Too Good at Sunshine and Sons

Image source: Contributed

A rare calendar date saw the release of a rare rum – Nil Desperandum Rum, Australia’s only rum produced using certified organic molasses. Naturally, Tony Cox was there to investigate and imbibe.

Timed to launch at 2.22pm on 22.02.2022 at the Sunshine & Sons distillery in Woombye, the inaugural release of the team’s Nil Desperandum rum brought a little sunshine to those in attendance. 

When the boys from CAVU (the team behind Sunshine & Sons’ award-winning gins, vodka and other spirits) shared a rum from the Caribbean back in 2018 this quiet drink planted a seed.

They pondered why there were no world-class rums produced from the region, given that sugar cane is synonymous with the Sunshine Coast, bountiful in Queensland and has been grown locally for more than 150 years that. 

Drawing inspiration from the rums of Barbados and Jamaica, which tend towards the fuller-bodied end of the spectrum when compared to rums from former French and Spanish colonies, they consciously chose molasses as the base for their rum.

True to Jamaican style the team only uses American white oak barrels sourced from four bourbon companies including Makers Mark and Woodford Reserve. By white barrels it means the inside hasn’t been toasted which allows the spirit to have much more flavour influence from the oak itself rather than the char effect, which can also strip out some flavours as charcoal acts also as a filter.

Head Distiller Adam Chapman also elected to have total control over the oak treatment. It is customary to age rum in barrels which have seen use for other alcohol products with port, sherry and bourbon being popular choices. Adam elects to buy in white oak which he then seasons with port and sherry. Port provides a lovely sweet, richness and softness whilst sherry, usually oloroso, provides a distinct nutty flavour.

Now to the serious stuff, what does it taste like?

Rich mahogany colour with aromas of molasses, sweet vanilla and fragrant spices and a hint of cedar.

On the palate, rancio characters are prominent with sweet citrus notes. The viscosity is medium to high providing a delicious, rounded mouthfeel with vanilla and nutty flavours all framed with a pleasant alcohol warmth – think an open fire, dark chocolate and a Romeo & Julieta No. 3. I think the boys are onto something and given Adam said it was his first crack at rum it augurs well for the future.

Another great aspect of the day was the selling of 222 of the 200ml bottles of Nil Desperandum rum to raise funds for Steps Disability Group, with the distillery kindly donating all bottles, labels and, of course, amber filling so the entire proceeds would flow to the charity. 

For those wanting to feel extra special and for rum afficionados you can go to the website and join the 1871 Club where you will receive five Nil Desperandum Limited Edition releases each year.

As Adam says, despite being a very high quality rum it is an evolutionary process but do not despair as the commitment and dedication the team has shown so far in their operations will no doubt see them reach their ambition of producing a world-class Australian rum.

About the Author /

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After 25 years of sniffing, swirling, spitting and slurping various vinous temptations our wine writer has decided that his future lies firmly planted on the consumption and storytelling side. Tony not only still enjoys consulting about wine and other beverages but is now part of the successful Kate Cox Real Estate Team at Reed & Co. Estate Agents.

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