February 28, 2014

Pass me ah drink ah yah rum

Dennis George is my Sage, ah man of profound wisdom and memory. He tells me dat own Sugar factory and distillery at Mount Bentick. We planted we own Sugar Cane, boiled de extracted Cane Juice and mek Molasses. Molasses went to de UK in barrels; some was crystallized into Sugar; some fermented into Rum right hey in SVG. We had two ah de best Red Rum, Sunset and Golden Glow. Den in de 1950’s ah third red rum, Captain Bligh was branded. Back den de only Captain Bligh Vin-sin-shuns knew, was de Admiral of “HMS Mutiny on de Bounty” fame.{{more}} In 1791, Bligh was given another ship, de Providence to mek ah second Breadfruit mission to Tahiti in de South Pacific, to collect Breadfruit Plants to be used as cheap food foh de slaves. He also collected Botanical Specimens that were presented to our Botanic Gardens. Breadfruit, ah national delicacy remains special up to today. De easy growing plant needs lickle or no care, and bears plenty fruits all year round. Ah believe is from dat “easy to grow and bountiful harvest” dat Sir James did coin de term “Vin-sin-Shun people got Breadfruit Men-tell-at-tea,” suggesting we love foh reap wha’ we didn’t sow!” We Lazy! Now Admiral Bligh was ah good navigator who became Governor of New South Wales in Australia in 1808. He was sent to settle ah Rum Rebellion, was nuff “country-ban” (contra bond) going on down dey. Maybe dat Rum Rebellion story is wha’ prompted de folks at Nanton & Layne Liquors in SVG, to name de new branded local Red Rum after Captain Bligh. Bute even though Captain Bligh was ah good, cheap Rum, two shillings ah bottle, Vin-sin-shuns who all time prefer far-rain, supported de Tree-knee-dad Vat 19 and Bo-bid-us Mount Gay.

Was in 1996, when C.K Greaves & Co Ltd took over de SVG Distillers Ltd and Kenrick Greaves Jr and his wife Phillipa made Captain and Chief mate, dat Captain Bligh Rum got ah ‘shot in de arm’, sprucing up de appearance of de product so dat by 2001, Captain Bligh (Rum) went sailing again, dis time to de B-dos Rum Fest to win its first Gold medal. In 2002 at de Canadian International Rum Fest, it was Gold all de way. In 2009 de product was rebranded by appending ‘XO’ to the famous navigator’s name adding “Special Reserve” to the label, dat same year it was Gold at de “SIPE Award International Spirit” in Florida. In 2013 at de Caribbean Alcohol Beverage Competition in Grenada, Gold! And finally dis year 2014, dey took Captain Bligh back de United Kingdom way he come from, to de World Rum Festival, and won Gold all de way!

Congratulations are due to Ken and his wife Phillipa and de staff at de Distillery. Ah glad foh Ken, my first cousin. Ah not claiming him because he won Gold, but he’s Aunt Joyce son, nah mind de contrast in skin colour. He’s ah cool guy, but nah mek his peaceful and quiet spirit trick yuh, he was ah miserable lickle fellah when he was small. He speaks proudly of his humble work experience, starting as an Office Attendant at “Marlin Doorly Rum” in B’dos. Moved to Australia way he picked up some experience, today he’s right on top ah de ladder. Ken remains humble and as ole people say: “ In life is not how or way ah man start de journey, but way he reach at de end ah dat journey.”

Now hey’s a clip from de Tasting Notes on Captain Bligh Rum: “Very Smooth. Captain Bligh Golden Rum is medium amber in color, and very clear, not revealing its age. The aroma is gentle, with a slight brown sugar sweetness, alcohol is evident but not rough, and doesn’t bite or obscure the subtle and balanced scents of oak, vanilla, and caramel. A medium body shows nice maturity of flavor and aging in oak, with a slight vanilla, which finishes dry – another nice surprise.” Wow! Ah not into rum drinking, but wid ah description like dat, drunk or sober, ah asking Phillipa to “pass me ah drink ah Captain Bligh,” ah want to prove foh me-self, and den ah go write me own Tasting Notes.


De Health Clinic on de island of Mayreau has been closed foh repairs since January 2013. Foh over ah year de folks down dey have been widout ah Clinic and ah resident health Nurse. Earlier dis month ah pregnant woman developed complications late in de night, she had to be rushed from Mayreau to Union Island, in ah out-board fishing boat, she delivered de baby at sea, in dah lickle fishing boat!! Aye! Aye! Aye! Snaggy, tell de Come-red de people bawling out foh mercy, dey say is spite wuk! And to ask him if he notice dat de attempt to close NICE radio failed, de people “rise up” ah found his Court fine! Again de attempt to block Relief Supplies sent thru de NDP for de folks who suffered flood loss, failed! De people “rise up again” and fine twenty thousand dollars in two hours ah Radio time. Oh Belshazzar, de writing is on de Wall! And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy!

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.