After the UK RumFest and UAE, Wild Tiger Rum makes its Indian debut
IRST spotted at the UK RumFest last year, with about 300 other brands for company (including Bacardi, Ron Zacapa Centenario, and Captain Morgan), Wild Tiger Rum, which has its roots in Coimbatore, came in for much praise at the festival. Around 250 people tasted it, including Richard Seale (owner of Foursquare Distillery, a brand from Barbados), who was happy to see a rum brand from the country. After all, the roots of rum can be traced back to ancient India, from where it spread to the Caribbean, which along with Latin America, now produces majority of the world’s rum. Founded by Gautom Menon, whose family has been in the liquor business for the past 19 years, Wild Tiger Rum is now in the Indian market. It was launched last month in Bengaluru, and is available at Dufry’s duty free at the international airport. The brand is also available in Mumbai, and plans to include Pondicherry and Mahe are on.
With a base of molasses blended with cane juice spirit (double distilled in pot stills), the rum is kept in American oakwood barrels that once stored bourbon whiskey. So the latter’s lingering flavours seep into the blend to create a unique taste. “We have around 600 barrels at our distillery in Pampady village in Thiruvilwamala, Thrissur, where we char the barrels to reactivate the wood so that the natural flavours soak into the spirit,” says Menon. The resulting liquid, therefore, is a dark amber liquor, with hints of vanilla, cocoa, butterscotch and toasted wood. “We have sold over 18,000 bottles (750 ml each) so far, with orders mainly coming from the UAE,” he reveals, adding that they are collaborating with Mumbai-based celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani, who is curating a menu of signature dishes that can be paired with the rum. Besides the current Special Reserve dark rum which has 42.8 per cent abv (alcohol by volume), there are other variants coming up, like the Spiced Rum and a sweeter Wild Tigress version for the ladies, with 20 per cent abv.
All for nature
The striped designs on the polyester-velvet cover of the bottles serve a bigger purpose. Menon has simultaneously launched Wild Tiger Foundation in collaboration with a few friends. “Since we are not on-ground experts or conservationists, we have tied up with NGOs like Wildlife Conservation Trust, for whom we mobilise funds and help with merchandise,” Menon explains. Moreover, the bottle and its cover are made from recycled glass and other materials, while the replica of the tiger claw that comes with each bottle is an ancient Indian symbol for bravery. To sum it all up, popular mixologist, Shatbhi Basu, says, “I feel proud to see a home grown sipping rum like Wild Tiger, and I love its note of candied orange peel. That it serves a cause too is bonus.” Now here’s a story that ties in with the Make in India campaign.
Priced at Rs 1,200 per bottle. Details: wildtiger.in
— Karan Pillai