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Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum

Review: Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum 83.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on September 2, 2010

Olokele Sugar Mill on the Gay & Robinson Plantation: Photo Courtesy Jeanne Toulon (Kōloa Rum Company)

Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum is a white rum produced fresh from a 1210 gallon copper pot still with no barrel aging.  The actual base material for the distillation is not molasses, but rather the Gay and Robinson Plantation crystallized sugar.  I am told that the sugar has a higher than normal molasses content, and having been given a sample of the raw sugar, indeed it carries forward a wonderful molasses aroma.  From this distillate, and using the vintage copper pot still, all of the Kōloa Rum is made in a batch style.  The resulting white rum is about as pure as rum can be,  bottled fresh with no barrel aging.

This style of rum is unusual for me to taste and sample as most white rums I have reviewed here on my blog are aged rums which have been filtered clear. The fact that this rum is bottled fresh means that we are getting a glimpse into the unaged and unaltered structure of Kōloa Rums.

I am eager to begin.

Photo Courtesy Jeanne Toulon (Kōloa Rum Company)

In the Bottle 4/5

As you can see the Kōloa White Rum is presented in a typical style flagon style bottle. A nifty map of the Hawaiian Islands is printed on the white foil which seals the plastic screw cap, and the front label shows an illustration of the newly opened Kōloa Rum Company plantation style tasting room.  The only difference between this presentation and that of the previously reviewed Gold Rum is the color of the label.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The Kōloa White Rum is a clear spirit.  I held my glass up to the light and against various backgrounds trying to discern even a smidgen of colour but I found none. The  tilted glass shows a light oily sheen with only very skinny legs forming. This is the expected visual appearance of the rum, and I am pleased by what I see. When I nosed the rum, I sensed a stronger presence of banana peel, citrus zest, and grassy vegetal tones than I had noticed in the nose of the Kōloa Gold Rum. The aroma of the Gay and Robinson plantation sugar is evident as well but this aroma sits beside the other scents in the glass rather than in front of them. In all, this appears to be a clean and crisp rum in the glass, and I am pleased by what I have encountered thus far.

In the Mouth 50/60

The clean nature of the rum continues on the palate. I taste a pleasing combination of light peppery spice and the vegetal tones one gets from a spirit bottled fresh from the still. Banana peel, a ribbon of mild anise,  and lime accents swim in the currents of a very light honeyed rummy caramel.

When I shared the bottle of Kōloa White Rum at a recent tasting, everyone was surprised at the mild compatible flavours. So many other white rums have a medicinal harshness to them which must be tempered by mixing. Although we did mix the rum into a Cuba Libre and a few other cocktails, a few of my guests commented that the rum could also be enjoyed when sipped neat. I believe the folks at Kōloa are really onto something good concerning the structure of this rum.

As for the cocktails I mixed on my own, I ran the rum through the gauntlet of the quintessential rum cocktails. The Cuba Libra, the Mojito, and the basic Daiquiri.  The rum mixed extremely well, and in particular, the Daiquiri was outstanding.  A basic Daiquiri with only lime and simple syrup is a great cocktail to test the mix-ability of a white a rum. A quality rum makes a quality daiquiri.  The Kōloa passed with flying colours.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The finish is crisp and smooth. In fact I enjoyed the finish provided by the Kōloa White Rum a little more than the Kōloa Gold Rum I reviewed two weeks ago. The clean exit with only a mild sweetness lingering reaffirmed my findings that the rum will be a remarkably good mixer for a variety of cocktails.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Like the Kōloa Kaua`i Gold Hawaiian Rum, the Kōloa White Rum has been a very pleasing spirit to sample. I remain amazed that such quality has been achieved so quickly by the Kōloa Rum Company. The white rum displays a pleasingly clean and crisp bouquet and flavour. I am convinced that the white rum would be an excellent starting point should the company choose to produce aged rums.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipe

As mentioned above, a quality white rum is a nice starting point for a Daiquiri;  and so this is where I decided to begin my cocktail exploration.

The Kaua`i White Rum Daiquiri

1 1/2 oz. Kaua`i White Rum
1/2 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1 tsp. Simple Syrup
4 large Ice Cubes
Slice of Lime for Garnish

Combine the first three ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled  glass.
Garnish with the lime slice

This simple yet elegant cocktail originated in Cuba in the 1800s.  It was popularized in North America by tourists who traveled to Cuba especially during prohibition.  Many forms of the daiquiri exist today and I consider it one of the quintessential rum cocktails, and as such it is a perfect way to enjoy Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum.

Next I decided to make a fun recipe with a bit of Hawaiian flair:

The Frozen Kaua`i Pineapple Daiquiri

1 1/2 oz. Koloa Kaua`i White Rum
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
4 Pineapple Slices
1 tsp. Simple Syrup
glass of Crushed Ice
Maraschino Cherry or frozen Blackberry

Combine the first four ingredients into a blender with ice.
Mix until the smooth
Pour into a suitable cocktail glass
Garnish with a maraschino cherry or frozen blackberry



My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

5 Responses to “Kōloa Kaua`i White Hawaiian Rum”

  1. steve thompson said

    Great rum but needs a hint of ti root to make it really great.

  2. jd said

    This wonderful Koloa white rum finishes as pure as Grey Goose vodka. Pleasing indeed on the palate!

  3. Steve Thompson said

    Thanks for the tip.

  4. Steve Thompson said

    Nice review. I will try some. Where can I get it in Kentucky, Louisville.

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