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Monymusk Classic Gold Rum

Review: Monymusk Classic Gold Rum   86/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on October 27, 2016

Monymusk Classic Gold Rum is produced in Jamaica by a partnership called the National Rums of Jamaica. The spirit is produced at the Claredon Distillery (also called the Monymusk Distillery), near Lionel Town in the heart of Jamaica’s sugar cane producing region.

For those who are interested, National Rums of Jamaica (NRJ) is a partnership between three separate entities, the National Sugar Company of Jamaica (which is owned by the Jamaican Government), Goddard Enterprises (which is the parent company of the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados), and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) (the makers of El Dorado Rum in Guyana, South America). National Rums of Jamaica owns 73 % of the Claredon Distillery; the other 27 % is apparently owned by Diageo who have historic ties to Jamaica which is the original home of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.

The Claredon Distillery contains a modern column still plant and a second older plant with two  double-retort pot stills. While the vast majority of the rum distillate produced at the distillery is destined for bulk sales (much of it to Diageo), about 10 % of the rum distilled is set down to rest in American Oak barrels and aged at the NJR facility at Innswood, an older distillery which now serves as an aging and blending facility for Claredon.

Monymusk Classic Gold Rum was produced from aged rum from both the modern column plant and the double-retort pot stills. This is a non age stated rum, but my best guess based upon my tasting notes would be that it is a blend of 2 to 5-year-old rums.

(For those interested, I found this great article online written by Cocktail Wonk, which describes his tour of the Monymusk facility.) Much of the information in my preamble was gleaned from his article.

classic-gold-bottle-750mlIn the Bottle 4/5

Monymusk Classic Gold Rum arrives in a squat jug-like bottle with a medium-short neck and solid cork topper. I like these slightly heavy squat bottles as they seem to imply substance when they sit on my bar shelf. They do not tip easily, and they also follow the bartenders creed being easy to hold, easy to pour and easy to store.

The fonts and colours on the label are pleasing to the eye and easy to read. My only quibble is that I would have preferred to find some information regarding the age of the rum upon the label.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The rum has a nice rich amber colour in the glass, and when I tilt and twirl my glencairn I see a slightly thickened sheen of rum. Medium-sized leglets form and slowly drop back down into the rum.

The breezes bring me scents of molasses/licorice stained caramel combined with the rich aromas of Jamaican pot still rum. Orange peel, rich baking spice (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of cloves), hints of resin-like camphor, hints of menthol, and a light but firm impression of wood spice all leap into the air giving the rum a rich and inviting nose. I also sense a light tar-like aroma and a very mild hint of sea brine winding through the air. The rum is true to its Jamaican roots.

In the Mouth 52/60

The Monymusk rum has a light oily texture which allows it to coat the plate. There is a candied caramel sweetness, oak spice, vanilla and baking spice all playing together nicely as I sip. The Jamaican pot still is in evidence as I notice camphor, some black licorice, a light menthol coolness, and a touch of brine-like saltiness. The flavours across the palate are true to what the nose had promised. Perhaps there is a touch more sweetness and perhaps a little stronger oak presence than I expected; however the Jamaican pot still remains the centerpiece of the rum’s flavour.

With an ice-cube the rum is very easy to sip and enjoy. With a light dollop of cola, it becomes a great bar-drink especially as the pot still flavours push through the cola allowing the rum to shine in the glass. (We can do more than mix with cola as my recipe suggestion down below illustrates.)

In the Throat 13/15

The rum has a medium long finish which perhaps is lengthened as much by the caramel sweetness as it is by the heavier pot distilled rum in the blend. Caramel and baking spice ebb upon the palate with a touch of licorice and menthol providing a little cooling at the back of the throat.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Monymusk Classic Gold Rum surprised me. Usually when I see a non age stated rum which carries the name ‘Gold’ in its name. I assume I am going to taste a relatively young rum which has been coloured with caramel for both colour and flavour. These rums usually lack the character which comes with oak aging and are suitable only for mixing.

However, although the Monymusk shows some signs of additional caramel, it also displays additional character both from oak aging (not sure how long, but I can taste the oak) and perhaps more importantly additional character from the Jamaican pot still. In fact, the rum has enough depth of character that I can not only recommend the spirit for cocktail mixing (see recipe below), I can also recommend the rum as an enjoyable sipper over ice. No mean feat for a ‘gold’ rum.

My score of 86/100 means that I will actually sip more often than I will mix, and if you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.


Suggested Recipe:

brooklynitesam_2847The Brooklynite cocktail appears to have arrived on the scene in the 1940s in Brooklyn, New York. It appears in the 1946 edition of the Stork Club Bar Book, and is basically is a daiquiri made with dark rum and honey.


2 oz Monymusk Classic Gold Rum
1/2 oz Honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey and hot water)
1/2 oz Lime juice
dash of Angostura Bitters
twist of citrus zest

Add the four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Double Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of citrus zest

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


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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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