IT’S LAST CALL at a far-off Bahamian bar.
You ask again for the rum you’ve been drinking, but the bottle’s empty. The bartender reaches under the counter, pulling out a bottle, unmarked, unnamed. You’re the first to drink it tonight, a member of some well-earned club.
That’s the soul of the Caribbean’s newest rum, Afrohead, a onetime house rum that’s now being shared with the world.
For years, this was a rum served only for guests at the Landing boutique hotel on the Bahamas’ Harbour Island; hand-bottled, unnamed, its only defining characteristic an “afrohead” logo.
Now Afrohead, the brainchild of Joe Farrell, the Landing’s proprietor, along with rum savant Toby Tyler, is being bottled for more than just hotel guests.
While it was born in the Bahamas, it’s truly a pan-Caribbean spirit, incorporating elements from Dominican molasses to being blended at Trinidad’s Angostura distillery.
And it’s the latter that comes across, and that’s a rather good thing.
We were able to obtain the Harbour Island Rum Company’s new Afrohead 15-year Old Grand Reserve Rum.
The rum’s aroma was, in a word, wonderful: a fragrant bouquet of sugar, honey and vanilla.
Its flavour profile was dominated by notes of caramel and vanilla, with creeping hints of black pepper and oak and a slight note of licorice.
On the rocks, the flavours opened up, with stronger vanilla, dried fruits and a decided punch of bourbon.
Indeed, they were flavours not unlike many found in the terrific rums of Angostura, but with a brasher, edgier quality.
The finish was smooth yet bold, rich the way a rum should be rich.
This was always something of a secret rum, hidden away at the bar.
And that’s what really comes through: there’s an authenticity to this rum — a truth in the flavours. it tastes like a secret rum, like a rum for a few, like a rum one serves one’s best friends. And it tastes, well, very good.