Protégé International last month unveiled The Wild Geese Rum Collection – an expansion of the Irish whiskey brand franchise – at the TFWA World Exhibition, comprising the Golden Rum and Premium Rum variants.

Avalon Group Inc-owned The Wild Geese Collection comprises super-premium Irish whiskeys, which has been voted “˜Best Irish Whiskey’ three times. It prides itself on being “one of the very last” remaining independent brands of Irish whiskey.

“The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey is growing from strength to strength and we’re very happy with the way it is developing. But the rum collection is our new focus for this year, and there will be further line extensions to The Wild Geese coming in,” Protégé International Chairman André J Levy said.

Speaking to The Moodie Report in Cannes, Levy said The Wild Geese Rum Collection tells the story of the years leading up to the Treaty of Limerick in 1691 which resulted in the Flight of the Wild Geese.

“Eighty years before the events of 1691, many Irish were sent as indentured slaves to sugar plantations but many of them managed to escape and reclaim their freedom – a very large percentage of the pirates in the Caribbean was in fact Irish who have escaped slavery. So the new extension tells the story of two generations before the Wild Geese who were part of an enormous Irish diaspora,” Levy explained.

The Wild Geese Rum Collection comprising the Golden Rum and Premium Rum variants

The Wild Geese Golden Rum comprises hand-picked parcels of rum aged for up to five years. The golden Caribbean rum, matured in bourbon oak barrels, is described as a versatile, sweet and complex dark pouring rum suitable for mixing cocktails.

With hints of butterscotch and tropical fruit, The Wild Geese Golden Rum develops notes of apricot and cocoa to a lingering finish with a touch of dried spice, Protégé International said.

The Wild Geese Premium Rum is an intense blend of rums, aged for up to eight years, from Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana. The nose hints at its aged Bajan heritage and honeyed aromatic Guyanese and Jamaican pot still character, the company said. On the nose there are light notes of sage and eucalyptus, with a strong depth and perceived sweetness.

The palate starts with a light vanilla, mango and banana, which develop into the burnished, rich nuttiness of ripe asparagus and herbaceous eucalyptus. Light anise and camphorous ginger come to the front before softening into an almond and butterscotch finish, leaving a light spicy and floral resonance.

For the packaging, a skull forms the central motif on the bottles, representative of the pirate association. Designed to make a strong, sexy and modern statement, The Wild Geese Premium Rum is housed in an opaque black bottle with a rhinestone-encrusted skull above the silkscreened skull.

“Rum is not the most dynamic category, so what we wanted to do was to bring that excitement, that sexiness and that point of difference and make it relevant to this age,” Levy said.

A larger-than-life skull sculpture draws attention to the Protégé International stand in Cannes

The TFWA World Exhibition is the first duty free exhibition for the rum collection, he added, and Protégé is negotiating exclusives with a couple of duty free retailers for introductory launches.

“The Irish are usually associated with Irish whiskey or Irish cream, but the impact of the Irish around the world is much greater than that. They have a huge community in the Caribbean – the Spanish Caribbean, the French Caribbean, even the British Caribbean, and of course Central and South America – all of these areas are very large rum-producing areas,” Levy said.

“By doing this we want to expand the story of The Wild Geese. We don’t want people to just see it within a narrow geographical perspective; we want to show the world that the story of The Wild Geese transcends not just different generations but also different geographical boundaries.”

The Wild Geese Rum Collection is expected to roll out in travel retail in March 2013. A new spiced rum expression is also underway for launch in the same month. The Wild Geese Golden Rum retails in the UK for £14.90 and The Wild Geese Premium Rum for £24.90.

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