Another day, another spiced rum comes on the market. I might’ve mentioned this before, I’m not big on flavoured rums, but as a bartender I can’t ignore their importance and versatility, that’s why I will feature them here once in a while. The Mermaid Spiced Rum comes from the Isle of Wight Distillery as the latest addition to their range.
The Isle of Wight Distillery specialises in gin and flavoured vodka so it makes sense that they would add a spiced rum to their repertoire given its popularity. They were established in 2014 by Xavier Baker and Conrad Gauntlett who have a background of brewing and wine-making. From what I can tell the distillery is equipped with a pot-column hybrid still.
Both owners are committed to sustainable practices and they have acquired a B Corp Certification in 2022. Their bottles are plastic free made out of recycled glass, the seal is made out of corn and potato starch and the neck label is recycled paper. On top of that they are using a lot of locally foraged ingredients for their infusions.
For the Mermaid Spiced rum they use a blend of rums from Trinidad and Dominican Republic which is infused with rock samphire (a wild plant with an aromatic, spicy aroma), white cherries, apricots, honey, holy grass, cassia, vanilla and black salt from the Island’s coastal flood tides.
The base rums are aged from 2 to 5 years in ex-Bourbon casks and it’s mentioned they are a blend of molasses and cane juice distillates. The only distillery in the Dominican Republic (DR) that uses cane juice to distill is Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos who make Barcelo and the only distillery in Trinidad, which uses only molasses, is Trinidad Distillers Limited known for their Angostura bitters and rums. There might be other DR distilleries in the blend as well, but it’s unlikely.
Mermaid Spiced Rum is molasses and cane juice based, column still distilled and aged between 2-5 years in ex-Bourbon casks. Bottled at 40% ABV and infused with fruits, spices, salt and honey.
On the nose it smells herbaceous and warm. Cinnamon, pine tree, nutmeg and floral honey. Sweet black coffee, allspice and some juniper. Smells pretty standard with the Christmas spices being the main flavour. Raw cocoa nibs, angelica root and a touch of saffron.
On the palate it’s sweeter than I’d like. Cinnamon syrup, biscuits and ground coffee. Maple syrup, honey and a touch of cardamom. The cassia/cinnamon flavour is quite overpowering. Nutmeg and some ginger as well. The finish is medium with cinnamon and biscuits.
Look I’m always up for highlighting ethical companies that do their bit to assist the environment and their local community, but this spiced rum is quite… well, uninteresting. Nothing particularly bad, at least it isn’t a vanilla bomb, but as I said the cinnamon flavour seems to be drowning most of the other ingredients used for the infusion – not to mention it’s definitely too sweet for my taste.
It’s made for the general sweet tooth consumer which is fine, it is a spiced rum after all, but when you’re working with flavoured spirits it feels like a waste to not make them a little more interesting and layered.
It can be found at £40 for a bottle which I do find expensive, but at least it has a pretty beautiful bottle.
Mermaid Spiced Rum score:
Value for money: 11/15