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Last Straw Blackstrap Rum

Review: Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap Rum   (85/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 18, 2022

The Last Straw Distillery is Ontario’s smallest production micro-distillery located at 40 Pippin Rd. in Vaughan, Ontario (a wee bit north of Toronto) just off Highway 400 and around the corner from Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre. According to Mike Hook, the team at Last Straw Distillery come to the craft of distilling from a variety of different backgrounds, and surprisingly none have had prior experience in the beverage or alcohol business. They are self-taught, and developed their recipes in house, through research, and trial and error, without the use of outside consultants.

Last Straw Distillery Blackstrap Rum is produced using blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap is harder to work with than sweet molasses as the sugar content is lower, and the sugars are harder for the yeast to access. The tradeoff is that blackstrap molasses gives a richer, more robust flavour when it is distilled.

The final rum was aged in oak for four years, and I have been told that the spirit contains no additives, flavours or colouring. The bottled rum is sold at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In The Bottle 4/5

Hooray!  Last Straw changed their bottle for their Blackstrap Rum!  I recommended this a couple years ago when I noticed that the bottle they chose for the previous iteration of the rum was too big for the amount of spirit they were putting inside. This led to a low fill line which (in my opinion) would turn customers away at the retail shop. This new bottle is much better.

The rum is now presented in a tall clear bottle which showcases the appealing amber hue of the spirit. The look is professional, and represents a positive step up for the distilleries branded products.  My only quibble would be that I would prefer a stronger colour scheme to make the label, and thus the entire presentation more attractive.

In the Glass 8.5/10

Colour:  Pale Straw (No colour added!)

Legs: Slightly thickened legs amble downward

Nose: A nice combination of light butterscotch, vanilla and almond greet me when I nose the glass. Orange peel zest, banana, and fine sandalwood spices also come forward as the glass breathes. (This is dusty and dry and much more nuanced than I expected!) As I wait patiently, the fine wood spices build a little, and I think I am catching a few whiffs of cinnamon and ginger coming through as well.

I really like what I have encountered. The nose shows polish. It reveals a rum of gentle nuances which tantalize and tease me.

In the Mouth 51/60

The entry into the mouth brings mild but delicious flavours of butterscotch and vanilla forward with a tease of fine oak spice. Orange and banana peel liven the palate as does the 45 % alcohol bottling strength. I notice light indications of almond and cinnamon with perhaps just a smidgen of grassy tobacco.

To be honest, I am kind of shocked at the flavour profile. I reviewed a previous iteration of this rum when it was one year old and the blackstrap molasses flavour was much more apparent. Today, after four years in a barrel, the rum is lighter and more nuanced.  These lighter flavours are teasing and playing with me as I sip. I wonder if perhaps the rum was filtered and polished before bottling. I can’t be sure, but I do like the final result, however it came about.

In the Throat 13/15

The light bodied rum finishes with gentle flavours of vanilla and butterscotch ebbing on the palate and in the throat. It is remarkably smooth considering its youth and bottling proof; but there is just enough of a lively kick in the exit to let you know that the rum has a bit of strength.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Last Straw Distillery’s Blackstrap Rum is a nuanced delight. I really enjoyed sipping the rum neat (quite a feat considering it’s youth and bottling strength). But I think its true calling is as a high-end cocktail rum. Daiquiri style libations in particular really suit the rum’s flavour profile (see below).

My final score is 85/100, a score which recognizes the sipping potential for the spirit as well as its strength as a cocktail rum.

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

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Recommended Cocktails

Last (Straw) Daiquiri

1 1/4 oz Last Straw Blackstrap Rum
3/8 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz fresh Lemon Juice
1/3 oz sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice

Add the six ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Enjoy Responsibly!

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Last (Straw) Hoorah!

1 1/4 oz Last Straw Blackstrap Rum
3/8 oz Last Straw Stout Whisky
3/8 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
a few dashes of Angostura Cocktail Bitters
1/3 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Ice
Lime Twist

Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with plenty of ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of Grapefruit

Please Enjoy Responsibly!

And if  you are interested in more recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for my mixed drink recipes!

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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:

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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