Mainbrace Rum launched as the first to “splice” rum from Guyana and Martinique

Just in time for Christmas, Peter Morrell explores the spirit of the Caribbean in this new rum which offers a unique array of exciting aromas and flavours

Mainbrace Rum is a premium blend of rum from Guyana, near the banks of the Demerara River, and a French Agricole from Martinique – it is the only rum in the world to blend the two styles to give a unique taste. Launched at RumFest 2019, it is now officially available!

Mainbrace Rum is a unique golden spliced (not spiced!) rum crafted with a premium blend of unaged agricole from Martinique and rums aged between 2-5 years from 3 stills on the banks of the Demerara River in Guyana.

Its name hails from the naval tradition known as “Splicing the Mainbrace” born from courage, loyalty, and teamwork. In the heart of battle, a brave team of sailors would “splice the mainbrace” if the mainbrace was damaged, in order to save the main mast of the ship. This difficult but vital task was rewarded with a double ration of rum to celebrate. Nowadays, it is a naval tradition to make a toast to “the Queen – God bless her” at a celebration.

Mainbrace Rum was launched at London’s RumFest 2019 in October, where fellow rum enthusiasts were given the first opportunity to experience the complexity of flavours that makes our premium rum unique. Mainbrace Rum sold its first bottles of rum at RumFest through the Whisky Exchange. Following this success, a bespoke rum punch was created for the launch of the newly renovated Punchbowl and Ladle in Penelewey, Cornwall. Bottles of Mainbrace are now available at selected bars in Cornwall and at Drink Finder and Ellis Wharton Wines.

I have been sampling Mainbrace rum but before describing my conclusions it is worth noting the bottle. Its clean gold label matches the colour of this golden rum perfectly. The bottle has a bulbous bottom and a long, thin elegant neck, rather like a decanter and the stopper is made from cork and wood.

The nose is initially dominated with notes of dried fruits and toffee, as you give it time to it offers notes of sweet apple and spices. The pallet starts with grassy notes that quickly give way to caramel and toffee nuances. The finish is long and smooth with a subtle warming spiciness, an extremely well-balanced rum.

I started by tasting Mainbrace neat, the nose has strong notes of caramel and toffee with hints of raisins in the background. These continue onto the palate and are joined by warming ginger, vanilla, exotic spices and an intriguing smokey flavour. The rum is silky smooth and the finish is very strong and persistent.

For people who appreciate good rum, drinking Mainbrace neat will keep them satisfied but I started thinking about cocktails. Given the time of year and the warming character of the rum, my first thought was for welcoming Hot Toddy for guests to drink when they arrive on a frosty night.

Pour 50ml of Mainbrace rum into a squat tumbler and top up with 150ml of hot (not boiling) water, stir in two tsps of honey, add a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with a round slice of lemon. You can optionally add 2-3 cloves or a shake of cinnamon. Give it one final stir and serve to your guests.

My second thought was to bring some Caribbean sunshine to the party, so the ideal drink would be Rum Punch. Put some ice in a tumbler, pour over 50ml of Mainbrace rum. To keep it simple top up with mixed tropical fruit juice from the supermarket, look out for one containing some or all of pineapple, passion fruit, mango and orange. Garnish with maraschino cherries and a slice of orange on a cocktail stick and be instantly transported to a beach with silver sand and swaying palm trees.

I enjoyed Mainbrace rum a lot, it’s a very versatile spirit, great for sipping to enjoy the subtle flavours, and as a base for killer cocktails.

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About Mainbrace

Traditionally crafted with a modern twist, Mainbrace is a unique golden ‘spliced rum’. A premium blend of unaged agricole from Martinique and a unique selection of 2-5-year-old rums from 3 different stills in Guyana. A saying synonymous with celebration, “Splice the Mainbrace” was born from courage, loyalty and teamwork. It embodies the spirit of celebrating a hard-won victory.

Originating in the heat of battle, a brave team of sailors would attempt to “splice the mainbrace” if it was damaged to save the main mast of a ship – a difficult, but vital task. If they succeeded, they would be rewarded with a double ration of rum to celebrate along with a toast to “the Queen – God bless her”. The sweetest victories always come after the hardest of battles.

Spliced not Spiced

Mainbrace is produced using locally sourced sugar cane as well as traditional pot and column still distillation. The same methods and stills were used to create rum for the British Navy as far back as 1732. The rum speaks for itself, there are no sweeteners or colourings added to the blend. It is not a spiced rum as there are no spices added either.


The blend originates from Guyana near the banks of the Demerara river in 1670, a region that’s home to its own eponymous variety of rum. It is crafted with rums aged between 2-5 years from 3 different stills, all bringing their own unique character and natural sweetness to the blend.

  • The first part of the blend comes from a double wooden pot still in Port Mourant. These stills have been making rum for the navy since the 19th century.
  • The second part is from the wooden Coffey still originally found at the Enmore Sugar Estate. This is the last still of its kind in the world.
  • The final part of the blend comes from an original four-column French Savalle still, dating back to the 18th century.

The agricole part of the blend comes from La Favorite in Martinique, which was established in 1842 and is well-known for their punchy agricoles even at low ABVs. The initial earthy textures you experience when sipping Mainbrace can be attributed to this distillery. The distillery is powered on a closed-loop system that uses the excess fibres (bagasse) of sugar cane to fuel its furnaces. These then create the steam to distil their Rhums making the distillerie extremely sustainable. In fact, they are the last distillery in Martinique still working purely from steam.

Making Mainbrace

The idea of Mainbrace Rum began at The Ferry Boat Inn, in Helford Passage, Cornwall. The Haigh family, observing the historic surroundings mixed with modern river-goers at The Ferry Boat, decided to make a drink that reminds people to celebrate the small moments with friends and family.

The Haighs decided to create a rum that could be enjoyed both as a sipping rum or in a cocktail. They enlisted the help of Liam Jones, Bar Manager at the Ferryboat Inn at the time, and set about canvassing mixologists and rum fanatics in London and Cornwall to come up with a new flavour profile missing from the market.

Over the following 18 months the Haighs and Liam tested various blends of flavours, eventually settling on the current blend which captures the punch of an Agricole with the sweetness of a Guyanese rum – two styles never before put together i.e. splicing two rums to make one. This splice of two rums got us thinking, and, knowing the old saying of “splice the mainbrace”, it perfectly encapsulated the product and spirit of the rum. With that, Mainbrace Rum was born! It was bottled in early October 2019 in London, just in time for RumFest 2019.


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