It’s perhaps the most exotic rum yet from indie bottlers Holmes Cay: a rum from South Africa’s Mhoba Distillery, marking the first time any rum from South Africa has ever been sold in the U.S. Some details on this 2017 vintage bottling, which was turned out from just 4 casks:
The Mhoba Distillery uses hand-cut cane grown on the adjacent farm, and distills from fresh pressed cane juice on a crusher designed by master distiller Robert Greaves. Both commercial and wild African yeasts are used in fermentation. The pot stills which produce this richly aromatic and flavorful rum were also designed and built by Greaves. This edition has been aged for four years exclusively in South African whisky casks.
The Holmes Cay South Africa Mhoba 2017 edition was aged for 4 years in subtropical conditions of the Mhoba distillery in the Mpumalanga province on the northeastern border of South Africa, before being bottled in New York State. Only four barrels were selected. No sugar, color or other flavors were added. The Holmes Cay South Africa Mhoba 2017 is bottled at full barrel proof of 59% abv.
It’s unusual stuff that most drinkers will find immediately unfamiliar, for obvious reasons. Big hogo notes dominate the nose, bordering on off-putting at times. There’s a strong vein of youthful petrol here, reminscent of cachaca, overpowering a healthy amount of (very) overripe fruit. The palate is boldly fruity but again massively overripe and sweet: pineapple dominates, with notes of lemon and lime, especially leaf, following after. Some anise arrives for the finish, with a lingering oakiness after. At full proof it’s a hot hot hot powerhouse, though nothing a seasoned rum drinker won’t be able to manage.