I’m always excited to get my hands on a bottle of rum from a fresh brand, especially when they have statements on their website such as “Nothing Added. Nothing taken away.”. Saint Ogun was launched in December 2020 by Nic Akinnibosun and Rico Oyejobi, who don’t have previous experience in the drinks industry – unless you’re counting drinking a lot of rumas experience.
Nic and Rico, while London based, have both Nigerian and Caribbean heritage which are reflected in the blend and branding of their product. The name Saint Ogun is a tribute to their Nigerian Yoruba heritage, where Ogun is an Orìsà, a native deity, known for craft, invention war and transformation. Nic Akinnibosun has mentioned in an interview that part of the profit will go back “to organisations that support grassroots creativity, whether that be in London, in Nigeria or across Africa and the Caribbean, because that’s where [their] roots are”.
The blend consists of rums from 5 distilleries from the Caribbean – Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. Some names I know are Foursquare, Worthy Park and obviously Diamond Distillery, but there are 2 more unspecified ones.
I have to say I’m a fan of the packaging design – the bottles are made by independent Slovenian factories and the label is the work of the South African artist Simphiwe Ndzube.
So molasses based, pot and column distilled and aged for an unspecified amount of time in ex-Bourbon barrels. Bottled at 40% ABV without any flavourings or sweeteners.
On the nose it feels young and bright. Vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, melon, passion fruit and pear. Some Fanta Orange and pistachios. There’s a drop of funk coming out with some pineapple and varnish notes. Nutmeg, allspice and peach. Seems quite balanced.
On the palate there is an amalgam of flavours. Black tea, banana, pear, liquorice, caramel, mango, tobacco and agave syrup. Pencil shavings, oak, vanilla custard, lemon zest, cola, almonds and mandarins. I enjoy the balance of the blend, none of the components seem to overtake the others, although there is a predominant vanilla-tropical profile. The finish is medium with charred oak, citrus and vanilla.
Did I mention this was well balanced? Its strength could also be its only weakness though – it’s great that the different components get along so well, but I kinda wish something would’ve been a bit more “odd”. That might be just the rum junkie in me looking for weird experiences, but yes, all in all this is a well done, safe to sip/mix rum.
Can be bought from their website for £40 a bottle, which is pretty peppery, but I will find it hard to believe you won’t like this – unless you just don’t drink at all.
Saint Ogun Rum score:
Value for money: 12/15