The Fynoderee Distillery has announced details of Refuge Manx Rum, the second premium spirit to be launched as part of its Coastal Collection of Spirits range, the distillery’s fundraising partnership with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which also aims to shine a light on the Manx origins of the charity.
The barrel-aged Refuge Manx Rum will be a limited-edition organic spirit launching in 2024 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Living up to its name, this very special rum is currently securely locked away in the iconic Tower of Refuge and will mature in the monument for over a year before being released for sale towards the end of 2024.
Paul Kerruish, co-founder of The Fynoderee Distillery, said, “When considering how we could make this Rum extra special, we were struck by the idea of taking it out to the Tower of Refuge to barrel age. It feels somewhat surreal now to think that we actually did it!
“Every time we look out towards the Tower, often watching the waves crashing over the top, we think of our rum safely nestling inside. We are eager to find out how the unique maritime atmosphere of the tower impacts and enhances the flavours within our rum made from ‘scratch’ here on the Isle of Man, and we will be undertaking progress visits to “dip” the casks and monitor how the spirit develops.
“As many locally will know, the Tower was commissioned by Sir William Hillary, founder of the RNLI, and therefore could not be more apt. However, we knew there would be some hurdles to overcome logistically! The journey to date has been a real community effort, and we are extremely grateful for the special permissions granted to us by HM Customs and Excise and the Department of Infrastructure to make the project become a reality.
“Within the film, you will see many of those who helped us on the day – in particular, the team at Isle of Man Transport. Being able to use our heritage railways to transport the barrels provided a nostalgic nod to the Island’s uniqueness that we are always so proud to promote.
“Ultimately, we hope that this very special rum will generate a significant amount for the RNLI and provide the perfect ‘Manx-made tot’ for everyone who wishes to salute all those brave RNLI crew members past and present who have saved lives at sea over the generations.”
A special journey for a special cargo – by electric tram, horse tram and tractor! The Fynoderee team felt that the rum’s journey to the Tower deserved a special send-off from the distillery, which is based next door to the Manx Electric Railway station in Ramsey.
They were able to utilise and promote the Isle of Man’s unique Victorian transport network to navigate the challenging task of transporting their rum to the Tower. Barrels were loaded onto the Manx Electric Railway’s Goods Wagon (previously unused for several decades) to Derby Castle Station in Douglas.
They were then loaded onto a horse tram pulled by “Torrin”, the Clydesdale Trammer, who pulled the cargo along the promenade to the War Memorial in Douglas.
Sent to the Tower
Exploiting the last Equinox low tide of the year, the rum was towed along the causeway to the Tower, where it will rest, maturing in first-fill oak Bourbon casks and absorbing the unique atmosphere of the Manx stone-built tower and the mineral-rich salinity of the sea air.
Refuge Manx Rum will be available to purchase from the distillery’s website, with a proportion of the sales revenue being donated directly to the charity. In addition, two bottles will be donated to each of the 238 lifeboat stations in the British Isles to be auctioned to generate further much-needed funds for the RNLI life-saving endeavours in its very special year.
Tiffany Kerruish, co-founder of The Fynoderee Distillery, said, “As a distillery, it is always our aim to celebrate and promote Manx culture and heritage through the storytelling of our products. To be able to do this with products that will generate funds for such a beloved charity is a real privilege, and we are so excited to work with the RNLI and in collaboration with local organisations such as Manx National Heritage to keep the spotlight firmly on the Island and our five lifeboat stations operating around our coastline throughout the 200-year commemorations.
“While we all wait patiently for “Refuge Manx Rum” to be ready, we hope that supporters of the charity and local Manx producers will continue to enjoy our ‘Fynoderee Manx Dry Gin – RNLI Edition” a classic gin packed with aromatic juniper and incorporating a nod to its maritime heritage with a touch sugar kelp. The gin is proving to be a very popular part of our range with buyers from the Island and further afield, and we think it makes the perfect present for Christmas!”
The Refuge Manx Rum film
The Fynoderee team have produced a short film which tells the story behind Manx Refuge Rum, including its relationship with the RNLI and its journey to the Tower of Refuge.
The film was premiered at Media Isle of Man’s Awards for Excellence on Thursday, 16 November 2023, and can now also be viewed on the Distillery’s website at www.fynoderee.com/RNLI200.
Anyone wishing to continue following the journey of Refuge Manx Rum, including release information, and to find out more about Fynoderee’s Coastal Collection of Spirits can sign up to receive updates at https://fynoderee.com/pages/signup.
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