Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Reserve Rum
Review: Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Reserve Rum 85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on January 4, 2014
Lemon Hart is an iconic rum brand with roots which stretch back to the late 18th century when Mr. Lemon Hart began to supply rum to the British Royal Navy. By 1804, production of his “Lemon Hart Rum” was moved from his small merchant office in Cornwall, England to a larger facility in London. Over 150 years later the production of the blend had shifted to the Hiram Walker Distillery in Ontario, Canada. True to its roots as a Navy Rum, the brand remained a Demerara blended rum with the bulk of the blend shipped from Guyana to the Hiram Walker Distillery where it was aged and blended with a small amount of Canadian Rum (1.5 %) for tax purposes.
It was during this time (when the rum was produced at the Hiram Walker Distillery) that the overproof Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum became a well-known ‘tiki’ rum. In fact, this rum is called for by name in many of the early Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber cocktail recipes. However, by the early part of the 21st century, tiki culture had all but disappeared, and the importance of Lemon Hart rum had diminished to the point that the brand owner (now Pernod Ricard) decided to divest itself of the spirit and sold Lemon Hart to a Canadian concern, Mosaiq, of Dorval, Quebec. Under the direction of Mosaiq, the Lemon Hart brand has been re-energized, and two new additions to the Lemon Hart family, Lemon Hart Navy Spicy Rum and Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Rum have recently been launched.
The Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Reserve Rum (which is the subject of this review) is a full British 100 proof offering (57.1 % alcohol by volume), developed for Mosaiq under the direction of former Hiram Walker Master Blender, Mike Booth. At this time, this brand is aimed exclusively at the travel (duty-free) market.
In the Bottle 4/5
To the left is the bottle presentation for the Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Rum. The label is professional and serves to catch the eye with a strong combination of colours and fonts which are easy to read. The tall long-necked bottle is a style which is designed to fit easily on the bartenders shelf, to be easy for that bartender to grab off the shelf, and of course to be easy to pour for mixing drinks.
I like how the Demerara heritage of the rum is highlighted, as is the year 1804 when the Lemon Hart brand name is said to have been established.
In the Glass 8.5/10
The Lemon Hart Original 100 proof carries a rich copper colour into the glass. The spirit is bottled at 57.1 % alcohol by volume, and this higher than normal alcohol concentration seems to push a rich caramel aroma (with stains of oak) into the waiting breezes giving the spirit a forceful character. As the glass breathes, the air above it becomes stained with toffee, molasses and cinnamon filled baking spices (cloves and nutmeg too). In fact, these secondary impressions grow to the point that they overtake and swallow up the oak spice which was prevalent in the initial breezes. I also sense some dark dry fruit (prunes and dates), some canned apricots, and the smells of rich brown sugar and vanilla building.
The overall aroma is rich and enticing, although the spiciness I sense in the breezes is perhaps a warning to me that a well placed ice-cube may be a good thing to consider before sipping.
In The Mouth 51.5/60
This Lemon Hart Rum does indeed carry a full bevy of rich spiciness forward across and through the palate which toasts the tongue as you sip and batters the tonsils as you swallow. Despite this spiciness (which resembles cinnamon, cloves and fine oak spice) the rum is rich and complex with flavours of both canned fruit (apricots and peaches) and candied dark fruit which shove their way through the spice. A welling up of vanilla and dark brown sugar seems to compliment (and temper) the heat of the overproof rum.
When I place an ice-cube into the glass the rum is much more approachable, and in fact sipping becomes a more enjoyable experience, with butterscotch and treacle oozing from the iced rum. Of course, I also add a little cola just to see what would happen, and I was well rewarded as the rich flavours of the Lemon Hart 100 British Proof Rum continues to push through the ice and the soda.
In The Throat 12.5/15
As the rum exits, glowing embers of cloves and cinnamon remain upon the tongue as the heat and spice wash across the tonsils and down the throat. Remnants of butterscotch and toffee persist within the spiciness as does a fruit-like flavour impression which bears an uncanny resemblance to apricot brandy.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I am quite enthusiastic about the Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Reserve Rum. This rum has a concentrated, complex flavour profile which combines a bevy of heated spice with rich vanillans, brown sugars and fruit. I found the rum was quite nice over ice, and that strong assertive spicy flavour also works great in tiki style cocktails as well (see below).
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Hart of the Zombie
1 1/2 oz Lemon Hart Original Rum
3/4 oz Lemon Hart Original One Hundred British Proof Reserve
1/2 oz Lemon Hart Demerara 151 Rum
1/2 oz Bols Apricot Brandy
1/4 oz Luxardo Amaretto
1 oz Orange juice
3/4 oz Lime juice
3/4 oz Lemon juice
3/4 oz Demerara Cane Syrup
Large Ice Cubes
several slices of Orange, Lime and Lemon
Splash(es) of Soda
Fill a large tall glass (16 oz) with a combination of ice cubes, ice chunks, crushed ice and slices of fruit
Shake the first 9 ingredients with the ice cubes in a cocktail shaker
Strain the shaken mixture into the tall glass filled with ice and citrus slices
Add a splash or two of soda to fill
Stir and Enjoy!
This recipe is not for the faint of heart, and I suggest that one ration per evening is more than sufficient.
(Please enjoy Responsibly!)
My Scores are out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret them 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 spirit. 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)