|Merry Christmas to me - Man O'War Gunpowder Rum|
Ben Simpson, bartender extraordinaire at Wellington's Motel, is the creator of a liquor curio that I obtained on my recent visit. Labelled Man O'War Gunpowder Rum it's based on the sort of stuff whalers, pirates and rogues may have been drinking when Captain Cook first circumnavigated New Zealand. It's a proprietary blend of Caribbean and American rums, tobacco, chillies and black gun powder - the sort of stuff you would have used to charge your blunderbuss - made to an 18th Century recipe.
The rum has recently received international attention in the UK's CLASS magazine and The Atlantic - aye it's fine stuff and well past time I got hold of a bottle or two to be sure. Unfortunately it ain't easy to get hold of - you need to barter for product should you wish to get your hands on it. It's not for sale... yet.
Despite the near toxic sounding ingredients this wee dram makes for an intriguing drink. It ain't for everyone, it's true, but it's beverage that will make you 'argh' with the most scurvy ridden of pirates. I kind of like to think of it as the 'Brown Brown' of the liquor world.
The nose starts off sweet - almost maple syrup like before you're hit with sulphurous notes - the smell of discarded fireworks after a grand Guy Fawkes celebration. The palate too has a sweet-soft entry belying the building heat which soon develops from the chilli content. It doesn't explode, however, but gives way to more complex savoury, powder keg, prickly and metallic flavours. The finish is dry and lingering with chewy cigar-like tones and the tingling of an imminent fire-fight.
For more information visit the Facebook page.