The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2017

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D eadhead Rum makes an indelible impression on any- one who lays their eyes on its shrunken head bottle design for the first time. Founder and creator Kim Brandi wasn't completely sold on the idea when it was initially pitched to her. "I was horrified at the thought," she says, "but after I researched the origin of shrunken heads and the Shuar people, I was compelled to bring Deadhead rum to life." The Shuar of Ecuador and Peru are a people known for their deep-rooted traditions and complex heritage—the tsantas (shrunken heads) represent spiritual renewal from a time long past. It was Brandi's aim to "make an authentic product that would respect the heritage and belief systems of a region, that would bottle the spirit of the Shuar and that would taste the way it looked: complex and beautiful." Launched in 2013, Deadhead Rum was cultivated at a family-owned distillery in Chiapas, southern Mexico. "We use homegrown sugarcane and homemade rich molasses and age in different types of barrels, including Chiapas oak," says Brandi. Hand-blended in small batches, Deadhead also makes a Dark Chocolate Rum infused with locally sourced, slow- roasted cacao. Highlighting tradition is a major part of the Deadhead brand identity. "We want to showcase the art in 'artisan' from the bottle to the glass. Our brands are pieces of art," says Brandi. "Thanks to small rum producers, mix- ologists and tiki experts, a new respect for the category is on the rise," Brandi states. The "Island Voodoo" is one of Deadhead's newest signature cocktails that feature the exciting, versatile nature of the brand. The tiki cocktail features green Chartreuse and pineapple juice as well as a molasses brûleéd pineapple flower garnish. "The garnish is not only stunning, but it brings all of these flavors together and complements our rum perfectly," adds Brandi. Already in 13 countries worldwide, Brandi highlights that Deadhead's popularity and desire for longevity is driven by its dedication to authenticity. "The brand must have substance—it must be deeply rooted in tradition and reflect the heritage of the spirits' native land," she says. —Matt Jackson june 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  1 13 More an Skin Deep w DEADHEAD RUM Tasng Notes Deadhead Dark Chocolate Rum With essence of coffee and but- terscotch on the nose, the echo of dark chocolate is restrained but solidly present in the bouquet. This favored namesake flavor comes to the forefront on first sip, layered with a back note of Bing cherry and cream soda. At 70-proof, this is a delectable spirit. 92 —Meridith May

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