The People Behind the Rum Made from the Seychelles
If you ask any visitor to write up a dictionary entry for the Seychelles it would simply read:
Seychelles, proper noun: Paradise.
It’s for this very reason that Takamaka Rum has to be created by passionate locals who are not just artisanal geniuses with rum, but who also know that making a rum made from the Seychelles means it needs to encapsulate the beauty of paradise.
Takamaka Rum’s home is the small bay of AU CAP on the old plantation site of La Plaine St Andre, a 30 minute drive from the capital. Open to the public, you won’t be greeted by hard steel and concrete, as the rum distillery is a transformed manor home that radiates a warm and friendly family vibe. Not surprising, when some of the recipes used have been passed down through generations, as well as shared by local Seychellois.
“Takamaka’s Spiced Rum is based on a rum arrangè recipe that our grandfather made, and some of the others were shared by loving Seychellois,” says Bernard d’Offay, Director of the Trois Frères Distillery, “Flavouring the rum with cinnamon, vanilla and other local spices makes Takamaka’s Spiced Rum (and other varieties) a truly local brand that pays homage to traditions and customs.”
While Takamaka Rum may use traditional methods in its distilling process, this artisanal rum is still a relatively new brand on the rum block. But what it lacks in years it makes up for in taste. Created to be the embodied flavour of these beautiful islands, it has become recognised internationally for it’s quality.
“Our tour guide at the Trois Frères Distillery (Francis, nice guy) keeps telling us stories of tourists from different nationalities every week,” says Dave Boulle (AKA: Grumpy Dave), Head Distiller at the Distillery, “We get requests from past visitors to send cases to every corner of the globe. It’s great to see how the brand has grown. It feels weird as I still think of Takamaka Rum as a small island family brand, but we’re desired internationally.”
The success has come with it’s own set of challenges; delivering a diverse range of rums in such a laid-back environment. This means that employees have to remove their flip flops and floral-shirts and replace them with suits from time-to-time. But really, it’s only for overseas visits. Another challenge is what to give overseas hosts as gifts. When one of the Takamaka Rum family is sent away from paradise finding space in the check in luggage has been known to be difficult.
“Every time I have to board a plane it’s always accompanied by the sound of Takamaka Rum bottles, clinking away merrily,” says an amused Bernard, “But I can’t help it, after all, the Seychelles’ best export product is experiences, and what better way to encapsulate those feelings than with our rum. I’ve tried getting away with the cliched gifts in the past, but rum wins everytime.”
Everyone is family at the Trois Frères Distillery. This isn’t your usual corporate jargon exercise, as every single employee is from this small country, which is situated on a tiny beautiful island, in the middle of the tropical Indian Ocean. When someone new walks through the door they’ve already been involved with Takamaka Rum in some way.
“My friends are always popping in to visit me, and I normally stroll home for lunch,” says Distillery Shop manager Lindy, “Every time there’s a new opening at the distillery, there’s no real need for them to submit a CV, they’re my neighbours and friends. I guess it’s this closeness that makes our rum what it is. ”
The people at Trois Frères Distillery are one of kind and true Seychellois. The work they pour into producing every bottle of Takamaka Rum is evident – once you’ve enjoyed a taste of the spirit of these beautiful islands.