It’s FUNKY time! But BIG Australian Funk…a high ester rum mirroring the sought after ‘dunder’ techniques from Jamaica – we funk lovers are over the moon to present the Killick Handcrafted ‘Gold’…A RUM in all but name.
From a young Victorian distillery who are embracing traditional rum making methods (and thus seeking ‘traditional’ flavours) from Jamaica. Using ‘muck’ to source the wild yeast in their area, they are on a mission to become the Australian masters of high ester rum.
The Killik Handcrafted Gold is a molasses-based spirit. Where Killik stands out from most Australian distilleries, is that they add ‘dunder’ at several stages throughout the ferment. Dunder is basically what is left over in the still after a wash has been distilled. It is removed from the still and placed in a ‘dunder pit’ (or ‘muck hole’ ) and allowed to re-ferment for some time. It’s part science, part ‘gut feel’ and part black magic. But what the addition of dunder adds to a ferment is wild yeasts that affect the production of a high ester content wash. Put simply, esters are the ‘fruity’ flavour compounds. These are the molecules responsible for the ‘funk’ or ‘hogo’ that Caribbean rums are famous for. The sickly sweet, overripe fruit aromas craved by seasoned rum drinkers.
Distilled in a 1000L pot still and matured for around a year in hand selected Chardonnay casks, the Killik Handcrafted ‘Gold’ is a fantastic example of ‘beauty before age’ J
Now I’m going to go out on a limb and say this will be a divisive bottle, especially to those who haven’t come across this ‘hogo’ before. This is a ‘love it or hate it’ thing – like peat in whisky. I’m a fan of big peat forward whiskies – and I like a good funk as well. Not because they are in any way similar qualities. But they are both big, confronting characteristics.
When is a ‘rum’ not a rum? As we spoke about in our ‘Rum of the Month’, in Australia, a rum must be distilled from fermented sugar products (molasses or cane juice – or even processed sugar itself) and then aged in oak for at least 2 years. It’s noteworthy that Australia is one of the only countries to make such a distinction on rum (Venezuela and Cuba being the others, whilst Puerto Rico has a one-year minimum aging requirement). In any other country, there is no ageing requirement. So – like our ‘Rum of the Month’ – our Members Extra is also technically not a rum in Australia. In nearly any other country in the world both can be considered rum.
Our Tasting Notes
Nose: Distinctive funky hogo leaps out at first – overripe tropical fruit with a slight sour milk note. The funk settles quickly though, exposing a core of sultanas, caramel and sweet fruit notes.
Palate: Much more ‘familiar’ than the nose – rich sultanas and currents, chocolate and barley-sugar with a dairy note giving a real creamy-buttery quality.
Finish: Not so long – but those fruity esters really give the creamy-custard notes a shot in the arm.
To the uninitiated, the funky ‘hogo’ of the Killik can be a little overwhelming at first. But these flavours really ‘boost’ the overall effect of the Gold nicely and give it a real sense of ‘body’. Amazing for a product only aged for a year. The amazing esters also really add body to a cocktail. Sensational in a Mai Tai, but my favourite with this one is a ‘Pain Killer’ (or ‘Pain KILLIK’ in this case). I am currently feeling absolutely NO PAIN!
From Killik Distillery
Killik Gold utilises our muck pit and exhibits tons of fruity esters. In particular it is restrained on the ethyl acetate front and hopefully higher than typical levels of ethyl butyrate and other more interesting esters.
There is a particularly intense strawberry aroma, stone fruit , melon and bubble gum along with a typical oxidised wax aroma that occurs in aged funky rum. There is underlying funk but more restrained than unaged high ester examples such as Killik Silver.
Killik Gold is a blended rum with pot still and short column (only a 4 plate so low reflux ratios) and is aged between 1 and 2 years, the younger stock is blended back in to introduce more bright characters from the high ester stock while the two year stock imparts more savoury characters as esters become a little more subdued.
Killik Gold is aged in shaved Chardonnay barrels for 12 months.
“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. This style is perfect for creating an authentic Mai Tai, try it out yourself!
About Killik Distillery
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.