Bar & Drinks news

World first for domestic rum

Darren Nugent

The local craft spirits revolution shows no sign of slowing with the news that a 100% domestically produced rum has won a gold medal at the Global Luxury Spirits Masters for the first time.

Íon Distillery, based in rural County Tyrone has won two Gold Medals – one for its Yuzu flavoured Curious Citrus Gin and in a first for a Distillery on the island of Ireland – a Gold for its Whiskey Cask Spiced Rum.

The international competition is organised by influential magazine The Spirits Business and seeks to find and reward “the finest luxury spirits brands on the world stage” in the super-premium and ultra-premium sectors.

Chaired by the well-read magazine and assessed by a panel of leading spirits specialists, each product was evaluated on nose, palate, appearance and overall balance. Only spirits receiving over 80 points from a possible 100 from each judge was awarded a coveted Gold medal.

Although there are a small number of domestic rums brands, most are made from blends of imported Caribbean spirit. What distinguishes Íon Whiskey Cask Spiced Rum is that it is fermented, distilled, aged and packaged from scratch in the Company’s own premises in the small village of Carrickmore.

In search of authenticity Íon has installed a purpose-built Caribbean “Doubler style” still for the process. Possibly the only one of its kind in the UK or Ireland which lends a distinctive character to the final rum.

Commenting on the win Head Distiller Darren Nugent said: “Winning such prestigious awards in this international competition is a marvellous endorsement of the quality and outstanding flavours of our products.

“In particular I am overjoyed at winning for our rum which is a recognition of the great deal of work which has gone into not just creating a 100% locally made Rum – but one which can complete with the very best from around the world.”

His interest in rum is based on his passion for Cuba, especially Havana, the Caribbean island’s historic and quirky capital.

The company, which has only been distilling for just over 12 months produces a range of three spirits; its Whiskey Cask Spiced Rum; Curiously Citrus Gin and a three Grain Triple Stone Filtered Vodka all on site.

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