What’s in the rum and why Cape Rum? Dirk Prinsloo of Somerset West shares some of the history and lore of Floating Dutchman Cape Rum
So, about three years ago, I was celebrating around a fire one evening, and it struck me that no one has come up with a crafted rum, and I wanted to be the first.
Fast forward to the present, and I am the proud producer of Floating Dutchman Cape Rum, alongside Eric van Heerden of Triggerfish Brewery.
We felt that the Cape needed a rum, because this place encapsulates everything that is rum: adventure, awesome lifestyle, amazing and interesting people, and we wanted to pay homage to some of the first and original “pirates” that settled here ages ago.
Our rum is made from using good quality blackstap molasses from the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, and we keep everything truly South African except for our yeast, that gets imported from Germany.
We gave our rum a Cape flair by incorporating a few inspirations we got from the area.
The Cape wine region makes some of the best red wine in the world, so we decided to use a red wine yeast strain in our fermentation process and French oak (although we use a mixture of French and American oak) in our aging process.
Our unique aging process was inspired by our unique climate of sweltering summer days and cool evenings when the south-easter starts rolling thick clouds over the mountains.
We also decided to pot still our rum, like our “mampoer”-making grandfathers before us; we just use a blend of single and double distilled spirits, and our white rum gets a third distillation.
Last but not least, is the sweet water that we have flowing through our beautiful valleys, that we use to mix, ferment and finally blend with.
But… the secret behind all of this is Duthchie, whose recipe we were given permission to make famous to the world, and if you don’t know Dutchie, this is all going to change right now:
The Legend of the Floating Dutchman: There are very few who remember the unsung tale of the Floating Dutchman – the most famously forgotten pirate of all time.
Nowadays, the legend is mostly carried on in the oral tradition, by only the most inebriated and dishonest of sailors But perhaps you are keen to hear of him?
Dutchie (as he became known to his friends, colleagues and criminal cohorts) is arguably best known as the only crewman that ever made it back to port after serving on the Flying Dutchman – being kicked off by Davy Jones himself after a drunken argument about naming rights.
Disappointed, disoriented, but not defeated, Dutchie picked himself up by his bootstraps, and set forth on the most impressive and illustrious career of buccaneering that the world had ever seen.
He served with Grace O’Malley, helped Calico Jack design his flag, and taught Edward Teach how to properly grow and maintain a beard.
He outdrank every pirate captain from Port Royal to the Island of Tortuga; he once found the famed lost city of El Dorado while alone in a dingy after a mutiny, and he even popularised searching for buried treasure albeit because he was often too drunk to remember where he had left his stashes, and had a knack for not paying attention to the rising tide
But alas, Dutchie’s success was met mostly with jealousy and resentment, and a meticulously orchestrated smear campaign kept him out of the annals of history.
After centuries of plunder and pillage, the Dutchman forewent his floating and retired to the Hottentots Hollands Mountains, biding his time and toiling away at his new life’s purpose – crafting the most elusive and irresistible rum the world has ever seen
Those who follow these legends know that if the clouds hang thick and low over the Helderberg, Dutchie is working his still – which was cobbled together with spare parts, and sheer force of will – with the sea breeze and cold mountain streams giving the elixir its distinctive taste and raucous spirit.
Rumors have it that Dutchie distilled his very story into his rum, and each bottle contains the history of the privateers of old, the essence of the mountainside that is now his home, and maybe even the key to his long life?
Floating Dutchman Rum will be available next week at Triggerfish Brewery at Paardevlei, on the outskirts of Somerset West, and will be on more shelves in the weeks to come.
To learn more about this Cape Rum, contact Rudie from Core Liquids at 072 236 9555.