Archive for the ‘Dark Rums’ Category
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 6, 2014
The Caroni Distillery in Trinidad and Tobago was established in 1918, and was operated at near full capacity until 1993. Unfortunately, due to industry consolidation, rum production at the facility began to decline late in the 20th century and the distillery was closed in 2002. As a matter of interest, the consolidation of the rum industry during the last two centuries is amply illustrated in Trinidad and Tobago where there this small country featured 50 distilleries at the turn of the 19th century. One hundred and fifty years later (in 1950) only 8 had survived, and today there is but one, Angostura. It seems a pity that so much tradition and history has vanished. Although I guess we can count ourselves lucky that some of the rum barrels from the Caroni distillery are still finding their way into the market place.
The Rum Nation Caroni 1998 is one such offering from the folks at Rum Nation. This is an old-style heavy column still rum which was distilled in 1998 and aged for nine years in American Oak casks on the Caribbean Island of Trinidad. From this tropical locale, the rum was transported to Europe for further aging in refill American Oak (bourbon) casks which had been also previously used to age Rum Peruno (8YO). The resulting Rum Nation Caroni 1998 rum was bottled at cask strength (55 % alcohol by volume).
The Caroni Cocktail
You may read my latest review by clicking on the following link:
” … I left the glass to sit and breathe and noticed that the oak I had sensed in the breezes grew stronger demonstrating scents of freshly cut wooden planks which were dripping with wood sap. I could also sense fresh tar-like aromas, more dark licorice and light smells of camphor winding through the air … “
Although it may seem a sacrilege to some, I did a fair bit of experimentation in the cocktail realm with this particular spirit, and I found this Caroni Rum tasted extremely good when I poured a couple of ounces of the spirit over a few cubes of ice (in my rocks glass) and then added a small splash of cola and lime. A sipping Cuba Libre’ if you will. I added this Caroni Cocktail at the conclusion of my review for those who do not mind the occasional sacrilege of mixing great rum into an equally great bar drink.
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: 1998, Caroni Cocktail, Caroni Rum, Cocktails, Cuba Libre, Rum, Rum Nation, Rum Review | Comments Off on Review: Rum Nation Caroni 1998
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 23, 2014
This past May, I was invited by Thirsty Cellar Imports, to attend a Rum Master Class hosted by Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum. At the event, the attendees were given the opportunity to taste the entire Dictador line-up which of course included not only the Dictador 12 Year and the Dictador 20 Year Solera Rums, but we also tasted and learned about the Dictador XO Perpetual and XO Insolent Rums.
At the Rum Master Class, I learned that for the Dictador XO Insolent in particular, the aging barrels used are pre-used oak barrels which have a significant percentage of oak obtained from Jerez Spain, as well as pre-used Port Wine Barrels. Near the end of the aging process, the barrels earmarked for the XO Insolent Rum are emptied (and the rum stored of course), and these barrels are subjected to an open flame process which caramelizes the rum soaked oak fibres on the interior of the barrel. These barrels are then refilled with the same rum allowing the spirit to draw the sweet caramelized flavours from the interior of the oak barrel. The final rum is blended and barreled at 40 % Alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review for the XO Insolent Rum by clicking on the following excerpt:
“… luscious with sweet toffee smells rising from the glass tainted with impressions of butterscotch, vanilla, corn syrup, creme de brulee, maple syrup and peanut brittle. There is a backbone of firm oak sap and spice melded wonderfully into these sweeter butterscotch like aromas with delectable baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and hints of milk chocolate …”
Please enjoy my latest review!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Aged Rum, Dictador, Insolent, Rum, Rum Review, Solera | 6 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 14, 2014
In my part of Canada, Lamb’s is one of the most popular rum brands. The brand is owned by Corby Brand, and they the rum’s history all the way to 1849 when Alfred Lamb opened his wine and spirits business in London, England. Apparently Alfred stored his rum barrels (which had been imported from the Caribbean) in his underground cellars which were directly beneath the Thames River. The cool underground air which did not experience large seasonal fluctuations in temperature nor large fluctuations from day to night is reckoned to be one of the secrets behind the unexpectedly smooth taste of his rum.
Of course the rum no longer is aged under the Thames River in Britain; but it does maintain its Caribbean heritage as the Lamb’s blend is sourced from a variety of Caribbean rums which have been aged for a minimum of one year in oak casks. The final rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume and sold as Lamb’s Palm Breeze.
You may click on the excerpt link to read the full review:
“… When I bring the glass to my nose, I notice light smells of butterscotch, sandalwood and spice. It is the sandalwood and spice (rather than the butterscotch) which grows in the breezes as I let the glass breathe. I soon notice traces of white pepper and cinnamon as well as building citrus zest and banana peel. Interestingly, a plastic-like scent reminiscent of faux leather seems to be entwined within the spiciness. Hints of vanilla and almond round out the aroma, which if I had encountered it in a blind format, I might just have mistaken it for a light Canadian whisky …”
The Master Blender (Joy Spence) for Appleton Estate Rum shared her favourite cocktail with me during an interview I conducted a few years ago (See interview here). I found it nice to know that those who make great rum, also agree with me that it is more than acceptable to mix their great rum into a cocktail. At the conclusion of my review, I share the Spence Cocktail as my suggested recipe for for Lamb’s Palm Breeze.
Please enjoy my review and Joy Spence’s great cocktail!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Amber Rum, Cocktails, Gold Rum, Lamb's Rum, Palm Breeze, Rum, Rum Review, Spence Cocktail | Comments Off on Review: Lamb’s Palm Breeze (Amber Rum)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 15, 2014
A Dark ‘n Stormy made with Gosling’s Family reserve.
James Gosling (in 1806), left England intending to bring a load of merchandise goods to America for trade and sale. Apparently the ship upon which he was traveling was confounded by calm seas and instead of reaching America, the ship’s 90 day charter expired, and the ship’s Captain changed course to Bermuda. James Gosling never made it to America and instead settled in Bermuda opening a shop in St. George’s at the end of that year.
James’ brother Ambrose joined him in 1824, and the Gosling Brothers rented a shop on Front Street in the new Capitol of Hamilton (which was maintained by the family for 127 years.) In 1860, the new company of Gosling Brothers began to experiment with the rum trade, and three years later they were selling a distinctive dark rum. Gosling’s originally sold the rum directly from the barrel requiring their customers to bring their own container. However during World War I the brothers began to acquire Champagne bottles which they filled with rum. The bottles were corked and covered with black wax sealing wax. Soon customers began to ask for that Black Seal Rum.
Goslings Family Reserve Old Rum is apparently blended from the same stocks and in the same manner as their flagship brand, Gosling’s Black Seal. It is however, aged for a longer period of time in what the company calls ‘dark barrels’.
You may read my full review by clicking the excerpt link:
“… The breezes above the glass are tainted with licorice stained molasses, dark tobacco smoke, and strong hints of orange peel. I also sense some fine oak spices, a bit candied caramel and if you give the glass a little time, a scent of marmalade begins to develop. As the breathing continues some luscious baking spices rich with brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla begin to push through …”
Please enjoy my review which includes my recipe suggestion (Gosling’s patented cocktail) , The Dark ‘n Stormy.
Happy Father’s Day everyone!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Black Rum, Cocktails, Dark 'n Stormy, Dark Rum, Family Reserve, Gosling's, Old Rum, Rum, Rum Review | 6 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 1, 2014
The Brugal Distillery was founded in 1888, by Andrés Brugal Montaner. Over the next one hundred and twenty years the company grew steadily, and it is now one of three large rum distillers in the Dominican Republic. Although the Edrington Group now controls the company, George Arzeno Brugal, is the current chairman, and most of the current board members are direct descendants of the original company founder.
According to the Edrington Website, Brugal makes their rum in a traditional manner (from molasses) and ages it on site in Puerto Plata in American white oak barrels. My sample bottle of Brugal XV Ron Reserva Exclusiva arrived to me direct from the Dominican Republic via my young newlywed daughter who recently returned from her honeymoon with her husband in the Caribbean. This rum was bottled for the domestic market, and thus it is a 37.5 % alcohol by volume offering and is sold in a 700 ml configuration. Although the label implies the rum is may be aged for as long as 15 years, the reality is that this rum does not carry an age statement. The large XV on the label is simple that, a large XV. My research indicates that this particular rum is in fact a blend of rums which vary in age from 3 years to 8 years.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… I sense a mild oak presence with woodspice and notes of honey and butterscotch lying within the oak. An impression of almond comes forward as do bits of banana and orange peel zest. Giving the rum time in the glass allows me to notice some cinnamon accents and an underlying mustiness in the breezes …
As you can see from the photo to the left, I could not resist making a nice ‘punch’ style cocktail which I call, Puerto Plata Punch.
I hope you enjoy the review, and of course my recipe suggestion!
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Brugal, Brugal XV, Cocktails, Dark Rum, Exclusiva Reserva, Puerto Plata Punch, Rum, Rum Review | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 23, 2014
According to the El Dorado Website, the El Dorado 8 Year old Cask Aged Rum is blended from selected stocks of rum which included rum from no less than four of DDL’s traditional Heritage Stills including both the original Wooden Coffey Still which was rescued from the Enmore Estate and the Double Wooden Pot Still which was rescued from the Port Mourant Estate. Each of these stills is well over 200 years old and they represent the last of their kind operating in the world today. The use of these ancient stills ensures that the Demerara Rum produced at DDL’s Diamond Distillery is unlike anything produced anywhere else in the world. (For more information on the unique Heritage Stills in operation at the Diamond distillery you may read my first hand account here (Diamond Distillery Tour).
The new 8 Year Old Rum from El Dorado Rum was recently released in Ontario, Canada and I was provided a sample bottle by the distributor Woodman Wines and Spirits.
Rum Manhattan with El Dorado 8 Year Old Rum
You may read my full review of the El Dorado 8 Year Old Cask Aged Rum by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The rum carries sweet flavours of butterscotch, toffee, and dark brown sugar as well the bitterness of dark caramel treacle. Within the sweet and the bitter, I taste luscious baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg) and firm impressions of roasted walnuts and pecans. Marmalade, a ribbon of corn whisky, impressions of cocoa, a touch of leather and brine, and a firm imprint of tobacco …”
As I was tasting this El Dorado Rum, it occurred to me that the spirit would work very well in a Rob Roy cocktail. Of course, once I substituted the Scotch in the cocktail for the 8 Year Old Rum, what I had really created was a Rum Manhattan which I decided would serve very well as the suggested cocktail featured at the end of the review.
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Dark Rum, Demerara Distillers Limited, El Dorado Rum, Rum, Rum Manhattan, Rum Review | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 14, 2014
Last year, Tanduay Holdings began its American Invasion by placing two new rums into the North American market. For those who do not know, Tanduay is one of the largest Rum producers in the world. (The reason they have been relatively unknown in North America is because their Asian rum is produced in the Philipines, and it sells almost exclusively into Asia.) The Tanduay invasion was launched with two premium rums (a Silver, and a Gold). The Silver Rum (reviewed here) is a blending of rums which have been aged up to 5 years and filtered to be a pale straw coloured spirit meant for mixing high-end cocktails. The Gold Rum is a blending of rums aged up to 7 years and is meant to be a spirit to be enjoyed neat or over ice, although the makers of the rum do not shy away from recommending their Gold Rum for quality cocktails as well.
Here is a link to my full review of the Tanduay Gold Asian Rum:
” … I sense a light honeyed brown sugar and toffee aroma rising from the glass with spicy accents that are enticing. The spiciness carries impressions of ginger, cardamom, vanilla, clean oak and orange peel. There is also a bit of an exotic flair within this spice hinting that the rum may have a few surprises for me when I taste it …”
My review includes a classic nineteenth century cocktail recipe which tastes very nice indeed with the Tanduay Gold Rum. That recipe, the Rum Crusta is based upon a 1878 variation of the Brandy Crusta developed by Leo Engels who almost certainly used Joseph Santini’s 1840 Brandy Crusta recipe as his inspiration (see the Leo Engels Brandy Crusta recipe and explanation here).
Cheers everybody, and let us hope that the recent warmer weather is a harbinger of springtime!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Brandy Crusta, Cocktails, Dark Rum, Rum, Rum Crusta, Rum Review, Tanduay Gold, Tanduay Holdings | Comments Off on Review: Tanduay Gold Asian Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 4, 2014
The Wild Geese Rum Collection is the companion to the Wild Geese Irish Whisky Collection. While the Wild Geese Irish Whisky collection sought to bring the Story of the Wild Geese and their struggles in European Armies to light, the Wild Geese Rum Collection continues the saga bringing to light the story of some of these Wild Geese who after service in the continental armies of Europe found themselves transported to America and the Caribbean where many worked upon the Rum Plantations in the new world.
I received samples of the entire rum collection from the brand developer, Protege International, and began my review series of the Collection with reviews of the Wild Geese Golden Rum, and the Wild Geese Caribbean Spiced Rum. This review of the Wild Geese Premium Rum concludes my examination.
Rum Club Cocktail
The Wild Geese Premium Rum is a blend of Bajan, Guyanese, and Jamaican rums which have been aged for up to eight years, and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I bring the glass to my nose, I sense a light sweetness of canned peaches and apricots a rather firm impression of vanilla. There are some light oak spices in the breezes as well as the light spiciness of orange and banana peel. Hints of tobacco and a light grassiness rounds out the nose …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a new signature cocktail I designed for my rum club, the Rum Club Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Amber Rum, Cocktails, Premium Rum, Rum, Rum Club Cocktail, Rum Review, Wild Geese Collection | Comments Off on Review: The Wild Geese Premium Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 10, 2014
Lemon Hart is an iconic rum brand with roots which stretch back to the late 18th century when Mr. Lemon Hart began to supply rum to the British Royal Navy. By 1804, production of his “Lemon Hart Rum” was moved from his small merchant office in Cornwall, England to a larger facility in London. Over 150 years later the rum was being produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Ontario, Canada. True to its roots as a Navy Rum, the brand remained a Demerara blend with the base rum bulk shipped from Guyana to the Hiram Walker Facility where it was aged and blended with a small amount ( 1.5 %) of Canadian Rum for tax purposes.
The Original Lemon Hart rum is now blended with 100 % Guyanese distilled and aged rum. It is bottled in Canada by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) for Mosaiq, and I have confirmed that all of the previous Guyanese marques for this the rum have remained the same as before. Thus the difference between the old blend and the new blend comes down to the scrapping of the Canadian rum content as well as the differences which aging in Guyana rather than in Ontario, Canada will impart to the final rum.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… the spirit brings forward aromas typical of a dark rum. Licorice stained molasses with hints of cinnamon and cloves are obvious with additional indications of fine oak spices underneath. Bits of vanilla well up as do impressions of cocoa, oolong tea, dry fruit, and nicotine stained tobacco …”
Please enjoy the review which includes my suggested serving, the Cuban Special.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Cuban Special, Dark Rum, Lemon Hart, Original, Rum, Rum Review | Comments Off on Review: Lemon Hart Original Demerara Rum
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 1, 2014
I was given a bottle of Myer’s Planter’s Punch a few months ago by a good friend who had purchased it as a curiosity and then subsequently decided the style was not to his liking. (Molasses-rich dark rums are not for everyone so we won’t hold this against him.) This particular dark rum is being distributed in Alberta by Diageo. It has been produced since 1879, and is apparently a blend of continuous and pot still Jamaican rums which have been matured in previously used bourbon barrels for a minimum of four years.
Apparently that is not the whole story, as my bottle clearly states (at the bottom of the label) that the particular bottle which I was given has been blended with Canadian rum as well. For those who do not know, it used to be fairly common for rums imported into Canada to be blended with a small amount (about 1.5 %) of Canadian Rum (usually produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery) in order to obtain a more favourable tax rate from the Canadian Government.
You may read my full review of Myer’s Planters’ Punch by clicking on the following excerpt (link).
“… The aroma from the glass hits you pretty quickly after you pour it, and I immediately detect the tell-tale signature aroma of musty pot-still Jamaican funk rising into the breezes from the glass. Alongside that funk is plenty more. Oak spices, licorice stained molasses, dark brown sugars, a spicy triumvirate of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon (baking spices), as well as lots of vanilla, and dark dry fruit …”
Note: You may find my 2013 list of the 30 Best Rums here: The Rum Howler 2013 – Top 30 Rums
Posted in Dark Rums, Rum, Rum Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Dark Rum, Jamaican Rum, Myer's, Planters' Punch, Rum, Rum Review | Comments Off on Review: Myer’s Planters’ Punch (Canadian Bottling)