A Rougaroux is a legendary creature that is a part of Louisiana Bayou mythology. This boogey man has the body of a man with the head of a wolf like the classic Werewolf/Wolfman. There are several tales that detail what and how a Rougaroux is created, but they all agree they are bad news if you run into one during the night in the swamps and forests of Louisiana. Best to lay your 13 pennies at the threshold (Rougaroux can only count to 12) and keep them at bay until the sunrises.
The Donner-Peltier Distillers based in Thibodaux, Louisiana came together when two families joined together to produce rums and spirits made from Louisiana sugarcane and rice. Using a 3,000 liter copper Kothe still, they use a blend of sugar and molasses to produce their rums. 13 Penny Praline Rum is flavored with Madagascar vanilla beans, roasted pecans and Sweet Memories Cane syrup. The syrup is produced by the Cajun Daughters company in Schriever, Louisiana.
Rougaroux 13 Penny Praline rum comes in a tall 750 ml bottle with a black, red, pewter and silver label and secured at the top with a black security wrap. The back details the legend of the Rougaroux and why “13 pennies” is important. The front of the label has the right level of spooky to it with the Rougaroux’s red eyes peering between the stalks of sugarcane.
The rum is dark honey rum color in the glass and then lightens to a medium honey gold once poured in the glass.
When I first sniffed the glass it immediately took me back to Savannah, Georgia and River Street Sweets. They make some of the best pralines I have ever had and anytime I visit Savannah they are on my must visit list. Just walk down River Street and the aroma of pralines in the air will guide you straight to the shop. Apparently they are quite popular in the French Quarter in New Orleans, but I have not had them there.
The aroma in the glass has the sweet sugary vanilla riding high with roasted funky pecan staking the body and rum taking the baseline.
The entry lights the mouth with the rawness of the spirit while delivering the sweet nutty swirl that the aroma promised. As the rum begins to fade, a slightly bitter note comes in and punctuates the brief finish.
I have written this a few times and probably will again but reviewing flavored rums is always a tricky thing. I feel it is important to judge whether or not a company has done a good job achieving their goal of capturing a flavor in a bottle. In this case the Donner-Peltier distillers have achieved their goal of creating a praline rum. From the aroma to the taste they captured the balance of sugar and nutty pecan that was necessary to be successful.
When using this rum, my wife and I discussed it and believe it can be used in much the same way as Trader Vic’s Macadamia Nut Liquor. The sweet and nutty profile would lend itself to coffee/cocoa drinks, apple juice or hot cider, and cocktails deploying fall fruit notes and spices could be a lot of fun.
This review first appeared in Got Rum? magazine.