Around the 11th Century the Devil was visiting Wales in the high mountains near Aberystwyth when he met an old woman who seemed upset. Her cow had wandered across the river and she couldn’t get her back. The Devil saw the opportunity and told the woman that he will build a bridge to help her, but in exchange he will claim the first soul that crosses it. She accepted the deal and so she returned the next day in the morning to a marvelous bridge. The Devil was hoping to claim her soul, but before he knew it, the woman threw a loaf of bread on the bridge for her loyal dog to catch. The Devil was furious, screaming that the dog is no good for him and then he vanished. This is the Welsh story behind the Devil’s Bridge brand inspiration.
This is a spiced rum made with an interesting collection of spices: ginger, Madagascar vanilla, cassia, allspice, mace and cloves which are pretty standard, but it also contains some more unusual Welsh ingredients that are somehow in line with the above story: Glengettie Black tea, Bara brith and Shirgar Carmarthenshire butter (try pronouncing that quickly 3 times in a row). Now to explain these odd spices…
Glengettie is a black tea blend made up of Kenyan and Assam teas that has been introduced to Wales 50 years ago and it’s a local favourite.
Bara brith, translated from Welsh as speckled bread, is more like a cake than actual bread as we know it. It’s tradtionally made with butter, spices and dried fruit, which are sometimes soaked in tea – so it looks like all the ingredients in the rum are there to highlight and compliment the Bara brith.
Shirgar Carmarthenshire butter is an awarded iconic brand of Welsh butter.
The spices are steeped into a blend of aged Caribbean sourced rums before being redistilled in order to seal the flavours. It’s quite a curious combo, I’ve never heard of bread or butter being used in spiced rums, hence why I want to give it a go. I tried asking how does distilling rum infused with bread and butter looks/works, but unfortunately I’ve been told it’s a secret.
Devil’s Bridge Spiced rum is molasses based, probably pot and column distilled and aged for an unspecified amount of time before being flavoured with various spices and Welsh ingredients – the redistillation takes place in a pot still. Bottled at 42% ABV – I don’t know how much sugar it contains, but it is described as having a dry profile.
On the nose the spices are actually really subtle. Black tea, Fernet Branca, nail varnish and lemon zest. Allspice, red apples, furniture polish and new leather. It feels like it has some Jamaican funk carrying the spices. Mango, guava, strawberries and overripe pineapple. Some cola and pink pepper as well.
On the palate it’s indeed dry. Fernet Branca again, lemon zest, Earl Grey tea and overripe pineapple. Guava, strawberry, nutmeg and allspice. The rum really shines through with the spices just complimenting it from the backstage. Angelica root, cinnamon, cloves, biscuits and mango. It has a medicinal layer as well with herbaceous notes such as saffron and juniper. The finish is medium with tropical fruits and bitter earthy flavours.
I will be honest, I was a little bit skeptical when I was asked to try this spiced rum that comes in a pink-redish bottle, but I have to say, it’s interesting at the very least. It feels like there were some drops of Fernet Branca added to an estery Jamaican rum, it’s fruity, herbaceous and mildly bitter. I honestly don’t feel the Bara brith or the butter influence and I think the tea takes over most of the spices – which is not a bad thing, I love tea (as you’ll see soon on my blog), it’s just odd because that’s what they seem to rely on marketing wise.
Do not expect a vanilla/Christmas spices sweet mess. If I didn’t know I would be reluctant to say this was a spiced rum, it’s dry, the spices are subtle and the base rum shines through – if I were to guess I’d say there is definitely some Jamaican distillate and potentially some Dominican Republic component, but that’s just an assumption.
It’s priced at £39 (Amazon) which is just a little more than what I’d be comfortable paying, but if you want a unique spiced rum it’s a great choice.
Devil’s Bridge Spiced Rum score:
Value for money: 14/15