A furry exterior imitating tiger skin, a nationality orientation and an acknowledged cause to support- are we really talking about a liquor brand here? Indeed. What better if that brand aspires to bid for an unclaimed Indian legacy in the world arena, not on hype alone but with some serious ground work. It translates into the Indian Tiger arriving from the Wild in an entirely different avatar- the Rum-avatar (pun unintended). Welcome to the ‘beat’ of Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum– India’s first super premium rum.
History has it that wherever sugarcane is grown, distillation of rum has logically followed, going by the simple fact that the beverage is produced from molasses- a byproduct of the sugar industry. What originated in the Carribean islands, proliferated to other parts of the world in the colonial times which included India, the second largest sugar producer of the world.
Late this February, as I met Gautom Menon , brand owner of Wild Tiger Rum (WTR) who prefers being called as its Chief Brand Ambassador, he narrated his story of passion that steered him towards evolving a super premium rum from India visualised to rub shoulders with the best in the world. Initiated rather reluctantly into their family business of bottling alcoholic beverages for reputed producers, the first thing that came to Gautom’s mind was – why were they not producing a brand of their own? And nothing better than rum occured to him as he realised that there wasn’t a single premium rum brand from India that echoed on a global stage. Presto! The idea of WTR was born,
So what’s so special about WTR? Hasn’t the iconic Old Monk kept India on the world rum map since eons? Gautom elaborates- “ the idea behind WTR is entirely different. It pushes the envelope by evolving a flavor profile that is refined and appealing to the global rum lover. Traditional Indian rum is usually from 100% molasses. Wild Tiger is additionally blended with some percentage of cane juice spirit, which gives the final blend a lot of aromatic notes and flavour depth (aficionados will recall Cachaça from Brazil which is exclusively made from sugarcane juice and is used in their famous national drink Caipirinha) . This cane spirit is double distilled in pot stills to impart the refined dimension to the resultant blend.” Gautom also emphasizes that they mature their rum in American oakwood barrels that are charred to reactivate the wood hence giving it a further layer of complexity.”
WTR however is envisaged as much more than a refined expression of rum. It wears its Indian identity literally on the sleeve with India’s national animal distinctly engraved in its identity. An identity that goes beyond symbolism to contribute 10% profits towards Tiger Conservation in South India in active collaboration with NGOs and prominent Tiger experts. The social responsibility aspect is also emphasized with their bottles being made from recycled glass and all the paper used in packaging ( labels, neck tags, cartons and brochures) being made from recycled paper. And yes, each bottle sports a unique stripe pattern to make it exclusive to its buyer.
Time was ripe to sample the rum and Gautom channelised the ‘tiger’ into my glass After the nosing and initial undiluted sip, I added an equal amount of water to let loose the phenolics. The initial impression itself validated the preceding conversation to an extent, before I went quiet to mull over it in deliberation. Here’s sharing the details in the graphic below:(feel free to download and share with your friends):
After a soft launch in London during the UK Rum Fest, WTR was launched in UAE, followed by Bangalore Duty Free in Feb 2016. It is slated for registrations in the USA and will also be available in UK and Canada before end of March 2016. This will be followed by Thailand, Australia, Denmark and Maldives. “Our goal is to have extensive presence in at least 16 countries by the end of 2016”, said Gautom. On my query he also informed that in India, the rum will initially be available only in Duty Free owing to limited production. However, a call will be taken subsequently to introduce it in other channels.
Until then the passport to spot the ‘Wild Tiger’ will be your Passport itself.