What is it? Molasses based rum from Barbados. Tropically aged, first for 3 years in ex-bourbon casks and then moved over to port casks for 6 years for a total maturation of 9 years old.
Filtered, likely coloured and 40% abv.
Sugar? Hell no.
Nose: Rum, real and proper rum. Some light toffee and vanilla, slightly grassy and dry with some buzzing oaky notes coming through. Under the heavy-weight rum and bourbon notes the port starts to come out to play and then the depth of this rum starts to show itself; dark berries, plums and black cherry. Rich dark chocolate liquors of some type., light fruity coffee (something like a Kenyan Peaberry), and some good spices – cinnamon, cloves, black pepper. The faintest suggestion of banana off in the distance too. Beautiful and really well balanced, the nose is delivered in layers without one aspect pushing it’s way through for dominance.
Palate: Well the nose was pretty good, lets see what the palate has to offer. Medium mouth-feel, dry, good level of coating. Dry. Oak, dry. The flavours jump straight out, it’s quite a big flavour despite the low abv; follows the nature of the nose with bourbon cask first showing plenty of caramel and vanilla on the first sip but the port shows up sooner than on the nose and leads with under-ripe plums, black grapes and dates/prunes. Dry. After a few sips more starts to become available with some dark and bitter black chocolate, black coffee, nutmeg, and some black pepper.
Finish: Long. Dry. As the palate moves to the finish there is loads of fresh ground black pepper and cinnamon, it’s mouth puckering and slightly bitter (in a good way). There are some vague and suggested dark fruits on the finish but it’s mostly drying, bitter oaky chocolate that slowly drifts off as the finish fades.
Thoughts? This is deep, deep stuff. I would not have expected the balance and flavours to be as they are given the amount of time this has spent in port casks in a tropical climate. I’ve had quite a few port finished whiskies and there is a lot in common here, you don’t get a lot of fruit but spice instead which may catch a lot of people out. I fail to see how this is port “finished” though when it’s spent 2/3’s of it’s life in port! For me, as a whisky drinker, this rum is fantastic. Did I mention it’s bone dry? I think I may have a few times.
Just to put this in perspective; this rum is aged for 9 years in tropical conditions, in excellent casks, without additives and it costs……£30. What? I mean, what? OK so you get a screw cap and no box, but who cares? I’m buying rum not a package, and for £30 this is simply bloody brilliant. For me this was my personal rum of the year in 2015.