Vidya: The River Mumma

A new one today one that’s been reviewed already (pretty favourably) by Wes Burgin at TheFatRumPirate and Alex Sandu at TheRumBarrel. I’m trying, I’m trying, but these are the guys to follow if you want to stay abreast of the latest releases. Must try harder…

This is the inaugural release under the brand of ‘Vidya’ from the team at Skylark Spirits. The teams aim is to release unique single barrel cane spirits from around the globe, “…entwining the rums with the heritage of their origin via a traditional anecdote or folklore.”
Good stuff!

What we have here is a doozy; an entirely pot still rum, distilled at New Yarmouth in 2005 and bottled in 2020 at the cask strength of 61.5% with a VERY limited outturn of only 255 bottles.

Of its 15 years on this planet, the first 7 were spent aging in Jamaica, before being filled into a once-used bourbon cask and transported over to Europe for a further 8 years of continental aging.

The marque is NYE (denoting New Yarmouth Estate; a prefix attached to all their marques)-WM which produces an ester count of between 1300-1400 grams/hlaa – that’s around the level of Long Pond TECB or the beloved Hampden C<>H.

New Yarmouth is a bit of a dark horse amongst the Jamaican distilleries. Owned by Campari group (who also own Appleton Estate), it’s the source of one of the world’s most popular white overproof rums – J.Wray and Nephew! Beyond that, it’s pretty hard to track down much information about this distillery; it has small pot stills and at least one column – Google Earth satellite pictures would suggest it has a muck pit perhaps (or very big open air fermentation tanks – more likely is I’m talking out of my arse)….and that’s about all I could find….

Sorry.

Heading back to the name choices: ‘Vidya’ is a Sanskrit word, one that can be described in English as ‘correct knowledge,’ ‘clarity’ and ‘learning.’

The River Mumma is a Jamaican folklore creature, a river goddess (analogous to a mermaid) who acts as protector of the fish and animals living near the water. She has been said to reside by Flat Bridge on the Rio Cobre (one of the main bridges connecting North and South sections of Spanish Town) but also the other waterways of Jamaica….including Rio Minho, upon whose banks New Yarmouth Estate sits. She was often portrayed with a golden comb that she would use to entice people to their watery demise; but there are also stories of her rescuing people who had fallen into the river. I think they’ve achieved their goal of educating about local folklore in this one!

To the review!

Presentation – A stunning hand drawn design by Aaron Godwin-Lamptey shows the River Mumma, golden comb in hand with a tail colour unique to each individual bottle (mine is blue and pink and bloody lovely). Front and centre in gold on black is the rum, the number of bottles, distillery, age and ABV. A synthetic plastic stopper with black wooden top. Class.

Nose – Holy shitballs. This is the craziest rum I’ve ever smelt. Perfumed and juicy spring to mind. Boot polish, sandalwood, fresh orange juice, passion fruit, caramelised bananas, ice cream – or caramac? – incense, oud, a wood workshop (as if that description makes ANY sense), honey, rhubarb. Leave it for a bit and come back 20 minutes later and the lighter perfumes notes have gone, replaced by baking spices; nutmeg and allspice mainly.

Palate – Fruit abides when you drink this; orange oils like the ones you express around the rim of an Old Fashioned, mango, pineapple and passion fruit, moving into vanilla, green cardamom, tobacco, szechuan peppers.

Finish – Long, dry, faintly perfumed with that sandalwood note lasting long after everything else.

Scores on the door:

Presentation: 5/5
Nose: 9/10
Taste: 18/20
Finish: 7/10
Value for money: 5/5

Total: 46/50

Notes: This is an absolutely phenomenal rum. It’s well presented, more importantly smells amazing and MOST importantly tastes incredible. It’s from a distillery not known for an abundance of independent bottlings or any own single cask bottlings and, whilst undeniably not cheap (£130 on TWE and MoM), it’s amazingly well priced for a New Yarmouth bottling and for the product it contains. This would be one of my ‘must buys’ for anyone looking to explore a little further with their Jamaican rums. Looking forward to seeing what comes next from the guys at Skylark!

Author: Mr RumLondon

Doc by day (sometimes night), rum drinker by night (sometimes day). I'm a shift worker, not a lush. Other opinions are also available.

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