This year’s RumFest allowed me to taste and interact with a lot of rum brands, but if I were to highlight the most (pleasantly) surprising brand that I got to try, that would be the Outlier Distilling Company. They make rum (among other spirits) on an island, but not a particularly tropical one – the Isle of Man.
The Outllier Distilling Company is founded and ran by two lovely chaps, Rick Dacey and Ian Warborn-Jones, who make spirits in an old milkshed. While Outlier have to import the molasses for their rum, they do use locally sourced ingredients for their other spirits and liqueurs they make. They released their first bottles towards the end of 2020, namely an overproof rum and a blackberry & elderberry schnapps and since then they have been working on distilling more rum and ageing it in various barrels.
Most of the Hurrican Overproof is basically the less diluted version of their unaged Hoolie rum (41% ABV), but 3% of the blend is a 2 year old rum that was aged in former Ardbeg casks and virgin American oak. All their equipment is analogue – for distilling they use a wood-fired 150 litre copper pot still with a 3 plate column and the wood used as fuel is all grown on the island.
They have a long fermentation period of 10-14 days and the rum is then double distilled on their pot still up to 87% ABV.
Hurricane Overproof Manx Rum is molasses based, pot still distilled with 97% of the blend being unaged and 3% aged for 2 years in ex-Scotch casks and virgin American oak. Bottled at the overproof strength of 64% ABV without any additives.
On the nose it has a medicinal feel. Vine leaves in brine, black pepper, green olives and sea water. Toffee, green tea and cardamom. It has a mezcal-ish vibe. Coconut water, unripe plums, moth balls and a hint of juniper.
On the palate the flavours are intense. Cooked vine leaves, petroleum, ground black pepper, plums and moth balls. Almonds, coconut and vanilla. It has a nice spiciness to it. Green chillies, black olives, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, passion fruit and a touch of smokiness. The finish is long with medicinal notes and toffee.
This is quite the experience, it is intense and unique. The profile is reminiscent to a mezcal, but it has the sweet, moreish undertones of a rum and that makes it quite complex. Spicy, sharp, sweet and strong – Outlier Distilling Company deserves more recognition as it has great potential and they are putting the Isle of Man on the rum map.
You can get their Hurricane Overproof for £44 (The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt) and I have to say, it’s well worth it, especially if you enjoy intense rums and mezcals. Alternatively I will run a little Christmas giveaway in partnership with Outlier Distilling Company in order to ofer a lucky winner a bottle of the Hurricane Overproof to warm themselves over the winter – just keep an eye on my Instagram.
Hurricane Overproof Manx Rum score:
Value for money: 15/15