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Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 8 Year Old Rum

Review:  Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 8 Year Old Rum   85.5/100
by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published July 01, 2015

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 8 Year Old Rum (2015 release).

The 8 Year Old Jamaican Pot Still Rum was distilled in 2006 in a traditional Pot Still (distillery located St. Catherine, on the Island of Jamaica) and spent the first 7 years of its maturation on the island in ex-bourbon casks. From Jamaica, the rum was transported to Italy where it was transferred to ex-sherry casks (Oloroso), and then it spent an additional year aging in a cool wine cellar in the Piedmont. The final rum was bottled at a full 50 % alcohol by volume in Italy in 2015.

According to Fabio Rossi:

We decided to bottle at 50% because we wanted it to stay ballsy, and appeal to whisky drinkers!”

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

Jamaica_8yoIn the Bottle 4/5

As you can see the bottle which houses the Limited Edition Rum Nation Jamaica 8 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 wooden topped natural cork stopper seals the bottle.

On the negative side, I have noticed that in my somewhat dry climate, that low quality stoppers tend to become brittle quickly, and when they do they break rather easily. This has happened to a couple of the new sample bottles which I have recently received from Rum Nation, and unfortunately, it is about to happen to this bottle as well. I hope that Rum Nation makes a switch to a better stopper in future bottlings (perhaps a synthetic cork would be better if a better grade of cork is not available).

In the Glass 8.5/10

Once poured into the glass, the rum displays the rich copper hue of a brand new penny. 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 50 % 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 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 seem to be filled with baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of cloves), rich brown sugar, and sherry-like aromas of dark fruit (raisins and dates). I also sense a strong presence of orange peel which is typical of Jamaican rums. In the midst of those familiar rummy scents are the punky notes of the Pot Still. I notice old leathery glue-like smells, dark licorice aromas, touches of herbal grass and menthol, and even some accents of copper tubing which all seem to swirl in the air creating a turbulent impression of a complex demanding rum which will try to take away from me as much as it gives back.

In the Glass 51/60

When I take the first sip of the Jamaican Rum, it is the Pot Still funk which leads out in front. Menthol, eucalyptus, lemongrass and peppermint all seem to be pushing there way into my consciousness. I also taste the trademark Jamaican rum flavours of spicy orange peel, rich dark brown sugar, vanilla, and bits of baking spice (cinnamon. nutmeg and cloves); but theme of this rum is Jamaican funk as the Pot Still speaks loudly. A few well placed ice cubes tame the rising heat caused by the 50 % alcohol bottling strength, and what I have in my glass is a nice sipper, but one I must approach cautiously. Very small sips are delightful, but if I take too big of a swallow, the rum begins to take rather than to give.

I decided to mix a few cocktails and discovered quickly that this rum loves fresh squeezed lemon and lime. I made a daiquiri full of character, and I followed that up with a stunning rum punch (see recipe below). These cocktails were not for the faint of heart, but they were delicious.

In the Throat 13/15

The exit is long and heated with the spiciness reaching its crescendo in the finish. Orange peel, cinnamon and 100 proof alcohol leave a fiery trail along the tongue, which is soothed only somewhat by cooling licorice and menthol.

The Afterburn  9/10

This is a rum that is better than the sum of its parts. It does require ice to allow you sip its goodness as the high alcohol content and the Jamaican funk require some taming. However the effort is well worth the prize. It also works spectacularly well as the base spirit for fruity cocktails and punches.

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


Suggested Recipe:

Pot Still Punch SAM_1674Jamaican Pot Still Punch

2 oz Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 8 Year Old Rum
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Sugar syrup
1 oz Sparkling Water
1 oz Lemon Lime Soda

Chill a suitable rocks glass
Add large chunks of ice
Add Rum and fresh squeezed juice
Complete with an equal mixture of Sparkling Water and Soda
Stir and serve

Enjoy Responsibly!

Note: 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!


Suggested Chocolate Pairing

Varlhona Chocolate Selection SAM_1467Fabio Rossi (the owner of Rum Nation), asked me to find chocolate pairings for his rums, and to that end he send me a selection of Rum Nation – Valrhona Chocolate samples to nibble and taste as I sampled each spirit. Valrhona is a chocolate maker in much the same vein as Fabio Rossi is a rum producer. Since 1922, Valrhona has been creating special chocolate from selected rare cocoas from around the world. As each selected cacao has its own unique taste characteristic, Valrhona is able to create a variety of special chocolates to choose from depending upon your mood and food selections.

TAINORIFor the Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still 8 Year Old Rum, I went the same direction as I did for the Rum Nation Rum Nation Jamaica White Pot Still Rum which I reviewed earlier this year. I selected the Valrhona Tainori, which is a Pure Dominican Republic Bittersweet Dark Chocolate. Its cocoa content is a full 64 % and within its dry intense chocolate flavour profile are hints of citrus fruit which I think expressed themselves well when paired with the 8 Year Old Jamaican Rum. An intense chocolate for an intense rum.


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.

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