Mattuga Distillers, Livingston,West Lothian

History - Matugga Golden Rum and Matugga Spiced Rum was originally created in London in 2015 by couple Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa. Their idea was to fuse their roots from Uganda and Jamaica to create Mattuga Rum. After meeting Jacine, Paul fell in love with her and her families passion for proper Rum, converting him from Scotch (which i’m sure he still enjoys today). This love led Paul to enrol in Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University and complete a degree in distilling. With their rum starting to sell across Europe, Janice and their two children made the decision in 2017 to move permanently to Scotland and build a £100,000 distillery in Livingston. The distillery has only only recently started production, equipped with two 200 litre copper pot stills, capable of producing 50,000 litres of artisanal rum in its first year; the equivalent of 2 million single rum serves or 1 million Mojitos per year.

The Rum - At Matugga they source their sugar cane from the red soils of East Africa which provide an ideal terrain for high-quality sugar cane, from which they source their molasses in order to make their rum. The are then fermented for seven days before being triple-distilled in 200-litre copper pot stills, with swan neck condensers. Their golden rum is then finished in specially selected oak casks, giving the it depth and smoothness as well as a hint of smoke. For the spiced rum they infuse a mix of a East African spiced blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom, and cinnamon to create Matugga Spiced Rum.

Favourite Tipple - The golden rum and the spiced rum are both excellent. The golden rum however just edges it for me, which can be enjoyed on its own as it is that smooth. Its a very fruity rum, in particular sultanas and orange. If you wanted to mix it then i would suggest a rum cocktail called a Treacle, which is really easy to make. Just take a short glass add a large measure of golden rum, dash of orange bitters, 2 teaspoons of sugar syrup and a shot a pressed apple juice and stir with ice.

Why Visit - There is no visitors allowed here yet but the couple have recently launched a campaign on Crowdfunder to “accelerate production following the surge in demand” for their products. They have seen a great response to the crowdfunding so far which might have something to do with funders receiving one of just 1,000 limited edition bottles of the distillery’s new rum, Mavuno 2018, which has just been launched.

Interesting Fact - Scotland has always had a love for rum going back to the the 17th Century. Glasgow in particular had several sugar refineries across the city powered by sugar cane brought over from the Caribbean. The sailors coming back also brought with them rum made from the sugar cane which quickly became popular among the locals. By 18th and 19th century there weren't many Glasgow pubs selling “Glasgow Sherbet”, which was a mix of water, sugar, lemons and limes. There was also the famous “Glasgow Punch” which you will find in many old cocktail books. The love for the spirit lives on today with Scotland the biggest consumer of Rum (in particular spiced rum) in the UK. This has led to several Scottish brands hitting the market including Dark Matter, Dundedin, Solway, Sugar House Rum, Wester and Sea Wolf Rum.