Angostura 1919 Aged Rum
Review: Angostura 1919 Aged Rum (86/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka the Rum Howler)
Published February 12, 2015
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” (which would later 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 upon their five column still, under the direction of Master Distiller, John P. Georges.
In 1973, the House of Angostura bought Fernandes Distillers Ltd, adding the accumulated expertise of that Trinidadian distilling company to their own. According to the Angostura website, their Angostura 1919 Aged Rum pays homage to a particular rum produced in the 1930s by the master blender of Fernandes Distillers, J.B. Fernandes. (In fact, that rum produced by Fernandes Distillers is now considered to be of historical significance to those who study the development of rum in Trinidad and Tobago as well as the rest of the Caribbean.)
This historic rum was the result of a fire which consumed the Government Rum Bond in 1932. Mr. Fernandes purchased the remaining charred casks (which still contained rum) and discovered that they had been filled in the year 1919. The purchased rum was blended and became known as “1919 Aged Rum”. This 1919 aged rum became so highly regarded, that the House of Angostura chose to keep its memory alive with their own Angostura 1919 Aged Rum.
My sample bottle for this review was provided to my by the Bacchus Group who distribute the Angostura spirit throughout Western Canada.
In the Bottle 5/5
Angostura 1919 arrives in the masculine stubby necked square decanter shown to the left. This to me is the classic shape for a rum bottle, short with a low center of gravity so that when you are sailing on the high seas, the bottle easily stays upright against the rolling of the waves. The spirit is sold within a classy looking cardboard box the sides of which contain information designed to educate and entice you into buying the rum.
I appreciate that the spirit is sealed with a wood topped corked closure which gives me that satisfying ‘pop’ when I open the bottle. At the time if this review, with my cork several months old and the bottle opened and resealed several times, the cork shows no sign of deterioration.
Angostura 1919 Aged Rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The Angostura spirit displays itself as a golden coloured liquid with a bright unblemished hue. I gave my glass a tilt and a slow twirl and saw that the spirit was slightly thickened. The liquid sheen which clung to the inside of the glass showed a stubborn crest which released slow forming medium-sized droplets which turned into medium to slender legs moving at a slow pace down the inside of the glass. Master Distiller, John P. Georges informed me that the 1919 rum may contain blended rums which are aged between 6 and 9 years old, and this is consistent with my observations.
The initial aroma reveals a nice mixture of honey, butterscotch and orange peel. As the glass breathes, the breezes in the air also display the sweetness of canned fruit (apricots and peaches) rising into the air above the glass. The spicy orange peel has been joined by grassy tobacco, each mingling in the air with fine oak spices. There are light indications of vanilla and a floral menthol in the air as well. As we continue to allow the glass to breath, the oak spices gain momentum mixing with the orange peel bringing about a impression of lightly spicy marmalade.
In the Mouth 51/60
The 1919 Rum is drier in the mouth than the breezes above the glass would have led me to believe. Oak spice underlain by dry grassy tobacco leads out upon the palate with impressions of butterscotch and orange peel zest quickly following in their wake. If you allow the rum to breathe in your glass for about ten minutes a dry grassy mustiness is revealed with indications of herbal menthol and dried flowers.
This is different sort of rum than the previously reviewed Angostura 1824. Whereas the 1824 carried main flavours of butterscotch, oak and orange peel which were underlain by a oozing maple and chocolate flavours. The Angostura 1919 carries the some of the same major flavours, but it is dominated by building citrus spice and dry grassy herbal tobacco. I appreciate the difference in style which makes the 1919 its own rum and not just a younger version of the 1824.
Although I appreciate the new flavours I am experiencing, I am nevertheless drawn by a strong urge to mix this rum into a few bar drinks. Mixed with cola, the 1919 is extremely interesting, as the orange peel spiciness of the rum pushes through the cola making the mixed drink quite different from your normal Cuba Libre’ (yet it is very tasty indeed). Having said that, my preferred mixed drink was an orange based daiquiri recipe (using that orange peel spiciness to great effect). Although I originally designed this particular bar drink for Pyrat XO Reserve, I found it was just as delicious with Angostura 1919 (see recipe below).
In the Throat 13/15
The finish is a little dry and heated in the mouth. Despite this spicy heat, I could sense little if any burn. Fine oak spice, white pepper, orange peel, butterscotch candy drops, and a light herbal (menthol-like) tobacco flavour provided extra flavours for a medium-length exit which was quite satisfactory.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Angostura 1919 is a very interesting rum. It is a departure from the other premium rums produced by Angostura, but this departure is welcome as it gives me a new, unique style of rum to enjoy. Although I found the 1919 spirit to be a decent sipper, I also enjoyed it immensely as a versatile mixer. (As you can see, I put quite a dent in the volume of my sample bottle during my tasting and mixing regimen.)
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Angostura 1919 Orange Daiquiri
2 oz Angostura 1919 Aged Rum
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lime juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
1 Scrape of Orange Zest
Add the first 6 ingredients into a Metal Shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of your shaker frosts.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
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!
Suggested Chocolate Pairing
Since 1922, Varlhona has been creating special chocolate from selected rare cocoas from around the world. As each selected cacao has its own unique taste characteristic, Varlhona is able to create a variety of special chocolates to choose from depending upon your mood and/or rum selections.
For the Angostura 1919, I selected the Varlhona Noir Alpaco, which is a pure Dark Chocolate from Ecuador. Its cocoa content is a full 66 % and it (at least to my palate) seemed to carry hints of menthol, spice and mild floral impressions within its intense bittersweet chocolate flavour profile. The light flavours within the dark bittersweet chocolate work very well with the dry grassy herbal notes within the Angostura 1919 rum.
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)