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Angostura 1787 Rum

Review:  Angostura 1787 Rum (86/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka The Rum Howler)
Published June 27, 2029

The House of Angostura traces its beginnings to 1824 when German doctor, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, who was then a Surgeon-General in the Venezuelan Army, created a blend of aromatic herbs which he called “Amargo Aromatico” and which would become the world-famous Angostura Bitters. Although the company he created to manufacture these bitters was originally founded in the town known as Angostura (later to be renamed Bolivar City), the company was relocated by his successors (his younger brother and son), who  moved it to Port of Spain, Trinidad in 1876.

Of course the House of Angostura remains famous for its world-class bitters; however, it has also become well know for the rum which is produced by their five column still, under the direction of Master Distiller, John P. Georges.

According to the Angostura website:

Angostura 1787 commemorates the establishment of the first sugar mill in Trinidad, at the famous Lapeyrouse sugar plantation, in 1787. It is made from a selection of rums carefully chosen from the House of Angostura’s vast ageing warehouses, each of which has been ageing for 15 years in charred oak barrels.

To elaborate, Angostura 1787 Rum is (like all of the Angostura Rums) produced from molasses on their five column still. Part of the rum is produced from a heavy distillate which is drawn from the multi-column still after passing through only one of the five columns. This heavily flavoured rum is aged and then blended with a more purely refined spirit which is distilled upon all five columns. Both portions of the blend are aged a minimum of 15 years in charred oak bourbon barrels, after which each portion is hand drawn from the barrel, then blended, filtered and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 5/5

To the left is my snapshot of the Angostura 1787 bottle presentation which includes a snazzy cardboard box to set the bottle within. This is a tall long-necked bottle with a synthetic cork closure. The bottle has slight curves which give it an attractive profile on my display shelf. The label is simple but professional and I like the clear age statement provided.

In The Glass 8.5/10

Colour: Deep amber almost to copper

Legs: Moderately big droplets form at the crest dropping sluggish legs.

Nose: Funky rum esters indicating a good portion of the rum is drawn from the first column. Dry fruit and raisin, toasted oak and spice, caramel, vanilla and almond. Mushy banana, tannin and grassy tobacco.

The nose is rich and heavy and as indicated my belief is that the rum relies more on the heavier distillate drawn from the first column than the rest of the Angostura line-up. This gives the spirit a certain funky quality when it is nosed which promises a full flavoured rum.

In The Mouth 51/60

Indeed, the rum is full of funk and heavy flavours which sort of reach out and grab you as you sip. It almost tastes like a Jamaican rum, although the funk from the Single Column is perhaps a bit more reigned in than the Jamaican funk which arrives via the Pot Still. There is a winding grassy tobacco-like flavour that runs through the funk which is tempered by a light caramel sweetness. Lots of oak spice, smokey dry fruit, apricots and orange peel lend a certain fruitiness as the rum seems to reveal more each time I sip.

The rum is going to be polarizing though. That funky grassy quality is demanding and the dryness of the rum adds to the challenge the rum presents. In the end, I found myself wanting to reign everything in a little, first with ice and then with a few experimental cocktails.

In The Throat 13/15

The 1787 Rum has a long finish with flavours of dry fruit and apricot giving way to dry oak tannins and rum esters.  The dryness of the finish is a good contrast to the initial caramel sweetness in the delivery.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

As indicated earlier Angostura 1787 is a rum which will divide people into two camps. If you like funky esters and dry tannins then you will find this 15 Year Old Angostura Rum delightful. If you crave a more traditional oak, vanilla and butterscotch flavour profile, you will find the 1787 Rum a little off putting. The funk in the rum seems to grow with each sip and seems to demand more attention than the typical rum connoisseur may be willing to give.

My score is sort of a compromise. I suspect the attentive rum connoisseur would score the spirit in the 90s whereas the more relaxed rum enthusiast would score the spirit in the low 80s. My score is 86/100 which fits neatly between the two camps.

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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:

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