80% column still, 20% pot still
2 years; column spirit in oak vats, pot spirit in ex-bourbon American oak barrels
Alcohol by volume:
South Pacific Distillery is the only active distillery in Fiji. It has been operating for over forty years and provided bulk rum for some bottlers in Europe. Rum Co. of Fiji is not the distillery's owner but a parallel company and a subsidiary of Paradise Beverages, which in turn belongs to Coca-Cola Amatil.
In 2014, Fijians started to market the rum independently. Two product lines were created; the exclusive 'ratu' derives it's name from the tribal leaders, the other refers to the fearless warriors 'bati'. The initial product design failed to meet the expectations of the international clients. The task of revolutionizing the brand identity was delegated to the Australian agency The Creative Method. The effect appeals to me: the harmonious mix of vintage and modern, the original typography, and the delicate engravings resembling Polynesian body art. The brand expanded its global reach, resulting in increased revenue.
Nevertheless, the advertising campaign faced local criticism. Adversaries sees it as cultural commodification, violence affirmation and simply as reproducing stereotypes. At that point let's take a look at the logotype. It represents the colonial saber crossed with the totokia, a hardwood warhammer symbolizing status but mostly used to pierce enemies skulls. Actually, the precolonial Fiji can be easily compared to Hobbes' state of nature where it's a war of all against all.
Later on, the British introduced rugby on the islands, and it quickly became a beloved sport among the Fijians. Among the population of 900,000 citizens, there are 80,000 players - it's pretty impressive. Rugby channels regional chauvinism and simultaneously strengthens a sense of national identity, bringing together members of different ethnic groups to support the national team. The government issued even $7 banknotes to honor the gold medal victory in Rio de Janeiro Olympics in rugby 7s. The national team is called there Fiji Bati.
The Pacific archipelago of Fiji was formed by volcanic eruptions that started 150 million years ago. In the humid equatorial climate grow 2,600 plant species. There is no erosion on those volcanic soils, hence sugar cane is grown organically.
The raw material is collected manually. 80% of the molasses is distilled in the column still; 20% in pot still acquired from the New Zealand Whisky distillery Willowbank (closed in 1997). Both components are aged separately for two years in ex-bourbon American oak barrels. The blend is filtered through coconut shell carbon. It's a more efficient method than using charcoal or peat filtering.