Caribbean-sourced, Florida-bottled, New Zealand’s Stolen rum made waves a few years ago with a distinctive Coffee & Cigarettes flavour, but now they are pushing in an entirely new direction: rebranding as the world’s first smoked rum, maintaining a similar taste but toning down the sweetness and lifting the smokiness.
Matured in ex-American whiskey oak barrels for a minimum of two years before being blended by hand with 100% all natural ingredients from around the world (including fenugreek from Morocco, smoke from American Hardwood, and vanilla bean from Madagascar, in addition to Arabica Coffee Beans from Columbia) have been used to create the rum, which has recently launched on the Australian market.
The smokey notes that Stolen are choosing to centre the branding on are rounded off by a process called “pyrolysis”, which is the burning of American hardwood at a very high temperature before, in the absence of oxygen, the smoke separates and and rises into a chamber where it is captured, condensed, and cooled into a liquid. The method is said to add an extra strong layer of smokiness to the rum, something which in combination with the unique ingredients used ideally cuts through the excessive sweetness that plagues a lot of spiced rums, building on the base of aged Carribean rum with complexity that is actually discernible on the palate.
The expected sweetness is most definitely there, but it’s softer and less aggressive here, with toffee and vanilla aromas nicely connected with what you’d get on the creamy front palate. Butterscotch and warm chocolate are richer in the back palate but this is balanced with the heady smokey notes and the roasted coffee notes which help it go down a treat. The finish lingers for a bit with a charred oak and a deep smoke flavour.
The focus on smoke as the headline of this rebranding is definitely justified by the rum itself. Whether this is something that suits those that have been accustomed to syrupy spiced rum (seriously, there’s so many out there) will be a matter of preference, but this does go down quite nicely, especially when paired up with some BBQ’d meats.
A few of the top bars in Sydney are celebrating the arrival of Stolen in Australia by using the smoked rum in a number of limited edition cocktails. If you’ve got yourself a bottle try these out for size (or head along to the respective bars through August and September):
The Winter Colada (Vasco, Surry Hills)
50ml Stolen Smoked
20ml Coco Pineapple Shrubs
10ml Coffee Liqueur
15ml Fresh lime juice
2 drops house made coffee citrus biters
Smoked Espresso Martini (The Eastern Hotel, Bondi Junction)
45ml Stolen Smoked
15ml Coffee Liqueur
30ml Fresh Coffee
10ml Agave syrup
The Maple Smoker (Milky Lane, Bondi Beach)
60ml Stolen Smoked
15ml Maple Syrup
2 dashes cherry bitters
flaming cinnamon stick
Chai Smoked Espresso Martini (Milky Lane, Bondi Beach)
60ml Stolen Smoked
45ml Cold Drip Espresso
20ml House made chai syrup
The Smoked Apple (The Hideaway Bar, Enmore)
30ml Stolen Smoked
30mls Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine
120mls Cloudy apple juice