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Momento Amber Rum

Review: (Highwood Distillers) Momento Amber  Rum –  85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted March 16, 2010 (Re-scored November 2016)

Momento Amber Rum from Highwood Distillers is a Demerara blend of rums aged in charred oak barrels at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.    The rum itself is imported from the world-famous Demerara County in Guyana, which has a 300 year tradition of producing top quality rums.

I am going to suggest that the Momento Amber Rum is aged for about 3 to 5 years.  I may be wrong as my guess is based upon perceptions from my palate.  I wish I could be more specific, but I would rather be honest than specific.  The rum was probably aged for one year in Guyana prior to being delivered to Highwood Distillers.

Speaking of being honest, I must confess that I stole the picture of this fine rum from the Highwood Distillers website .  I am pretty sure they do not mind as they also provided me a sample bottle for this review.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Momento Amber Rum  comes in an elegant,  slender, tall  bottle with a long slender neck.  The back label tells the story of the rums origin in Demerara County.  To top off the presentation, the sleek bottle is capped by a straight sided high density cork.  The only drawback I found was that the bottle is too tall for my liquor cabinet.  A very minor quibble.  If this sounds remarkably similar to may take on the Highwood Centennial Whisky presentation, it is because the bottles and corkage are one the same, only the labels are different.

In the Glass  8.5/10

A light honeyed brown sugar aroma with spicy accents rises into the air after I swirl my glass.  Long skinny legs trail quickly back into the rum.  A vague hint of anise and orange peel oils drift into the merry little breezes.  Finally a nice imprint  of vanilla and oak set themselves into the aroma as well.   Everything in the nose is light and clean.  This is very nice and bodes very well for what comes next.

In My Mouth 51/60

The entry of the rum into my mouth is very much like the delivery of a smooth and clean whisky.   Crisp flavours of sandalwood mingle with honey and caramel.  The additional flavours of a mild citrus oils  makes this just a little tangy and mildly sweet at the same time. The balance is very good between these flavours.  This is undoubtedly a Demerara style rum, but it is a laid back style of Demerara with a much cleaner body and texture than other rums I have experienced from Guyana.

I am going to make a comment here on the difference I noticed between Momento Amber Rum and other Demerara rums I have tried.  Momento is cleaner, and crisper!  The body of the rum is not as oily or thick. In fact the body of the rum is very similar to the body of a nice rich Canadian Whisky.  This rum is very smooth and laid back on the palate in spite of the tangy elements of  citrus zest and oak tannin in the mouth. My guess is that the manner in which the rum was aged in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies provided a drier, cooler climate than most Caribbean rums would have.  This difference in climate might account for Momento Amber Rum having such a different body and texture than other Demerara rums I have encountered.

In the Throat 13/15

This is probably one of the cleanest finishes I have ever experienced in an aged rum.  The burn is nice but gentle.  The throat is left a little hot, but nice haunting vestiges of caramel and honey are left behind as well.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The Momento Amber Rum surprised me. The rum is very smooth with a nice mellow elegance. The rum is very well-balanced and can be drank neat quite easily. The tart spiciness never gets too strong, and the mild sweetness provides a perfect counterbalance. I will admit I was expecting something completely different when I read the back label and discovered that this was a Demerara rum, but I will also say that I am delighted with what I found.

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


Suggested Recipes

A Perfect Moment

A Perfect Moment

The clean, crisp delivery and smooth finish bodes well for mixology.  As well the charred oak barrels used for aging also provides a deeper depth of character than would be found in most cocktail rums. My first suggestion is to enjoy Momento on ice with just a twist of Lime.  I’ll call this The Perfect Moment

The Perfect Moment

2 Oz Momento Amber Rum
Slice of Lime

Build on Ice in a Rocks Glass
Spear a slice of lime with a long toothpick
Place the lime into the rum and ice


Enjoy The Moment

I also like Momento Amber Rum in combination with fresh fruit juice.  Carrying on in a tradition of good rum puns (say that five times quick) my next cocktail suggestion is called Enjoy The Moment

Enjoy The Moment

Cracked Ice
2 Oz Momento Amber Rum
1 1/2 oz Fresh Pink Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec
a dash of grenadine for colour

Spear a thin slice of lemon and place it in a highball glass with a long toothpick
Fill a highball glass with cracked ice surrounding the lemon slice
Pour each ingredient into the glass one at a time
Stir only gently with the Speared Lemon Slice

Enjoy how the flavour changes as you sip on this exquisite highball drink


The Chinook (I added a touch of Grenadine for colour)

The last cocktail I have constructed is based upon another cocktail called Trade Winds. This is a cocktail I found in Robyn M. Feller’s great book, The Complete Bartender, on Page 435. The recipe can also be found on the Internet Cocktail database .   I changed the recipe slightly using Cherry Brandy instead of Plum Brandy.  Since the Albertan locale where the Highwood Distillery is found, is  not anywhere near any kind of Trade Winds, I changed the name to a type of wind more common near Highwood Distilleries, The Chinook.

The Chinook

1 1/2 oz Momento Amber Rum
1/2 Oz Cherry Brandy (cherry whisky works great too!)
1/4 to 1/2 Oz Lime Juice
2 Tsp Simple syrup
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.


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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