The Tasting Panel magazine

January/February 2015

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6  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2015 UP UpFront with Chai Rum At The Captain Kidd on Cape Cod, Chai Rum hits the spot. The story of Chai Rum begins with a Dutch admiral who wrote in 1665 that the combination of tea with rum was delightful. When Kiran Shiva Akal came across that writing in 2011, he did some research, only to discover that there wasn't a single company in the world producing a chai rum. Akal's family was manufacturing luxury teas in Trindad, combining tea from India with botanicals from the West Indies to blend the two worlds together, and using these teas in combination with limited reserve rums, Akal went about creating a new product for the rum category. The result was so imaginative that the government of Trinidad and Tobago awarded Akal a grant for prod- uct development, calling it the "first true innovation in rum in nearly a century." Make no mistake: Chai Rum isn't a flavored rum or a spiced rum. The production process—a trade secret that Akal won't share—is a very specific type of steeping. For all its secrecy, Akal is adamant the process is critical: "For this thing to be as you taste it, the actual smoothness of it, the color, the aroma, the taste and the aftertaste, you couldn't just steep it. You literally had to marry the chemistry of the rum to the chemis- try of the tea." Full-bodied and smooth with a spicy finish, there is no mistak- ing this rum for any other rum in the world. Sitting at 60 proof rather than the traditional 80, it is powerful enough to enjoy with a cigar, but smooth and accessible enough to have as an after dinner drink, even for those who do not normally drink rum. by Kate Webber / photos by Josh Reynolds

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