Hell Or High Water - The Catch Up Interview

Hell Or High Water - The Catch Up Interview

Craft Rum Box | Hell or High Water Reserva Orange & Honey


Buy Hell or High Water Rum on Amazon

Hell or High Water are back! We’re big fans of Hell of High Water. We first featured their Reserva and Spiced Rum editions back in September 21, then in February this year we featured their XO. Now, they’ve got another lovely offering for us in the form of their new Reserva Honey & Orange.

Hell or High Water is the creation of a two man team, Olli Hietalahti and Jouko Laune. They have a fantastic story which we have covered before (and some of our older stories will be going up on our website in the coming months). So, I took a little time to catch up with Olli, to see how things are going and to find out more about the rum.

Hi Olli! Lovely to see you again, nine months after your XO bottle appeared in our February 22 Craft Rum Box (doesn’t time fly?!) For readers who joined our journey after February, can you give us a brief intro to the Hell or High Water brand?
We started in the rum business back in 2010 based on a joke: ron is the Spanish word for rum and adult film star Ron Jeremy was one of the most famous Rons in the world. So, we created Ron de Jeremy Rum which for us was never about sex or adult films, just humour. The rum was serious but everything else was tongue in cheek, to say the least.

We had a good run for ten years but in June 2020 Ron Jeremy was arrested, facing serious charges of sexual crimes. He has been in jail waiting for the trial ever since. The joke was obviously dead. When Ron Jeremy was arrested, we were faced with three options: we could continue with the brand but that was not morally sustainable, we could quit the rum business and go back to our former lives, or we could create something new.

We simply refused to quit. We are entrepreneurs and love the rum world.
So, we decided to fight and create a new brand; whose heart and soul reflect our journey from one hardship to another. You fall 7 times, get up 8.

The rum is called Hell or High Water. For those not familiar with the expression, “come hell or high water”, it means you are willing to do whatever it takes to overcome difficulties or obstacles. You never give up. Hell or High Water certainly sums up our journey but we think the story of winning through hardships is universal and touches everyone. We all face hardships and setbacks. We all understand the feeling. We like to say that “A Rough Journey makes a Smooth Rum.

And can you give us a brief lowdown of your products so far?
Hell or High Water XO is by far our bestselling product. It is a beautiful sipping rum in an eye- catching black package that takes the brand ́s signature smoothness to another level. The blend includes hand- selected pot and column still rums from Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica and Guyana aged up to 15 years in American oak barrels previously used for bourbon.

The exceptionally well-balanced and smooth Hell or High Water Reserva is a proprietary blend of super premium rums from Barbados, Trinidad and Dominican Republic. The blend includes hand- selected pot and column still rums aged up to 8 years in American oak barrels previously used for bourbon. Reserva is a nice sipping rum and also works exceptionally well in cocktails.

Hell or High Water Spiced is created using the rums from Barbados, the Dominican Republic and Guyana. This balanced, column-distilled blend creates a perfect base for our exotic spices to shine through. Hell or High Water Spiced is artfully blended with vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed and coriander. It is dark and flavourful while delivering the signature long, smooth finish.



And you’re just about to add one more, Reserva Honey & Orange, launching through November's Spiced Rum Box. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Yes, we are very excited about the new blend. Reserva Honey & Orange is based on our Reserva blend. We have not changed anything there, just added natural honey and orange. So, it offers a delicious twist on our classic aged Reserva rum adding delightful extra layers of sweet honey and refreshing orange to the underlying notes of charred oak, toasted nuts and fresh sugarcane. The finish goes on, forever.

Reserva Honey & Orange is brand new, and the first production came out end of September. So far, we have sampled it at Vienna Rum Fest and Bar Convent Berlin and I’m happy to say that the reception has been phenomenal. “Wow”, is the comment we’ve heard most often!

Now we’ve wet the reader’s whistles, how have things been? What’s been happening for you and the brand between February and now? Hah, after Covid, Ron Jeremy’s arrest, discontinuing that brand and creating the new brand Hell or High Water, we were hoping for a bit calmer year. Well, everybody knows that didn’t happen. The world is in a funny place right now. But we’re still here, still grinding and fighting. The new brand has been accepted very well and that is what we have been doing, focusing on getting it out there.

And what’s on the horizon? Any exciting plans you’re willing to share? A calmer year, perhaps?

It’s exciting to see you bring out a rum with such a flavour character. Do you have plans to bring out any more of these? We will see how the Reserva Honey & Orange will take off. So far the reaction has been amazing so you never know!



Is a rum like this made for sipping? How would you mix it? I can imagine it going well with ginger.
It is perfect neat, on the rocks or in a classic cocktail. Indeed, it goes well with ginger and makes a wicked rum old fashioned.

Anything else that you’d like to add? We’re just happy to be featured in the Spiced Rum Box again. I’m really looking forward to hearing the comments on Honey & Orange from your subscribers!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Olli and for the cocktail recipes Jouko! I can’t wait to try these out!

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Bernadette Pamplin

Bernadette loves rum. She set up a gin focused blog Under The Ginfluence eight years ago. Since then, her passion has naturally spread from gin, to rum and other spirits too. You can find work from her on Gin Magazine, Distiller Magazine, and Spirits Beacon, as well as content for  The Gin Guide.

She’s also the editor of Rum’s the Word, writing articles on rums featured in the box, as well as other rum related topics. Bernadette has built up six years experience in judging for events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits and works behind the scenes, assisting with organising and participating in panels for the Craft Distilling Expo.