Countless new spirits and liqueurs are released every year with varying degrees of success. One tactic that is often used to set a spirit apart is by using a distinct label. I am always on the look out for unique and new spirits. When visiting a new location I always scan the backbar, searching for something that catches my eye. One summer evening I was sitting at Repour Bar in Miami and my eyes stumbled across, a bottle which had a picture of a woman with an afro. I asked Brian Sassen, who was behind the stick that night, what that bottle was. He explained that it was a new rum recently released in America, fittingly called Afrohead. Given my affinity for rum I asked him to mix me up an old fashioned. He used molasses bitters which played nicely with the flavors of the rum. I knew I had to sample the rum on its own to see if it would hold up.
Originally the rum was served as the house rum at Landing Guest House and Restaurant by Toby Tyler and Joe Farrell. It was labeled with a stylized image of a Bahamian woman that paid tribute to the islands culture and the first Miss Bahamas of 1963. Referred to as the “Afrohead,” by locals and visitors, the name stuck and a brand was born.
There are two expressions available. The 7 year old, which is reviewed here, and an XO expression, which is a 15 year old. Both are created from sugar cane molasses sourced mainly from the Dominican Republic, and a 100 year old proprietary strain of yeast from Trinidad.
On the nose there are strong notes of molasses with hints of honeyed vanilla. Upon tasting there is a creamy smoothness with sweet caramel and ripe bananas. This sweetness is balanced out by roasted almonds, warm vanilla, and charred oak. These layers of flavor keep the rum balanced without being overly sweet.
Afrohead Old Fashioned
2 oz 7 year old
1/4 oz simple syrup
3 dashes of Molasses Bitters
Stir all ingredients over ice, strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice, and garnish with an orange twist.
Review sample provided by representatives of Afrohead rum