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Pyrat Rum Cask 1623

Review: Pyrat Rum Cask 1623    (82.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted October 20, 2012

Pyrat Rum Cask 1623 is, according to the Pyrat Website, the flagship brand for Pyrat Rum. It is constructed from aged Caribbean stocks, some of which are reported to be up to 40 years old. The brand is owned by Patrón Spirits a company created in 1989 by John Paul DeJoria, and Martin Crowley. The company does not own a distillery, rather they act as a third-party company sourcing what they believe to be the best stocks for their products and blending them according to their own formulas. There is always a bit of secrecy surrounding these private blends, but perhaps I can shed a little light on the production of Pyrat Rum.

Pyrat Rum was previously bottled by the Anguilla Rums Company. However there has been a recent change. When I was in Guyana earlier this year, I was given a tour of the Diamond Bottling Plant owned by Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL). During this tour, I was told that Pyrat Rum had just installed their own private bottling line within the Diamond plant. Pyrat Rum, I was told, is primarily a Demerara rum blended and bottled in Guyana. (A small portion of this blend is from rum sourced outside of Guyana). I was able to witness the Pyrat Rum bottling line in operation during my tour of the Diamond plant.

I was also told that a portion of the Pyrat blend is produced on Demerara Distillers’ High Ester Still. This is a functioning John Dore Still which is capable of producing intense flavours within the distillate. If you have sampled any Pyrat Rum you have probably noticed a very different flavour profile.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Lance Surujbally (of Liquorature) provided me with a great photo of the Pyrat Rum Cask 1623 for this review. The rum arrives in a squat, hand blown rum bottle and is sealed with a good quality cork topper. It is encased in a handsome walnut box which opens from the front with a hinged door and magnetic clasp. The presentation is very nice. Then again, the price of this rum (at least in my locale) makes the purchase of the Cask 1623 a rather expensive indulgence at well over $200.00 per bottle. I would expect  just this sort of display for a rum in this price range.

The rum is a standard 750 ml and is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 8/10

When I pour the rum into my glass, I notice it has a nice bronze colour which is pleasing to the eye. A quick tilt and twirl of my glass reveals rather thick legs which have a bit of a syrupy appearance. The initial nose of the rum is intensely candied with a very distinct brandied orange/apricot scent which reminds me a lot of Grand Marnier. Whether this aroma is the result of some sort of flavour addition (as has been speculated of the web forums), or whether the unique aroma is a result of that portion of the blend which has been distilled upon a High Ester Still, is unknown to me; but the aroma is very unique.

I find the aroma pleasing, but I wish the sweet candied scent did not overwhelm the more traditional scents and aromas of rum. I would prefer a stronger caramel or molasses presence; I would like more oak and baking spices. I guess I would prefer if the nose were more… rum-like.

In The Mouth 50/60

The flavour of the rum is just as intense as the nose. It is that candied sweet flavour of orange and apricot brandy which dominates the rum. I also taste some nice vanilla accents, some spicy tobacco underneath, and just a little butterscotch. You either like this, or you do not. I have to admit that I am torn. I suspect that if I was presented a glass in a completely blind format, and asked what my opinion was, I would say, “What a delicious liqueur”; however, this isn’t blind, and I was expecting something more… like rum.

The question though, is whether the flavour in the mouth is appealing or not. And, if I am honest, then I would have to say that when I am in the mood to sip something really different, I like to sip the Pyrat Cask 1623. When I am in the mood for a sipping rum, then I like sip something that tastes like rum.

In the Throat  12/15

The finish is ultra smooth and long. I notice more tobacco in the finish than I did upon the palate, and some oak spices have finally surfaced. However the exit also features a penetrating sweetness which has a tendency to become cloying.

The Afterburn   8/10

What a difficult review. The Pyrat Rum Cask 1623 is a rum that doesn’t want to be a rum. It is more like a sweet decadent orange apricot brandy liqueur. Thus, it is a spirit whose tenuous allegiance to the family of rum is that it is apparently distilled from sugarcane molasses, and aged and bottled at sufficient proof that we can legally call the spirit rum. But…

Like I said earlier, it is really a decadent sweet liqueur (whether those fruit flavours come from the esters in a High Ester Still or not). I quite like the flavour when I am in the mood for it, but I avoid this spirit when I want to sip rum.  My score of 82.5 reflects a spirit whose score would probably be a 90 if I were to score it as a liqueur, but which seems closer to a 75 when I consider it as a rum.

I suspect I am not the only one confused by the Pyrat Rum Cask 1623 …

(You may read some comparative rum reviews by clicking here!)


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)

One Response to “Pyrat Rum Cask 1623”

  1. Ruminsky said

    Your confusion was my anger, for a bottle that expensive. I believe if they were to lose that liqueurish characteristic, they might really be on to something, though.

    I’d be fascinated to gauge the feedback from your review from your readers.

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