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Old Lahaina Gold Rum

Review Old Lahaina Gold Rum  (75.5 pts/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka) Arctic Wolf
Published on June 9,  2012

Just before last Christmas some friends of mine visited Hawaii. Because they are friends, and they know I like to try rums from different parts of the world, they brought back a bottle of rum for me called Old Lahaina Gold Rum from Maui Distillers. It is an authentic Hawaiian rum made from sugar and molasses from Hawaii’s HC&S Maui Plantation.

Maui Distillers was originally conceived in 1999, and the work to build a distillery within the site of the Old Paia Sugar Mill began in 2003. In 2009, the new distillery was producing rum which was sold throughout the state of Hawaii. According to the distillers website, their rum is produced on two 500 gallon, steam fired, Badger “pot stills”, which were originally constructed in 1946. One of these stills has been fitted with a “multi-tray fractioning column”, and this still is used to produce their base rum.

This Old Lahaina Gold Rum is described as both a mixer and a sipper on the Maui Distillers Website.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The Old Lahaina Gold Rum I received from my friends arrived in the 1000 ml bottle pictured to the left. It is a nice presentation which captures the ‘Island style’ very well. The bottle has a nice corked top, and the Hawaiian girl on the label waving to the sailors coming in from the ocean is quite eye-catching.

In the Glass 7.5/10

In the glass, the rum is a coppery brown colour with persistent flashes of amber when I hold it up to the light. The initial aroma from the glass is not overly complex; it is full of caramel and butterscotch with a little spiciness as well.

As the glass sits, I seem to detect some minor notes of burnt caramel and a vague hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. I do not detect any appreciable oakiness, and it is unclear to me from reading the website information whether this rum is aged or not.

In the Mouth 45/60

The entry into the mouth is perhaps a little rough. It is not rough in a tonsil knocking sort of way, rather it is vaguely medicinal, and I sense a ‘flavoured’  approach to the construction of the rum.

Caramel and toffee lead out with a light spiciness that heats up the mouth just a little. I taste a light influence of cinnamon and tobacco as well as imprints of charred sugars. Although the rum is sweet to the taste, those charred flavours seem to add an unwelcome bitterness which taints the rum rather than compliments it. I taste only vague wisps of oak, which may be phantoms of my imagination.

I mixed a few cocktails, starting with a simple rum and coke and a daiquiri. The cocktails were fine; but I did notice that the vaguely bitter charred flavour which winds through the rum was winding through my cocktails as well.

In the Throat 11/15

The rum has a rather short finish with a thin alcohol burn and light spiciness in the throat. I am not enthusiastic about the Old Lahaina Gold Rum as a sipper, but that thin burn disappears in cocktails and, as a mixer, the rum is just fine.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

The Old Lahaina Gold Rum is a mixing rum. If I was served a Rum and Coke in a restaurant or Bar and they used this rum, I would not be disappointed. This spirit is meant for deck drinks or for kicking back with some friends when you are playing board games or watching movies late into the evening. Or maybe even for the golf bag with some cans of cola on a hot summer’s day.

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


The Chinook

Suggested Recipe:

The Chinook
an Arctic Wolf recipe

1 1/2 oz Amber or Gold Rum
1/2 oz  Cherry Flavoured Whisky (Red Stag works well)
3/8 Oz Lime Juice
2 Tsp Sugar Syrup (or sub grenadine for a nice red colour)
3 Large Ice Cubes

Put all ingredients into a blender.
Blend until smooth(ish).
Serve in a wine glass.

Garnish with a thin lime slice folded around a Brandied Cherry with a spear through it.


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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