It’s not been too much of a chore, being on Mahé. We arrived on the Thursday after a relatively sane ferry crossing from Praslin, everyone seemed to retain their stomach contents and I even managed to get a nap in rather than sitting bolt upright, staring straight ahead, gripping onto the armrests for dear life lest I be thrown across the boat, the glaring white of my knuckles visible from space. We’d prebooked a taxi through our accommodation on Mahé though, we had no idea what state we’d be in by the time we disembarked and it was nice having a chap with a piece of card with my name written on it meet us. I felt very fancy.
Our accommodation does have a pool which we fully intended to utilise. We were dropped off and shown to our room which has a lovely little porch surrounded by all manner of foliage. It’s like being in our own personal jungle, I fucking love it. We popped down to put the beach in our eyeholes and thoroughly approved, wandered to the shop then headed back to Alha Villa to spend the rest of the day sprawled by the pool.
The following day we made sure to have a good breakfast for we were off to the rum distillery and at our age, eating is not cheating. It’s the difference between retaining one’s dignity and ending up face down in a gutter in a pile of vomit, not necessarily one’s own, by 3pm.
We rocked up and got on the first tour at 11am which was quite interesting. She told us about this history of the site and how it used to be a 60 acre plantation worked by slaves. It’s much smaller these days, the land was broken up and given to descendants of the slaves as compensation. As well it fucking should be, it’s the least they could do. It’s now a heritage site.
The brothers, Richard and Bernard, started making their rum in their back garden simply because they wanted to drink a lot of rum all the time. Fair play, I can relate to that. Eventually they started bottling it and selling it. It took a while to bring the Islanders around to Takamaka rum over the fancy imported shit but they got there and you see it everywhere now.
They got so popular they couldn’t source enough sugar cane. It’s grown here but not in abundance. Mauritius is full of the shit but it takes too long to get here, it would have spoiled by the time it arrived in The Seychelles. So they started importing Grade A molasses, and this is what they now use to make their rum. They’re growing their own sugar cane at the moment and they’re going to use it to make super small batch shit which will probably cost you your first born if you wanted a bottle.
We learned a tonne of other stuff too including how they “age” it not in barrels but under pressure thus achieving in six hours what usually takes years. This is to avoid losing any to evaporation. The angels’ share. They do still age some of it in barrels, we were shown them, they’re underneath the main building where it’s much cooler.
Then it was time for the moment we’d all been waiting for. The sampling of the goods. The white rum was surprisingly alright considering it’s made for mixing. The most popular and our personal favourite is the dark spiced shit. That’s what we’ve been applying liberally to our faceholes since we got here. Rum Zenn is the pressed stuff. I wasn’t a fan. They’ve got two flavoured rums at 25%, pineapple and coconut, and fuck me that’ll get you pissed! They don’t even taste like booze. The 69% overproof, however, would strip the fucking paint off a cruise ship. Jesus! I felt like I could melt concrete with my breath.
Suitably tipsy, we availed the outstandingly expensive food truck of some chips, and then some more chips, and also enjoyed a cocktail. Honestly, this place is dangerous. It was such a great way to kill a few hours before we stocked up on rum and glassware, because drunk brain does not consider the logistics of transporting breakable shit back to one’s own country, and stumbled back onto the bus to go and sprawl by the pool.
Takamaka Rum Distillery, Mahé, The Seychelles
Stayed at: Alha Villa, Anse á la Mouche, Mahé
Useful shit to know…
- The taxi from the jetty to Anse á la Mouche took about 45 minutes and cost €60. We asked our hosts at our Mahé accommodation to arrange it for us.
- A heads up; we were told that around 4pm the traffic goes to absolute shit around the jetty and airport. Something to bear in mind if you have a plane or boat to catch.
- The number 6 bus took us to the rum distillery.
- The rum distillery is free and there are free tours three times a day at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.
- Rum tasting costs Rs125 each.
- There used to be a restaurant but not any more. Now they only have a food truck selling chips and sandwiches (pricey!) and a cocktail bar.