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Taste of paradise

According to various reports published in recent years, the demand for rum in the UK is set to continue to grow.

An article published by The Spirits Business in 2022 reported that: “The UK is the third-largest rum market in the world and is valued at £1.17 billion (US$1.47bn), according to a new report by Campari Group.”

Whilst gin remains the UK’s most popular spirit (in 2023 UK gin sales were around $2 billion/£1.6 billion, according to HMRC figures) anyone producing rum is in a buoyant, dynamic and growing sector.

Since launching in 2020, here at Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine we have sampled various rums, from both established and start-up artisan producers, and the quality of the spirits that we have been sent were a million miles from the humdrum rums that too many bars and pubs continue to stock.

Rum and coke is the most common (and least creative) combination of a spirit that deserves more respect, especially the premium rums that really don’t need to be polluted with mixers.

The majority that we have sampled over the last few years have been smooth, confident and stylish rums deserve space on the backbar.

So, when we were approaching by the owners of Manatii, a start-up UK-based rum producer – to see if we would like to cover their story – of course, we said, ‘yes’. A few days later a sample of their rum arrived at the office.

Manatii was launched in 2021 by founded by siblings Tom and Emma, together with friends CJ Mattia and Nick.

Their aim was to avoid the clichés often associated with rum and instead wanted to celebrate the vibrancy of the Caribbean, which in 2019 was hit by Hurricane Dorian.

Manatii’s branding is vibrant and striking, featuring iconic hand-drawn images of the Caribbean, which immediately elevates the rum from the mainstream brands.

The team at Manatii is passionate about producing a high quality rum, but they are equally keen to help communities across the Caribbean whose lives have been turned upside down by devastating natural disasters.

From the sale of every bottle of Manatii Rum the company will donate £2 to charities across the Caribbean who are working hard to recover impacted areas and provide permanent solutions against future natural disasters.

Whilst the company’s ethical stance is to be applauded, what about the rum?

Hope Town is the company’s signature dark rum, distilled and bottled in the UK, produced using a 300-year-old St Lucian family recipe that has been passed down through the generations.

Although billed as a dark rum, this golden spirits is visually inviting. On the nose there were hints of spice and tropical fruits.

The mouthfeel was smooth with hints of caramel and raw cane sugar, but the strength of the spirit tempered the overall experience – it was never too sweet – but definitely a rum that should be enjoyed on its own.

There is no doubt that this rum would work well in a range of cocktails, but we all felt that the only additional ingredient you really needed was ice.

The finish brought together the initial spicy notes and a subtle caramel sweetness, with hints of tropical fruits, completing an experience that was no hardship to repeat.

It is a remarkable achievement that such a young team has produced what is a high quality rum, which will no doubt be enjoyed by connoisseurs of rum as well as those who are new to rum (or at least new to premium rums).

We look forward to hearing what this company does next.

For more information visit their website