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Rum Nation Jamaica 7 Years Old Pot Still Cask Strength

Review: Rum Nation Jamaica 7 Year Old Pot Still Rum (2018 Release)   91/100
by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published October 12, 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 Jamaica 7 Year Old Pot Still Rum (2018 release).

The 7 Year Old Jamaican Pot Still Rum was distilled upon a traditional Jamaican Pot Still (at Worthy Park) and aged for 7 years in the tropics in used American Oak barrels. The spirit was bottled at 61.2 % 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 Pot Still Rum 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 Jamaica 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 some Jamaican 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 9/10

Once poured into the glass, the rum displays a bright amber hue. When I tilt and twirl my glass, the rum lays down a thick sheen on the inside of the glass, and although a few legs try to form, the thick droplets hang reluctantly on the inside of the glass clinging to the crest unwilling to return to the rum. The heavy body of a pot still rum, and the high 61.2 % abv. alcohol content of the spirit are both in evidence here.

When I bring my glass to my nose I notice that the air is thick with rich caramel, aromatic esters and Jamaican funk. I decide to wait a few minutes to let the air above the glass settle and then I begin again. The breezes are teeming with smells of dark brown sugar, oak spice and baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Both Orange marmalade and orange peel are present as is the typical funky esters of the Jamaican Pot Still. I notice menthol and herbal grassy smells as well as hints of resin camphor and black licorice.

The high alcohol strength is evident as well as when I bring the glass too close to my nose all of those lovely smells are accompanied by a sharp bite of alcohol astringency.

In the Glass 55/60

When I take the first sip of the Jamaican Rum, the alcohol heat is very obvious. This is a dram which is best served with a dash of water or a well placed cube of ice. Once I add a dash of water, the rum really finds its way. A firm brown sugar sweetness accompanies vanilla and baking spice (cinnamon. nutmeg and cloves), and I am reminded of the flavour of fresh cinnamon buns. Oak spice, menthol, peppermint, camphor and resin add complexity. I continue to sip and notice a nice ribbon of chocolate with perhaps a dash of espresso coffee. A nuttiness reminiscent of almond is present as well.

I could go on, but the main point I am trying to make is that the rum is not only a brawny complex spirit, it is also delicious. I would rather continue to sip the rum rather than to tease out more flavour descriptors.

In my next session I decided to build an Old Fashioned cocktail. As the spirit is already spicy enough I decide to forego the orange peel and instead use triple sec as my sweetener. This allows me to add an orange flavour to the cocktail without the spicy peel. A few drops of barrel aged bitters completes the mixed drink which I contentedly sip on for the rest of the night.

In the Throat 13/15

The exit is long and heated with the spiciness and the alcohol heat reaching their apex in the finish. Baking spices settle on the tongue while a light caramel sweetness and cooling menthol soothe the back of the throat. It is a good thing I have added a dash of water else the heat would have been overwhelming.

The Afterburn  9/10

I think I have found my winter sipping rum. The flavours are bold, complex and assertive, and that punch of alcohol heat is sure to keep me warm. I have been told that in Jamaica they prefer their rum overproof, I can certainly see why.

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

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Suggested Recipe:

Pot Still Rum Old Fashioned

1 1/2 oz Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 7 Year Old Rum
1/3 oz Triple Sec
Ice
3 drops Fees Barrel Aged Bitters

Add the Pot Still Rum and the Triple Sec to a rocks glass over ice
Stir to mix and allow the flavours to mingle

Please enjoy slowly and 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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