The Kenyan alcoholic market will at some point in time get saturated. But for now, it seems that the average Kenyan’s appetite for booze is insatiable. Which looks very attractive to brands looking to expand their businesses, one of them being Takamaka, a Seychelles based rum brand that recently hosted a tasting event at Ki.Chen which is on Senteu Plaza. To those who don’t know where this is, I will make it easy for you – it is up the road past B-Club!

Now here is what I know about most rums, they are a Caribbean specialty drink which explains why it makes the best beachside cocktails like the famous mojito. The other thing I know is the main ingredient is mostly sugarcane and its by-products. Anyone that sips rum knows there’s a sometimes distant sweetness to the taste. Takamaka is not any different.

I tried the spiced version of it that came in a nice golden brown color and sat very well with ice. The resident rum connoisseurs at the event suggested I get a chaser, but where would the fun be? One cautioned on its potency but I guess they’ve never met the average Kenyan drinker. So neat over ice was how I chose to tackle this Caribbean beauty.

The thing with spiced rum, as I found out is that when the ice melts it dissolves some of the spices blended into it giving it flavor. This flavor will initially be lost in its intensity if taken dry. But the whole point of having a drink is to enjoy it. Distillers put in a lot of work ageing these drinks for an irresponsible chap to just, gulp it down.

When I speak of flavor there’s a distinction that comes with rum. You do not have to mull over it, smacking your lips trying to discern the different notes. Heck, you can put some on your lips, taste them and still identify the different flavors. Rum is a drink that was made to be enjoyed and this is clear when you first taste the Takamaka spiced.

If you are averse from trying a drink over ice, even though you are missing out, the guys at Takamaka recommend a ginger ale or bitter lemon as a chaser for the spiced rum. At the end of the day, it is all up to you, the drinker. You understand your tastes best and know how to pair your drink. Though, recommendations do not hurt.

For a price of KES 2000, the Takamaka spiced sits pretty on the table. It does not command a lot of presence though. I have a feeling once they officially get on bar shelves the newness of the brand will attract people. But there is no premium finish to it as is with the likes of Barcadi and Captain Morgan’s.

One thing that stood out though with this event was the fact that they handed out cocktail recipes for all their rum. They curated them into readily available ingredients and even prep suggestions based on the number of people intended to take the drink.

At the butt of it, I do not see myself become a regular rum drinker. But if you already are, the Takamaka spiced is something you ought to try. You will not be disappointed.

Fun Fact: They sometimes age rum in charred bourbon barrels. So if you pay close enough attention you will catch a whiff of your favorite whisky lying there in the background of your taste buds. 

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