Bacardi’s premium rum Ocho recently paved its way into the Indian shores. In conversation with Akshay Nayak, Mitchell Kai Lum, brand ambassador – Bacardi Rums, South East Asia underlines Ocho’s versatility for a wide range of cocktails and Bacardi’s quest to leverage premium rum consumption in India
What was once a secret recipe of a blended premium rum only reserved for the Bacardi family, Ocho, has recently made its way into international shores, India being one of its key markets. Voicing about the scenario of rum in India, Mitchell Kai Lum, brand ambassador – Bacardi Rums, South East Asia, said, “Rum has been unexplored here in India. There have only been standard rums that have been in the country. If you move from local to imported rum, it would be Bacardi. But, until now there wasn’t a premium segment that people could transition up to, whereas whisky already had it in the country. The age factor of whisky does play an important role in India. When it came to the rum category, there were challenges like, one you didn’t have the premium factor to it, and two, the understanding of the category of rum which was quite convoluted. In rum, you have spiced rum, white, gold, black, which itself is confusing, for which Bacardi has taken a stand by being the most premium rum available in the market already, and to make a mark that they understand the taste palate which they already do for scotch. The number that we put on our bottles stands for the minimum aging. It’s a stamp of quality and assurance for the people that when they pick up the bottle of Bacardi ‘Ocho’ – a Spanish word for eight, it has minimum aging of eight years.”
Speaking about the tasting notes of Bacardi Ocho, Lum said, “As Ocho has been maturing for eight to 10 years, naturally it has the oaky notes. The rum is matured in American oak casks right under the Carribean sun, so it is going to absorb a lot of things over the long period including tasting notes of vanilla, butterscotch, toffee, maplewood, etc., among others, and with a robust character.”
About the USP of Bacardi Ocho, Lum decoded, “First and foremost, Bacardi Ocho is the only premium rum available in the Indian market. It is flexible when it comes to making a cocktail. The cocktails like old fashioned, whisky sour, boulevardier, among others which predominantly used whisky, can now be made using Ocho. It has the flexibility of being ideal in a range of mojitos as well. So the ability to use it in so many different cocktails is certainly enough selling point. Interestingly, Bacardi has been the premier rum brand to be used in award-wining and century-old mojitos celebrated across the globe even today. We have this inherent cocktail history within our culture.”
“One can make a 100 of cocktails if not thousands, from the range of Bacardi Rums, to pair with various cuisines. I once made masala chai paired with Bacardi Ocho which was a brilliant one and highly appreciated. We all have the necessary spices, sugar, and tea at home, all you need have is a bottle of Bacardi Rum. Also, the spicy flavour of most of the Indian cuisine is something that pairs well with the range of Bacardi rums,” said Lum about the pairings of Bacardi Rums with the Indian cuisine and palate.
When asked about the plans to further increase popularity of Ocho in India, paying heed to its experiential element, Lum informed that they have three brilliant Bacardi ambassadors who know a lot about rum and about Ocho to promote it better here to the key audience. “We are making Ocho available to consumers only through the trade route i.e. partner bars and restaurants, to make it ideal for an experiential rum and food pairings evening,” justified Lum.
“We have a programme called Bacardi Legacy as well, where we are discovering through bartenders what the cocktails would be that we will enjoy over the 100 years from now, and of course using the Bacardi Ocho,” he concluded about Bacardi’s plans to promote Ocho globally.