International Beverage Holdings Limited is one of the industry’s most dynamic global drinks businesses, specializing in developing distinctive, premium local brands for global growth. Phraya Rum is one of its brands. Phraya Rum is proudly handcrafted in the Kingdom of Thailand. Phraya is allowed to mellow and breathe quietly by sleepy lagoons in fine charred American oak barrels. Phraya Rum is rich and smooth; it can be enjoyed on its own or in a fine cocktail. Maurice Chevalier IV is the Phraya Rum, Brand Ambassador–in North America. Learn more about him, in the next interview:
TRL: Who is Maurice Chevalier IV?
Maurice Chevalier IV serves as the North American Brand Ambassador for International Beverage Holdings Limited, a world-renowned producer of artisanal distilled spirit brands. He travels extensively teaching about the IBHL portfolio, which includes single malt whiskies from the Pulteney, Speyburn, Balblair, and Knockdhu distilleries, as well as Caorunn Scottish gin and Phraya rum from Thailand. Maurice has worked in the Wine & Spirits industry for fourteen years and is an active member of the United States Bartenders Guild.
TRL: What does the rum mean to you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
I’ve always appreciated the fact that rum was America’s first distilled spirit, before rye and later bourbon took that title. I love the alchemy that took place, taking a dark, funky, sticky waste product that was left over from sugar production and, through fermentation, turning it into liquid gold.
TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.
The three essential characteristics that I look for would mimic what was once known as the three historic rum styles: English (Rum) French (Rhum) and Spanish (Ron). Although rum can nominally be put in these three basic categories today, I still use it when I’m ordering a rum neat or a rum cocktail. 1) Big, round, robust, and heavy (English) 2) Floral, grassy, funky, minerals (French) and 3) Light, fruity, uplifting (Spanish). I enjoy dabbling in rum ‘styles’ throughout the year. In the summer, I like to enjoy high-ester Jamaican rums in a punch, or a nice Martinique Rhum Agricole for a Ti’ Punch. During the holidays I will gravitate toward more round, velvety pot still rums that mimic the smells and spices of the season.
TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.
I have represented several niche and exotic rum brands during my 14 years in the spirits industry. It has provided me the benefit of meeting countless incredible rum producers and passionate rum consumers. Being in the presence of passionate rum lovers has given me the opportunity to increase my understanding and knowledge of rum. I feed off the passion of others and it keeps me passionate about rum as well.
TRL: What’s another thing you are passionate about, besides rum? Why?
I am passionate about most categories of distilled spirits, but my second passion is Single Malt Whisky. I have been honored to have represented many iconic Single Malt Whisky brands. I currently represent four amazing single malt distilleries, and each one has its own unique history and flavor profile. On a side note, I have a baffling fascination with owls. I think they are one of the most amazing species of animals on the planet. I am passionate about owls.
TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?
We are blessed to have many great options for enjoying rum today! I was recently in Chicago and stopped by The Sparrow Bar. Once you step inside The Sparrow Bar you are immediately transported back in time. With a well-trained staff and impeccable service, you are guaranteed to have an incredible time. I would suggest ordering one of the classic rum cocktails on the menu and then enjoying a neat pour from one of the many well-stocked selections on the back bar.
TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe
The Daiquiri. I adore the daiquiri, as it is the perfect delivery system for enjoying rum in a cocktail. (Rum, Citrus, Sweet), it is simple as that, and all three parties must work together and play their part. Wayne Curtis said it best in his book (And a Bottle of Rum) – “What makes the daiquiri an enduring classic is its perfect simplicity. It doesn’t require an off-putting list of unfamiliar ingredients, and the techniques for making one can be easily learned”. In my recent ‘go to’ daiquiri recipe, I’ll incorporate a splash of curaçao or high-quality orange liqueur. 2 oz. rum / 1 tsp sugar (Demerara) / ½ oz lime juice / 1 tsp curaçao. The key is ‘balance’ because nothing can ruin your day more than a bad daiquiri.
TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?
Rum has had to shake off the reputation of being an ‘anything goes’ spirit category with no proper set rules and regulations. Although this may be the case in a small slice of the industry, it’s important to remember the humble, yet noble history of rum. It is imperative that the consumer develop a basic knowledge level of rum that extends beyond pirates and Piña coladas. I truly believe that there is a rum and rum style that is suited for every palate, and my goal is to help assist in the effort of educating consumers about which rum style is a match for them.
TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?
First, take your time. When tasting a new rum, I’ll nose it a few times; with my mouth closed, then open. I’ll then take a small sip to acclimate my tongue and palate, nose again, then take a proper sip. Attempt to decipher what the rum reminds you of fruit, leather, herbal, floral, etc. It’s good to get a grasp of what the rum reminds you of first before getting the opinions of others. The power of suggestions is very strong, and if someone tells you that a rum tastes like bananas enough times, you’ll make yourself perceive the rum as tasting like bananas more than likely.
TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?
Someday, I would like to meet Kiowa Bryan. Kiowa is a Fine R(h)um Specialists, and I believe currently serves as the U.S. National Brand Manager for SPIRIBAM. She has a constant presence on social media and really does a great job in keeping her brands on top of mind for consumers. I would tell her “Thanks!”.
TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?
My current goal is to work on a successful rollout of Phraya Matured Gold, and Phraya Elements rum from Thailand. Both Phraya Matured Gold and Phraya Elements are a blend of aged rums matured in American Oak ex-bourbon casks and distilled at the SangSom distillery, established in 1977. I am very proud to introduce this delicious award-winning rum to consumers in North America. I will pour Phraya rum at several of the major rum festivals in 2023, so please stop by for a taste!
TRL: Plans you have when you leave the rum industry.
I will purchase a small plot of land on Grand Turk Island, and spend my days snorkeling in crystal blue waters, and occasionally come ashore to drink a tot of rum.
TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?
A good bartender will serve as your ‘sprits guide’. If you are curious and have questions, a quality bartender will find the time to interact, teach and guide you through their spirits programs, be it rum or any other spirit style. The bartender stands on the front lines of disseminating brand knowledge to the consumer so that they can order their favorite spirit with confidence.
TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?
Know your history! Having the ability to do a ‘deep dive’ on what makes your brand special at a moment’s notice will serve you well. Beyond the production process, be able to communicate why a particular distillery was established and what gives it its sense of place ‘terroir’, and why should the consumer be willing to take a bottle home or order at their local bar.
TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?
Published by The Rumlab ago
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