Forum Garden Rum is a new product from The Portsmouth Distillery. Have they invented a new category? The Garden Rum? It is a white rum flavoured with 5 botanicals and is designed to be a crossover between gin and rum (the distillery’s raison d’etre). Something to appeal to introduce gin to rum drinks and rum to gin drinkers! One could argue whether this flavoured rum is a type of spiced rum – I quite like the term “botanical rum”. It is certainly a world away from heavy, sweet, dark spiced rums.
Portsmouth Distillery, is based at Fort Cumberland located at Eastney Point at the entrance to Langstone Harbour, was established in 2018 by ex Naval officers Vince Noyce and Giles Collighan and Dich Oatley who has spent many years working in the wine trade. Vince and Giles shared a mutual love of rum and the distillery was founded with the aim of making a Portsmouth Rum.
The base for the Forum Garden Rum is Portsmouth Distillery’s 1968 White Rum. This is an aromatic white rum made from sugar cane syrup rather than the more commonly used molasses. Powdered sugar cane juice is imported from Costa Rica. This is then rehydrated at the distillery. The sugar cane syrup is then fermented. This is a long, slow fermentation (their very first fermentation took 4 weeks or so) before being distilled through the distillery’s 500 litre pot still (nicknamed Sophie Wu) and 4 plate column still. Sugar cane juice produces a different, more aromatic style of rum than those made from molasses. To make Forum Garden Rum, 5 botanicals (to represent the 5 corners of Fort Cumberland) are macerated in the white rum for around 24 hours before the rum is then redistilled. The 5 carefully, selected, hand-picked botanicals are elderflower, gorseflower, coriander, sweet orange peel and fresh lime peel.
Something completely different!
Portsmouth Distillery Forum Garden Rum is nice enough to be drunk neat, preferable over ice. However, it will come into its own in long drinks. Try it mixed with a good cola (Fentimans or Fever Tree), in a long drink with tonic garnished with orange and lime or try with a ginger ale. I will also be good mixed with fruit juice, perhaps pineapple or orange juice. Experiment and get back to me!
Portsmouth Distillery Forum Garden Rum is a clear, colourless spirit. The nose is aromatic and sweet smelling. The herbaceous character of the base rum is detectable but, on top of this, there are aromas of sweet citrus, floral notes, red berries and hints honey and woody spice. On the palate there is more orange and lime citrus character some savoury flavours from the coriander and spicy, pepper-y nuances. There is a touch of sweetness on the front of the palate but the finish is dry, spicy and lingering.