Equiano is a first-of-its-kind entry into the category an African-Caribbean creation blending a liquid extracted and aged in Mauritius with that of Barbados. The brand is the brainchild of Ian Burrell, a global rum ambassador, in partnership with Master Distiller Richard Seale of Foursquare fame.
Merging flavours and techniques from separate hemispheres, the unique offering looks to make a splash in a category that generates more than 2.3 billion dollars in annual sales—according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Equiano is born at Gray’s Distillery in Mauritius, a small island nation 700 miles east of Madagascar. There, a molasses-based distillate is barreled for a minimum of 10 years in French Oak, including ex-Cognac barrels.
The resulting rum then makes its way to Barbados to be vatted alongside award-winning spirit from Foursquare Distillery. Seale produces his rum using a combination of column and pot still spirit before maturing it all in ex-bourbon casks. Bottled at 86-proof and free of any colour additives, it carries the best of both provenances: dark fruit tonalities including plum fruit and candied raisin in a slightly spiced finish.
The brand takes its name and inspiration from Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born abolitionist, freedom fighter, and writer. In the mid-1700s Equiano was brought to the Caribbean in bondage as part of the Atlantic slave trade. Against all the odds, he was able to buy his liberation with savings he earned through selling rum.