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Koloa Gold Hawaiian Rum

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Review: Kōloa Kaua`i Gold Hawaiian Rum

  • Aug 21, 2010


Nestled on the Island of Kaua`i, the Kōloa Rum Company is making history. It started nine years ago when the company was first incorporated. A seven-year struggle through red tape and government bureaucracy ensued before the necessary permits and licenses were granted, and finally on April 1, 2009, the Kōloa Rum Company was granted a license to distill their rum. The first legally distilled rum in the Island’s history.



The Kōloa rums are not made from traditional molasses, rather they are distilled from the crystallized sugar produced at the local Gay and Robinson Sugar Factory. This sugar, produced from 100% Kaua`i cane, has a higher than normal molasses content,  and as such, the sugar is a good starting point for making artisan rum. All of the rum is distilled using a vintage 1210 gallon copper pot still which was purchased in Kentucky, and transported first by train, and then by boat all the way to Hawaii.

My introduction to the Kōloa Rum Company’s Hawaiian rums was at Rum Renaissance in Miami, Florida. The Kōloa Dark Rum won a Gold Medal at the festival in the Rum XP Tasting Competition, and this was my first clue that something special might be happening in Hawaii. A gold medal rum, produced by a company which was just beginning to spread its wings…. I decided to investigate.

After contacting the Kōloa Rum Company, I was sent samples of their entire range for my review. I decided to start the review series with the Kōloa Kaua`i Gold Hawaiian Rum.

Here is an Excerpt from my review:

“…A surprising mild flavour is the initial impression I received when I sipped the gold rum for the first time. Again the flavour of the Gay and Robinson crystallized sugar comes though very clearly. It is a honeyed, caramel flavour which is sweet and inviting. Citrus zest, and light peppery spices follow with perhaps a little plantain or banana in the mid palate…”

You may Read the Full Review Here:

Review:Kōloa Kaua`i Gold Hawaiian Rum

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August 31, 2010
Wow! I am from Kaua'i and I knew they were making SOMETHING over at the sugar mill but I didn't know it was THIS! Cool. I must pick up a bottle!
About the reviewer
Chip Dykstra ()
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I have my own Blog called The Rum Howler Blog (and Whisky now too!) where I review Spirits and try to pair them with great cocktails.   Member of RumXP (International Panel of Rum Experts)   … more
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In case you are wondering, the Kōloa Rums are made using a vintage 1210 gallon vintage copper pot still imported from Kentucky.  This copper still was first shipped by train to the west coast and then by boat to the Islands of Hawaii.  Constructed just after World War II, the still was previously used to distill Kentucky whiskey.

The actual base material for the distillation is not molasses, but rather the Gay and Robinson Plantation crystallized sugar.  I am told that the sugar has a higher than normal molasses content and indeed it carries a wonderful molasses aroma.  From this distillate, and using the vintage copper pot still, all of the Kōloa Rum is made in a batch style.  The resulting white rum is about as pure as rum can be,  bottled fresh with no barrel aging.  The gold rum is just as fresh as the white, with the gold colour stemming from the addition of caramelized Gay and Robinson Plantation crystal sugar.  And finally, the dark rum, which also uses fresh rum, is enhanced with the same caramelized sugar as well as a secret recipe of spices to give it the dark rich colour and flavour which resulted in the Gold Medal at Rum Renaissance.  In a way these are throwback rums made in the manner and style of the past when it was entirely the blender’s mastery that was needed to sooth the spirit rather than the use of oak barrel aging.
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