There are legends and stories that say that rum truly originates in India. Sugarcane
being indigenous to the subcontinent, fermented sugar cane juice is a natural
progression. But as luck would have it, it was the Caribbeans which got the credit and they have perfected the art of great rum.
Now, a Kerala-based company has taken up the mantle of proving Indian rum’s mettle
(watch out Old Monk). Following the trend of launching quality Indian spirits brand internationally, they too launched Wild Tiger rum in UK in November last year.
The parent company is an established alcobev company who is known to bottle the
famed Amrut and John Paul in Kerala for quite some time now. Gautom Menon, the man
behind the brand was inspired during his travels to various international alcobev
trade fairs and exhibition, he never came across any Indian brand in the liquor
space. “The opportunity was obvious and huge,” he is states. He registered the Wild Tiger name in 2007.
Menon wants Wild Tiger to be the brand to be relevant and an expression of
contemporary India, moving beyond the cult and history. The other challenge he had
to face was the massive abuse of the term ‘premium’ in the Indian alcobev space. In a convoluted space where a Rs 500 bottle of grain whisky is also tagged premium, how do you make a space for yourself. One of the reasons Menon was told to avoid the
made in India brand. “We chose against the idea and went all out promoting it as just that,” he added saying that it worked very well for them. Wild Tiger will be
retailed on Tiger Airways for USD 23.
As a part of its core CSR policy – The Brand also donates 10% profits towards Tiger Conservation in South India where they have started their own non-profit called WTF (Wild Tiger Foundation) who work with other established wildlife establishments on
the ground and with prominent Tiger experts to save the tiger and its habitat.
A distinctive rum dressed in an equally distinct bottle with tiger stripes had to
leave a mark. What is even better is that Wild Tiger holds its own in a taste test. It is a spice dominant rum with sweet aftertaste. It is yet not a rum you can sip on its own but it does hold potential as the rum evolves. It is great with cola though and simple cocktails.
The rum is made from a blend of molasses and sugar cane juice, the final distilled
spirit then goes through tropical maturation. Aging and maturation of spirits in
barrels which takes 10-15 years in colder climates is fast forwarded and completed
in 2-3 years in tropical environment. Its all about the temperature and weather.
The unfortunate bit is that Wild Tiger is not available in Mumbai retail yet, but if you know someone coming through the Duty Free ask them to keep an eye for it.
Knowing Mumbai taxes and licenses expect the rum to be priced somewhere between
Rs 1900-2100. The rum is priced at Rs 1300 in Bangalore, it isn’t available in
The long term plan for Wild Tiger includes introduction to more variants – a spiced rum and a rum based liqueur and together the three will form a a gift pack.
Menon was speaking at Wild Tiger’s introductory event which was co-organised by
beverage writer and consultant Rojita Tiwari of Drinks and Destinations.