Mount Gay Eclipse Black
Review: Mount Gay Eclipse Black 86.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on October 13,2011
It is likely that the first rum distilled for commercial export was distilled on the Island of Barbados. In fact the tradition of producing rum on Barbados has been dated to the early seventeenth century. There is evidence of small-scale distillation as early as 1637, and the first recorded written usage of the word ‘Rum Bullion’ appears on the Island in 1651. (This is the earliest recorded usage of the word Rum as it relates to the distilled spirit anywhere in the world.) Evidence dated to 1667 indicates that there were stills in use at the location which would later become The Mount Gay Plantation, and written evidence that a spirit called rum was produced at this site comes from the year 1703. This makes Mount Gay the earliest recorded commercial producer of rum in the world, and this also makes Mount Gay the oldest Rum Brand in the world. To highlight their unique place in history Mount Gay includes the year 1703 on every bottle of rum which they currently produce.
All of the Mount Gay Rums are produced from two types of stills, a traditional pot still and a column still. According to the information provided to me, the Mount Gay Eclipse Black features a higher percentage of rum from the pot still than the other Eclipse Rums. As well, the rum is blended from well aged stocks of several different barrel types to yield a bolder, more robust and flavorful rum. It is bottled at 50 % alcohol by volume which helps to bring this robust flavour forward even more.
In the Bottle 5/5
As I have indicated in my earlier reviews of the Mount Gay Silver Eclipse, and the Mount Gay Eclipse (Gold), the Mount Gay Rum Company has a new sleek bottle design. The new bottle has a slim oval shape with a modern, contemporary look and feel. It has a nice ‘wow’ factor when it sits on the shelf next to the other rums in my collection.
In the Glass 9/10
The rum has a rich bronze colour, and when I give my glass a gentle tilt, and swirl the liquid slowly to cover the sides, I am greeted with a thick oily sheen which imparts thick legs on the side of the glass.
When I poured my Mount Gay Eclipse Black into my glass, I was immediately aware of a very assertive yet very beguiling aroma rising from that glass. This initial aroma is perhaps a touch acrid due to the higher than normal alcohol content; but this initial astringency evaporates into the breezes quickly. What settles into those breezes is rich aromas of molasses, leather and tobacco, smoky dry fruit, ripe banana, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper corns.
As the glass decants, the aroma deepens, and I can sense sweet dark brown sugars within the molasses as well as rich baking spices. The scents and smells continue to build with caramel candy, oak spices, ripe pears, and some nice dark chocolate. Hints of faint copper-like scents, and some drifting tobacco smells weave in and out of the breezes.
In the Mouth 52/60
The Mount Gay Black leads out onto the palate with bold flavours of rich molasses, ripe banana, baked pears, canned apricots, and an abundance of dried fruit. There is a lightly sweet accent of toffee in the flavour which appeals to me very much. Deeper down musty leather, dark tobacco, and hints of copper pennies all weave in and out of the flavour stream. The rum also heats up the mouth with the spiciness of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.
Unfortunately, this spiciness combined with the astringency from the higher alcohol content is keeping the score down a bit. When I sip the rum, it seems harsh in the mouth, and reaching all of its wonderful flavour is more challenging than it should be.
In the Throat 12/15
The finish is perhaps a little uncomfortable with a good dose of peppery spice that lingers on the palate, and a disconcerting burn which settles in the throat. Part of this is a result of the 100 proof bottling strength of the spirit; but I have tasted similar strength products (Panama Red 108 comes to mind) which have a smoother finish. If you can get past the sharpness of the exit there are some nice flavours left behind lingering on the palate which include dry fruit, rich brown sugars, cinnamon and cloves, and some echoes of dark chocolate and tobacco.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The Mount Gay Eclipse Black Rum is full of robust flavour and goodness. It has a great balance of flavour with a ribbon of sweetness which works beautifully with the other elements in the rum. However, I found this rum kicked at my tonsils just a little harder than I would prefer. I was uncomfortable sipping on the rum even with a little water and/or ice to ease things along. But, the flavour is so good, that I could not score the rum as a mixer. In fact I scored the Mount Gay Black just as highly as I scored the Mount Gay 1703 which is considered by many aficionados as Mount Gay’s Premier rum. So I guess you could say that I like this rum a lot, and if it would just kick a little more gently, I would have scored it in the stratosphere…
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
1 1/2 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Black Rum
3/4 oz London Dry Gin
1/3 oz (Tablespoon) of Cointreau
1/2 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Passion-fruit Syrup
dash of Fees Cocktail Bitters
4 oz cracked ice
Mix all ingredients in a blender until Smooth-ish
Pour into a Large glass with ice cubes
Garnish with a Slice if Lime
Garnish with a Lime Slice
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)