A couple of years ago my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Belize and the Travellers Distillery which is best known for its One Barrel Rum. Belize is a beautiful country and has some of the most gorgeous sea and landscapes that we have encountered in Central America. Another thing they are known for is great dive sights and a healthy shark population. So when I heard that the Shark Bait company had collaborated with the Travellers Distillery to produce a rum called Tiburon, the Spanish word for shark, it completely made sense to me.
The rum is a molasses based blend that is blended from a diverse selection of barrels then re-casked and finished in Kentucky Oak Bourbon Barrels. The company claims this allows the tannins to give the rum its color and enhances its flavor profile. The youngest rum in the blend is four years old, giving the Master Blender the opportunity to hand craft a small batch product unique among the other rums produced in Belize.
Out of the gate there is a lot about the packaging of this rum I like. The short necked 750 ml bottle is secured with a black wrap that encloses a wood cap and plastic cork. A plastic shark tooth hangs from it, drawing the eyes to the Tiburon logo. Through the body of the bottle a shark glows through the rum. Brief information about the rum is provided on the front and some background information on the back.
The rum has a pale golden amber color in the bottle and glass. Swirling the liquid I see the light green glimmer around the edges providing a hint at some of the age of the rum in the bottle. The swirling left behind a thin band around the perimeter of the glass that formed surprisingly thick legs that raced down the glass.
When I swirled the liquid I picked up an initial hit of higher alcohol and oak laden cinnamon. After the rum settled I quickly picked up dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel and a light grass note.
First sip provided an upfront swirl of caramel and vanilla followed by a nice oaky pepper pop. The alcohol of the rum tingled pleasantly around the mouth. The next and subsequent sips provided the same caramel-vanilla notes upfront, but I also picked up notes of light honey, cinnamon and nutty marzipan married with the oak. The honey-cinnamon note lingers creating a nice spicy finish.
Tiburon rum is a fine example of what happens when the Master Blender gets the freedom to play and create something new. The blend and balance of the flavor notes are what I have come to attribute with Belizean rums, but they are expressed in such a way that the exploration is a lot of fun. While the bottle clearly states that the youngest rum is four years old, the character and balance of the blend could be attributed to a more mature spirit.
I think the quality of the rum lends itself to be a solid ingredient in any recipe that calls for a gold rum. At 80 proof it provides a nice punch for your cocktail but I am also quite comfortable recommending sipping it neat. Just pour, give it a few minutes to breathe, and enjoy; no ice cube needed. At this time Tiburon rum is slowly expanding its distribution across the U.S. and has placement in five states with pricing around $34.99 a bottle.
While reviewing the rum I was inspired to create a new cocktail:
Swimming with Sharks
1 oz Tiburon Rum
1/2 oz Orgeat
1/2oz Dry Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Blue Curacao
Shake in ice filled shaker and strain into Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.