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5 Barrel Rum (Travellers)

Review: 5 Barrel Rum  (92.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on January 28, 2012

Travellers’ 5 Barrel Rum is a premium aged rum brand produced in Belize, (the northernmost mainland country of Central America). Belize is a former British Colony, and lies just south of Mexico with the Caribbean Sea to the east and Guatemala to the west and south. The producer of 5 Barrel Rum, Travellers Liquors Limited has been involved in the production of  rum in Belize since the early 1960’s originally working with independent distillers. In 1989, Travellers acquired full control of their own distillery, and they have remained in full control of their own brands ever since.

The 5 Barrel Rum is made from locally grown Belize sugar cane. According to the Travellers website, this cane is cut and crushed in a manner which retains its natural flavors, and the all of the rum is aged in Kentucky oak barrels for a full 5 years. It is blended to be a full-bodied rum with the well-rounded taste which results from oak barrel aging.

Recently, I was given a bottle of 5 Barrel Rum by a representative of Travellers Liquor Canada for the purpose of this review.

In the Bottle 4/5

This rum is presented in the 750 ml ‘bar room’ bottle style pictured to the left. The bottle style seems a little dated perhaps, and the label with the gold lettering on red is (for me) a little hard to read and lacks what I call ‘pop’. It doesn’t stand out on the shelf next to the other rums I have in my collection. I do not like  the plastic diffuser under the cap with the plastic ball which inhibits the flow of the rum into my glass. I have to shimmy and shake the bottle to get an even pour which makes measuring an even amount for cocktails rather difficult. However, my understanding is that the 5 Barrel Rum is not an expensive purchase, so I think we can be a little lenient in the scoring here.

In the Glass  9/10

After I poured a little of the Travellers’ 5 Barrel Rum into my glass I found it  displayed a pleasing amber gold colour, and the immediate nose was filled with rich toffee and butterscotch. Oak spices and vanilla waft out of the glass with hints of  tobacco riding in the breezes.

I took a little time to tilt my glass and gave it a slow swirl. A crown shaped oily sheen appeared which held back for a moment, but then released slow long slender legs which crawled back into the rum. As I let the glass breathe, the tobacco and the oak scents deepened. They were joined by wonderful sweet baking spices filled with rich brown sugar, spicy cinnamon, light vanillans and hints of nutmeg.  This one of those rums that grows in the glass as it breathes. The aroma is rich and deep and wonderfully in balance.

(When my tasting sessions were complete the aroma left in the glass each time was positively intoxicating filled with rich dark brown sugar, baking spices, oak and tinges of tobacco.)

In the Mouth 56/60

The initial flavour of the rum is full of caramel and butterscotch melded into the oak spices. Some light orange peel weaves in and out and deeper down lurks a wonderfully rich tobacco flavour. Just as I noticed upon the nose, the rum grows in the glass as you slowly sip it. Brown sugar and baking spices (nutmeg, vanilla and spicy cinnamon) begin to appear alongside the oak spices and the tobacco. Over time the oak and the tobacco flavours begin to take over, but the rum never turns bitter. It is perhaps lightly dry, but that dryness seems to be begging you to steal another sip.

The 5 Barrel Rum is much richer in flavour than the previously reviewed 3 Barrel Rum, (and I really liked the 3 Barrel)! I am impressed by the rich flavour, and the balance displayed in the glass. In spite the richness and the complexity, the spirit remains very approachable. The rum doesn’t try to overwhelm you; instead all of the rich flavours merge together making this a very impressive sipper.

In the Throat 14/15

The goodness continues all the way to the exit. Oak spices and tobacco dominate a finish which has just enough sweetness to make the finale absolutely wonderful right to the very end. A spicy warmth has coated my palate and the back of my throat, and a sort of cozy warm feeling is resting in my tummy.

The Afterburn 9.5/10

This is a rum lovers rum! It tastes absolutely yummy. In fact, in my opinion, The Travellers’ 5 Barrel Rum is only a short step away from rum perfection!

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipes

Rum Old Fashioned

2 oz Aged Rum
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash bitters (I used Fees Cocktail Bitters)
3 large ice cubes
1 twist of orange peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!


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:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


5 Responses to “5 Barrel Rum (Travellers)”

  1. Hi Chip

    I’ve looked around the liquorconnect website to see where this is available in Alberta, but I’m drawing a blank – do you know if it’s in general release yet? Looks like something I’d want to try (and review)


    • Hi Lance

      This one is not in Alberta yet. The Bottle I reviewed was sent up to me via Travellers Liquor from Belize. It is supposed to be making its way up here, but I do not know the specifics. It is really good, maintaining a nice smooth approachable taste with a firm oaky backdrop.

    • ... said

      It use to have an old name: prestige, 5yr age rum… better label too. changed the name so the local knew it was related to one barrel. Look on your web sites for that name.

      • I can’t confirm that this rum used to be called Prestige, but I’ll take your word for it. However I can confirm that Traveller’s is considering relabeling the rum so as to avoid confusion with another alcohol brand which sits in an export market they have their eye on.

        • russ said

          hi .cannot find this anywhere.not total,binneys, and have sent a note to eddy at big game..u have 2 stop tempting me with rums i cannot find.. lol r

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