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Social media data helps create the perfect holiday rum

Published:  26 January, 2017

Virgin Holidays has partnered with IBM and global rum ambassador Ian Burrell to create a rum "scientifically manufactured" to evoke the feeling of a Caribbean holiday.

Virgin commissioned IBM's Watson super-computer to analyse the social media posts of 15 million holiday makers.

The computer isolated five key holiday emotions: happy, excited, curious, adventurous and relaxed.

It then sifted through 5,000 rum reviews to identify flavours that paired with the emotions. As a result, it matched happy with vanilla, excited with sugar cane, curious with cinnamon, adventurous with all-spice and relaxed with coconut.

Burrell then used the flavour pairings to blend a rum - named Virgin Holiday Spirit - selecting two from the Foursquare Distillery on Barbados and one from Worthy Park Distillery in Jamaica.

Burrell said: "The Virgin Holiday Spirit has a subtle vanilla flavour, medium sweetness, hints of coconut and is naturally caressed with cinnamon and allspice.

"It was my first time collaborating with a supercomputer to create a distinct blend, so we ensured a high level of quality control to deliver a premium palette experience."

Bottled at 40% abv, Virgin Holiday Spirit went on sale this week in a limited edition run of 800 bottles. It retails at £59 from any of Virgin's nine V-Room stores across the UK, where a free sample cocktail is also available.

It can also be sampled at the V-Hols lounge at Gatwick Airport.