|Waiheke Island's Onetangi Beach|
Wild Days Rum, made on Waiheke Island, is not the first nor, I might wager, will it be the last rum produced across the ditch. New Zealand is, in fact, quite the nation of rum drinkers. Our Aussie cuzzie bros (click here for Wikipedia's list of New Zealand terms) might enjoy a Bundy, but in NZ we've long been swigging Coruba - a black as sin Jamaican rum brand developed for New Zealand during the 1960s. Coruba is, in fact, New Zealand's second largest spirit brand- a position it has held since 1980.
Each barrel equates to about 300 bottles which are released one at a time. Barrel Two pictured here has sold out but Barrel Three is currently on sale and apparently a few bottles of Barrel One still remain.
Despite the heavy handed sounding filtration this bad boy has a lot going on. There's a massive acetate hit - a smell that I can only describe as sun-perished Sellotape (cellulose acetate is used as an adhesive). As scary as this may sound to some, I find it inviting and strangely nostalgic. It soon gives way to more approachable grassy notes, vanilla and butterscotch. The palate is sweet and syrupy, with golden syrup, hokey pokey and vanilla dominating. The grassy complexity found on the nose is evident in the finish which is lingering as is the vanilla sweetness.
The bottle is finished with wood chips to "continue the aging process". In my mind this rum has enough vanilla as it is. Indeed, I'd like to see the shape of this rum without such intense oak treatment and perhaps at a little higher proof (it's bottled at 40% abv).
Over all though I'm thoroughly impressed. I'm looking forward to further releases as this is a very enjoyable and drinkable wee dram.
More information: Visit wilddaysrum.co.nz
Russell Duurloo from Wild Days Rum has informed me that it only spends about 10 months on oak in ex-Cabernet barrels from Waiheke's Te Whau Point. Technically you wouldn't be able to call this a rum in Australia, but regulations in New Zealand do not require rum to be aged for a minimum of two years. In my mind this spirit has had all the oak treatment it needs although Duurloo would like to see it age for a further year.