Market Row Rum is a new distillery based in the heart of Brixton. Set up in offices at Impact Brixton in Market Row, the rum is influenced by the community surrounding it.
Brand Ambassador Mikey Hirsch talks to Brixton Blog about distilling rum in Brixton, why there was nowhere else to locate, and the locally sourced botanicals that make this rum different.
“Brixton was always going to be the best choice, there is already a large Caribbean culture here and this rum is a huge celebration of those flavours. Being based in the market means that all the botanicals that go into the rum are readily available in the locale” says Mikey.
Founders Laurent Lacassagne and Patrick Venning have worked in spirit distribution for over 20 years, they decided to combine their knowledge and launch a premium rum from their new micro-distillery in Market Row with distiller Matt Servini as the Brixton Distillery Company.
“Brixton is an amazing part of London with a distinctive identity, we want the rum to be part of the community and the history of the market. With the existing Caribbean culture in Brixton, the new rum is a huge celebration of the flavours found here.”
The rum is a blend of premium Jamaican, Bajan and Dominican Republic rums, matured in ex-bourbon barrels for up to 5 years. “This is a celebration of rum. There is a reason that each botanical was used: hibiscus, or sorrel, all spice, black tea, red rose… they are all there to add a Brixton twist to the base of traditional Caribbean rums” explains Mikey.
Mikey continues: “The base rums are taken from five distilleries based across Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic, all well respected in their own right. The original liquids are all amazing. The rum from the Dominican Republic is un-aged. Rum has a strong flavour, so it is difficult to get botanical to compliment it. There is no additional sugar, flavourings or colouring, and you can see our rum is a light golden colour.”
“You do not have to go to the Caribbean for delicious rum, we are seeing growth in English rums and Brixton is the perfect place for a distillery” says Mikey.
Market Row Rum also want to educate consumers on the history of rum, “Which is steeped in slavery, invasion, piracy and sugar cane… We plan to host tours of the distillery in the future so people can see how rum is distilled and bottled” says Mikey.
The Distillery itself houses a 100 litre bespoke built, contemporary copper and steel pot still, with integrated copper thumper and condenser column. Market Row Rum is then hand packed by the community under the guidance of distiller Matt, who has over 20 years experience in the industry.
“It was really emotional to taste the first rum, Market Row Rum adds something new and instructing that is currently unseen in the rum category” says Mikey.
Market Row Rum tasting notes describe the rum as:
Nose: Market Row is bright and vibrant on the nose with all of the classic notes of a traditional Jamaican pot still rum. Vanilla and caramel are fused with the fresh and floral spices of Brixton Market. A real Caribbean welcome to the nose.
Palate: Satisfying too with the notes of the nose being carried through to the first taste and enhanced with the carefully selected and blended botanicals. There is a hint of creamy vanilla and caramel followed by big fruity hits of banana and pineapple.
Finish: The ageing influence from the ex-bourbon barrels begins to arrive on the mid-palate before leaving you with a beautiful flowing finish. Ending on subtle notes of charred oak and pimento.
The focus, now the first batch is bottled, is to bring Brixton’s rum to the street of Brixton. Mikey is currently hand delivering to Brixton venues.
“We want every bar and restaurant to have Market Row rums on their menus, to see how Brixton reacts: it has to be a representation of the community” says Mikey.
Market Row rum’s website announces that Market Row is “Caribbean soul with London spirit”, will Brixton agree?