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Review: Rum Nation Reunion 7 Year Old Cask Strength Rhum

Review: Rum Nation Reunion 7 Year Old Cask Strength Rhum  90.5/100
by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published January 29, 2018

Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied wine-making). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum, and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of limited edition bottlings. One such bottling is Rum Nation Reunion 7 Year Old Cask Strength Rum (2018 release).

The 7 Year Old Cask Strength  Rum was distilled at the Savannah Distillery which is located on Réunion Island, which is a French department in the Indian Ocean.  The spirit was bottled at 60.5 % alcohol by volume with no dilution from cask strength. No colouring has been added, and the rum has not been chill filtered.

I Asked Fabio Rossi about his thoughts on bottling the at full cask strength. According to Fabio Rossi:

I can see that there is a demand for “cask strength” rums now that the market is mature.”

I decided to begin my review of this ‘cask strength’ rum by looking at the bottle it was presented in.

In the Bottle 5/5

As you can see the bottle which houses the Limited Edition Rum Nation Reunion 7 Year Old is solid. The short squat bottle has a look and feel which implies ‘substance’. I like the postage stamp label which brings the spirit’s heritage to the presentation. A glass stopper seals the bottle which really pleases me. In the past I have criticized the low quality cork stoppers used previously by Rum Nation (on their premium products). This is because in my somewhat dry climate, low quality stoppers tend to become brittle quickly, and when they do they break rather easily. This is especially the case with high strength offerings where the high alcohol content speeds up the process of cork deterioration. It is very refreshing to me that Fabio has taken steps to improve the seal allowing the consumer to enjoy the benefits of cask strength offerings without the problem of deteriorating corkage.

In the Glass  9.5/10

Colour: Rich Copper

Legs: Extremely stubborn leglets that take ages to form and refuse to fall

Initial Aroma: Orange peel and butterscotch with camphor, herbs and cassia

Decanted Aroma: Firm butterscotch scents mingling with banana and citrus (lemon and orange) zest. There are hints of sandalwood and ginger, as well as light impressions of toasted wood, vanilla and almond. Melded into this is an herbal quality with menthol, wisps of licorice and cinnamon, bits of something floral and hints of resin-like camphor.  A backbone of oak spice provides support for the scents and smells.

Empty Glass: Deep notes of dark brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Yumm!

In the Mouth  54/60

Initial Taste: Heated with alcohol and wood spice both strengthened by the concentrated high-proof of the rum. Sweet butterscotch with camphor and resin, toffee . Hints of tar and iodine, and building vanilla with cinnamon.

2nd Taste: Pot still funk with orange peel, anise and peppery allspice. The sweetness has built up and this sweetness and the herbal menthol provide a measure of balance for the obvious cask strength heat.

Ice Added: This tastes awesome! The heat is controlled by the ice but all that lovely flavour still comes through. There is less competition in the glass as the ice acts as an intermediary allowing all the competing elements to mesh.

In The Throat  13/15

Finish: Heated finish with lots of alcohol and spice. A light coolness of menthol doesn’t quite cover over the intensity of the cask strength alcohol. Butterscotch, eucalyptus, vanilla and baking spices (cinnamon and cloves) all compete for attention in the finish which leaves the throat with a little sear.

With ice things are much nicer with more harmony through the finish.

The Afterburn 9/10

This is a cask strength monster both in terms of alcohol heat and in terms of flavour. My final score is 90.5/100 placing this rum firmly in the sipping realm, albeit with a nice dollop of ice.

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Suggested Recipe:

Rum Old Fashioned with Smoked Cinnamon Bitters

1 1/2 oz Rum Nation Cask Strength Reunion Rum
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
4 drops Old Forester Smoked Cinnamon Bitters
3 large Ice Cubes
Strip of Orange Peel

Add the three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Add orange peel and stir
Allow the cocktail to sit a few minutes so that the flavours can mingle

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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As always you may (loosely) interpret the scores I provide 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 more 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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