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Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14

Review: Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14     (85.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted December, 2020

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 winemaking). 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 rare limited edition rum bottlings.

One such bottling is Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14. I first reviewed this rum in 2013, but acquired a more recent sampling from the 2017 release and so I thought I would update the review.

This is quite an interesting rum. According to my correspondence with Mr. Rossi (in January 1013), he buys aged bulk Demerara rum (roughly four to six years) from Guyana (Demerara Distillers Limited) which has been blended with various portions from each of the Single Wooden Pot (Versailles Still) and Double Wooden Pot  (Port Mourant Still). You can read about these marvelous ancient stills here: Demerara Distillers’ Diamond Distillery Tour.

The bulk rum purchased by Rum Nation is taken to the Nebbiolo area of Italy where it is transferred to sherry butts (PX and Oloroso) and aged for a short period of time (about 12 to 14 months). After aging, a few liters of 1997 vintage EHP (Enmore) rum is added before it is bottled. (EHP is the marque for DDL’s ancient Wooden Continuous Coffey Still.) Based upon the information as provided to me, I calculate the Demerara Solera No. 14 is approximately a five-year old rum. The recipe is rather simple and includes rum from each of the now famous ancient wooden stills from Demerara Distillers Heritage Plant. (I do believe the bulk rum used in the blend contains rums from other stills as well, but I have no information regarding the exact proportions, or exactly which other stills contribute to the Demerara Bulk Rum. )

In The Bottle  5/5

As you can see the presentation for Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14 is solid. The short squat bottle has a look and feel which implies ‘substance’. I like the postage stamp label which brings some Guyanese 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 my previous criticisms seriously and took steps to improve his products.

In the Glass  8.5/10

Colour: Rich Coppery tones reminiscent of a shiny penny

Legs: Long slender slow-moving legs

Nose: Full of oak tannin and sap complimented by spicy toffee, orange peel zest, and butterscotch. Baking Spices (vanilla, cinnamon and cloves), bits of resin and tar, hints of white wine, and juniper.

If the combination seems wild; I would more properly describe it a ‘funky’ (and very enjoyable)!

In the Mouth  51/60

Demerara Solera No. 14 is heated/spicy in the mouth with wood spices combined with baking spices (cinnamon and clove), tobacco and zesty orange peel. I taste hints of raw oak/wood as well.  Semi sweet molasses and vanilla temper the spicy flavour. As I sip a little more, I receive impressions of canned peaches and apricots as well as some lightly sour or tart apples and dry fruit (raisins and dates). The orange peel flavour evolves into a likeness of marmalade and some nutty flavours (almond in particular) have developed as well.

What we have is exactly what the nose implied, a funky ‘navy’ style rum.

In the Throat  12.5/15

The rum coats the tonsils with butterscotch and peppery spice in a mid-length finish. Flavours of cinnamon and cloves are left over on the palate with perhaps a light impression of licorice as well.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

That funky charm I mentioned in the review makes the Demerara No. 14 Rum an interesting rum when it is sipped. This same funkiness pushes through the cocktail experience as well making even the standard rum and cola drinks something a little different. The wood spices never become too hot, nor the impressions of butterscotch too sweet. This is a pleasant well-balanced rum with a nice depth of character and complexity (which is what my score of 85.5/100 implies).

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

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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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