Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum
Review: Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum (82/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka The Rum Howler)
Published July 2, 2014
Angostura Distillers Limited have been producing rum on the Island of Trinidad since the 1930s. Although the company was originally more famous for its production of Angostura Bitters, it has over time also become one of the major producers of rum in the Caribbean. Their rum is produced on a large 5 column still which is located near Port of Spain, on East Main Road, and (as noted on the Ministry of Rum) it is directly east of a coconut-processing plant. The five-column still used by Angostura is capable of producing many marques of rum which range from very light bodied to heavy bodied distillates. This varied production allows the distillery to produce many different styles of rum with differing characteristics depending upon the aim of the final product.
Sadly, Angostura rum seems to be disappearing from the store shelves in my locale, and a recent search for some of their rum in a few local liquor stores turned up just one bottle of Angostura Royal Oak Select. Hopefully what I am witnessing is just a result of a change in distribution and not a move away from my local market.
The Royal Oak Select is a light bodied, amber rum which does not carry an age statement. The Angostura website notes that the rum is: “a blend of carefully selected Trinidad rums aged for a maximum of 5 to 7 years by the Master Blender.”
I note that this statement stresses the oldest rum in the blend and not the youngest. I suspect (based upon my tasting notes) that this blended rum is on average, 3 to 4 years old.
In the Bottle (4/5)
I note that the Angostura website displays a different bottle for this rum than the bottle I found in my local store. The bottle shown on the website is pictured to the left. It has a more modern look than the kitschy late 70′s – early 80′s style glass bottle I purchased. Both bottles are sealed with a metallic screw cap, and both bottles use clear glass so that you can see the golden coloured rum within. The look of the bottle on the website may be more modern than my bottle, but it still reflects a preference for economical design. And because the rum inside the bottle was easy on my wallet, I really do not expect or demand much more.
In the Glass 8/10
When I pour an ounce of the Royal Oak Select into my glencairn glass, I see the rum maintains its rich golden colour, and when I tilt and twirl my glass the spirit shows slightly thickened legs which run slowly down the inside of that glass. The colour of the spirit is a little darker than I would expect from a rum of this age, and the legs slightly thicker. Either my guess that the average age of the rum is 3 to 4 years old is low, or we have some caramel colour and a little sugar added to the rum to give it a heavier body and a little sweetness.
When I bring the rum to my nose, I notice strong butterscotch and caramel scents rising into the air above the glass accented by orange peel and wood spice. There is a nice mellow coconut aroma laying within the caramel, and I wonder if the scents and smells of the coconut processing plant which resides next to the distillery have set their subtle imprint upon the rum as it aged next to the plant. As the glass sits, I notice some almond accents in the breezes and some bits of cinnamon and vanilla escaping from the wood spice.
In the Glass 49.5/60
The rum has a light buttery feel in the mouth with firm flavours of butterscotch and caramel mingling with wood spices which feature traces of cinnamon and orange peel. I also taste a light influence of corn whiskey, no doubt a result of the American Oak barrels used in the aging process. Vanilla, bits of coconut, and a mild imprint of almond round out the flavour of the rum which is not terribly complex. However, the flavour and character of this rum is more than satisfactory for an amber spirit which is almost certainly meant to be served in mixed bar drinks much more often than it is to be sipped over ice.
I mixed a few of those bar drinks in my examinations beginning with the quintessential cocktail for a young amber rum, the Cuba Libre’. I followed that up with a Rum and Ginger cocktail and then a simple Daiquiri. Although all of the cocktails tasted nice, strangely enough I preferred the daiquiri. Of course, when I referred to my original review of this rum which I wrote almost five years ago, I saw that I had come to the same conclusion. My suggested recipe then, and now is a daiquiri themed cocktail (see recipe below) which I designed five years ago.
In the Throat (12.5/15)
The medium short finish is strong on the butterscotch and caramel. I feel a little burn from alcohol and wood spices as the rum goes down, but when I mix the spirit in a cocktail there are no lingering effects. (If the rum were touted as a sipper, I would be more harsh in the score.)
The Afterburn (8/10)
Five years ago, my review for the Royal Oak Select from Angostura was one of the original reviews I wrote when I opened upon this website. Today I am replacing that older review with this one which contains more detailed tasting notes and probably serves as a better guide for my readers. Going through the old review, I notice a lot of similarities indicating to me that the rum probably has not changed much in five years. Although, the new score is a few points lower, this probably more strongly reflects my changing palate than it does any changes in the Angostura Royal Oak Select Rum.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Sloe Lime Daiquiri
1 1/2 oz Angostura Royal Oak Rum
1/2 oz Fresh Lime juice or Roses Lime Cordial
1/4 oz Roses Grenadine
1 chilled glencairn glass
3/8 oz Sloe Gin
Place the first 3 ingredients in a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled glencairn glass.
Add a couple of ice cubes
Float the Sloe Gin on the top and let everything sit for one minute.
Garnish with Lime Slice if desired
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows: