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West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants – Central America XO

Review: West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants – Central America XO Rum   (84.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published March 02, 2018

West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants is a new spirits brand owned by Crucial Drinks. and the aim of this brand is to bottle selected rums from lesser known distilleries or rum producing nations of the world.

The marketing for their rum includes the following statement:

We only select rums from lesser known distilleries or rum producing nations of the world and present them once that rum has reached an age that perfectly represents that country or distillery’s style. Each of our releases is limited to just one barrel. To preserve the character of these rums we do not chill filter or add caramel colouring to them..”

The West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants – Central America expression is part of their Remarkable Regional Rums sub brand which marriages rums from different distilleries from a specific region. The spirit is bottled as an XO Rum (which if this is a cognac reference means the rums are all older than 2 years) and is a blend of rums from Guatemala and Nicaragua.

The final spirit is bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

The cane spirit arrives in a squat long-necked bottle with a wide round base. The bottle is made to reflect the style of a ‘Captain’s Bottle’ with its low center of gravity which would resist tipping when the bottle is rocked by the waves on the high seas as the Captain enjoyed a glass of rum in his cabin.

The labeling is simple with a clear easy to read colour scheme. At the bottom of the label we are given the batch number, (in this case 1), and the bottle number (in this case 1189).  We are also told that the rum is made from a selection of single barrels of rum from Guatemala and Nicaraguan heritage. We are not however given an age statement or any indication of the dominant spirit in the blend.

Online I have seen photos which include includes a metal canister (not shown) which apparently is not always sold with the rum. Still, that canister looked cool.

In the Glass 8.5/10

In the glass the rum displays a pale gold colour which is apparently the natural colour of the rum. When I tilted my glencairn glass and give it a slow twirl I noticed a thickened sheen of liquid on the inside the crest of which slowly gave up stubborn droplets which fell as mid-sized legs back to the rum below.

Initial Aroma: Butterscotch sweetness combined with fine oak spice and orange peel. Hints of camphor, licorice, and menthol.

Decanted Aroma: The Oak Spice is more forceful. Vanilla and almond come though clearly, and the orange peel has been joined by new notes of canned fruit (peaches and apricots). There is just a hint of mustiness as well as herbal impressions of mint and sawgrass with wisps of light tobacco.

I am quite pleased at the complexity I am noticing in the breezes. When I finish my sampling session I notice the empty glass continues to bring me impressions of fine oak spice and butterscotch.

In The Mouth 50.5/60

The rum is relatively smooth but carries a spicy kick at the back of the delivery. I taste lightly sweet butterscotch, canned fruit with a few hints of raisin. This is followed that kick of fine oak spices which heats the palate but not the throat. There is a nice sweep of almond flavour which runs through the rum which tastes quite nice. Interestingly the spirit becomes drier and more spicy with each sip.  A light milk chocolate and some vanilla flavour have melded with the butterscotch and light impressions of cinnamon, camphor and resin give the rum a bit of an herbal flair.

In The Throat: 12.5/15

The rum is medium bodied featuring a mid-length finish. That exit features fine oak spice followed by vanilla and almond with lingering flavours lightly sweet butterscotch, baking spices (in particular cinnamon) and herbal impressions of dry grass and tobacco.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

The West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants – Central America XO is appealing, yet ultimately disappointing as considering the price in my marketplace ($90ish). The Alberta market tends to over-inflate the price of premium rums so it may be much more affordable in other locations.

Having said that, this is a cane spirit which is easy to sip on its own, although I would certainly be more likely to be mixing short cocktails or perhaps a Rum Old Fashioned. Over the Christmas break I was favouring my Rum Club Cocktail (See recipe below).


Suggested Recipe

 Rum Club Signature Cocktail SAM_1059The Rum Club Cocktail

2 oz West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants – Central America XO
1/4 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao
1/4 oz tsp Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sugar Syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Maraschino Liqueur
Orange Peel

Add the first seven ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides frost
Rim the edge of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon slice and dip it in sugar
Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled cocktail glass
Lengthen with Ginger-ale
Garnish with orange peel and a lump of ice
Please Enjoy Responsibly!

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


You may (loosely) interpret the scores 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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