather notes.

Finish: That big sweet funky ester train just keeps on a-rollin’. The pot still percentage keeps the oilyness going well into the finish – real chewy stuff. So many sweet fruits and lolly-memories tumble and spin and dash in and out.

This is a big, juicy and utterly delightful rum that is also a bit of a chameleon on your palate. Just when you think you’ve got it pegged, you pour another glass and find a new note that reminds you of something almost-forgotten from your childhood. In the subsequent drams since first penning these notes I’ve also picked up milk-bottle lollies, honey-jumble biscuits, tinned pineapple, sherbet and even a bubble gum from my very early days as a kindy kid in Switzerland who’s name I’ve forgotten – but I certainly remember that taste. It’s a rum you’re going to want another of to see if you did taste that… and another just to be sure.

  • PRICE : $139

  • ABV : 50.3%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Guyana / Vietnam / South Africa / Australia (SA)

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

FROM DEAD RECKONING

Welcome to Australian hot house rum – otherwise known as Dead reckoning TCB.

I wanted to create a blend using three rums from three distilleries from three different continents. I also wanted to use Cane juice as well as molasses based rums. The Rums used for the blend was Guyana/South Africa/Vietnam. To my knowledge, I have not seen a blend with Mhoba or Sampan before. With the 3 stills used from Guyana it’s a blend within a blend. 

The Blend ratio : Guyana 8%, Mhoba 56%, Sampan 36%

Bourbon cask aged – 2-5 yrs Tropical & Australian dry aged 1 1/2 years 27% angels share.

A 3 still Guyanese blend – Port Mourant double wooden vat single retort / Enmore Coffee twin column  / Diamond Versailles single wooden vat single retort ) bourbon cask tropical aged Molasses based, Mhoba pot still rhum American oak African aged cane juice , Sampan rhum column still pure sugar cane juice

The South African and the Vietnamese just didn’t have enough backbone to it when I was playing around with the blend, it needed something with balls so the Guyana blend although it was only a minor component definitely gave it the foundations I was looking for

For this experiment, I decided to age a barrel of Rum in my steel sided garage in Adelaide South Australia. The Barrel used was a level three char 200 L EX makers mark bourbon Barrel.

I made a barrel rack on wheels and wheeled the barrel into the afternoon sun, every single afternoon for the 18-month period.

Then overnight it was brought inside where it naturally cooled down, its effect – opening and closing & contracting the internal oak barrel grain. Another factor to take into consideration is whilst it was wheeled twice a day, the rum was agitated / sloshed around.

Internal Barrel temperatures reached a maximum of 52° and a minimum of 2° over the ageing period of 1 1/2 years. In the shed – Lowest humidity reading was 15%, highest 88%. As well as a huge 7.8% increase in ABV over the 18 month period.

As an Indy bottler, it’s nice to be able to play around with things, try different blends, experiment and ultimately leave your fingerprint on a release. The end result on this experiment is a spirit that tastes well beyond its true age, rich viscous with layers of Stonefruit flavours.

ABOUT DEAD RECKONING

Justin Boseley, has immersed himself in rum for the past 20 years; a journey starting as a deck scrubbing lad with a thirst for Rum and adventure culminated in him becoming a Chief Officer; driving billionaire’s mega yachts around the world. This life of salty seadog adventure took him to Rum’s heartland, the Caribbean islands for 6 months a year, every year.

When he wasn’t at the helm of a mega-yacht he could be found hanging off a bar or at a distillery sampling the best the Caribbean rum scene had to offer. Upon ending his days at sea there was only one thing he knew better that navigating around the world’s oceans- that was Rum. For 10 years Justin has scoured the globe discovering & importing the world’s best rums into Australia.

Dead Reckoning is Australia’s first independent rum bottler, and each release from his bond-store is an anticipated event that never fails to please!  The Rum Tribe is incredibly proud of our close association with Justin and the Dead Reckoning brand.

ABOUT MHOBA

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Onderberg district of Mpumalanga and amidst our own sugarcane fields, you can find The MHOBA Rum Distillery: An artisan distillery where we make 10 different types of Pure Single Estate Sugarcane Rhum or Pure Single Sugarcane Rhum.

Unlike most traditional rum, which is made from molasses which is the by-product of refined sugar production, MHOBA rum is made from pure sugarcane juice. Our rum is 100% pot distilled from fermented sugarcane juice and contains no additives, colourings or flavour modifiers and is therefore termed Pure Single Rum; The rum equivalent of Single Malt Whiskey.

What makes MHOBA rhum even more unique is that the whole rum making process occurs on our sugar estate. From planting our own organic sugarcane right through to hand filling and labelling our bottles after distilling in our self-designed and self-built stills, MHOBA Rhum is 100% rum that is made by us.

ABOUT DISTILLERIE INDOCHINE

A team combining more than 35 years of experience in the field of wines and spirits, but above all, a group of friends dedicated to bringing together in the same project, their love for rum and their attachment to Vietnam. Antoine Poircuitte, the Master Distiller, driven by his passion and experience, wanted to bring back to taste a family tradition in order to elaborate the best Vietnamese agricultural rum.

The one and only place in Vietnam where you will be able to discover a French still and a traditional ageing method surrounded by a pristine beach! It is the ideal place for all lovers of Artisan rum who want to enjoy their tastings in a heavenly setting.

The harvesting time of Sampan production takes place at the end of each day. Harvesting done by hand means a low per-hectare yield but enhances a better juice concentration. To ensure maximum freshness and a high-quality juice cane, the canes are always delivered within 12 hours of harvesting, directly at our production site.

ABOUT DIAMOND DISTILLERY GUYANA

In 1993, there were only three distilleries still operating in Guyana (Diamond Distillery, Uitvlugt Distillery and Enmore Distillery). By 2000 only Diamond Distillery remained. Luckily (for the rum world), the stills and expertise from the Uitvlugt and Enmore Distilleries were transported and housed at the Diamond Distillery. These 4 ‘Heritage Stills’ (three of them wooden!) are still in use today at Diamond Distillery. And the Guyanese component of TCB is a blend of all of those stills!

Well it’s been a long time in the making, but we’ve finally done it! A RUM TRIBE EXCLUSIVE collaboration with those South Aussie soulsters of sublimation, the Adelaide angels of extraction, prehensile purveyors of PURE SINGLE RUM…has finally come of age!

Our own Mad Monkey Barossa cask is here… and it’s a BEAUT!

The Mad Monkey EX-Barossa Cask is made from NSW Northern Rivers molasses (from the Condong, Broadwater, and Harwood Sugar Mills) fermented using a mix of wild and commercial ale yeast. Double distilled in ‘Albert’ – Mad Monkeys Pot Still. Set down to age in American oak, ex-Barossa wine cask for 3 years and one month and finally bottled for the Rum Tribe at 43%abv.

Now we’ve featured Mad Monkey before – but never one of their aged rums. Their ‘Baked Apple’ is a big favourite of the Rum Tribe cocktail crowd but we’re stoked to finally be able to present a pure single rum from these awesome guys.

Now, this may only be Mad Monkey’s 4th aged rum release – but don’t let that fool you. These guys were running a full FIVE years before they released their first aged rum. They didn’t rush to market with a hurried 2yo, but rather perfected their fermentation and distillation before committing to the barrel.

Mad Monkey aren’t afraid to experiment with their rums. They use a mixture of wild yeast form their own ‘dunder and muck’ and commercial ale yeast in their Adelaide distillery. Interestingly, they are also presently experimenting with using bees as a way to collect wild yeasts from their local area.

The Ron Cubaney 15 year old Gran Reserva is possibly the hardest to find of all the Ron Cubaney Rums.

Our Tasting Notes:

Unfortunately, yours truly has come down with the dreaded ‘Rona during writing this and I have completely lost all sense of taste and smell. Luckily, Kirk Pinner from Island Coast Rum has been visiting Brisvegas and has kindly taken on the role of ‘guest rummer’ for the month.

Nose: With spiced cloves, all spice, sultanas, light golden syrup and fruit cake with a touch of sweet soft banana goes nicely with the golden appearance.

Palate: Easy to sip at 43% ABV and cools nicely with an ice cube on a warm evening. A balanced combination of burnt orange, sultanas and sugary spice.

Finish: A hint of aniseed, cloves, light and sweet brown sugar, and gentle bitterness with all spice coming through.

  • PRICE : $135

  • ABV : 43%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Australia (SA)

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

FROM MAD MONKEY

Embark on an extraordinary journey with this batch release exclusive for our esteemed mates at the “Rum Tribe.”

Aged for 3 years and 1 month in Ex Barossa Valley Red Wine Casks, this exquisite spirit embodies unparalleled craftsmanship. Crafted with a blend of wild and ale yeast, it offers a sensory exploration like no other.

Delight in the tantalizing aroma of orange, dates, and minerals, paving the way for a palate of phenolic richness, tobacco undertones, and the sweetness of dried apricots. Its soft, oily texture unfolds into a spicy finish, leaving a lingering warmth.

Double Pot Distilled and matured in an American Oak barrel & seasoned with Barossa Valley Red Wine, this non-chill filtered creation is a testament to purity. With zero additives, save for reverse osmosis water to achieve perfection, each 700ml bottle at 43%abv reflects the epitome of indulgence, beckoning to be savoured neat, over ice, or any preferred manner.

Tasting notes.

Nose: Orange, Dates and minerals

Palate:  Phenolic, Tobacco, Dried Apricots

Mouthfeel:  Soft oily open and spicy finish.

Method: Double Pot Distilled

Yeast: Muck & Ale yeast

Maturation: 3yrs 1 mth

Barrel: American Oak & Barossa Valley Red wine

Zero additives except reverse osmosis water to break back to bottle strength. Non chill filtered. Designed to be sipped neat, over ice or however you damn please.

ABOUT MAD MONKEY

Way back in 2018, long before global pandemics and capacity restrictions were a thing, two monkeys were stumbling along their own crooked paths, dwelling on their dreams of bringing a slice of the Caribbean to little old South Australia.

Through sheer serendipity, the two monkeys’ paths crossed deep in the Barossa Valley, at an annual Australian Distiller’s Conference. After bonding over their shared ideals, and comparing their varied skill sets (and with the aid of some of Australia’s finest spirits) two Caribbean fever dreams began to manifest themselves as one…

5 years later, we present to you Mad Monkey – South Australia’s first dedicated rum distillery, nestled deep in the heart of Dudley Park. Using a mix of open fermentations, specialty yeasts and a little black magic, we aim to introduce our world to yours.

This month it is all about the Hellfire! Hellfire Bluff Distillery is a Tasmanian family-run farm-to-bottle producer recognised internationally for their own-grown potato vodka. In the last few years, they have been branching out and we’re stoked to be featuring their fourth Rum release bottled EXCLUSIVELY for the Tribe – The Hellfire Bluff Hellfire Rum RT01.  

Hellfire Rum RT01 is a molasses-based rum, with the base product trucked down from sunny QLD to the Apple Isle (Tassie grows a lot of great produce, but sugar cane just ain’t one of ‘em!). The water used in the ferment is the purest rainwater in the world ‘flown in’ straight from Antarctica and the Southern Pacific Ocean! It’s a column-distilled rum, coming out of spirit run at around 85%abv. Cool-Climate, sea side matured for 3 years in 100l ex-Apera and ex-Makers Mark Bourbon casks right on the SE corner of Tasmania. Bottled exclusively for the Rum Tribe at 43% (cut with that sweet, pure Tassie rainwater!).

Because it’s such a fantastic story, with such a fantastic end-product, we’re going to offer members a chance to taste their world renowned Vodka as well (the spirit that started it all for them). Why is it special you may ask? Well it’s one of only TWO distilleries in the Southern Hemisphere making vodka with potatoes, and one of a handful in the world.

Hellfire Rum

Tasmania isn’t the first place you think of when you think of rum – but it does make sense that some distilleries in the Apple Isle are starting to turn their attention to rum making. In the same way the Tasmanian climate emulates Scotland for ageing whisky (inspiring the ‘rebirth’ of the Australian whisky industry in the ‘90’s), a vast amount of rum is cold-aged in massive warehouses in Europe – which, obviously, Tasmanian climate can resemble too! We’re truly blessed with so many different aging climates enabling our country to turn out so many different and interesting rums!

Now whilst Tassie is probably best known for it’s whisky production, there is a growing stable of distillers down there who have turned their attention to other spirits – including rum. We’ve already tried (and loved… we sold out!) the Island Coast Rum from Tassie – and this month it’s Hellfire Bluff Distillery’s turn to slake the Rum Tribe’s thirst with their wonderful Hellfire Rum.

Hellfire Bluff distillery didn’t set out to make rum when it was first built back in 2015. In fact, it was built by the Daly family in order to diversify their potato farm business by using the 20% of potatoes that are rejected for sale simply because they ‘look funny’ (and subsequently passed off as cow fodder). They have set up one of the only 2 distilleries in the southern hemisphere making potato vodka. 

In 2020 when a certain virus shut down everything – the Daly’s used it as a chance to further diversify. Whilst a lot of distilleries went in the direction of producing alcohol for hand sanitizer – Hellfire decided to go with rum! Why rum? Well firstly the Daly family loves rum and secondly, at the time there was no one making rum in Tassie. It seemed like a no-brainer.

And last but certainly not least – these are not the standard 500ml Hellfire bottles- but just for the Rum Tribe, Hellfire have bottled for us in 700ml bottles. And in doing so we’ve completely cleaned them out of rum until at least after March!  The Rum Tribe is THIRSTY!

Hellfire Rum
Not just any vodka, only 1 of 2 Vodka’s made from potatoes in the Southern Hemisphere and one of a handful in the world.

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: A very ‘brown’ nose – not very fruity, but more chocolate, espresso coffee and salted caramel with dusty oak notes sprinkled liberally there. There’s definitely a sweet and salty seaside influence here.

Palate: Nice and easy on the sip with that 43% abv very well integrated. Dried fruit jumps out on the palate much more so than is noticeable in the nose. Sultanas, raisins and mixed peel, as well as a nice nutty-nougat note – all drizzled with vanillary custard

Finish:  Sweet espresso coffee with crisp dark chocolate takes a tumble with some salted-caramel, cola notes and just the merest hint of pepper at the back of the palate as it fades.

A seriously easy drinking – yet very interesting and complex rum that will be just as loved by those new to good rum as the ‘old hands’. It’s not a funk-forward rum, there’s way more nuts and dark coffee than there is funky over-ripe fruit. It’s all about those ‘bitter-sweet’ notes to me – the dark chocolate, espresso coffee and nuts – all with a very subtle salty backdrop that can only be attributed to the seaside aging. Lovely!

  • PRICE : $119

  • ABV : 43%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Australia (TAS)

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

Hellfire Rum

FROM HELLFIRE BLUFF DISTILLERY

Hey Rum Tribe!

We are so excited that our little potato farm distillery has been chosen for this month’s release. The Hellfire team has great passion for our small batch rum releases, and we think Rum Tribe has our best release yet!

Fermented, distilled, matured and bottled on site at our distillery on the rugged and remote southeast coast of Tasmania. This special release was barrel aged for 3 years, starting maturation in a Bourbon cask and finishing in an Apera cask.

First impressions on the nose are charred oak & tobacco, with dessert-like sweetness of raisin & custard.

A golden palate reveals walnuts balanced with a praline sweetness, rounded out with a hint of bourbon.

The finish is subtle yet long, with light cedar and a gradual reveal of pecan nougat.

Our cellar door is always open on the southeast coast of Tasmania, We hope you can come say hello to us one day soon!

Thanks – Ruby & The Hellfire Team

ABOUT HELLFIRE BLUFF DISTILLERY

Perched above the rugged expanse of Hellfire Bluff on Tasmania’s southeastern coast lies Daly Farm, the birthplace of Hellfire Bluff Distillery. More than 30 years ago, the Daly family hand-planted their inaugural potato crop, a humble beginning that now sees them supplying potatoes to retailers across Tasmania. Unconventional as far as distillery origins go, their journey unfolded as they pursued a dream of crafting distinctive spirits and adding value to the potatoes cultivated on their farm.

The distillery’s inception marked the introduction of their premium Potato Vodka, a traditional-style spirit that stands out as one of the few in Australia crafted from potatoes. This unique creation earned them the title of Best Australian Varietal Vodka at the 2022 World Vodka Awards.

Fueling their passion for crafting top-tier spirits, Hellfire Bluff Distillery expanded its repertoire to include small-batch Tasmanian Gins, highly coveted Liqueurs, Ready-to-Drink offerings, and cool-climate Tasmanian Rum. Emphasizing quality ingredients, the entire product line utilizes pristine local Tasmanian rainwater harvested on the farm. Along their journey, Hellfire has garnered acclaim at esteemed national and global competitions, amassing over 40 medals, 17 of which are gold. Notably, their Summer Floral Gin secured the title of Australia’s Best Contemporary Gin at the 2021 World Gin Awards.

Well welcome to 2024! Happy New Year Tribe and we are off and racing with a huge EXCLUSIVE AUSTRALIAN RELEASE to bring in the new year! The Dead Reckoning South Pacific

A ten-year-old, muscat cask, 100% tropically aged, single blended rum from the legendary South Pacific Distillery in Fiji…bring on the Dead Reckoning South Pacific!

The Dead Reckoning South Pacific – is a bit of a dichotomy.  The first impression is of one of a HUGE rum that absolutely CHARGES out of the bottle and rams into your olfactory system as you open it for the first time. It’s just such a, well, BIG smell it’s almost a little disconcerting imagining how it’s going to hit the palate…and yet when you do take your first sip, what strikes you is just how immensely well behaved this Fabulous Fijian is!      

Dead Reckoning South Pacific

Sometimes a rum has a story that defies belief. Sometimes a rum is ‘just right’ when an indy bottler finds it. Sometimes it needs nothing more – just a qualified eye in the right place at the right time… and a little bit of luck of course. This is the story of such a rum. Distilled in 1994 at South Pacific Distillery – a blend of both [‘double thumper’] pot and column still rum. It was tropically aged in Fiji in Australian Muscat Casks (from Charles Sturt Winery in Wagga Wagga to be precise!) for 10 years. In 2004, these casks were married into a single stainless steel tank. The tank was then shipped to an Amsterdam rum warehouse where it was promptly forgotten about. 

Forgotten about, that is, until in 2022 (a full 18 years later!) when a certain Justin Boseley was snooping around the dusty back corners of said warehouse sniffing out unusual rums (he’s like a bloody truffle-pig in a bond-store, people!). I like to imagine he climbed over a few racks of barrels, before pulling back a dusty tarp to reveal this mysterious stainless vessel. I also like to imagine the smile that formed when he cracked the lid and first smelled the precious cargo it held.

Normally, at this point Justin would put the tank on a boat, sail it to Adelaide where he would finish it in a cask or casks he felt would improve the flavour in the dry Adelaide heat. For example, last time we offered a South Pacific Distillery Dead Reckoning (the 21 year old Mutiny South Pacific, back in 2021) Justin had finished it in Cream Apera Casks in Adelaide for 12 months.  This time though – for the first time – Justin had found a rum that was absolutely ready to rock and roll just as it was. So he bottled it onsite in Amsterdam and then sent it to Europe and the USA as part of his first onslaught into these huge markets.

Now we’re big fans and good friends of the Dead Reckoning brand – and it’s this ongoing friendship that has allowed us to received an allocation of an otherwise Europe-USA only release (there is only 1240 bottles worldwide). For the Dead Reckoning collectors – note the foil-sealed cork on this rather than the wax seal screw-top used on the Australian-bottled releases!

Dead Reckoning South Pacific
The only rum EVER to come out of NSW powerhouse distillery Corowa!

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: So much going on here – and every time you go back you get something new! Gingerbread a-plenty at first, but then sultanas, bananas and pawpaw – all mashed up rather than funkily over-ripe. There’s candied peel there too… and cloves… and biscuit spices… and then…

Palate: Lovely sweet and lusciously tropical. Just the merest smidge of heat at first but the succulent sweetness quickly extinguishes any fire. Huge, voluptuous and syrupy fruit notes coat the palate like render as vanilla-ey custard notes dollop on for the ride.      

Finish: The finish backs up the nose and palate admirably – there’s no disappointing ‘fizzle out’ on this back end. Thunderous barrels of chewy dried dates, liquorice, black coffee and toffee roll on and on, bumping over funky fruit notes and more of that [delicious IMHOP] ginger nut bickie spice. Flavour-wise this is a mammoth rum – so much to be lip-smacked and tooth-sucked out of this offering from Dead Reckoning. It’s truly a gentle giant though – it gives a warm yet considerate hug, it’s affable and it’s easily approachable by both rum newbie AND total-rum-geek.

Seriously – I feel a bit of cheat with these tasting notes. There are new flavours to be found pretty much every sip – let alone if you leave it and come back 10 minutes later – LET ALONE TOMORROW!!  Whilst you could mix this with a ginger beer or ginger ale quite easily – frankly, it’s just waaay to good to adulterate with anything other than some ice (it’s bloody hot this time of year, after all!).

  • PRICE : $129

  • ABV : 47%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Fiji

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

Dead Reckoning South Pacific

FROM DEAD RECKONING

After sampling this rum that was purely aged in the Sth Pacific I knew I had to have it . Initially destined for release in Europe & the US, it was decided the Rum Tribe had to have a slice of the pie as well . 

I first bottled this in Amsterdam, then shipped it back to Australia. It’s time spent in a Muscat cask rounds off this once untamed rum perfectly. It still has hints of the rawness that’s always attracted me to South Pacific rum, but its 10 years in a Muscat cask had added layers of flavour profile & a subtle dipping experience. First distilled in 1994, barrel aged 10years in Fiji, then 18 additional years in a stainless steel holding tank have married the flavour chain together perfectly. 

Nosed it has a herbal quality, similar to St Lucian rum. Pine Cones, some Pot Pourri and a touch of eucalyptus. Further nosing reveals some molasses, toffee and sweet vanilla. Time in the glass gives more time for the aromas to reveal themselves. Slightly menthol notes appear alongside some light tar and cigarette smoke.

It’s a complex nose. It’s a rum which is really worth sitting with and nosing. You will get a lot out of it this way and it will also improve your sipping experience. It is both light and soft, yet quite menacing at the same time.

On the sip it is quite spicy with a fair amount of barrel influence. It’s oaky but the spice from the oak isn’t overly woody. You get a good hit of sweet vanilla. The herbal nature of the rum comes out more with each sip – the pine cones and eucalyptus that was on the nose is very evident. I’m also getting a carbolic/soapy element.

On the mid palate the rum evolves further. A sooty/tarriness comes through. I think if you experienced a Fijian rum – for the first time you could well think it was a blend. It has elements of St Lucian rum, heavy Caroni and most definitely funky Jamaican notes.

The initial sip and mid palate carry a fruitiness as well, which works nicely with the more herbal notes. It keeps the more aggressive elements of this rum at bay. It keeps the balance nicely.

ABOUT DEAD RECKONING

Justin, has immersed himself in rum for the past 20 years; a journey starting as a deck scrubbing lad with a thirst for Rum and adventure culminated in him becoming a Chief Officer; driving billionaire’s mega yachts around the world. This life of salty seadog adventure took him to Rum’s heartland, the Caribbean islands for 6 months a year, every year.

When he wasn’t at the helm of a yacht he could be found hanging off a bar or at a distillery sampling the best the Caribbean rum scene had to offer. Upon ending his days at sea there was only one thing he knew better that navigating around the world’s oceans- that was Rum. For 10 years Justin has scoured the globe discovering & importing the world’s best rums into Australia.

Dead Reckoning is Australia’s first independent rum bottler. We know there’s more in the works from Dead Reckoning and we can’t wait to try more and more of these fabulous independent bottling from a true rum legend.

ABOUT SOUTH PACIFIC DISTILLING

The South Pacific Distillery is known as the quite achiever, often producing rums under a cloak of secrecy, supplying independent bottlers with mind blowing rums. Their distillery is named ‘South Pacific Distillery’ and they use column stills and a John Dore pot still / double retort (double thumper) configuration. This still configuration is much better explained by others than myself. And HERE is a very good explanation of the ‘double thumper’.

Other very well-known rum distilleries such as St Lucia distillers, Foursquare, Hampden & Worthy Park use the same or a very similar system.

A closed fermentation process using molasses (closed so that birds don’t fall into the ferment) for 70 to 100 hours produces what can only be described as an element of funk. Dunder is not used; controlled yeast is the activator in their ferment.

High Grade Sugar cane and subsequently molasses is in no shortage on the islands of the South pacific, ideal for quality rum production.

After the ferment is run through the still the “rum” is normally stored in Ex Bourbon barrels in its high temp and humidity environment. The colour of this rum is evident that its “tropical ageing” is a rewarding and tumultuous partner, providing a full bodied and funky rum.

The World First Release of the very FIRST Firkin RUM!

Now Firkin are absolute LEGENDS in the spirits industry with their Head Honcho, Mike Collings having over 50 years of high-end spirit credentials up his proverbial (he’s the guy that invented Johnny Walker Blue and Green among other accomplishments).

This is a single cask bottling of single blended Caribbean rum (rum made from both column and pot still at the one distillery). Molasses-based, distilled at Angostura Distillers in Trinidad & Tobago. Now this is sold as a NAS (No Age Statement) rum, but I’m reliably informed that it was tropically matured for around 6 years in Trinidad then transferred to Mikes custom, hybrid, ex-Speyside whisky cask in Scotland to finish for 18 months. Bottled at 43%abv, the result is a wonderfully rich and fruity rum that is eminently sippable neat and perfectly at home paired with your favourite mixer around the pool.

It’s not often we get to launch a new international Rum Brand onto the world stage and as you can imagine – when we do we’re pretty bloody excited! What’s more exciting is that this rum has come from an absolute legend of the spirits industry. I’m proud to consider Mike a friend and we’ve featured a few of the releases of his indy bottling brand ‘The Firkin Whisky Co’  in our ‘other club’ (SMWC).

This Christmas, we are incredibly proud to be able to introduce to the world, the very first Firkin Rum.

Firkin Rum First Edition

Mike Collings’ work with international alcohol giant Diageo has seen him involved with some of the worlds largest brands. Even the most ardent rum ‘fanboi’ (or goil!) has heard of Johnny Walker Blue Label – perhaps the worlds most instantly recognisable top-shelf scotch whisky – hell, the most recognisable top-shelf spirit, really. Well… Mike Collings is the man behind JW Blue. It’s his baby. His work in Scotch whisky is both iconic and award winning.  But that’s not to say scotch whisky is his only trick.  Mike was helping supply the Royal Navy with rum in the early eighties working for ‘Saccone & Speed’ – a company that had it’s start supplying Admiral Nelson’s ships with rum at Gibraltar! In fact, Mike’s first sales job (way back in 1973) was selling Navy Neaters Cask Strength Rum to the RN at Portsmouth. Mike has also distributed Cockspur and Pussers Rum in the UK – so he knows his rum too.

For the last few years, Mike has lived in Adelaide, travelling frequently to source for, and promote his Firkin Whisky Co. label. Essentially, the Firkin Whisky Co independently bottles Scottish whisky after finishing it in their own bespoke hybrid casks made of alternating American first-fill Bourbon staves and new French Limousin oak staves with a custom char, seasoned with a variety of fortified wines. 

Now, on the other side of the planet, in Scotland, there is a gentleman called Jim Ashley who (like our good mate Justin Boseley) independently bottles rum, under the Outlaw Rum Brand. Now Jim buys rum from Trinidad &Tobago and finishes it in casks that have previously held single malt whisky from the Speyside region in Scotland. TLDR – he independently bottles whisky-cask finished rum.

I think you can see where this is going!

Well Mike and Jim met, got talking and … what you see here is the grand result of Jim finishing his rum in one of Mike’s ex-Speyside whisky maturing, hybrid casks. And et voilà  – the Firkin Rum First Edition Single Cask was born!

Firkin Rum First Edition
LIQUID CHRISTMAS CAKE! The Christmas Rum Cask is a nearly 6-year-old, pure single rum from Western Australia’s beautiful Margaret River region.

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose:  Liquorice, cloves and brand new leather all drizzled in melted butter.

Palate: Thick and satisfying mouthfeel with very little pepper. Spiced fruity mince, marzipan, ginger nut bikkies, allspice, vanilla and some candied citrus peel with more of that butteryness to boot!

Finish: Lovely, long and luscious. Rolling sweet waves of caramel, aniseed and biscuit spices – yet exits curiously crisply with a nice mild astringency in the jowls!

An absolutely firkin brilliant First Edition rum from Messrs. Collings and Ashley. Lots of big fruity Speyside whisky notes bumping up against traditional creamy-Caribbean-caramels and liquorice-y rum qualities. At 43% it’s perfect for sipping over ice on a stinking December day, and totes killer with your favourite mixer.

  • PRICE : $139

  • ABV : 43%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Trinidad & Tobago / Scotland

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

Firkin Rum First Edition

FROM FIRKIN WHISKY CO. / OUTLAW RUM

Serendipity is a beautiful thing.

A chance encounter between Jim Ashley the fabulous founder of Outlaw Rum and Firkin’s Mike Collings has produced something extraordinary.

Outlaw Rum imports a premium blend rum from the world famous Angostura Distillery in Trinidad & Tobago and matures them in a selection of malt whisky casks from Scotland’s premier distilleries.

This alchemy occurs at this converted barn in the north of Scotland. Coincidentally, Firkin’s famous custom casks are coopered from first fill bourbon and new French oak just a few miles down the road.

Why it’s just neighbourly to have these two pioneers collaborate. Jim’s special Rum in Mike’s innovative casks, having recently held the pride of Speyside, has produced something truly unique.

The first release lets the Firkin flavours flow through the exceptional Rum to produce something very Firkins special indeed.

Nose: Sweet and subtle wafts of caramel and vanilla lead into toffee, which sails into hints of oak and a turn of sherry to bring us home.

Taste: Like a lover’s kiss the senses align, as caramel, vanilla and toffee remain. Bountiful citrus with succulent satsuma wash through as a uniquely Scottish/Caribbean experience provides buttery coconut and joyful raisin and baked spice finish.

This is our first limited edition of some very special releases, which reflect our passion for taking the very best and adding our own nuances and depth of flavour combining the best of Scotland and Trinidad & Tobago.

Nothing added or taken away. Our rigorous standards require that no sugar, caramel or flavouring of any kind is added. We also think gravity is still the best form of clarification and would never use chill filtration.

Cheers

Mike Collings                                   Jim Ashley
Founder Firkin Whisky Co             Founder Outlaw Rum Co

ABOUT FIRKIN WHISKY CO.

For those unaware, Mike Collings is a giant in the high-end spirits industry. During his time with Diageo (world largest spirits business) he was the mind behind the famous Johnny Walker Blue plus a plethora of whiskies that are almost ubiquitous in any bottle shop around the world. In other words, Mike has been crafting ‘household name’ whiskies for the worlds largest brands for over 50 years.

Mike Collings could have retired with an incredible track record in whisky. He had created Johnnie Walker Blue & Green Labels, The Classic Malts, Rare Malts, Distillers Edition, Flora & Fauna series, Cardhu and Royal Lochnagar. That’s pretty Firkin good as far as CVs go.

Mike’s now been working in the highest-end of alcohol for 50 years. You couldn’t blame him for packing it in and putting his feet up. That would have been the sensible thing to do. But Mike is many things. Sensible isn’t one of them. Mike stirs the pot. He thinks about things differently and always asks: ‘what if …’?

ABOUT ANGOSTURA

Angostura is one of the leading manufacturing companies in the Caribbean that produces a superb collection of rum brands as well as it’s ubiquitous-in-any-bar-anywhere-in-the-world bitters range.

Along with being a Royal Warrant holder to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for their Angostura aromatic bitters, they have successfully marketed their iconic bitters globally and have a geographic reach into 170 markets. The recipe for Angostura aromatic bitters has not been changed since the first bottle was introduced to the world in 1824.

Many of their brands have been bringing joy for generations in Trinidad and Tobago, their core rum market. Meanwhile, their premium rums have been causing a stir at countless international competitions over the past decade. In the last year alone, the Angostura rum range has been rewarded with over 25 prestigious accolades internationally.

Firkin Rum First Edition

Four words to excite any rum lover – ‘Tin Shed Distilling Requiem’! If you like your rums to have character and flavour, without what is often referred to as a high ester flavour profile, then the Requiem SS Admella from Tin Shed Distilling is the rum for you. 

A FIRST RELEASE Aussie Rum from one of Australia’s finest distillers! This is truly the thinking man’s ‘Big Aussie Rum’.

The Requiem SS Admella is made from molasses wash, twice-distilled in Tin Shed’s copper pot stills before being aged for 5 years in an ex-Shiraz Whisky cask, then finished in a reworked, re-charred ex-port cask and bottled at an easy drinking 44% ABV. The result is a big, ‘traditional’ Aussie rum full of cola, caramel, cloves and aniseed. It’s big and blustery, round and robust  – but also gentle and well balanced – and all without the big ABV usually associated with this sort of mouthfeel. Nothing challenging or alien here – but flavour for miles.

Tin Shed Distilling has been producing incredible pot stilled spirits since 2010. The Rum Tribe raved about the Requiem SS Songvaar that we released to the Tribe in 2021. Vic and Ian (the blokes behind the name) have been distilling for even longer than that. They are no strangers to medals and awards – and are so prolific I wonder if the move to the new digs isn’t just an excuse to build a bigger ‘pool room’ to fit them all.

Requiem SS Admella

They have always prided themselves as being completely hands-on artisanal pot-distillers (rum, whisky and vodka) and this will continue in the new location. It’s just going to be a whole lot more pleasant for us – the public – to sit and enjoy the fruits of their labour where it’s made, at the new place.

By definition a Requiem is a final mass, a prayer for the dead, a final tribute. Each expression of Requiem is a tribute to a ship, wrecked or lost at sea and to the seafarers who sailed in those ships.

The Requiem SS Admella was an Iron-hulled, single propped trader of 60m length and a displacement of 395 tons, built in 1857. She was named from the route of her trading between Adelaide, Melbourne and Launceston (Ad-Mel-La). At approximately 5.00 am on Saturday the 6th of August the ship hit – what turned out to be – Carpenter’s Reef, whilst on its way to Melbourne.  Although less than a mile to the shore it was 6 days before the survivors were able to be rescued from the wreck. Of 107 passengers and crew, sadly, only 24 survived.  A full account of the wreck of the Admella can be found at the Campbelltown City Council website.

Requiem SS Admella
A LIMITED EDITION Dead Reckoning Rum celebrating the legendary ‘Operation Jaywick’ with half the proceeds going to the Commando Welfare Trust

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: Lots of big burnt caramel notes, post-mix cola syrup (if you’ve ever dropped a bag of that you’ll know), cloves and sweet banana lollies plus – yep there it is – that ‘Tin Shed Distillery new-belt leather note’.

Palate: Sweet and rich and chewy on the palate. It’s not subtle – but it’s not harsh either. It’s just… BIG.  Big, sweet, flavour but little burn. The cola syrup comes through again, but also there’s boiled ‘humbug’ lollies (aniseed), hot ginger and soothing honey here.

Finish: Wow – I get a real ‘honey jumble deconstructed’ in the finish. There’s honey, ginger, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon all swirling around a delicate dryness in the finale – from the port cask I suspect. 

The Requiem SS Admella is truly the thinking man’s ‘Big Aussie Rum’. I think this really takes those quintessentially Australian rum flavours – the molasses, the cola and the leather notes, with a sweet palate and dryish finish and ads about 25PSI of turbo boost. That Tin Shed get such big and round flavour and such exquisite mouthfeel out of 44%ABV is pure alchemy. 

  • PRICE : $119

  • ABV : 44%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Australia (SA)

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

Requiem SS Admella

FROM TIN SHED DISTILLING

If you like your rums to have some character and flavour, without what is often referred to as a high ester flavour profile, then Requiem SS Admella is the rum for you.  Lots of Dutch liquorice and molasses notes, even cola, but only the merest hint of funk and even then you have to hunt it down. Requiem SS Admella is a rum for those with a palate that is discerning, and always wanting more.  If this rum were a car, it would be an open top sports car rather than a limousine, with a turbo charged V8 under the hood!

Dutch liquorice, Cola nuts, Molasses, Treacle, Marzipan, Glacé cherry, Salty finish with salted caramel

Wanting more…Heavy sipping rum, yum

ABOUT TIN SHED DISTILLING

Tin Shed Distillery was established in 2010 by Ian Schmidt and long time drinking buddy Vic Orlow. Ian is a straight talker with little time for fake extravagances – and his distillery certainly reflects this attitude. From the unassuming front door, through to the utilitarian stacks and rows of ageing whisky, to the small stills – this is grassroots craft distilling at it’s finest!

There’s no ‘Visitors Centre’ here (although Ian welcomes visitors by appointment) – the distillery is the visitors centre. What you get is plain and simple – almost spartan. A distillery, bond store, bottling plant and office all under one roof. It’s all about the spirits at Tin Shed Distilling.

***STOP PRESS! ***

As we said – all this is about to change. Tin Shed is about to move (date close but uncertain at time this was penned) to bigger, and much more salubrious location – complete with cellar door and bar! I’m told there’s even going to be FOOD! .

***STOP PRESS! ***

What Tin Shed Distilling lacks in size, flashyness or ‘pomp’ it certainly makes up for in the quality of it’s products. Ian and Vic’s philosophy is ‘only bottle what we like to drink’ – and the results of this attitude were apparent from day one. The very first batch of their Iniquity Single Malt Whisky made the Whisky Bible’s ‘Liquid Gold’ list in 2015 with a score of 94 –described as “a gorgeous experience”. Subsequent whisky bottling have won many accolades and now it’s Tin Shed’s rums turn in the spotlight!

Whilst awards are great, with a distillery as small as Tin Shed, they don’t drive sales. As Ian puts it – “by the time the results are out, we’ve sold all of the spirit we entered”. What’s more important to the boys at Iniquity is feedback from ‘the Den’ (Tin Shed’s members club) and the drinking public at whisky shows. Love this rum – then join Iniquity’s ‘the Den’ and stay up to date with all new Iniquity releases and everything that’s happening at Tin Shed Distilling.

With October being an ‘ode to funk’…our favourite Australian (actually Victorian) hogo heads have delivered an EXCLUSIVE KILLIK/ RUM TRIBE collaboration – The Killik Virgin American Oak!

This is the very first Virgin Oak maturation Killik have done – and I’m here to tell you, it won’t be their last! It’s bloody brilliant! This is molasses based rum – the wash was seeded with proprietary yeast prior to having wild yeast [via dunder] added. It was distilled in a copper pot still, and then laid to rest in a virgin American oak cask for 2.5 years before being bottled at 48% exclusively for the Rum Tribe. 

Now, Killik do it a bit different to most Australian rums. For a start they embrace the characteristic known as ‘hogo’ or ‘funk’ in their rums. This is a flavour profile mostly unexplored by Aussie distillers but huge in the Caribbean – Jamaica particularly being seen as the ‘spiritual home of hogo’.  But some Aussies, like Killik (and Nil Desperandum is another) are notable for actively pursuing this quality with the use of dunder and muck in their fermentation. 

Killik’s raw spirit alone is world class – in fact the Killik ‘Silver’ as it’s known, has been winning medals all over – culmination in a gold medal and Best in Class at World Spirits Awards earlier this year. Killik have proven themselves to be world-class producers of hi-ester rum and we are absolutely bloody stoked to be part of another ‘first’ for Killik – a virgin oak maturation.

Killik Virgin Oak American

But what is this ‘hogo’ that we speak of? Well, originally a Jamaican style, hogo is an easily identifiable – yet hard to describe – flavour which is the result of wild yeast fermentation. It is commonly characterized by its potent, funky nose and taste. In fact hogo is also known as ‘funk’ in some places. It can be very difficult to define and can vary wildly. In the case of Killik, it is often very fruity with strong aromas of tropical fruit, over-ripe banana, strawberry, and a distinct milkiness.

The key to hogo, or funk, is the use of wild yeasts in the fermentation stage of production. And the source of those wild yeasts is what’s known as ‘dunder and muck’. Those with a delicate constitution may wish to look away now, because as the names suggest, dunder and muck isn’t the loveliest stuff in the world. Dunder is what’s left over in a rum still once the spirit has been distilled out of the wash.  It’s essentially dead yeast, water and whatever caramelised, boiled out, leftover gunk they can scrape out of the still after a run. The dunder is then chucked in a ‘dunder pit’ which could [traditionally] be a big hole in the ground (an actual ‘pit of dunder’ as it were). These days most dunder pits are contained in some sort of large plastic container such as IBC’s. Killik’s dunder pit is an old dairy vat (Pictured).

The dunder is ‘fed’ carbohydrates in the form of, well, whatever fruit etc is lying around the distillery or surrounding farms. This added sugar allows a secondary fermentation to begin by any wild yeast that happen to land in the pit. By this stage the ‘dunder pit’ is a foul looking, cow-shit reeking, bubbling vat of the nastiest looking sludge you can imagine. This wonderfully vile concoction of wild yeasts, and the flavour molecules they excrete (along with CO2 and alcohol) is what ‘seeds’ the next rum mash and is known as ‘muck’.

Use of dunder and muck in rum production originated in Jamaica around the same time as the slaves discovered making rum. It makes sense as it provided an inexhaustible supply of an otherwise hard to come by (in those times) resource – yeast! With the commercialisation and industrialisation of rum production in the subsequent years, reliability, repeatability and yield of the fermentation process became essential. Thus the uptake of commercial and proprietary yeasts saw the use of wild yeasts dwindle – and so muck and dunder began to be a fond memory with only a handful of distilleries interested.  Luckily, there has been a ‘rediscovery’ of dunder and muck use in rum distilling, and Killik have pioneered its use in Australia.

The Killik Virgin American Oak is the very first Virgin Oak maturation Killik have done – and I’m here to tell you, it won’t be their last! This is molassas based rum – the wash was seeded with a proprietary yeast prior to having wild yeast [via dunder] added. It was distilled in a copper pot still, and then laid to rest in a virgin American oak cask for 2 ½ years before being bottled at 48% exclusively for the Rum Tribe. 

Last month we worked with Dead Reckoning to get the price as far down as possible – and this month Killik have stepped up to help us do same. We’ve both trimmed as much fat as possible to get this rum out to the tribe for the best price we could without selling our children. I’m not gonna lie – we’ve even re-used the Killik gold labels with just a sticker added in order to keep costs as low as possible!

And we’ve done it again – a 700ml bottle of hand made, single cask, pure single rum for $125. I dare you to find better!

Killik Virgin Oak American

Our Tasting Notes:

Nose: all sorts of things you wonder if you should be smelling. Strait away there’s sour milk – but swirl that glass and so many more notes are released. There’s grape bubblegum. There’s Curry powder. Tart apple. Model Airplane glue. There’s all sort of weird and almost-recognisable odours wafting there.  I’m betting the sweets of your youth will determine what you get out of the nose here.

Palate: Almost as soon it hits your palate, all those ‘weird’ smells in the nose seem to align and make perfect sense now as they morph into stewed apple. In fact, apple strudel with sultanas and vanilla… wait for the cream! Ahh there it is! But then more fruit takes over and the fruit salad paradigm swings in for a twirl.  That delightful creamyness remains though. This morphs and swirls and shape-shifts and dances across the palate.

Finish: It’s a bit of a sweet and sour finish on this one. Really sweet notes such as plumbs and more chewing gum notes, but there’s also a sort of sour worms sweet/sour thing too.

The Killik Virgin American Oak is a hugely complex and utterly discussable rum from one of my favourite distilleries. If you’re new to hi-ester rum  – you really need to look at them a bit like stinky cheese.  The smell (nose) is confronting – but makes perfect sense once you bite into it!

Kudos Cal and Sam – you’ve kicked it outta the park again!

A 61%ABV, 8 year old Jamaican PURE SINGLE RUM in a 750ml bottle that is on our shores for the FIRST TIME
  • PRICE : $125

  • ABV : 48%

  • BOTTLE: 700ml

  • REGION: Australia (Vic)

  • No Added Sugar / No Added Colour

Killik Virgin Oak American

FROM KILLIK

Hey Tribe! We’re thrilled to introduce our newest gem from Killik’s vault – The Killik Virgin American Oak. This rum is a true testament to the prowess of pot still distillation, boasting high ester levels that showcase a symphony of fruity characteristics.

While many rums may hint at tropical notes, ours uniquely shines with pronounced cantaloupe undertones, blending seamlessly with flavors of ripe bananas, passion fruit, and a touch of guava. These vibrant ester-driven flavors find a harmonious balance with the rich and robust influences of our custom-coopered virgin American oak barrels. Virgin oak, fresh and untainted by previous spirits, imparts luscious notes of intense vanilla, caramel, and toasty aromatics. The final product?

The Killik Virgin American Oak is rum that’s both bold in its fruity essence yet grounded with rich American Oak. We can not wait for you to delve into its multifaceted flavours and aromas and share your insights!

Tasting Notes:

Right off the bat, you’ll notice a distinct ethyl acetate presence, though not as pronounced as in Jamaican pot rums. As that initial wave subsides, a moderately strong fruitiness emerges, with a standout melon note and lots of stone fruit, a departure from our usual KILLIK profiles where pineapple often dominates. The influence of the American oak is unmistakable – you get a robust roasted quality paired with a generous helping of vanilla. It’s clear this one matured in a virgin oak barrel, and even though it’s only 2.5 years old, its flavor profile suggests a more mature spirit.

ABOUT KILLIK

Born in Belgrave, Victoria, Killik Handcrafted Rum is a family run distillery that aims to fill the void of great Australian rum. Their aim is to create products that were not only top tier in quality, but are also the most unique Australian rum you can find.

“HIGH ESTER IS THE DIRECTION THE RUM WORLD IS MOVING “
Callan Pratt – Partner, Killik Handcrafted Rum

Our rum utilizes a wild fermentation which leads to a high ester content referred to as “hogo” in the rum scene. Killik Handcrafted Rum is the first Australian dedicated rum distillery committed to this traditional Jamaican style of rum production.

The Killik lineup is perfect for creating classic cocktails or enjoyed neat.