We’re taking a break from vodka and enjoying some rum on the rocks this round. Specifically, we’re pouring Virago Four-Port Rum, which blends six rums from four 'ports' across the Caribbean.
What I love about this rum: As an avid drinker of various Caribbean rums including Flor de Caña and Mount Gay, I can attest that Virago Four-Port Rum is comparable. While slightly stronger than a typical 80 proof rum, at 86 proof, it successfully provides a smooth finish without an aftertaste. There’s a hint of vanilla but none of the notes are overpowering in sweetness. It is a great sipping spirit that you should not be afraid to order neat at a bar.
Check out what the co-founders Brad, Barton and Barry Haneberg of Virago Four-Port Rum below! Cheers!
Can you tell us how Four-Port Rum came about?
We knew, from early on, that we wanted our first product to be a truly distinctive, aged rum. The challenge was that it takes years of aging before our own rums will be ready for the market, and we do not want to rush that process. Blending, however, provided the opportunity for us to craft a truly unique product, allowing us to mix styles and profiles of rum that are not normally incorporated together. Through a long process of trial and error, we refined our product into Four-Port Rum – a blend of six rums, from four ‘ports’, representing 2 distinct styles of rum production.
What makes your rum different than others?
Virago Four-Port Rum is a unique blend of pot-and column-distilled rums from four 'ports' across the Caribbean, that harmoniously balances the boldness and richness of British-style rums with the softer, more seductive profile of Spanish-style rums.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of making your rum?
Four-Port Rum is our first release and it is a blended product. We have just begun production of our own rums at our Richmond, Virginia distillery. Our own-distilled products are produced on a vintage, direct-fire, 2,500-liter Charentais-style alembic still – one of only a few operating in the United States. The process is laborious and slow and requires significant patience, skill and attention-to-detail. The results, however, are spirits and liqueurs of uncompromising quality, balance and depth of flavor.
Direct-fire adds layers of depth and complexity of flavor – much as with grilled food. Distilling “Low and Slow” – where a single distillation can take upward of 12 hours and a complete distillation cycle requires upwards of 48 hours – maximizes our ability to separate out the crude portions of the distillate and to concentrate flavor. Glycol-chilled water cooling allows for precise control over the temperature of the final distillate, providing for a smoother, more aromatic product.
Who’s you target demo for the rum?
Virago is a Latin term for women of extraordinary, heroic character: women who exemplify the strength, courage, determination, and vision to overcome and pursue the impossible. It is that spirit – the spirit of the Virago – that inspires us; and, we hope it inspires our consumers, as well. In that sense, our brand demographic is more identity-driven then demographic-driven. That having been said, we have found that our message resonates particularly well with older Millennials and Gen-Xers (so, 27-45), as well as with female and minority imbibes. As far as the spirit is concerned, it has been crafted to appeal to whiskey drinkers, as well as the cocktail crowd.
Why should someone order Four-Port Rum at a bar over all the other options?
It is a cross-over rum, straddling the world of bourbon and whiskey with that of Spanish-style sipping rums. If you are a bourbon drinker, this is the rum you need to try! It is smooth enough to sip on its own; and it possesses the strength of character to hold its own in any whisky, rum or Tiki-style cocktail.
I know that the rum is similar to a sipping whiskey on the rocks, can you tell us a bit about the notes?
Wonderfully complex and bold, Virago Four-Port opens with notes of vanilla and spice, leading to cascading waves of fig, dried coconut and crème brûlée, culminating in a pleasantly lingering smoky finish.
We’re heading into fall, what’s an ideal cocktail we can make with your spirits?
We’ve been idling the summer away sipping on Jungle Bird cocktails; but, now that fall is upon us, we are switching over to Corn & Oil. If falernum is tricky to find, you can never go wrong with a classic daiquiri or rum punch.