A Scotsman living in Dubai is behind two award-winning rums made on Mauritius, the last home of the dodo. He is now hoping they will give the island’s long-established Pink Pigeon a run for its money. Born in Macduff in Aberdeenshire, David Adamson swapped wine making in England for rum-making, with some success: his Beach Bum Silver and Gold rums have already won industry accolades in London and San Francisco. His tropical rums are now available in the US, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania and Taiwan, with India to follow soon.
“I wanted to use the island’s incredible sugarcane to produce my own unique blend and then naturally infuse the rums with coconut and vanilla.
“I worked for Sovereign Brands handling all their sales into Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The company was quite entrepreneurial and I realised that I wanted to create my own brand, not just sell brands for other people for the rest of my life. Giving consumers a ‘Taste of Mauritius’ is what I aspire to, giving people that holiday feel.
“I was always attracted to rum and knew there was a gap in the market for a fun, modern brand to come out of Mauritius which has been making some of the world’s best rums for 150 years. We’ve had the vodka boom and are at the tail end of the gin boom. Maybe it’s time for a Beach Bum boom. Pruning vines in England wasn’t for me.”
Adamson, 32, who is also owner of the UAE-baed Potum drinks agency, was once responsible for the tasting set-up for the judging panel for the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards.
“To create the Beach Bum Rum blends I approached most of the distilleries on the island and asked them to send indicative blends of what I thought Beach Bum Rum should taste like. This whole process took around six months of going back and forth. After deciding to work with Oxenham Distillery, one of the oldest family owned distilleries on the island, we then tweaked blends further until we got to the final selection for our Silver and Gold rums.”
Sugar cane was introduced to the Indian Ocean island by the Dutch and has been distilled since the 17th century. The Saint Aubin distillery is located by the island’s first sugarcane field and named after its owner, Pierre de St Aubin. Vanilla was introduced by Commandant Philbert in 1820 and the spirit was probably first made commercially by Dr Pierre Harel in 1852.
Rum production in Mauritius has doubled in the last ten years. Following the lifting of the ban on using sugar cane to make fermented alcohol in 2006, the island’s red, green, blue, black and yellow sugar cane are all used for rums. Mauritius is one of the few places which makes both industrial and agricole rum.
The Medina Estate has been producing fine rums since 1926. Its master blender, Jean-Francois Koenig, uses rainforest vanilla from Reunion island and Madagascar. His vanilla-infused Pink Pigeon single estate rum is named after a rare native bird. The estate also makes Indian Ocean Rum, Hunter Robust Spiced Rum and Penny Blue VSOP named after the rarest stamp in the world.