Up until now I’ve avoided Fijian rum simply because I’ve never heard anything good about it. I admit that I often rely on other websites and blogs to get some kind of idea about the rums I’m interested in trying. Generally I try to avoid anything with added sugar or glycerine, Anything below ABV of 40% and, I’m ashamed to say, anything from Fiji. Everything that I have read about Fijian rum has been very uncomplimentary. Then the other day, while looking on line for another specific expression, I came across Ratu Dark Premium Rum. Maybe I was feeling a bit daring do that day but I decided to throw caution to the wind and order a bottle.
Ratu Dark retails at about $60 Aus which I figured wouldn’t be a financial disaster if it was no good.
Ratu is produced by The Rum Co. of Fiji. I looked at their website to see what I could find out. Not a lot as it turns out. There’s some nice photography but not a lot of other information about the actual rum. Theres mention of volcanic soil, pure Fijian water and filtering through coconut charcoal and charred barrels but nothing on the distilling process itself.
The bottle is a nice chunky stubby type. It feels heavy and substantial. The stopper is also a nice wooden and real cork one which is always a winner for me. I hate screw caps.
Reading the labels on the bottle and I discover that this particular rum is imported and distributed by Coca-Cola Amatil! Hmmm. I’m a huge fan of independent, craft distilleries and this discovery kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth. But, for the purposes of research, I won’t stick it to the man quite yet and will carry on with my taste test.
Initial aromas are promising. Funky and with a slight alcohol burn. Nothing extravagant but still pleasant. The website says it has aromas of fresh tea leaves and I can agree with that.
The initial mouth feel is good. There’s heat and spice. Plenty of cracked pepper and lots of that funk. It definitely reminds me a Jamaican rum and dare I say it there’s also memories of my Caroni 17yr, albeit without the punch. Maybe Caroni Lite?
There’s actually a lot going on in here. Vanilla, toffee, spice. I really need to invest in a hydrometer as I’d love to know if there’s any additives. I don’t feel there is though. There just doesn’t seem to be any overly sweet tones. This is actually a very nice, well balanced rum which held my interest throughout. The finish is also good. That spice and pepper lingers. It’s not massive but it’s there.
So I feel slightly humbled by this rum. My preconceptions have been proven wrong and I’m actually really enjoying this particular Fijian. At this price it’s great value for money too. 7/10 from me.