So what’s your beef with The Kraken?
A bartender and rum-scallywag explains…the real sea monster is those who hustle wee drams of inauthentic paradise.
Ok fade to flashback, for those of you who are unfamiliar with a new rum phenomenon, here’s a little back-story.
I first happened upon The Kraken Rum in a slightly grungy blues bar in Harrogate. For those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Harrogate, it’s about the only posh place in Yorkshire, and the idea of there being a grungy blues bar there at all is mythologically bizarre. I digress.
I was told it was a Scottish dark spiced rum, which nearly gave me rum kittens. If you know owt about sun-drenched rum and its very distant peaty, rainy friend Scotch, you will know the climate in which they’re made is integral. As it turns out, I was told wrong. But that word-of-mouth thing had already happened, so I returned to The Midlands with a myth in my gob, about a Scottish dark spiced rum.
But that would make The Kraken very happy. The Kraken is named after a gigantic sea monster, the kind of which could swallow whole ships. We were already steeped, and triple-distilled in mythology, the dark salty sea washing away petty things like truth.
But sadly knowledge has sobered me. Damn you knowledge.
The Kraken is made in the US, using Caribbean rum, with the spices added later. It is simply distributed in the UK from Glasgow. Those bartenders need to learn how to read a bottle. Eejits.
In fact a little reccy of the website makes me smell a drunken rat, and that rat has drawn himself in the image of Sailor Jerry’s. Sailor Jerry’s is similar to The Kraken, in that it is a marketing entity, which relies on Chinese whispers to keep on-the-down that it’s a US brand. They don’t hide it, it says right there on their own website. But because Sailor Jerry’s is distilled in the Caribbean, and uses a Caribbean style recipe, those who don’t care too much (the drunks), may be led to believe it is a Caribbean rum. And the same can be said of The Kraken.
Why does this matter? Well, rum has an exciting and horrible history, a history entwined with everything from global slavery, to piracy and naval warships. And more recently, as those who have seen ‘The Rum Diary’ will know, it’s entwined with corporations wanting to buy and sell paradise, while the locals in that paradise still flounder in poverty. Children begging money off tourists, who’ve come to drink the fine rum their great grandparents crafted the recipe for.
There are plenty of stunning little rum tots which are genuine to the Caribbean, which are growing the local economy of course. But Sailor Jerry’s and The Kraken are American brands. That’s why their ad campaigns are so good.
In many respects I’m just glad people are drinking something other than Bacardi, a brand so ubiquitous that many ‘Bacardi-drinkers’ don’t even know that it’s a rum. And while The Kraken is sadly neither Scottish nor Caribbean, I have to admit the other reason I raved about it was the taste. It tastes awesome with ginger beer, having the robust character of a proper dark rum, with the smoothing, sweetening spices. And for that fair reason it will still be one of my tipples.
Over & owt