Review: Hispaniola Mamajuana Rum Liqueur 78.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted April 20, 2010
Hispaniola Mamajuana is a liqueur based upon a herb infused rum and wine drink called mamajuana which is indigenous to the Isle of Hispaniola (modern island of Dominican Republic and Haiti). The original mamajuana was a medicinal drink whose roots reach back to the original inhabitants of Hispaniola, the Taino, (who Columbus mistakenly called Indians). This original drink was more of a tea beverage made by boiling local roots and perhaps bark. As the drink evolved, honey was added as a sweetener, and over time rum and wine were added and the drink became the mamajuana known on the Island today.
In doing my research on this unique product, I came across a few suggestions that the original drink has medicinal properties to help with everything from arthritis to toothaches. But the most intriguing suggestion is that it has the ability to increase potency in men, and desire in women. It is playfully called, ‘Viagra Dominica’ by its adherents. This means my review should be most interesting as I, like you, am genuinely skeptical, but genuinely curious about Hispaniola Mamajuana.
Hispaniola Mamajuana is produced by Mardi S.A. made from aged rum and honey as well as a secret recipe of over twenty different herbs and spices. It bottled at 30 % alcohol by volume. My sample for this review was provided by Rum Runner Imports who are bringing the product to market in my home Province.
In the Bottle 4/5
Hispaniola Mamajuana arrives in a clear tall bottle pictured here to the left. The bottle is not fancy, but it serves the purpose for which it is intended. There is a little heritage with the Isle of Hispaniola featured on the label, but I could find no references to the medicinal benefits which my research had suggested I may encounter.
In the Glass 7.5/10
In the glass the rum liqueur has a rich amber colouration with a mahogany taint. The liqueur displays long trickling legs which seem to return grudgingly back to the bottom of the glass.
There seems to be a myriad of aromas trying to escape as soon as the glass is poured. Anise, woody herbs, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, honey, and faint airs of brown sugar all rise up in a stew of exotic aroma. The nose is aggressive and almost seems medicinal with hints of menthol. (I guess I should not be surprised as the original mamajuana is considered a medicine in folklore.)
In the Mouth 47.5/60
Hispaniola Mamajuana is soft with a nice feeling of oil. This is a rum drink which must be sipped very slowly and gently. The flavours are aggressive. It is also a bit of a chameleon in the mouth. Several of my friends were tasting with me, and the impressions were quite different with each person. One tasted primarily black licorice, another, tasted primarily the cloves and allspice. I suspect that this is because of the aggressiveness of the individual flavours, and how these flavours react to different palate conditions.
After several tastings, I found I could discern a large variety of flavours. The sweetness of honey lies on top of other flavours of licorice, cinnamon, and woody tannin. Cloves, allspice and ginger pop in and out at different times each taking their turn catching my attention depending upon my mood and the time of day. There was much more as well, including an undercurrent of bitterness which seemed to stem from woody bark, twigs and dry grassy notes.
In the Throat 12/15
The Mamajuana has a long sweet honey filled finish. Hints of menthol are attached to the sweetness. A fading dry grassy taste somehow manages to creep in right at the very end of the experience.
The Afterburn 7.5/10
In some ways this is the most interesting part of the review. The original recipe for Mamajuana, is supposed to have somewhat magical properties for the libido, somewhat like an aphrodisiac, and somewhat like Viagra. So everyone must be wondering … did it work?
I will only say that the power of suggestion can be a powerful placebo. In the case of Hispaniola Mamajuana, as long the power of suggestion remains strong, I shall keep a bottle on hand.
The smorgasbord of flavours which come with the Hispaniola Mamajuana, should prove to be a boon for mixology. I have come up with a couple of recipes which I quite enjoy. I will start with a coffee based recipe:
1/2 oz Hispaniola Mamajuana
1/2 oz Kahlua
1 0z Dark Rum
4 0z Hot Black Coffee (sweetened to taste)
Grated semisweet chocolate and cinnamon
Pour the Hot Black coffee into a large glass mug
Sweeten to taste
Add the Hispaniola, the Kahlua, and the Dark Rum and stir
Serve with lots of whipped cream
Top with grated chocolate and cinnamon
As you can see from the picture I love whipped cream!
My next cocktail is a simple combination of grapefruit juice and Mamajuana. I like to drink this as a “shot” style drink, strictly for the medicinal benefits of the..uh..grapefruit juice! (Lots of vitamin C and other good stuff in grapefruit juice.) I call this the Grapeshot Cannon
3/4 oz Hispaniola Mamajuana
1 1/2 oz Grapefruit juice
Mix in a metal shaker with ice
Strain and garnish with grated nutmeg
For more recipes you can visit Rum Runner Imports Recipe Page for Hispaniola Mamajuana
Always remember, the aim of my blog is not to help you drink more, it is to help you drink better!