Discover New Rums from Swell de Spirits on RumX

Exclusive interview with Mika

Welcome to a new and exciting update from RumX! We are proud to bring you some special rums from Swell de Spirits, an independent bottler that made a huge splash with the community in our last RumX Masterclass. This time, you have the unique chance to pre-order these rums directly through our RumX marketplace to get a goodie in addition to the RX points.

3 May 2024

Welcome to a new and exciting update from RumX! We are proud to bring you some special rums from Swell de Spirits, an independent bottler that made a huge splash with the community in our last RumX masterclass. This time, you have the unique chance to pre-order these rums directly through our RumX marketplace to get a goodie in addition to the RX loyalty points.

Mika, the founder of Swell de Spirits, recently shared some insights about his latest projects with us in an exclusive interview. Mika and his team, including their partners in Mexico, are working hard to bring these amazing rums to Europe. Their main goal is to share the rich flavors and craftsmanship of Mexican spirits with rum lovers everywhere.

Mika and his team in Mexico

One of the highlights is the new Mexican Rum (RX20065), which is very powerful and full of flavor. This rum is made without aging in barrels, keeping the bold and fresh flavors intact. It's part of a close partnership with the Satvrnal distillery in Mexico, where they pay attention to every detail of the production.

Besides the Mexican Rum (RX20065), Swell de Spirits is also launching two other exciting new rums:

Special Offer for Pre-Orders: If you decide to pre-order these new rums through RumX, we have a great deal for you. Not only will you earn loyalty points on your purchase, but you'll also get a free 2cl sample of a Swell de Spirits rum.

Interview with Mika from Swell de Spirits

RumX: Hi Mika! Among all the other exciting releases, you are currently launching your first releases of your Mexican project. Among them, the unaged High Esther Rum. Can you tell us a bit about your partners in Mexico?

Mika: This is a collaboration between Bastien, Los Convidados (Bruno and Darian), the Satvrnal distillery (Pedro and Jorge) and Swell de Spirits (Kelly and Mika). Bruno and Darian are my Mexican Partners and they created Los Convidados in Guadajara to promote Mexican Spirits and together with Swell de Spirits we have a kind of joint venture to duplicate the same business model I do here and make it happen all over Mexico. They have side jobs too, and they really enjoy developing their brand and bringing together some great Mexican Spirits into Europe. Darian is in Guadalajara and hunts for spirits there and all over the country, Bruno lives in Paris and we work closely to develop the brands here and we do travel back and forth to source precious liquids and learn more about spirits in Mexico.

RumX: When and how did you all first meet? I am sure there are some interesting stories! Was it the plan to do a project from the beginning or did you know each other already beforehand?

Mika: We made first contact through a group of Whisky fans, and we were exchanging a lot about our common passion, then we came up together to say “Why don’t we do something together?” and we started to work on this project at the end of 2021. It has been more than 2 years and a lot of work until we finally get the light out of the long tunnel.

RumX: Please, tell us a bit more about the Satvrnal distillery.

Mika: Founded over ten years ago, Pedro Andrés and Jorge Nájera operate the distillery alone. From selecting raw materials to designing and applying each label, there is no step they do not do themselves. Gin and rum are their passions. Our first contact with them was about their extremely famous gin in Guadalajara. After four years of development and refinement, the gin recipe we bottled exclusively is Jorge's masterful work, the master distiller of Satvrnal. Their choice to share it with us testifies to the friendship and trust that bind us.

During a visit to the distillery a few years ago, we discovered their small stock of high esters rum bursting with personality, which they produced only for themselves and their most enlightened clients. It was love at first sight. Since then, we have been working closely with them to develop a whole range of rums with varied aging, different esters levels, and even a pure cane juice. This edition, which we are delighted to finally share with everyone, marks the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration.

RumX: For the non Mexican among us: How is Satvrnal pronounced?

Mika: V is like a U then you get it.

RumX: When did you decide to work together and how exactly did you start the collaboration?

Mika: Bruno told me his best friend Pedro has got a distillery and with Jorge they do produce Gin and Rum locally in Jalisco. I was like, well let’s visit them as I am sure it will be interesting. Arrived at their place and it was like going into Alibaba cave, you know what I mean? Interesting and unreal stuff everywhere, those guys are geniuses and know what the heck they are doing! They were actually developing long fermentation for a few bars from local molasses. I remember to be like, let’s do it for EU countries and bring your stuff there by developing and pushing the esters. We did it and still have a lot of space to develop.

RumX: Where is the distillery located?

Mika: Jalisco (Guadalajara)

RumX: How long did it take from the first experiment to have the final version of batch 1?

Mika: The development of our first rum took about 6 months. This final version of the high esther rum took almost two years to finalize.

RumX: What challenges did you face during the development?

Mika: Mexico is not next door… We had to adjust and work far from each other, but having Darian there helps us a lot.

RumX: How often have you (and the team) traveled to Mexico in the last years?

Mika: Once every 6 months, sometimes 3-4 times a year.

RumX: What kind of still did you use? Anything special about it?

Mika: A Pot still of 500L, it has been developed by a local manufacturer that does pot still for Tequila makers, they have a nice long neck with some great reflux, something you do not see often.

The pot still of the Satvrnal distillery

RumX: Does Satvrnal only operate a pot still or also a column still?

Mika: Yes, there is also a column still. Column of 200L used for Gin and fruits distillation like bananas, pineapple and so on…RumX: Do you use molasses or pure cane juice? Where do you get the source material for your rum (what kind of molasses or cane juice exactly)?

Mika: For the time being they are using local molasses at 4-5 hours by car from Jalisco. Next step will be to get fresh Pure Sugar cane…

RumX: How important is the fermentation for your rum? How long did you ferment the molasses? What kind of yeast did you use? 

Mika: 3-week fermentation in a wooden vat, muk pit (added dunder too), using bakers and distillers yeast.

RumX: The rum is unaged, so not stored in casks after distillation. Did you rest the finished rum in steel, clay or glass before bottling?

Mika: 6 months in demijohns (glass)

RumX: Is the ABV of 64% straight from the still or did you dilute it a bit before bottling? Depending on the answer, what was the ABV after distillation and what kind of water did you use for the dilution? Do you follow a special technique for the reduction?

Mika: Straight from the still is above 70%. We then decided on a slow reduction with demineralised water down to 64%, as this allowed the rum to unfold best.

RumX: From what I can see, you designed a special bottle for the rum. What is the story behind this? Didn’t you tease us with a ceramic bottle last year on social media? What happened?

Mika: Long story short, we learned that ceramic is quite complicated… So we developed it with local artisan glass bottle makers, and Bastien did design both of them. All dry goods are made locally and we are very proud about it.

So, this is batch 1… What else can we expect from Satvrnal? Any aged rums on the horizon?

Mika: We are pushing esters higher, having a muk pit getting older and wilder, then we are going to develop marks. We do have 4+ aging casks (tropical climate is quite crazy over there with extreme temperature and humidity too).

RumX: Are you using any special local wood for the casks?

Mika: We are getting bourbon casks, but in the near future we are sourcing Tequila, Mezcal casks… And some secret projects going on.

RumX: What is the story behind the label? Did Bastian draw ideas from local stories and legends?

Mika: Daniel Barreto a local artist has done our labels, using his talents and local identity style.

The freshly filled bottles are labeled

RumX: There is also a Gin to be released. A gin from Mexico sounds very unusual (for us in Europe at least). Does Mexico have big gin consumption and gin aficionados? Or do Pedro and Jorge just like Gin and wanted to create their own?

Mika: Very unique for EU markets, Mexico has a big gin fan club and they produce quite a few gin there. Jorge is the master behind this recipe and he has been developing it for more than 4 years. We are very happy to introduce the flavors of a Londn dry gin with a Mexican Twist. A great combination compex and full of aromas. Bravo Jorge!

RumX: What makes this Gin special? Any exotic botanicals? What is the source for the spirit? Agave?

Mika: On a London Dry Gin base Jorge added Colima Lime and Coriander leaves, so no spirit of agave at all.

RumX: Should we also mention Tequila and Mezcal?

Mika: We can say Tequila is coming and Spirit of Agave too…

RumX: Besides the two Mexican releases, you are also launching two other rums right now. Please tell us a bit about the Isautier and Papa Rouyo!

Mika: Both are the fruits of amazing relationships. Isautier bottling has been a long and very nice relationship with Chris Briand and later with Cyril Isautier and we are really excited to be among a couple of bottlers to get the chance to release some exceptional cuvée. A pure sugar cane Rhum RVA distilled in 2011 with a full tropical maturation and a slow reduction to 59,4 % into an Ex Cognac French Oak Cask. An intense and complex dram that will remind you of some very old Rhum Agricole.

Papa Rouyo, all started by meeting Xavier and Chloé, when they used to work for the house. We did select a white Rhum Agricole that surprised us nicely when we tasted… Bastien our designer did have a great feeling and loved it, same for me, so we did add it into his selection and series “That’s the Spirit !”.

We do feel honored to get the chance to offer those cuvées to our distributors and customers, we thank all distilleries, houses, and new friends that give us their trust.

RumX: Anything else you want to share?

Mika: We are eager to present our on-going projects, I hope we won’t disappoint you

RumX: Thanks for all the insights Mika!

Mexican label machine for the bottles

Pre-order today

Here's your chance to try some amazing new rums from Swell de Spirits. Choose from the strong Mexican Rum, the fresh Papa Rouyo 2022, or the deeply flavored Isautier 2011. Each one offers a different taste experience.

When you pre-order these rums through the RumX marketplace, you get more than just these great drinks. You'll also earn loyalty points, receive a free 2cl sample of Swell de Spirits rum, and actively support the further development of the RumX app. This is a perfect way to try before you buy more and help us improve your experience.

Bottle pics of Mika's Mexican Rum

Don’t wait! Order now and discover these wonderful rums while helping us make the RumX app even better.