A Pirate’s Life puts the spotlight on the rum collections of some of history’s most famous buccaneers, which includes Henry Every, Samuel Bellamy and more. Fame and fortune are common reasons for becoming a pirate, but for some it offered an escape and this was the motivation of the Scandinavian pirate Awilda.
Born in the 5thcentury to a Scandinavian king, Synardus, Awilda was arranged to be married to Alf, the prince of Denmark. Refusing to have her life be dictated for her, Awilda fled from the kingdom, eventually becoming a pirate captain.
Having sailed across the Nordic region and beyond, Awilda’s rum cabinet would feature drinks that reflected her heritage and the techniques of her homeland.
Ö Dark Rum
A prized bottle in Awilda’s collection would be Ö dark rum, which is produced by Altia and the Smakby distillery and is the first rum to be produced in Finland. Ö means ‘island’ in Swedish and is a representation of the unique culture of the Aland Islands where the distillery is based.
The sugarcane used to make the rum is imported from the Caribbean and after distillation it’s aged in Fiskars oak barrels for five months. As Fiskars oak is tight-grained and sturdy, the barrels needed to be heavily charred, producing a smoky, whisky-like quality to the rum.
Sweet and rich with notes of toffee and coffee, Ö rum is the kind of drink that Awilda would enjoy sipping straight on her ship.
Another Norse-inspired rum that Awilda would drink is Alander, a spiced rum produced by Far North Spirits.
This rum is distilled in small batches from Florida Demerara sugar and Louisiana Turbinado sugar and infused with whole bean vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. After blending, the rum is topped off with a maceration of espresso beans.
The Scandinavian influence comes through in the whole bean spices, which are found in Nordic baking. This translates into the name, with the rum being named after the Aland Islands, which is one of the only places in the world where rum is produced from sugar beets.
Caithness Raiders Rum
Awilda may have started her pirate career as a runaway, but she soon developed into a capable and ferocious captain. Her raids were legendary, truly capturing the essence of Viking spirit and this is why she’d drink rum that reflected her warrior heritage.
Caithness Raiders rum celebrates Viking history and the links that Norse seafarers had with the Scottish county of Caithness. Developed by the Ice and Fire Distillery, the bottle features a Viking longship rolling through a stormy sea towards another conquest.
A spiced rum, the Caithness Raiders is infused with notes of vanilla, smoky banana, coconut and gorse flowers. The distillery also sources honey from on-site beehives to provide a subtle layer of sweetness.
A.H Riise Royal Danish Navy Rum
Awilda’s tenure as a pirate came to an end when she was defeated by Prince Alf at sea. As the story goes, she was so impressed with his courage that she revealed her true identity to him and they married, becoming the Queen and King of Denmark. But living the life of a royal wouldn’t stop her from feeling nostalgic about her adventures and she’d want to drink a punchy rum that reminded her of those days and her crew.
A.H. Riise’s Royal Danish Navy rum would be the perfect tipple. Blended from a variety of rum distillates, which are up to 20 years old, this grog was inspired by the original recipe for the original British Royal Navy rum. Danish pharmacist Albert Henrich Riise altered the recipe and the rum was supplied to the Danish fleet, helping them to get through long sea voyages.
Hints of liquorice, coconut, mint and orange peel come through in the mouth. A sweet, spicy concoction to form the crown jewel in the Queen of Denmark’s rum collection.
Awilda isn’t the only female pirate to leave her mark on history. Ching Shih, a notorious Chinese brigand, is said to have led the largest pirate fleet in the world. Find out more about her backstory and what kind of rum she’d enjoy by reading this article.