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Rum Nation Barbados 10 Year Old Rum (2001)

Review: Rum Nation Barbados 10 Year Old Rum (2001)     (89/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted August  18, 2013

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 Barbados 10 Year Old Rum (2001).

According to my correspondence with Mr. Rossi, this is a true Bajan rum, distilled from sugar cane molasses. The blend is composed of both pot and column still rums which are then blended and aged for approximately nine years in American oak (ex-bourbon) barrels, and then finished for 12 to 18 months in Spanish (Ex-Brandy) casks. The rum was distilled at the West Indies Refinery at Brighton, Black Rock, St. Michael, Barbados. (This distillery is today more commonly known as also known as the West Indies Distillery, and is the same distillery which produces both the Cockspur and the Malibu rum brands.)

The West Indies Refinery at Black Rock

The West Indies Refinery at Black Rock (Photo Courtesy Fabio Rossi – All Rights Reserved!)

Crush Imports who are the Western Canadian Importers of the Rum Nation line-up provided me a sample of this rum such that I would have a chance to review it here on my website.

Rum_Nation_Barbados_10yo_2001-11In the Bottle 4/5

The bottle presentation for the rum is pictured to the right. It is pretty standard fare for third-party bottlers with professional labeling in a tall bar room style of bottle. I like that in addition to the age of the rum, the bottle label also includes the year it was distilled, and the year it was bottled. I also appreciate the solid cork topper.

In the Glass 9/10

The Barbados 10 Year Old Rum is a medium dark amber coloured spirit which displays bright orange flashes in the glass. A tilted glass shows a moderately oily sheen which very slowly releases a few stubborn fat legs. The initial aroma from the glass is filled with a sweet combination of butterscotch, toffee and brown sugars, some rich tobacco and woody oak spices. The melding of the oak spices into the sweet toffee and tobacco aroma is quite engaging.

Allowing the glass to breathe enriches the aroma bringing lush baking spices (a mixture of vanilla, caramel, brown sugar and cinnamon), some obvious cola notes, marzipan, orange peel and marmalade into the breezes as well. Over time, I sense a building mustiness which includes hints of brine and kelp as well as a touch of menthol.

The rum displays nice complexity in the glass, but does not overpower the senses.

In the Mouth 53.5/60

The rum is smooth, creamy and full of subtle flavour nuances. I taste spicy tobacco, sappy oak (with hints of bourbon underneath), and light orange peel flavours all melded beautifully into the sweet rum-like flavours of butterscotch, caramel, and toffee. The resulting rum is full of character, but never demanding.

Little dabs of licorice and menthol tickle the palate providing a nice accent upon the yummy melded oak and caramel flavours. Hints of a rubbery tar, some chocolate and cola, dabs of ocean kelp, and vague impressions of sea brine meander through the flavour stream as does a nice dollop of baking spice and vanilla. The rum slips very easily from my glass through my palate and down my throat.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The finish is of medium length, but the ease with which this liquid slides down my throat must be remarked upon. There is absolutely no burn, just a nice toasty cinnamon left behind warming the mouth and the throat. No ice is needed, nor is any wanted.

The Afterburn 9/10

Fabio has hit a yet another home run with his Rum Nation Barbados 10 Year Old Rum (2001). The rum is smooth and suave with a complex Bajan character that is both engaging and approachable. The rum is an ideal spirit to purchase as an entry-level spirit into the world of Bajan sipping rums. I suspect though, that after sipping on this rum, some of the other Bajan sipping rums may not measure up.

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


Suggested Recipe

Rum Sazerac (Arctic Style)

SAM_08442 oz Rum Nation Barbados 10 Year Old Rum (2001)
1/4 oz Demerara Sugar
3 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dash Fees Cocktail Bitters
large ice cubes
1/8 oz absinthe (sub Green Chartreuse)
cracked ice
orange peel

Chill an old-fashioned glass in the freezer
Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with large ice cubes
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Add 1/8 oz of Green Chartreuse to the chilled old-fashioned glass
Swoosh the glass to coat the inside with green Chartreuse and expel the remainder
Fill the old-fashioned glass half full of crushed ice
Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass
Twist an orange peel over the glass for garnish


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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