If you are a rum person and especially if you enjoy single cask offerings you’re more than likely to be already familiar with the people from Skylark Spirits. They are UK spirits importers and distributors and their portofolio is quite diverse from flavoured rums like Black Tears and Damoiseau Arranges to pure, limited bottlings under the form of S.B.S (Single Barrel Selection) from 1423.dk. But a few days ago Skylark have expanded their portofolio with a new brand of their own.
Vidya – The River Mumma is the first from the Vidya range and the very first rum independent bottled by Skylark. To quote the Vidya website: “Vidya is a series of some of the finest single barrel cane spirits from across the globe entwining the rums with the heritage of their origin via a traditional anecdote or folklore. These unique and artisanal rums are sourced from single distilleries and are elevated by their scarcity and history.”
The name Vidya comes from ancient Sanskrit meaning clarity, knowledge and learning – I too find clarity in drinking cask strength, mouth burning, complex sugar cane spirits. The River Mumma is inspired by the Jamaican folklore about a goddess that guarded fish, animals and rivers such as the Rio Minho that runs alongside the New Yarmouth distillery – guess where the distillate comes from? The River Mumma is also artistically depicted on the label which is sure to stand out on any shelf.
Fun fact: the illustration is designed by the British artist Aaron Godwin-Lamptey and, as per his vision, each bottle label features a different colour for the mermaid’s tail. What colour is yours?
The marque of this release is NYE-WM which boasts an impressive ester count of 1300-1400 g/hlaa which is pretty hefty considering the maximum amount of esters legally allowed by the Jamaican government to be produced is 1600 g/hlaa.
Molasses based, presumably undergoing a long fermentation with the use of muck and dunder in order to achieve such a high ester level. Pot still distilled in June 2005 and aged for 7 years in Jamaica before being moved to the UK and then Denmark where it was bottled in October 2020 making this a 15 year old rum matured in ex-Bourbon casks. Bottled at a clarifying 61.5% ABV with a limited amount of 255 bottles and free of any additives.
On the nose The River Mumma is quite imposing. Almond essence, glue, flambeed bananas, overripe pineapples and coconut oil. Brand new polished furniture, damp cardboard, caramel, milk chocolate and a touch of mint. Vanilla, some green tea and nail varnish soaked apricots. Very inviting, but I still need to be wary when tasting it.
On the palate it’s like an explosion of hogo-tropical fruits and flavours. A fruit salad featuring apricots, peaches, ripe pineapple, mango, melon and strawberries with coconut cream, orgeat and paint stripper as the dressing. Tobacco, vanilla, Romanian palinca and furniture polish. Cayenne pepper, cloves, lemon zest, cardamom and nutmeg. This is definitely not a session rum, both you and the goddess need to breathe properly when sampling it. Juniper and some smoke in the background. Finish is long with vanilla, candied bananas and balsamic vinegar.
It’s funny as I was talking about the scarcity of New Yarmouth distillates in the wild in my DOK vs NYW-WK review while knowing this was on the way. Very happy to see Skylark Spirits highlighting New Yarmouth and showing/reminding us that it’s more than just their iconic Wray & Nephew Overproof. This is beautiful rum both in packaging and flavour. It will definitely take me a while to finish the bottle giving the intensity, but a drop here and there is sure to make me feel like I’m feeling both the love and the wrath of the River Mumma goddess.
Can be found on Master of Malt at £130 and for a 15 year old, single cask, high intensity, 61.5% ABV New Yarmouth distillate you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
Vidya – The River Mumma – New Yarmouth 2005 score:
Value for money: 15/15