Want to travel around the world from the comfort of your own home? Pick up a bottle of rum. There’s so many countries producing the stuff that it can feel like you’re imbibing a different culture.
To capture the essence of India in a glass, I’d recommend trying Old Monk 7-year. A smouldering dark rum with a rice heritage, Old Monk 7-year is the kind of drink to be enjoyed with friends and family.
The story of Old Monk goes back to 1855, when the father of Colonel Reginald Edward Harry Dyer of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Edward Abraham Dyer, set up a brewery in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. Dyer set up his brewery with the intention of catering to British folks’ love of cheap beer.
The brewery ended up changing hands when HG Meakin bought the brewery in 1855, only for a merger to occur and the brand became Dyer Meakin. Fast forward to 1949 and the brand was bought by NN Meakin, who eventually changed the name to Mohan Meakin in 1967.
Old Monk rum was introduced in honour of a story about a kindly British monk who enjoyed inspecting the Mohan Meakin rum barrels. During the rum production period, the monk provided good company for the master distillers and they eventually taught the monk their secrets. His good advice helped to improve the overall quality of the rum and so a legend was born.
Old Monk went on to dominate the Indian alcohol market, becoming one of the world’s most popular rums. The brand has prided itself on its ‘word of mouth’ marketing tactics, preferring to let its reputation speak for it as opposed to flashy advertising.
The Old Monk 7-year is the brand’s flagship rum. It’s produced with molasses and aged for seven years in oak barrels and bottled at 40% ABV.
A strong hit of molasses, caramel and roasted coffee beans were detected on the nose. Chocolate and liquorice notes grabbed my attention on the first sip, building into a sensation of sweet warmth that spread through the mouth and made me nostalgic for my childhood. There were subtle chewy hints of bubblegum and Pick n’ Mix sweets that arrived in smooth waves.
Pepper and vanilla stuck around for the finish, a prickly sensation that crackled in the throat and made for a fine drinking experience.
Smooth and warming, it’s not hard to see why Old Monk 7-year has become such a powerhouse rum. It’s the perfect tipple for anyone who’d like to savour premium rum at a reasonable price.
Nose: Roasted coffee beans, molasses, caramel, toffee
Mouthfeel: Chocolate, pepper, liquorice, vanilla, bubblegum