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Is there any good online source for this rum?

I just wrote a post about the Black Magic cocktail from Mai Kai and would like to try to find Kohala Bay rum now when im going to the US. Im going to New Orleans and i have no idea if it´s sold there, haven`t seen it before anyway.

Here´s the post btw if anyone wants to read - http://www.amountainofcrushedice.com/?p=17967

Don't get your hopes up too high, Kohala Bay is nowhere near Dagger in its depth and density of taste. The Mai Kai has managed somehow to keep the Back Magic as a yummy as it was when Dagger was still used, but by itself, Kohala pales.

On 2013-06-29 23:13, bigbrotiki wrote:
Don't get your hopes up too high, Kohala Bay is nowhere near Dagger in its depth and density of taste. The Mai Kai has managed somehow to keep the Back Magic as a yummy as it was when Dagger was still used, but by itself, Kohala pales.

I have no idea what the original Dagger Punch Rum tasted like, but I agree Kohala Bay is not indispensable as long as you can get a hold of a quality dark Jamaican rum (= Coruba). I can get Kohala locally with some regularity and I have enjoyed playing around with it -- especially playing with Hurricane Hayward's Mai-Kai tribute recipes -- but I think Overall Coruba is a much more versatile dark mixing rum for Tiki drinks.

Yes, i will get a bottle of Coruba in Nola bec it´s always there and not expensive either. I got a comment on my post which i copy and paste here:

"The Kohala Bay dark Jamaican rum isn't impossible to find, you do have to jump through a few hoops to get it. The US importer of the rum is Carriage Importers, in Springfield, New Jersey. The curious fact is that almost no one has it on their shelf for retail sale, they are supplying just a couple of "big" buyers of the rum, one being the Mai-Kai in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Carriage supplies Republic National Distributors with Kohala Bay in Florida. After speaking with the Republic in Florida, they were kind enough to let me know that while their only client current client for it is the Mai-Kai, they serve many large South Florida liquor stores including ABC, Total Wine, and Crown. While none of these stores are shelving Kohala Bay, all these stores (and others) can special order it from Republic and have it in just a couple of days. (Fyi, the distributor only has it in 1.75 liter bottles)

So, IF you are Southern Florida, AND you have a few days to spare, you can get this very illusive rum to take home with you!"

On 2013-06-29 23:13, bigbrotiki wrote:
The Mai Kai has managed somehow to keep the Back Magic as a yummy as it was when Dagger was still used, but by itself, Kohala pales.

I wonder what they do to keep it as tasty as it was with the dagger rum?

On 2013-06-30 11:42, Little fragrant Tiare wrote:

On 2013-06-29 23:13, bigbrotiki wrote:
The Mai Kai has managed somehow to keep the Back Magic as a yummy as it was when Dagger was still used, but by itself, Kohala pales.

I wonder what they do to keep it as tasty as it was with the dagger rum?

Everything tastes better when it is served by Molokai Maidens!

Mai-Kai is a place you need to make a sidetrip to see during one of your Tales visits. Tiare. The place will absolutely blow you away.

Re the Mai-Kai coffee drink trio, the Mutiny is tops for me, but of course the Black Magic is a favorite as well.

Here in Stuart, Florida, I was able to get Total Wine & More to order me my first batch of Kohala Bay (and also Coruba which none of my local establishments have on their shelves), while they do have Smith & Cross on their shelf. Now, I have my local Star LiquorsIII (literally around the corner from where I live) stocking Kohala Bay as well as El Dorado, 5yo, 12yo, 15yo as well as El Dorado's Cuba Libre dark. Lemon hart however, was another story. Although the distrubitr is right here in my hommetown - nobody deals with them . . . EXCEPT Roy's Liquors in Ft. Pierce and they usually have it on their shelf (I call them first to check before I make the trek up there to the store), and they have a lot of the other ingredients like Falernum, Orgeat, etc. that the other stores do not have - as well as the largest selection of rum I've seen anywhere!


I bet you feel more like you do now now than you did when you came in.

GENT

[ Edited by: GentleHangman 2013-06-30 13:31 ]

On 2013-06-30 13:29, GentleHangman wrote:
Here in Stuart, Florida, I was able to get Total Wine & More to order me my first batch of Kohala Bay (and also Coruba which none of my local establishments have on their shelves), while they do have Smith & Cross on their shelf. Now, I have my local Star LiquorsIII (literally around the corner from where I live) stocking Kohala Bay as well as El Dorado, 5yo, 12yo, 15yo as well as El Dorado's Cuba Libre dark. Lemon hart however, was another story. Although the distrubitr is right here in my hommetown - nobody deals with them . . . EXCEPT Roy's Liquors in Ft. Pierce and they usually have it on their shelf (I call them first to check before I make the trek up there to the store), and they have a lot of the other ingredients like Falernum, Orgeat, etc. that the other stores do not have - as well as the largest selection of rum I've seen anywhere!


I bet you feel more like you do now now than you did when you came in.

GENT

[ Edited by: GentleHangman 2013-06-30 13:31 ]

Roy's is my savior. A couple of years ago they had Scarlet Ibis on the shelf so I realized they could het all of the Haus Alpens stuff. Now they are the only place around that stocks Smith&Cross, Taylor Velvet Falernum, St. Elisabeth Pimento Dram, Batavia Arrack, Swedish Punsch, Hayman's Old Tom Gin, etc., not to mention LH151 and Kohala Bay. A good chunk of my paycheck ends up going into Keith's pocket.


"If you keep on drinking rum, the world will soon be quit of a very dirty scoundrel."
Robert Louis Stevenson

[ Edited by: Sunny&Rummy 2013-06-30 13:39 ]

A

On 2013-06-29 23:13, bigbrotiki wrote:
Don't get your hopes up too high, Kohala Bay is nowhere near Dagger in its depth and density of taste. The Mai Kai has managed somehow to keep the Back Magic as a yummy as it was when Dagger was still used, but by itself, Kohala pales.

Do you have a recommendation for something that does have the depth and density of taste of dagger rum - or at least something that comes the closest?

In terms of dark, molasses-like taste that verges on bitter medicine there are these Demararas you can get in England, but they do have that Demarara tang:

  • and you can't get 'em in the US :(

It's like the old and the new Lemonhart: Might work as a mixer, but by itself, it ain't the same.

I took your advice and grabbed a bottle of Wood's. My friend from the UK was just here and he got it for me for a gift for letting him stay with us. I like the flavor, but it is tough to get so I will have to drink it slowly.

Arriano, I might try to bring you a little taster tonight at the meet up (if I don't forget).

I love the OVD!! it´s a good mixing demerara i think. I havent tried Woods yet though!

Yes i should try make a trip to Mai Kai sometimes...its just that i go down to New Orleans and granted, i stay one month with my friends in the city but im always on a such a hopeless budget!! i cant live like a tourist while im there no less make any side trips...but maybe some day, maybe after i moved down!

On 2013-07-01 12:41, lunavideogames wrote:
I took your advice and grabbed a bottle of Wood's.

For sipping, it's a tough drink, better mellowed with a cube of ice. It's simply a man's rum. Yum!...and so was Dagger

I found a bottle of the Dagger a while ago on ebay. Just a little airplane bottle though. I was waiting for an extra special occasion to open it. I will have to save a bit of Wood's until I open it, to do a back to back. I don't know if the flavor of the Dagger would have diminished by now, but I am excited to drink it.

G

I spoke briefly with Stephen Remsburg at Hukilau last year about this. His opinion was that the most suitable modern replacement for Dagger would be Coruba. He wasn't saying they were equivalent but that Coruba is probably the closest substitute available in the U.S. today. He's tasted them all, so I place a lot of weight on that opinion. Dagger might have had more complexity but I suspect much of that would get lost in a snifter-sized drink like the Black Magic. For that same reason, that's probably why Kohala Bay works too.

On 2013-07-06 13:48, GatorRob wrote:
I spoke briefly with Stephen Remsburg at Hukilau last year about this. His opinion was that the most suitable modern replacement for Dagger would be Coruba. He wasn't saying they were equivalent but that Coruba is probably the closest substitute available in the U.S. today. He's tasted them all, so I place a lot of weight on that opinion. Dagger might have had more complexity but I suspect much of that would get lost in a snifter-sized drink like the Black Magic. For that same reason, that's probably why Kohala Bay works too.

Stephen Remsberg - he da man!

When shooting photos for "Classic Dining" in N.O., Stephen gave me and Pete Moruzzi a tasting flight of the complete history of J.Wray & Nephew, beginning with this one (I think it hails from the late 1800s ?):

Stephen always has one bottle for the collection, and one for tasting - a sensible man! :)

AF

Sven,
Those are three of the best photos ever posted on TC! :)

On 2013-07-09 14:32, A Frame wrote:
Sven,
Those are three of the best photos ever posted on TC! :)

Agreed. Wow.

kevin

Wow, great rum photos Sven!

Kohala Bay is not good as a sipper, but it does have some rich, complex notes that come through in a cocktail. It has a little of that almost banana-y, rough edge that you find in Smith and Cross. It's higher proof than other dark rums. Fresh fruit juice--especially grapefruit--doesn't cover it up but actually compliments it and opens up the flavor. You're not going to find Kohala Bay anywhere outside of South Florida, but if you mix Smith and Cross with Blackwell Jamaican Rum and El Dorado 15-year, you get an approximation. Still ain't going to be Dagger though.

H

Kohala Bay has actually started to show up in Washington DC at a few stores (around Farragut North and Dupont Circle)

Kohala Bay is not good as a sipper, but it does have some rich, complex notes that come through in a cocktail. It has a little of that almost banana-y, rough edge that you find in Smith and Cross. It's higher proof than other dark rums. Fresh fruit juice--especially grapefruit--doesn't cover it up but actually compliments it and opens up the flavor. You're not going to find Kohala Bay anywhere outside of South Florida, but if you mix Smith and Cross with Blackwell Jamaican Rum and El Dorado 15-year, you get an approximation. Still ain't going to be Dagger though.

Wow, I'm not spending enough time on Tiki Central. I totally missed this thread. I'll try to make up for it with the full, unexpurgated story of my experience with Kohala Bay ...

First off, to address the initial question: No, unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any online source. Though it's certainly good to see Kohala Bay popping up in D.C. That could mean movement toward more widespread U.S. distribution.

I first discovered this rum on a tour of The Mai-Kai's back bar on Nov. 12, 2011.

http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/12/28/behind-the-magic-a-backstage-tour-of-the-mai-kais-mysterious-bars-and-kitchen/
I was already six months into my project of re-creating all of the Polynesian Palace's famous cocktails, but this discovery shed a whole new light on my research. I was aware of the defunct Dagger brand and its role in key cocktails created by Donn Beach and later reconfigured by Mariano Licudine, but I wasn't sure what rum The Mai-Kai was currently using. I've heard that many of Mariano's original recipes call for Dagger by name. What were they pouring now? I wondered. Now I knew.

As bigbrotiki points out, this isn't quite the same product as Dagger. But Mai-Kai manager Kern Mattei said it comes from the same company and distillery in Jamaica (Wray & Nephew, I presume). During the tour, he also mentioned that it comes through their distributor but there's only one other restaurant in Florida that stocks it. "We have to order a lot to make sure we get it," he said. I imagined a whole back room stacked with case after case. Immediately, I knew I had to find a source beyond having Kern slip me a bottle.

Eventually, I tracked down Carriage House Imports and gave them a call. I mentioned Kern and The Mai-Kai, undoubtedly their biggest customer, and they were very accommodating. Indeed, just as Kern said, there was just one other bar in Florida that ordered the rum, I was told. What about retail?, I asked with bated breath but also expecting a "sorry, nobody carries it," response. But miraculously they said there was just one location: a store in Miami. They offered to e-mail me their account list, and on March 9, 2012, a PDF popped into my inbox. It listed The Mai-Kai, the Dorchester Hotel on South Beach (god knows what they do with it) and huh, what? A strip club in south Miami?

It was the last place anyone would look for the rare and much-sought-after descendant of Dagger rum and the key ingredient in the Black Magic. I figured out that the strip club has a package store attached that uses a corporate name that sounded vaguely familiar. Could it be? The same location was an almost famous rock 'n' roll and punk club in the 1970s and '80s. I had been there on several occasions, and my wife Susan had played there with her band. This had to be kismet.

So with Susan in tow for good luck, I headed down there in search of the Holy Grail. "We're going in the store, not the bar," she insisted. No problem. A rare rum was the only thing I wanted to feast my eyes upon. And there it was, a half-dozen 1.75L plastic bottles of Kohala Bay. (I'm told that Dagger used similar bottles.) I grabbed all I could but left one bottle on the shelf. I don't want to be a total hoarder. Might was well leave something for another vintage rum-seeker to discover. I later ordered a case and spoke to the owner, the same gentleman who owned the rock club. He said that he's stocked the rum for years and that while it wasn't a big seller, it had a cult following. Enough to keep it in stock, obviously.


My initial Kohala Bay discovery (March 2012)

I was torn between keeping this discovery to myself and posting for all to know. I chose the middle ground, letting those I trusted know and later sharing bottles and info at The Hukilau. Anyone who bothered to send a private message would get directions to the store. Hopefully this would keep it on the shelves while I figured out a way to get other stores to carry it. I overheard the owner mention "National" as his distributor and made a mental note.

But my first order of business was the Black Magic and figuring out what other Mai-Kai cocktails used this distinctive rum. Kern graciously pointed me in the right direction and I was able to compile a hit list. I eventually confirmed Kohala Bay in 10 classic drinks: Zombie, 151 Swizzle, Barrel O' Rum, Cobra Kiss, Mutiny, Jet Pilot, Yeoman’s Grog, Black Magic, Oh So Deadly and Bora Bora. Craig "Colonel Tiki" Hermann had earlier turned me on to the Smith & Cross and El Dorado 12 combo, and that does come pretty damn close. He credits Martin Cate for that suggestion. I posted my Black Magic and Mutiny tribute recipes with this suggested substitution in early April.

Then, in late April, The Mai-Kai dropped a bombshell with the re-introduction of Lemon Hart Demerara rum after its removal decades ago. That's a different story for a different day, but let's just say I now had my work cut out for me updating my reviews and recipes. I happened to drop by The Mokokai just days after its return, and Kern offered up the official list of 11 drinks. It was no surprise that 6 of the 10 Kohala Bay cocktails also now contain Lemon Hart. The two rums pair excellently together. I posted my full list and review links in May 2012:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#dagger


The original Dagger Punch

Kohala Bay is 87.6 proof, so any drink also containing Lemon Hart 151 will pack quite a punch. Note that the original Dagger was 97 proof. This likely accounts for its more robust flavor profile. Now, as bigbrotiki reminds us, Kohala Bay is nowhere near the original Dagger in depth of flavor, but it's still distinctive enough to be useful if you're as obsessed with duplicating Mai-Kai cocktails as I am. When I first mixed it in the Black Magic, Barrel O’ Rum and Cobra Kiss, I had that familiar "ah ha!" moment. There's no doubt that other dark Jamaican rums (such as Coruba or Appleton), would make an equally great cocktail. They just would not give it that subtle flavor that defines these Mai-Kai cocktails. But it's not just the rum. You have to acknowledge the "extra magic" that makes Mai-Kai drinks spectacular even with inferior rums. (You don't even want to know what white well rum they use). There are so many other factors, like the unique fresh juices, house-made syrups and special mixes, and precise techniques that follow Mariano Licudine's original recipes.

As for Coruba, I don't doubt Professor Remsburg's statement that this is a suitable replacement. I was actually using Coruba in my Black Magic tribute before I discovered Colonel Tiki's suggested blend, then Kohala Bay. It's quite a bit sweeter than Kohala Bay, however, and lacks both the higher proof punch and subtle funkiness. For now, I'm sticking with the original sub suggestion of Smith & Cross and El Dorado 12. But if I ever pick up a bottle of Blackwell, I'd like to try Quince_at_Dannys's suggestion above (Smith & Cross, Blackwell, El Dorado 15). I also hope to some day taste Dagger to compare. As it stands now, Kohala Bay is No. 12 on my list of favorite rums, but I'm obviously biased toward The Mai-Kai.
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2013/08/20/99-bottles-of-rum-on-the-wall-the-atomic-grog-rates-some-of-the-top-cane-spirits/

There are plenty of suggestions regarding how to make Kohala Bay more closely resemble Dagger. In a comment on my blog, arriano suggested slowly infusing Kohala Bay with Wray & Nephew Overproof to bring it up to 97 proof. I'm afraid the distinctive flavor of that overproof rum would alter Kohala Bay's flavor too drastically, but it may be worth a try. On Tiare's blog, Joe G. (a fortunate South Floridian who lives near the south Miami store) suggests a 4:1 blend of Kohala Bay and El Dorado Special Dark. This would reduce the proof but perhaps bring the flavor closer in line.

After I posted my initial stories about Kohala Bay, I asked a few local stores to carry it but none came through. But my readers came through big time. I figured out the distributor was Republic National Distributing:
http://www.rndc-usa.com/about/map/florida.asp
As I shared the Miami location with folks via e-mail and private message, I suggested they lobby retailers in their area to carry it. I've heard the Miami store now often sells out of its weekly allotment. GentleHangman was particularly helpful and even managed to get Total Wine to place a special order, though they wouldn't put it on the shelf. But he was able to convince Star Liquors III in Stuart to stock it. I've shopped at quite a few of the Star stores in South Florida. It appears to be a regional family-run chain that carries a robust rum selection, though it varies from store to store. Not a bad option if there's one in your area. And I can't really bash Total Wine since they do carry Smith & Cross and lots of the El Dorado products.

I'm not sure who persuaded Roy's Liquors in Fort Pierce to carry Kohala Bay (perhaps it was Sunny&Rummy), but I'd like to thank them.
http://www.roysliquors.com
It's a great store, a bit off the beaten path but as he describes above, it's well worth the trip. It's become my go-to source for Kohala Bay since it offers so much other great product. And on a recent visit I even found Kohala Bay in glass bottles, which I've never seen before ...


Kohala Bay from Roy's Liquors in Fort Pierce, Fla. ... $27.99 for a 1.75L plastic bottle, $14.99 for a 750ML glass bottle.

So that's the story so far. I'm sure this forum is the only pace it could be appreciated so I had to share.

I've placed a link on my blog to this thread, so everyone please share your Kohala Bay sightings.

[ Edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2013-08-25 23:57 ]

[ Edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2013-08-26 08:03 ]

D

Can anyone confirm the DC sightings of Kohala Bay? I'd like to get a bottle to try and am unlikely to make it to Southern Florida anytime soon!

Nice wrap-up of your Kohala Bay Odessey. Yes, I was the one who got Keith to stock it at Roy's. he has so brought Smith&Cross, St. Elizabeth, Taylor Velvet Falernum and several other indespensible Haus Alpens products in after I politely asked him to do so. Interestingly, I didn't have to ask him to start stocking LH151, someone else must have beat me to it.

I too hope that Hearn shares with us the DC locations. It's too long a trip to south Florida just for a rum run :wink:

Wow!! what a great post!! now how am i gonna get this rum (living in Sweden)? is anyone perhaps going to the UK Rumfest in october who can bring a bottle?:-)

The combo Smith and Cross and ED12 sounds good and also it sounds interesting to mix with Blackwell.

On 2013-07-09 14:32, A Frame wrote:
Sven,
Those are three of the best photos ever posted on TC! :)

I agree!! :)

I wish I was going. My Havana Club supply is getting dangerously low :

On 2013-08-26 03:36, Little fragrant Tiare wrote:
Wow!! what a great post!! now how am i gonna get this rum (living in Sweden)? is anyone perhaps going to the UK Rumfest in october who can bring a bottle?:-)

The combo Smith and Cross and ED12 sounds good and also it sounds interesting to mix with Blackwell.

Printed up this sheet and took it around to all my area liquor stores. When I was done, the rums were carried by my local stores - just not ALL of them in ALL the stores - but now when I go out on a liquor road trip I know who has what,


I bet you feel more like you do now now than you did when you came in.

GENT

[ Edited by: GentleHangman 2013-08-26 12:05 ]

Great job, GentleHangman! I have a circuit of about 12 stores I like to visit to find everything I need.

I'm glad to hear it's not justt me. Oh, if only one grog shop could stock everything I use my life would be so much simpler.

Be happy you can get this rum at all! Outside of a vacation to Florida, is there no other way to get ones hands on Kohala Bay?

Gentle hangman I am going to shamelessly steal that pic and make up my own little posters. I've got three different liquor stores looking for rum for me over here on the west coast of FL

Storm

Oh how i just love how passionate and dedicated all rum lovers are when it comes to find certain rums...:))

stormrider: Be my guest. It worked for me (for the most part) and I hope you have success with it.

picked up a bottle of Kohala Bay.

so far, it underwhelms when taken neat.

has anybody compiled a list yet of cocktails that call for the Kohala Bay?

On 2013-10-29 17:54, thePorpoise wrote:
picked up a bottle of Kohala Bay.

so far, it underwhelms when taken neat.

has anybody compiled a list yet of cocktails that call for the Kohala Bay?

Hurricane Hayward has done a great job on his Atomic Grog site of sleuthing out the Mai-Kai cocktails that likely include Kohala Bay. Make sure to try it in a rum combo in a Grog Log style Hurricane. I like the Kohala along with Rhum Negrita in those.

put it in a grog log style hurricane- not for me (i dont like that styl hurricane anyhow; maybe somebody started out w/lemon, but it aint a hurricane today.)

ah-- but i followed my own hurricane template with the Kohala Bay- twas outstanding!

--4 oz KB, 3 oz goya maricuya coctel, 1/2 oz lime, 2 t grenadine, 2 t raw agave nectre.

and it totally vibed the oft-noted-by-heyward-in-maikai-drinks cinnamon notes.

yes, yes, this i could frequent wit da Kohala Bay...

The Gog Log version is a starting template for me as well, but I do stick with lemon over lime, and with passionfruit syrup rather than nectar. The iteration I am partial to at the moment calls for Grog Log proportions and 3 oz. Rhum Negrita and 1 oz. ED 5, with 1/4 oz each of simple and pomegranate grenadine added to balance that 2 oz. citrus slug a bit.

As for what makes a modern Hurricane, I refuse to let Pat O'briens be the arbiter here with how far that neon chemical mess has diverged from the original drink.

Here's a list of the Mai-Kai cocktails that feature Kohala Bay ...
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#dagger

It's worth noting that they're mainly strong drinks, and that many now also include Lemon Hart. These rums work incredibly well together and help provide that distinctive Mai-Kai flavor profile. It's scary to think how good these were back in the days when the original Dagger was available.

N

i made a post about this a few weeks ago but you can get kohala bay right here..by the case if you wish

http://tinyurl.com/kohalabay

[ Edited by: nomeus 2013-12-14 21:10 ]

That's good to hear. All you non-Floridians, looks like you can order online. I'll have to check out that store next time I'm down in Miami. Based on the photo, it sure bears a striking resemblance to my home bar. Actually, I don't really mind. It's just kind of amusing.

seriously? that's wild. a little copyright infringement eh.

Does anyone know of a liquor store in west palm that carries Kohala bay? I am over in WPB quite a bit more than Miami. I still haven't found anyone in ft myers that can order it.

Storm

Any Total Wine & Spirits will be glad to order it for you. They were the first ones to get it for me, but now a Star Liquors III keeps it in stock for me and they are literally around the corner from me. There are several Star Liquors in the West Palm area. . . check with them too.

Kohala Bay Dark rum looks to be available online in handles.

http://www.sunsetcorners.com/browse.cfm/kohala-bay-rum-1.75/4,8627.html

On 2014-07-15 22:03, Gil-in-Oakland wrote:
Kohala Bay Dark rum looks to be available online in handles.

http://www.sunsetcorners.com/browse.cfm/kohala-bay-rum-1.75/4,8627.html

working URL: http://www.sunsetcorners.com/browse.cfm/kohala-bay-rum-1.75/4,8627.html

D

I finally got some Kohala Bay. What would you say is the best cocktail to use it?

Cheers!

Had a Koloa Bay premixed Mai Tai on the plane to Hawaii (and maybe one on the way back too) Thought is was pretty good for a Hawaiian style Mai Tai.

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