balinese Rum of The gods
“We are four friends bringing back the forgotten story of Indonesian rum,” Marc Rodrigues tells me. Together with exdiageo execs Andy Gaunt and Joe Milner, and bartender consultant Sam Jeveons, the team “love, live and breathe the energy of our favourite island home”.
Wth years of research under their belt, they launched Nusa Caña in 2016, well aware of other spirits in the region. Says Rodrigues, “Each of the rums from the region have their own story, taste profile and craft we admire. However, as we uncovered the centuries-old history of Indonesian rum, we realised the magnitude and significance of the spirt we are resurrecting, known to spirit historians Jared Brown and Anastasia Miller as the Father of Cachaça and the Godfather of Rum.” The spirit in question was consumed in European punch houses and taverns in the 17th and 18th centuries as Indonesian arrack, before the arrival of Carribean rum.
Nusa Caña’s recipe was developed with the support of their blending partners E&A Scheer. They sourced and tasted over 30 blends of rums from Javanese distilleries, looking to achieve a taste profile that was rugged and funky – which is then blended with Caribbean rum, for a balance of tradition and innovation.
In all these cases, the timing has been no coincidence. Rodrigues sums it up best, “Without doubt the rise of the Asian cocktail and bar scene has been a catalyst for the regionally produced spirits market. It’s easy to plot the rise of bar culture in the past seven years with the growth in Asian sprits that reflect the craft, care and passion in the regions industry. As a market we are still young and growing, but with such a breadth and depth of skill and talent the future holds endless possibilities.”