Takamaka is the only rum to be produced in a granitic rock region which imparts minerals into the drink that other rums don’t have.
Takamaka Rum produces five core products – they are:
1 St. André Rhum Vesou – This rum is distilled from cane grown locally in the granitic soils on the island of Mahé. The cane is pressed once only to release the sweetest juice, known locally as Vesou, which is then fermented for flavour and alcohol. They then distill this “wash” drop by drop in their handmade copper still to create this very distinctive Seychellois rum.
2 St. André 8 year old – Inspired by the rich heritage of La Plaine St André, this premium rum shows flavours of vanilla, marmalade and oak with a touch of spice, beautifully integrated for a smooth lingering finish.
3 Coco Rum – Coco rum is known the world over and theirs proudly offers the natural wonderful taste and aroma of coconut without being overly sweet.
4 White Rum – Traditionally used as a base for any number of cocktails, this rum is more crisp and clean than its mysterious and darker cousin.
Takamaka Rum is derived from the sugars in sugar cane. The sugar cane is carefully chosen for its juice and sugar content from selected regions on the island of Mahe. The sugar cane is supplied through a cooperative of sugar cane growers who take great care in ensuring that the cane is wholly organic in cultivation. The island of Mahé provides distinctive “terroir” notes unique to its granitic soil nature.
Once the sugar cane arrives at the distillery it is crushed as soon as possible to ensure the best return of juice. The cane is run through the crusher which gives a 95 percent yield of juice. The extracted juice is green in colour which comes from the cane bark and is known as “vesou”.
The cane juice is then fed into fermentation tanks where it stays during the fermentation process. Fermentation generally takes between four to five days. Once the sugar has been converted into alcohol by the yeast, the liquid now known as the “wash” is transferred to the stills. As the rum is made directly from sugar cane juice it falls into the category of an agricole rum as opposed to the rums made from molasses which are termed industrial rums. Distillation is done in batches as the wash becomes ready in the fermentation tanks.
The first distillation involves the stripping of the alcohol from the wash. The first distillation is done in the pot or alembic still. This typically takes a day and produces an initial rum spirit at 50% – 60% or 100 – 120 proof. This rum spirit is then collected for a second and third distillation. The second and third distillations are done in the two copper column stills; these give a more refined rum spirit which is the basis on which Takamaka Bay rums are created. Rum is collected from these stills at between 85% – 94% or 170 – 188 proof.
As the distillate is produced in batches they tend to blend the batches together in stainless steel storage tanks. The distillate will remain in the storage tanks for up to 3 months prior to being stored in barrels.
The 3 month storage period helps to “relax” the spirit, in that some volatiles are evaporated off providing a smoother spirit.
Rums produced at the Takamaka Bay distillery are further enhanced through the processes of ageing and blending. The ageing process imparts a new set of flavour characteristics to the rum spirit as well as providing the distinctive amber colour. Ageing will also tend to smooth out the spirit depending on how long the rum spends in the barrel.
Currently they age in new American oak barrels with a medium toast (toasting or charring of barrels varies from light to heavy toasting with increasing degrees of toasting giving increasing degrees of colour to the spirit). They are also in the process of experimenting with other barrel types such as refurbished port and bourbon barrels.
To all of their spirits they add very pure water sourced from the mountains. Seychelles is known for its high quality mineral water and this contributes to the overall quality of the rum.
For the Coco rum they use a natural coconut extract. This is added to a blended sweetened rum spirit. The ingredients which make up coco rum (water, alcohol, sugar and coconut extract) are blended together in stainless steel tanks.
For the Spiced rum – we have developed our recipe for the rum over several years. The ingredients are water, alcohol, caramel and the spiced component which is vanilla heavy with a small percentage of other local spices. The ingredients also blended together in stainless steel tanks.
The white rum is a blend of different distillate component spirits with no added flavours/extracts.
Takamaka Rum is produced in the grounds of the La Plaine St. André, a historic plantation house originally built in 1792. Visitors are welcome to come and see around the plantation house and gardens, stay for a lunch or drink at the bar and also to tour the distillery with a tasting at the end.
For more information on Takamaka rum visit http://www.takamakabay.com and for more on the plantation house and grounds visit http://www.laplaine.sc
Our thanks go to Takamaka Rum for their kind sponsorship of our coverage of the 3rd Edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria