Review: Lost Spirits Japonisme Rum

Review: Lost Spirits Japonisme Rum

I’ve been writing about Lost Spirits for as long as I can remember — and part of the reason I can’t remember that far back is because I’ve consumed my share of Lost Spirits’ products, which are often ultra-proof rums designed to mimic, as the name suggests, “lost” styles of boozemaking. The company remains at the forefront of accelerated aging of spirits, and that process was used to create this pot-distilled product. However, the big draw is what the rum is made out of: 100% Kokuto black sugar from Okinawa. Per Lost Spirits:

Kokuto is a prized culinary ingredient that has been made in Okinawa since the 17th century. Unlike refined sugar, Kokuto is made by drying boiled sugarcane juice into brownish-black bricks. Japonisme is, to our knowledge, the only rum produced from Kokuto in the United States and possibly the only rum made from this very special ingredient outside Japan.

Just 1000 bottles of the first batch of the rum were produced.

In tasting the rum, the hallmark elements of Lost Spirits’ rums are well accounted for. The aromatics are aggressive and intense — barrel char, coffee, torched molasses (or, perhaps, brownish-black bricks of sugar) — and perhaps initially a bit off-putting. Give it a little time and some aeration and underneath you soon find a thick layer of fruit, notes of barely there raisin and dried figs. Altogether heavy and brooding, it slowly sucks you in as it unfolds in the glass.

The palate is even more immersive and even more complex. The dark fruit notes evident on the nose come into clearer focus, melding raisin and prune with an intense coffee and dark chocolate quality. Simultaneously savory and sweet, the rum evolves in glass to reveal notes of well-roasted nuts — pecan and pistachio, even — and an Indian spice note recalling garam masala. The significant heat mellows in the glass and allows more fruity sweetness to become prominent with time, ramping up as the conclusion careens closer and closer. The finish recalls maraschino cherries dipped in molasses and dusted with cocoa powder.

Rarely does Lost Spirits miss with its unique, off-the-wall creations. Japonisme remains one of its strongest and most evocative creations to date.

99 proof.

A / $75 /

Lost Spirits Japonisme Rum




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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