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Angostura Single Barrel

Review: Angostura Single Barrel Rum  (87.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 15, 2012

The Angostura Single Barrel Rum is aged in selected American oak (bourbon) barrels for a minimum of 5 years. According to the Angostura website, it is a blend of medium and heavy bodied rums hand drawn from their state-of the-art continuous five-column still. The blend is an authentic pure Trinidadian rum which is limited each year to only a certain number of batches.

I found my bottle for review while shopping at one of the Duty-Free liquor shops at the Trinidad International Airport. I was intrigued enough to pass over many more well-known brands of rum and whisky, and I have decided to give the rum a review here on my website. As always, I shall begin with the bottle the rum is presented in.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Angostura Single Barrel arrives in the wide shouldered bar room bottle shown to the left. I like the bottle, and the professional labeling with its bronze trim was attractive enough to entice me to purchase it. The back label of the bottle has a little information about the rum and how it is made which further enticed me towards that purchase decision. The only draw back is the metallic screw cap closure.

In the Glass 9/10

When poured into the glass, the rum has a dark rich colour. A quick tilt and a slow twirl of my glass reveals that the rum has moderately thick legs which move leisurely down the insides of the glass back into the rum. I begin to notice a rich caramel building, and a strong indication of oak imparting fresh scents of honeycomb, vanilla, cedar and toffee into the breezes above the glass. As the glass breathes, the oak becomes firmer and a light smokiness of dried fruit aroma develops. Marmalade, oak, dried apricots and spicy toffee are all apparent in the fully decanted glass.

The complexity of the aroma is very enticing, yet in spite of the complexity, I sense a very harmonious nature to the glass and I am very happy to begin to sip on the rum.

In the Mouth 52/60

This is one of those rums that grows on you over time. When I opened the bottle for the first time, I was mildly disappointed with my purchase. However, each time I returned to the bottle, I found myself scoring the rum better and better. It is that sensation of oak and honeycomb, which I needed time to adjust to. For a five-year old rum, there appears to be a lot more oak and honeycomb in this Single Barrel offering than I taste in rums that are aged longer. I suspect the selected oak barrels used to age the rum were quite young with much of the robust oak flavours still within the wood fiber.

The initial sip from the glass displays a melded flavour of caramel and oak which includes cedar planks freshly cut. We have same undertones of honeycomb and some nice orange marmalade flavours within this stew of flavour. Vanilla and baking spices, as well as flavours of canned fruits like apricots and peaches round out the flavour profile. I find the overall flavour to be extremely nice, and I seem to enjoy sipping the spirit just a little more each time I revisit.

In the throat 13.5/15

The Angostura Single Barrel has a medium to long exit which features flavours of oak melded into the caramelized sugars of the whisky. I taste a good helping of vanilla and honeycomb trailing down, with a nice punch of wood-spice. (The finish of this rum is very reminiscent of a good bourbon.)

The Afterburn 9/10

When I write my reviews I usually begin after the second tasting session. At that point in my tasting regimen I was thinking of scoring the Angostura Single Barrel in the low 80s. I just wasn’t appreciating that oaky flavour which was reminding me of bourbon. However, as I tasted the rum a few more times I found I was liking what I tasted more and more each time. In the final analysis, I found myself wishing I had bought another bottle. This rum is really good, and I will be sorry when it has all disappeared.

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


Suggested Recipe

This recipe scales beautifully with the quality of rum used. The better and more premium the rum, the better and more premium the cocktail.

The Harvest Cocktail

2 oz  aged Rum
1/8 oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
Dash of Angostura Bitters

Frozen Blackberry

Chill a small cocktail glass until it is very cold.
Aromatise the glass with Maraschino Liqueur. (This can be done by pouring a little in the glass, swooshing it round and expelling any excess. The object is to coat the inside of the glass with a film of the Maraschino liqueur.)
Place the aged Rum, Dry Vermouth, and Angostura Bitters into a metal shaker with cracked Ice.
Shake until the shaker chills.
Strain into the chilled glass.
Garnish with a Frozen Blackberry.

And Remember to Enjoy yourself Responsibly at all times!


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)

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