What is it? Simple question, not so simple answer. It’s rum distilled in a copper pot still from A grade baking molasses using a controlled dunder based on very over ripe bananas, a little wild bacteria and yeast. This rum has no age statement as it doesn’t really have an age. The new make is combined with charred chunks of American oak and put through a reactor (!). No additional chemicals are added, only wood and new make. The reactor forces the acids in the new make to react with the oak, thus producing esters (the stuff that makes rum smell and taste good) and it breaks down the woody components into the spirit – alcohol is a solvent and natural ageing in casks causes the chemicals in the wood to dissolve into the rum, so it’s the same thing. Of course, it’s much more complicated than that and if you want to geek up on it you can check out more information here. Essentially, the rum is “aged” for about 6 days, although I understand that it then spends a period of time in Oloroso sherry casks, but for how long exactly I’m not sure.
No colouring, not chill filtered and bottled at 57% abv. They do a 68% abv variant too, which is the same stuff at full proof, but I like my throat.
Nose: Banana city, more accurately those foam banana sweets you get that are covered in milk chocolate. Then old leather boots that have been out in the sun, my old cracked leather jacket and polished oak floors. Java coffee beans, soy sauce, and some thick aged balsamic vinegar. There is a really intriguing chargrilled meat note, like a good steak slapped onto a BBQ. Damp forest floors, hessian sacks, a musty library and some mushrooms. This smells old. Really old.
Palate: Hot delivery, as expected. Big, big flavour burst and thick mouth feel. Wood, immediately wood, but old wood that has been well used and polished – not fresh cut planks. The faintest hint of banana. Teriyaki steak; that sweet and salty soy sauce covering burnt meat from the nose. Liquorice, dark and black and heavy and smoked. Some sour zippy oak very much reminiscent of Oude Gueuze (oak aged, double fermented sour beer from Belgium). Moves sweeter as it develops with treacle toffee and on to medium/dark chocolate (65% stuff like Bournville, not the heavy 80% stuff), here come those bananas! At the tail of the palate its going sweet and that moves us to the…..
Finish: Sweeter, loooong (hey, it’s 57%, what do you expect). This is turning into pudding now; flambéed bananas covered with a rich toffee sauce that stays around for ages, really luscious, some slightly bitter treacle toffee too from the end of the palate. Silky milk chocolate as well as ‘fake’ banana flavoured food such as milkshakes or those foam sweeties from the nose. Intermixing is some smoky char, cigar boxes and rolling tobacco.
Thoughts: This is a big rum. It’s amazing how they have managed to get such an old taste profile from their methods – it really does taste around 20 years old and if you had it blind you’d swear it was a very old ‘Navy’ blend. There is a tad too much ‘old’ oak and it’s too sour in that respect, but the layers of flavour that are in this are pretty fantastic; one minute your on sweet and then you get hit by salty and then sour and for a second some sweet pops up. It’s an experience right through from start to finish. Be warned though: This has quite a unique profile, it is quite literally like Marmite and you will either be bowled over by it or you won’t be able to stand it. Me? I love it! It’s a riot.