Last night I was invited along to Portobello Road’s quirkiest venue – Trailer Happiness – to taste something rather unique – the first Colombian Rum to appear on the British market from the country’s only privately owned ‘rummery’, called La Hechicera.
First a note on the venue itself – secreted in the basement of 177 Portobello Road, Trailer Happiness is bound to bring back memories of your childhood. Why? Because the interior is decked out like a static caravan from the 1970s, complete with formica tables, wood-panelled walls and garish wallpaper and curtains. The boss Sly Augustin also knows his rum – the venue is becoming a bit of a cult favourite due to their monthly rum club which usually takes place on the first Monday in every month (they put on a special second event in July for the La Hechicera people!).
Over in Colombia, all but one of the distilleries is state-owned. Each region, has it’s own and their products are usually destined just for the domestic market – they tend to change hands every four years too, as being the boss of a rum distillery is seen as a political sinecure so every time the political landscape changes, the management of the rummeries does too. The Riascos family are the one exception to the rule – they’ve been operating their bodega for the last twenty years, and their head distillers have an even longer history – the best at the art of rum-making in Cuba, they were sent to Colombia by Fidel Castro to help the family establish themselves. but liked it so much they never went back!
La Hechicera is Spanish for ‘the temptress’ and sipping this interesting rum you can understand why – now I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert when it comes to this particular drink, but their aged rum certainly has a complex smoky aroma and flavour, and very long slow burn at the end too – in other words, delightful.
La Hechicera is available at very few outlets in the UK right now (but I’m sure Trailer Happiness will be stocking it from now on) but if rum is your thing keep an eye out for announcements through their Twitter account.