Sunday, June 28, 2015

Zane Lamprey’s New Monkey Rum - A First Sampling

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I can’t tell you how excited I was when I opened the care package sent from Monkey Rum today.  First off I was greeted by our pal Pleepleus sitting on top of each cap, and even better yet, the box included two different Rum varieties for us to sample.

For those unfamiliar, Monkey Rum was created by National Geographic TV host of “CHUG” and former host of Drinking Made Easy and Three Sheets; Zane Lamprey.  After sampling spirits in over 60 different countries, Zane has a pretty amazing palate for spirits, and especially for one of his favorites, Rum.

According to Zane, “I set out to create a Rum that captured the spirit of my adventures--a more evolved Rum compared to what was available on the market.”  Zane worked with co-founder Ian Crystal and the team at Monkey Rum to not only create some unique varieties of Rum, but also some unique packaging.  The labels are loaded with Zane Lamprey show references, with the train representing “CHUG” (with a train number representing the number of Kickstarter backers that supported Zane), the sailboat representing Three Sheets, loads of Pleepleus and monkey references and even the “evolution spirits” seal representing the evolution of man and the progress made in developing this Rum.

As if that’s not enough fun, the barrel-shaped bottle not only highlights the fact that these Rums are barrel-aged, but it is designed to be recycled or more accurately Up-cycled.  The base of the bottle forms the perfect rocks glass or pint glass, and the neck can be up-cycled to form a Daiquiri goblet.  Monkey Rum will also be running a promotion where consumers can mail the empty bottle back in the gift box and Monkey Rum will return the repurposed glassware.
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So enough of that fun, lets get down to tasting.  We always like to sample spirits straight up as well as in a mixed drink so of course that’s what we did.  Monkey Rum with Toasted Coconut was up first.  The aromas of this Rum are distinctly roasty with softer notes of coconut.  There's a subtle banana-like fruity aroma with a little caramel at the end.  The flavors follow the aromas pretty accurately, however this Rum leads with a really delicate roasted coconut followed by a chewy caramel up front and it finishes with a boozy yet almost buttery finish.  Overall it

‘s really clean and pleasant and the toasted coconut flavors really makes it unique.

Up next we tasted Monkey Rum Spiced Rum.  While I initially found some pineapple in the nose, it was followed immediately with lots of herbal and spicy aromas.  On the palate I thought I tasted allspice, cinnamon and some other really well balanced herbals.  In the middle there’s lots of sweet molasses as well as some slightly fruity and nutty flavors.  As with Monkey Rum Toasted Coconut, both Rums finished cleanly with no aftertaste.

As far as the Rum cocktails are concerned, we decided of course to make a Pina Colada with the Toasted Coconut and a classic Mai Tai with the Spiced Rum.  We wanted to keep it fairly simple and choose a cocktail that we thought would play into the strengths of each Rum.   Both cocktails were of course delicious and I think both drinks benefitted from this level of premium barrel-aged Rum.  In the end I think we really appreciated the flavors of these Rums straight up much more than mixed into a cocktail, but whatever you choose, you’ll really enjoy Monkey Rum.

A big thank you to everyone at Monkey Rum for sending these samples.  Monkey Rum clocks in at 35%-ABV and it is available in 750ml bottles in CA, NY, FL and NJ so be sure to try it for yourself and be sure to let me know what you think.

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