As elsewhere in the West Indies, rum plays a prominent role in the history of The Bahamas. Mostly, though, that role hasn’t been all that distinguished.
Ever find Ricardo Rum anywhere near any list of the world’s finest rums?
Bacardi, you say? Don’t get me started. Plus, they shut down their Nassau facility years ago.
To find the real high quality rum flavor of these islands in years past, you typically had to know somebody. Somebody like Toby Tyler.
A surfer, rocker, and rum-lover from Down Under, Toby first started making Afrohead when it dawned on him that his favorite rum just didn’t exist. Sure he loved certain rums from the DR, Trinidad, Barbados, and elsewhere for various reasons, but none quite checked all the boxes for him quite the way his particular palate demanded.
Thus in 2008 the original Afrohead was born, though you probably wouldn’t have known it unless you happened to stop in at The Landing Hotel in Harbour Island. Toby, who partners in the historic boutique hotel (est. 1800) along with Afrohead co-founder Joe Farrell, used to blend and bottle Afrohead virtually all on his own, reserving it solely for hotel guests.
Word of the rum’s excellent flavor and character spread, of course, eventually bringing about a style makeover to the Afrohead logo (see the previous afro here) and bottle.
The exceptional quality of the rum itself, though, remains the same.
The seven year-old expression pictured here is fast becoming a personal favorite of mine. True to Toby’s discerning pan regional tastes, Afrohead rums pull together different ingredients from disparate parts of the West Indies. Molasses from the Dominican Republic, a 100 year-old yeast strand from Trinidad, hand bottling in Barbados – this rum unifies the region in a way CARICOM could never hope to approach.
Afrohead is also distilled up to five times for purity, and aged in Bourbon oak barrels used just once previously, ensuring a consistency of flavor from bottle to bottle.
For me, Afrohead 7 is a joy; certainly among the best “new to me” rums I got to sample at this year’s Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. Enjoyed neat, it’s smooth and well-balanced for my taste in terms of sweetness, with just the right amount of burn and some absolutely delicious notes of honey and vanilla punctuating a nice, long finish.
Honestly, I can’t love this stuff enough, and as someone with a growing affinity for visiting The Bahamas, I couldn’t be happier to know that I can finally enjoy an exceptional rum on my travels there.