What is it? Molasses based rum from Barbados distilled in both pot stills and column stills and then matured in a mixture of ex-bourbon casks and ex-Zinfandel wine casks for 11 tropical years.
Update: Richard Seale has informed me that the cask makeup for this is a blend of both a double matured and single matured rums. The double matured rums are first aged in ex-bourbon casks for 5 years and then matured in ex-Zinfandel casks for a further 6 years. The single matured rums have spent a full 11 years in ex-bourbon casks. The resultant two rums are then blended together to get the end product for bottling.
Lightly filtered, coloured (but there is a lovely pink hue) and bottled at 43% abv.
Nose: Summer fruit pudding, bags of strawberries, raspberries and plums. Some definite oak but light and soft oak, delicate caramel, vanilla and some molasses. Some spirity notes and a touch of varnish. The nose it at one time light, fruity and floral, slightly grassy and then at the same time you can feel deep brooding pudding smells are lurking. It’s a nose that makes you want to take a big mouthful of the waiting rum.
Palate: Thick, full mouth feel, coating but not cloying. Sweet delivery with loads and loads of fruit, you can really get the wine casks in this. Strawberries, raspberries and plums again, some pomegranate, and then a big whoosh of candy floss/cotton candy. Oaky mid-palate and then moves on to toffee, butterscotch, butter and baking spices. There is a little touch of licorice, vanilla pod and something almost savory in there too hiding at the back; paprika or Garam Marsala. Dry coconut as things move to the finish.
Finish: Long. Drier than the palate but still sweet. Strawberries and fresh whipped cream, milk chocolate and maple. That coconut from the end of the palate stays into the finish and then it starts to get spicy with some white pepper, clove and a touch of ginger but it never bitters.
Thoughts? Yum. Really very good. My first thoughts on this were “damn, this guy knows how to make rum”. It’s not a big bruiser or a pungent rum, the profile is on fresh fruit, but there is real depth and layers that stack up and fall down as you explore the nose and taste. As with the port cask from last year, this balance and depth of flavour is something that takes a rum from being very good to being excellent. I think balance is something that gets missed often with tasting, but it’s the one thing that allows a spirit to elevate above the sum of it’s parts. It’s also only retailing in the UK for around £40, which is frankly a no-brainer. Oh dear, it’s not even May yet, but this rum is going to be a tough one to beat this year.