Well, December is upon us and it’s officially Winter, time for some proper warmers – the next 2 reviews will be rums of the spiced variety which help warm the cockles and get us feeling all festive.
What is it? A spiced rum “spirit drink” which has been blended together by Bristol Classic Rum. Information regarding the composition of this is quite hard to come by, not many people seem to know the rum base and it may well change from time to time due to supplies etc. A couple of tit-bits I found whilst looking at this have turned up a statement saying; “3 year old white rum from Mauritius and a 6 year old dark rum from Trinidad (Caroni) – as Caroni are well out of business, unless there is some 6 year old stuff tanked for storage somewhere, then it’s not Caroni. Ok, this is spiced rum, so the base is hard to identify and based on that a white Mauritian and a dark Trini are the best I’m going to be able to get. To the base rum, a mixture of “spices” are added to produce the final product; again little information on exactly what but there are some stand-outs from the testing, which will become apparent.
Coloured, filtered and bottled at 42% abv.
Sugar? Yes, looks to be at 16g/l, which is a lot less then some “normal” rums…go figure.
Nose: Ok, this wasn’t at all like I was expecting. It’s big but not heavy, initially there is a massive hit of clementine and lime rind – very citrus’y. The clementine is very hard to get past as it’s so intense, but after a while of nosing other smells start to make themselves known; thick black molasses, dry and salted liquorice, cloves, black pepper and some rolling tobacco. Right down at the bottom of the nose there is some dark, soft brown sugar that’s just slightly burnt, fruit cake that’s overdone too and hot buttered toast, maybe a cinnamon bagel too for good measure. Dry nose, if you know what I mean, and quite Christmas’y – the main smell are those Christingles you used to make at school at a kid.
Palate: Citrus sweet (not sugar sweet) delivery and a less viscous mouth feel than I was expecting, but not at all thin. Fresh orange juice, orange oil, candied peels, slight heat of pepper and them BOOM, liquorice explodes in your mouth. Dry, salted liquorice, puckering and mouth coating as the black molasses turns up to wade in on the party – very intense. Softens a bit and some more gentle spices pop up with cinnamon, clove and the faintest ginger root. Smooth and calming brown sugar helps things along as it moves to the finish.
Finish: Long. You’re basically left with the collateral from the assault you’ve just had in your mouth, so the liquorice and molasses are loitering about and things remain dry, spiced and pretty heated with spicy ginger, black pepper and some really good cigars. There is the teeniest bit of lime and clementine from the nose hanging on for dear life that add another level to the finish.
Thoughts? This is like getting a real, homemade artisanal mulled wine at a Chirstmas market, where they add real fruit and fresh spices to good wine, rather than a pre-made sachet steeped in a boiled bottle of Vin de Plonk.
At first I didn’t like this. When I thought “spiced rum” I thought more spice, more sugar and less “real” flavour, so reality didn’t match my imagination and I was caught on the back foot. The longer I’ve spent with it the more I’ve come to like it, now I know what I expect and I’m ready for that citrus and liquorice. Now I really, really like it. A lot. When I drink those other flabby “spiced” rums that are vanilla and sugar bombs I’m left hankering for this.
I’ve seen opinions on this rum that range from “appalling rubbish” to “magnificent” and it’s very divisive, the reason for this is the same reason I didn’t like it myself – expectation was different to reality. This really is a love it or hate it rum and I now love it!