Sunset Captain Bligh XO

20160519_120654What is it? Column distilled rum from molasses, all the way from St Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies. There is no age statement on this bottling but from some internet slogging it appears to be aged up to and around 10 years, in small white oak casks. Small oak casks are good, they give you more wood to spirit during maturation so it all goes a little quicker. It’s likely that the blend of rums fluctuates over time, maybe with some younger rum or a bit older rum in the blend and as such can’t have a solid age statement, but that’s ok by me – it only cost £28 (for 750ml!).

A bottling of this rum was awarded the title of “Best Rum in the world” at the World Rum Awards back in 2014. Now before you get all carried away… need to take these awards with a dash of lime. Basically, the awards are run in conjunction with “The Drinks Report” who state they are “dedicated to the packaging and marketing of alcoholic drinks.” – what better way to market a drink than to slap an award sticker on a box. You also have to pay an entry fee to take part…..per entry. I’m not saying that the awards are a total load of bollocks, but ultimately you can only judge what is entered, and when those entrants have to pay a fee and are also judged on packaging/design then how it is possible to call any of the entrants “the best rum in the world”? It’s not.

Anyway……the rum. Yes, sorry. It’s bottled at 40% abv. There is likely some colouring added but it seems to be with a light touch as the colour appears consistent with a 10(ish) year old tropically aged rum. It’ll be filtered but it’s quite light again as there is some fine sediment in my bottle, which is good.

Sugar? No.

Nose: Well, really very good indeed. Quite big, intense and pungent. There is plenty of cut oak (good old small white oak casks!), vanilla, honey, brown sugar, light caramels and almost a fat corn note. It’s quite bourbon’esc. Very spirit’y and solvent’y with some sort of polish or nail varnish about it. Underneath the big smells there are some dusty spices, turmeric, garam masala, lots of dried papaya and fresh mango. Going even deeper you’ll find some hay and over ripe, black and mushy banana.

Palate: Quite full but light at the same time, if that makes sense. Initial sweetness but very fresh, lots of vanilla and honey…yeah bourbon! Gets dry. Not so much oak at the start but the longer you hold it in you mouth the spicier it gets with plenty of ginger root/power, cinnamon and black pepper. It’s really quite Bajan in a way. There is a fragrant flavour to this that I can’t quite pin down, it’s a little like Turkish Delight and slightly grassy. Ah, vanilla again and honey then on to some tropical fruits.

Finish: Grrrr, a bit too short really. It hangs around for a bit to make you think you’re getting a nice long finish and just as you’re getting excited it stops dead, which is a shame as it’s lovely. Dry. Thick corn oil, some banana, light honey and a touch of menthol. No bitterness at all. When the finish does, er….finish, it floats off suddenly and doesn’t leave any buzz or off notes.

Thoughts: Alright, so it is really a very good rum. I’m not saying this is the best rum in the world, and if it is then I’m disappointed, because the best rum in the world should have more to give than this, but don’t get me wrong; this is a very good rum. It’s a proper rum. Spirit driven, complimented by good casks and blended in a way that gives a lovely balance and complexity. Let’s not forget, this cost me £28. I’ll definitely by buying more of this, even if they up the price to mid £30’s. Very impressed – well done St Vincent Distillers LTD, and thanks!

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