By NAN Lifestyle Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 10, 2016: Its summer and what better than a cold rum punch or maybe some rum on the rocks to help bring the Caribbean to you if you cannot be in the Caribbean right now. Here are three little known Caribbean rums you should try:
1: Naked Turtle
The Naked Turtle Rum is actually distilled on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands by the Naked Rum Co. The Naked Turtle White Rum is made using the finest sugarcane molasses and is distilled five times using the pristine waters of the Virgin Islands. It is blended to 80 proof and bottled and the company takes pride on the fact that their rum never touches the inside of an oak barrel. Hence, the “Naked” aspect of the rum!
Drinking this rum neat allows you to taste the rock-sugar sweetness but once that settles there is a medium burn that carries over to a bitter alcohol note that lingers into the finish.
The Naked Turtle is a big fan of sea turtles and the company has partnered with the Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) to raise awareness and protect their little hard-backed buds.
The Naked Turtle is currently available for purchase at local liquor stores and bars in select Florida beach towns such as Tampa, Clearwater, Sarasota, Key Largo and Key West as well as in North Carolina at ABC Fine Wines and Spirit for US$11.99.
2: Topper’s Rum
Topper’s Rum has an interesting back story. It was actually created not by a corporation but by St. Maarten couple – Topper and Melanie Daboul. The Dabouls’ live on the Dutch or southern side of St. Maarten where they own two restaurants, Topper’s Restaurant & Bar and Topper’s by the Sea.
They started making all natural flavored handmade “rhums” for their restaurants and giving a complimentary after dinner drink to their guests. These rhums were based on Melanie’s concoctions that she had been perfecting since 1994. The customers fell in love with their creations and constantly asked if they could bottle their world famous rhum so that the patrons could take it home and share it with their friends. They quickly went from fulfilling individual requests to producing a supply for the restaurants and local stores out of their home kitchen.
Early in 2012 a discussion with their good friends Mike and Thelma King led to the formation of a partnership. Their vision was to build a distillery to produce Topper’s Rhum and to distribute the products throughout the world. They also had a common goal that involved giving back a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the rhum to help underprivileged children and battered women. Working as a team, everything was in place and was proceeding as planned, when tragically, on September 19th, 2012, just before the distillery became operational, Mike and Thelma were killed during a random robbery in their home. Fortunately, within a few days, their attackers were caught and have since been prosecuted. Their surviving siblings, who reside in S.C. and N.C., decided as a family that Topper’s Rhum should carry on in honor of Mike and Thelma’s legacy. One of Mike’s brothers, Todd, took over his role in the company, and it wasn’t long before the first bottle of rhum was produced in the distillery on November 1st, 2012. On every bottle of Topper’s Rhum, there are two signatures: one is Topper’s, which represents his family, and the other is Mike’s, which represents him, Thelma and their families.
On November 9th, 2012, the Mike & Thelma King Foundation was established to benefit citizens of the United States and St. Maarten whose families experience similar tragedies as well as underprivileged children and battered women. On December 15, 2012, Topper’s Rhum became St. Maarten’s only exported product. By January 2013, Topper’s Rhum appeared on store shelves in Charleston, South Carolina, Mike and Thelma’s hometown. It is now being distributed throughout the United States and other countries for around US$15.95 per bottle.
Topper’s Rhum was submitted to the two most prestigious rum tasting contests in the world and won Gold in both competitions as well as winning more medals than any of its competitors. Topper’s Rhum comes in many flavors including coconut, banana vanilla, White Chocolate and Caribbean White.
3: Plantation Rums
Plantation Rums was born on the island of Barbados by entrepreneur and businessman Alexandre Gabriel. He now spends several months a year in the Caribbean combing for treasure: the best rum barrels he can find to age his Plantation rum, which he says honors the softness of Barbados, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Trinidad, Belize, Guatemala and Panama. Plantation encompasses a broad range of styles of rums but the best ones are shipped to France for final maturation at Cognac Ferrand, which owns the Plantation brand.
The rum itself is copper bronze color altered by its time in oak, both in Barbados and France as Ferrand typically finishes their rums at home in France in select casks previously used to age whiskey, sherry, cognac, and the like. It has clear hints of butterscotch and toffee with an almost immediate kick of pepper and a slight hint of clove. After the sugar and spice comes the fruit again: banana, pineapple and a bit of citrus finish. The Plantation XO 20th Anniversary is available at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits for US$44.99.