What is it? Pure Single Rum (pot still, molasses based, single distillery) from the New Yarmouth distillery in Jamaica. Not a lot of people outside rum “enthusiast” groups will have heard of New Yarmouth; it is part of Appleton Estate and based in Clarendon, Jamaica. It produces rum mainly for Wray and Nephew and particularly white rum for the Overproof. They have both pot and column stills at the distillery and it has quite a large output, but most of this ends up in blended rums or other brands – there is very little out there labelled as New Yarmouth and where you do find it it’s almost exclusively in Independent bottles.
So that’s the distillery, what about this brand? Well Vidya is a new brand owned by Skylark Spirits who are a UK based distributor and importer of rum – they own Rumcask and do a lot of (nowadays) online tasting events. I’ve got to know them over the last year or so and they’re a really good bunch of lads, so I was very excited when they told me about this project, especially once I found out what it was. The word “Vidya” comes from ancient Sanskrit and means “clarity, knowledge and learning” – well chosen, if you ask me, to represent a (hopefully range of!) rum that is unaltered, fully transparent and about a pure as you can get it.
So where does the River Mumma fit in? Well this name was chosen because legends of the River Mumma goddess have been whispered throughout Jamaica for centuries. She is said to have guarded rivers such as the Rio Minho, which runs alongside the New Yarmouth distillery, acting as the protector of the fish and wildlife inhabitants.
So that’s the background covered off, now the nitty gritty, what’s in the bottle:
This rum, as mentioned, comes from a pot still and has been matured entirely in ex-bourbon casks. It was distilled in 2005 and the first 7 years of maturation were spent in Jamaica. On 16th May 2012 it was filled into a once used bourbon cask and shipped to the UK. In 2017 it was then sent off to Denmark until it was bottled in 2020. This gives us a tropical age of 7 years, a European age of 8 years with a total age of 15 years. Obviously the 7 years in Jamaica will amount for more, usually 3:1 so those initial 7 years will be around 21 years equivalent of European aging.
The cask marque is SFJW, but this is not a New Yarmouth marque, it’s likely to be one used by a shipper. The actual marque is NYE/EM which comes in a whopping 1300-1400 gr/hlaa of esters – which makes this an absolute monster.
Bottled at cask strength of 61.5% abv and one of 255 bottles released.
So just to summarise; well aged, insane ester, cask strength pot still Jamaican rum. Drink this sat down.
Note: For the purpose of my own survival and that of both my nose hairs and taste buds, I’ve taken this down to about 57% abv for the review. This is the strength I’ve been drinking it at for pleasure too.
Sugar? No way
Nose: Holy shit, this thing is mental. The smell from the bottle hits you right in the face as soon as you pull the cork. The nose is a total onslaught with huge amounts of fermenting pineapple, black bananas, banana foam sweets, pineapple cube candy, overripe mango and pears. Describing funk in a rum is quite a hard thing to do but one sniff of this explains it all, this is seriously, seriously funky rum. Then things get all savoury, and very interesting; beeswax, nail varnish remover, grease, petrol, Kalamata olives by the bucket, tar and a combination of Nam Pla (fish sauce) and wasabi. There’s a musty note of cardboard, hessian sacks and coconut husks. Sitting under all this is a little vanilla, coconut, almond, light caramel and some nutmeg. What. A. Nose.
Palate: Good body, full mouth feel but not oily, just nicely coating. We’re a step or two back from the nose here, not as big or brash, which is a good thing as I stand a chance of actually being able to pick out some flavours. Still big funk with lots of banana, pineapple, mango, passion fruit and cantaloupe melon but it’s easier to find the more subtle notes; vanilla, clove, honey and coconut. We’ve got a tobacco smoke, leather and old wooden furniture. There’s that Umami note of Nam Pla and wasabi again, white pepper and stamp glue. Plenty of salty olives and grease then back to bananas, some brown sugar and pineapple cube sweets as it goes to the finish.
Finish: Very long. Fruity here still with Fruit Salad chews, concentrated banana essence or oil and a little bit of strawberry of all things. There’s a flash of savoury with Black Jack sweets (liquorice candy), brine, Pear Drops and tarry ropes, but on the whole it’s the remnants of the massive tropical fruits that stays here.
Thoughts? Wow. This is a big, big rum. The nose is one of the best I’ve ever smelt and you get it as soon as you pour a glass. It drops a few points on the palate but that’s not really the palates fault, it’s pretty hard to come after that nose and be able to stand up for yourself, the smell is so good.
What I love here though is that it’s not just all about the funk, there’s loads of layers and huge complexity; you really do go down a rabbit hole with this rum.
So this is one of my top rums of 2020 and one of the best I’ve ever had; I ranked it 2nd and it was only piped to the post by Foursquare Nobiliary, so not a bad showing at all given what it was up against. Now, this is not cheap at £130 but let me tell you how good this is: I pre-ordered a bottle after a sample without even asking what the price was, I really didn’t care. Yes, it’s worth every penny.
If you fancy this you can pick this up from The Whisky Exchange here: