One of the things I love to discuss when I am introducing a new rum at a tasting or event is the story behind it. Afrohead was a rum I had heard rumors about as a highly limited rum from the Bahamas. The creation of Toby Tyler in 2008, the rum was served as the house rum at the Landing Guest House and Restaurant by proprietor Joe Farrell. They hand bottled it and used the logo that appeared on their house wine. The logo was an homage to the island’s history and culture and the first Miss Bahamas from 1963. Referred to as the “Afrohead,” the name stuck and a brand was born.
Now fast forward to 2015, the Harbour Island Rum Company launches its Afrohead line as a seven years old dark aged rum and fifteen year old XO rum. The logo has evolved as well with iconography inspired by the West Indies rich rum history woven into it. If you look closely you will find a Crown, a Seashell, Junkanoo, Creation, Mind’s Eye, and Rising Sun symbols in the design.
The rum itself is made from molasses sourced in the Dominican Republic, fermented and distilled in Trinidad at the House of Angostura using a proprietary yeast. The rum is then aged using American Oak Bourbon Barrels. After the required aging time period, the Aged Dark rum is transported to Barbados where it is blended and bottled to 80 proof. At the time of this review the rum is available in the Bahamas, Tennessee, and Florida.
The medium sized 750 ml bottle is sealed with a black security wrap and wax seal holding a black plastic cork in the bottle. The security strip on the neck descends down the bottle pointing to the black and gold Afrohead logo centered on the bottle. The rest of the bottle follows this color scheme which works surprisingly well with the dark amber color of the rum.
The color lightens to a honey amber in the glass. Swirling the liquid created a thin ring with legs that speed down the side of the glass as fast as they are created. The ring settles into a substantial bead pattern.
The liquid revealed notes of caramel, honey, vanilla, molasses, a bite of alcohol vapor and char.
My first sip reveals a swirl of caramel wrapped around a core of smoky oak, subtle banana with a light bite of alcohol. Subsequent sips amplifies the sweetness of the rum balanced by the lightly acidic oak tannins and hint of baking spices. The acidity and alcohol transition to a bitter oak orange peel finish that I find intriguing.
I enjoy the fact that the company is transparent with the pedigree of the rum instead of using smoke and mirrors concerning the origin of the spirit. The important part is that the character of the spirit comes through creating a rum that can be sipped or used in a cocktail. The note of orange that came out in the finish led me to trying it in a Rum Old Fashioned cocktail confirming the versatility of the spirit. This versatility is what I always want to see in a rum in this age range. At 35 dollars a bottle, it tips toward the upper end of the 7-8 year price range but the versatile range it provides makes it worth adding to the bar selection.