Mates Arrack

It’s been a while since my last malternative review and when I tasted Mates Arrack for the first time, I knew immediately that it had to be this bottle. Mates is a Dutch rum brand founded, and built from the ground up, by two longtime friends (or I should say “two mates” really) with a passion for natural, additive free, rum. And their latest release, Mates Arrack, shows their passion for rum’s history!

Arrack is an authentic Indonesion style of rum, which is believed to be the predecessor of all rums we now and love today. What makes Arrack so unique is the use of red rice during production. Red rice is a type of yeast-fed rice, that is added to the molasses to kickstart the fermentation process.

As stated before, this is an Indonesian style of rum making and the reason why this style is believed to be the predecessor of all rums is because sugarcane originates from Indonesia. Rum was already being made there long before the plant was shipped all over the world (but especially towards the Caribbean) for the sugar industry.

During sugar production the juice from sugarcane is extracted and this liquid is boiled. During this process crystals form in the liquid. These crystals are scooped out and that’s sugar as we know it. The leftover by-product is molasses. A syrupy liquid with plenty of sugars leftover for yeast to feast on. Yeast that in return for this “all they can eat” banquet, gives us alcohol in return.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard from Arrack before though, that’s because it’s not exactly popular in the west because of it’s outspoken flavour profile. But rum afficionados Menno and Bart from Mates saw it’s potential, and by blending it with their stellar Gold Rum they’ve created a truly mouthwatering dram that everyone can appreciate!

Whether it’s for a cocktail, or for sipping neat… you’ll quickly realize you’re sipping something special. Outspoken and bold, yet approachable at the same time. Very much like Mates themselves! Let’s dive into the tasting notes!

Tasting Notes – Mates Arrack

An explosion of subtropical scents, full of notes of papaya, guanabana and ripe bananas. These full-sweet elements are then beautifully balanced by a spiciness that can be attributed to the Arrack. Amber, pandan and coriander combine playfully with the bouquet of tropical fruit.

The spicy influences of the nose steal the show on the palette. Nutmeg, pandan, coriander, lemongrass and freshly ground pepper are reflected in sweeter elements of caramel, butterscotch, molasses and BBQ-roasted pineapple with honey and vanilla ice cream. The combination of the Arrack and Mates Gold makes this rum complex, compelling and accessible at the same time!

This extremely complex rum has a matching aftertaste. Long and complex, with a slightly oily mouthfeel. Citrus, licorice, nutmeg and again pandan are the notes that emerge most clearly here. Combined with fried banana, fresh flower honey and rinse apple syrup.

It’s funky, complex, balanced and above all exciting! The combination of flavours here takes you for a ride and I love that in any dram. Whether it’s whisky or rum! And as I share the same passion as Mates for natural additive free products, this is a rum that I truly get excited for. I want to experiment with it, see it’s influence on different cocktails. I want to sip it neat. I want to savour it. And above all, I want to drink this with my mates!

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