The Kōloa Rum Company operates the first-ever distillery on the Hawaiian island of Kaua`i and produces three rums – white, gold and dark. Kōloa Rum is made from pure raw crystal sugar from Gay and Robinson, the last plantation to operate on the island, and it’s handcrafted and distilled in small batches in the company’s 1210-gallon, hand-hammered vintage copper pot still.
Back in March, Kōloa won two silvers (for dark and gold) and a bronze award (for white) at the Polished Palate Rum Festival in Ybor City, Florida. Then, in May, Kōloa scored a gold medal for its dark rum at the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami. Needless to say, my interest was piqued.
Kōloa Dark Rum is a deep mahogany, and on the nose it gives a bouquet of molasses, vanilla and cola. Tasted neat, molasses, vanilla and some toffee are present, plus a hint of spice. It finishes warm and sweet, and overall very smooth, especially impressive for a rum that’s seemingly quite young (there’s no age statement to confirm the exact age).
Mixed into an añejo daiquiri and mai tai, Kōloa worked pretty well. In the daiquiri I adjusted the spirit to lime to sugar proportions to account for Kōloa’s relatively sweet taste. The result was serviceable, but Kōloa seemed a bit out of place in the daiquiri. It fared better in the mai tai, but generally, I preferred sipping it straight.
All in all, a pretty good rum. It’s very smooth and easy to sip straight, but powerful enough to stand up in most rum cocktails. As of now, Kōloa is only available in Hawaii and California, but look for distribution to continue heading eastward.
— 40% Alcohol by Volume
CE Rating: ★★★