Cornwall LivingIssue #129

A bottled Cornish legend

Born from the depths of smuggling folklore comes a spiced rum to warm the cockles of any heart.

It‘s no secret that Cornwall has a rich history of smugglers and pirates, but it’s the legend of a lesser-known figure in Cornish folklore – the wrecker – that provided the inspiration for Cornwall’s first black spiced rum, Crusty Juggler. Linked closely to the smuggling trade, a wrecker was someone who salvaged goods from sunken ships – taking advantage of a law that permitted the looting of stricken vessels provided that no one on board was alive. The practice of wrecking was so lucrative, that wreckers would deliberately direct ships into the rocks and kill any remaining survivors.

As Crusty Juggler co-founder Tom Hanson explains: “The Crusty Juggler character is based on the legend of an infamous Cornish wrecker who would stand near the shore after dark and lure ships to their doom with lengths of flaming driftwood. We tied this in with a line from one of our favourite movies, Hot Fuzz, and the Crusty Juggler character was born.”

Founded by brothers Tom and Sam Hanson, Crusty Juggler spiced rum is made just outside of St Ives from a blend of imported Caribbean rum, black strap molasses and exotic spices. Not only is it Cornwall’s first black spiced rum, it’s one of the only rums in the UK to be matured in ex-bourbon whiskey casks.

“We wanted to create a versatile spiced rum that worked well in cocktails but could also be drunk neat,” explains Sam. “Finishing the rum in whiskey barrels helps to mellow out the spices and also adds notes of coconut
and toasted oak.”

Although the Crusty Juggler character might have been a villain, in creating the brand Tom and Sam wanted to give something back to the local community – which is why for the sale of every bottle they make a donation to Cornish charity Surfer’s Against Sewage. “The Crusty Juggler brand is rooted in the Cornish coast,” explains Tom. “The ocean is the lifeblood of Cornwall and we think it should be protected at all costs.”

But don’t take our word for it, grab yourself a bottle and try out one of Crusty Juggler’s signature cocktails – an Espresso Crustini!