Santa Maria Rum Review: Jump Down The Rabbit Hole With Exquisite Japanese Rum

There’s no doubt that rum is one of the most versatile spirits in the world. From the smoky finishes of the British style, to the herbal, fiery qualities of the French style, rum can’t be pinned down by just one characteristic or location.

Japan might not be a destination that first comes to mind when you think of rum. But the Land of the Rising Sun is pushing the boundaries for what’s possible and experimenting with different flavours. Santa Maria gold rum is an example of this beautiful experimentation.

Brand story

Santa Maria is crafted by the Ieijima brewery on Ie Island in Okinawa. Considering Okinawans are fond of their booze, it’s safe to say epic craftsmanship goes into every drink that’s produced.

The Ieijma brewery was first known for distilling awamori, Japanese moonshine with a powerful kick. Branching out into rum distillation, the brewery decided to mix traditional Japanese techniques with a respect for the environment.

The result is a 100% pure agricole (agricultural) rum made from local sugarcane that’s been cultivated on the island since 1630. As a reflection of the company’s respect for nature, the bottle features an elegant white feather floating above a mountain.

The Santa Maria name comes from the white Easter lily that blossoms on Ie Island during spring. In the West, the lily is a symbol of Saint Mary. It’s a subtle hint to the Japanese philosophy of life being ephemeral, of the seasons changing and nature transforming the land.

Craftsmanship

The rum is aged for two to three years in Nikka whisky oak barrels. This process infuses Santa Maria with a smooth whisky quality that’s reminiscent of Nikka Coffey grain.

Tasting notes

There’s so much to unpack about Santa Maria and let’s start with the scent. It has a pleasant fruity aroma that puts me in the mind of high-quality ginjo grade sake. Totally different to the woody notes that are popular in Caribbean rums. Notes of banana and pineapple waft through the air, as gentle as the feather that hovers on the bottle.

The first taste I got hit with was pear. Next came apple. And just when I was thought I had the Santa Maria flavour figured out, I got bowled over by an undercurrent of cocoa and chili pepper. That is the elegance of Santa Maria gold rum at work. It’s a soft, slow build of a drink that doesn’t need to have big, punchy flavours to hold your attention.

As far as mixers go, Santa Maria is a revelation with coffee. The sweetness of the rum and the bitterness of the coffee beans tag-teamed my taste buds into submission. ‘More rum!’ They seemed to demand. I’m happy to oblige.

Santa Maria rum is produced in Okinawa and is named after the white lily that grows in Spring on Ie Island.

ABV: 37%

Origin: Okinawa

Variety: Rhum Agricole

Style: Gold

Nose: Banana, pineapple, lychee

Mouthfeel: Pear, apple, cocoa, chili pepper, caramel  

Pick up a bottle and start your journey into the unique world of Japanese rum. To learn more about Japanese drinks, check out Yamato Magazine for regular sake, shochu and awamori reviews.

10 thoughts on “Santa Maria Rum Review: Jump Down The Rabbit Hole With Exquisite Japanese Rum

  1. Pingback: The Curious Bartender’s Rum Revolution Review: Engaging, Funny And Informative – The Rum Ration

  2. Pingback: SangSom Special Rum Review: A Damn Smooth Thai Drink – The Rum Ration

  3. Pingback: Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Wolverine (Part 2!) – The Comic Vault

  4. Pingback: Rum Champions: John Gulla – The Rum Ration

  5. Pingback: A Pirate’s Life: Ching Shih – The Rum Ration

  6. Pingback: Rum Haiku 17 – The Rum Ration

  7. Pingback: 4 Awesome Types Of Japanese Rum To Try In Your Lifetime – The Rum Ration

  8. Pingback: The Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Wolverine (Part 2) – Yamato Magazine

  9. Pingback: Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Wolverine (Part 2!) - TheComicBooks

  10. Pingback: Cor Cor Red Rum Review: A Tropical Delight That Showcases The Spirit Of Okinawa – The Rum Ration

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s