MacNair expands its Exploration Rum brandBy Georgie Pursey
Veteran whisky blender Billy Walker has expanded MacNair’s rum offering with two Jamaican expressions that will join the Exploration Rum brand.
The new duo of small-batch rums comprise Exploration Rum Jamaica Peated and Exploration Rum Jamaica Unpeated, each carefully curated by Walker who this year celebrates a half-century working in the spirits industry.
The launch follows MacNair’s successful Exploration Rum Panama range, which launched last year.
“We’ve been delighted at the overwhelmingly positive and inquisitive response to our MacNair’s Exploration Rum offering,” commented Walker. “We are founded on whisky but exploring a new spirits category has been an extremely enjoyable new challenge, and the results offer something different for rum fans to get their teeth into.”
Walker selected rums from southern Jamaica’s Clarendon Distillery situated on one of the oldest sugar cane plantations on the island.
The new Jamaican expressions were subjected to a similarly complex and innovative maturation journey as the Panama collection, but this time under the eye of Walker throughout the entire ageing process which took place in the cool climate of The GlenAllachhie Distillery in Speyside, Scotland.
Walker continued: “Bringing these rums straight to The GlenAllachie Distillery to be fully aged under our supervision in the cool Speyside climate has created a totally unique flavour experience. Our aim is to push the boundaries of convention to develop eclectic, innovative rums for the curious and adventurous consumer, and we strongly believe these Jamaican gems encapsulate that.”
Walker purposefully obtained spirit at high, medium and low ester levels in order to achieve a multitude of flavour attributes from the wood.
The rum’s primary maturation period of 30 months took place in rye, rioja and virgin oak casks at varying ester levels and at 86% ABV before being expertly blended by Walker and reduced to 69% ABV.
The Jamaica Unpeated variant underwent secondary ageing in a similar assortment of casks, whilst the Jamaica Peated expression completed its maturation journey in casks which previously held peated spirit distilled at The GlenAllachie to add a ‘distinctive twist’.
The Exploration Rum Jamaica Peated offers tasting notes of ripe bananas, grapefruit and butterscotch, with smoked plantains and cinnamon on the nose, while the Unpeated bottling brings layers of honey, pineapple and plantains to the palate, and tropical fruits, vanilla and golden syrup to the nose.
Both expressions rest at 46% ABV and are priced at £49.99 (US$59.77).
Last year, MacNair’s underwent a refresh which included new packaging and a brand repositioning, becoming a ‘Boutique House of Spirits’ which encompasses its Lum Reek Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and Exploration Rum sub-brands.