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One Barrel 5 Year Rum (Travellers)

Review: One Barrel 5 Year Rum   87/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 7, 2013

Travellers’ One Barrel 5 year Rum is the new name given to the rum formerly known a 5 Barrel Rum. Apparently the name was changed due to trademark issues which arose as the brand began to penetrate new markets. This a premium aged rum brand produced in Belize, (the northernmost mainland country of Central America). Belize is a former British Colony, and lies just south of Mexico with the Caribbean Sea to the east and Guatemala to the west and south. The producer of the One Barrel Rum brand, Travellers Liquors Limited, has been involved in the production of  rum in Belize since the early 1960′s originally working with independent distillers. In 1989, Travellers acquired full control of their own distillery, and they have remained in full control of their own brands ever since.

The One Barrel 5 Year Rum is made from locally grown Belize sugar cane. According to the Travellers website, this cane is cut and crushed in a manner which retains its natural flavors, and the all of the rum is aged in Kentucky oak barrels for a full 5 years. It is blended to be a full-bodied rum with the well-rounded taste which results from oak barrel aging.

Recently, I was given a bottle of the newly labelled rum by a representative of Travellers Liquor Canada for the purpose of spreading the news about the new labeling, and to announce the release of the rum in my home market of Alberta. I decided to give the bottle the full treatment of a new review as one never knows when labels change, if the blend has changed as well.

SAM_0825 One Barrel 5 YearsIn the Bottle 4/5

This rum is presented in the same the 750 ml ‘bar room’ bottle style (pictured to the left) as it had previously. Only the label has changed. The bottle style seems a little dated perhaps, but the label is much nicer than it was before. I was also happy to see that the plastic diffuser under the cap with the plastic ball which inhibited the flow of the rum into my glass has been trashed. (I think perhaps my complaints in the last review  were heard.) I no longer have to shimmy and shake the bottle to get an even pour which makes the bottle easier to use behind the bar.

In the Glass  8.5/10

When I poured a little of the One Barrel 5 Year Rum (Travellers) into my glass, I found it displayed the same pleasing amber gold colour as it had in the past. The immediate nose is filled with rich toffee, butterscotch and tobacco. Oak spices and vanilla waft out of the glass and bits of sandalwood are riding in the breezes. As I let the glass breathe, the tobacco and the oak scents deepened. I notice a firm sense of ginger spice which I did not remark on in the earlier bottling, and this time it seems to me  that the baking spices are not as full and rich as before. Instead of the rich baking spice, I notice corn-like accents and some almond in the breezes as if the bourbon barrels used for aging are having more of a say in the breezes this time.

I like the new One Barrel 5 Year Rum a lot, but the breezes above the glass are a little different this time. It is impossible to say whether this is the result of a new blend, or whether this is just normal variation between batches. Irregardless, the breezes above the glass are balanced and appealing.

In the Mouth 53/60

The initial flavour of the rum carries a corn-like accent into the caramel and butterscotch flavours of the rum. Like before the oak spices are very well-integrated into the flavour. Orange peel, vanilla and almond flavours accent the rum, and I am happy to report that the wonderful rich tobacco flavour I noted in my first review still lurks within the rum. This time around the rum has more of a column still feel to it with fine oak spices (ginger, white pepper and cardamom) taking over the palate rather than baking spices. This gives the rum a bit of a whisky-like flavour with corn and whisky spices melded into the rummy caramel.

The One Barrel 5 Year Rum is a nice sipper. However, that whisky-like character with the fine oak spices running throughout appeals to me equally well as a high-class mixer (see recipe below).

In the Throat 13/15

I taste oodles of corn and rye spice rather than caramel and molasses in the finish. This is not a bad thing. I wonder if perhaps they are using newer bourbon barrels at the Travellers distillery?

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Although my feeling is that this newly labelled bottle has some different features and flavours from what I experienced in the older bottling. I must say that I like what I taste. I believe that Travellers is not a large producer and so variation from batch to batch is not to be unexpected. The newly labelled rum is very good, and I am quite happy I was allowed to have a sample.

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


Suggested Recipe:

SAM_0826 Ruby Rum MartinezRuby Rum Martinez
(an Arctic Wolf Recipe)

2 oz One Barrel 5 Year
1/2 oz Ruby Port Wine
1/8 oz maraschino liqueur
1/4 – 1/2 ounce sugar syrup
dash Angostura bitters
ice cubes
cracked & crushed Ice
Orange zest for garnish

Add the first five Ingredients into a metal shake with Ice Cubes
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Add the cracked and crushed ice to a cocktail glass (3/4 fill)
Place the orange zest on the cracked ice
Strain the shaken ingredients from the metal shaker over the crushed ice and orange zest
Enjoy Responsibly!


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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