New Grove 8 year old

What is it? Molasses based rum, distilled via column still at the Grays distillery in Mauritius. The rum is distilled, rested in oak for an initial period and then transferred to Limousin casks for aging, both new/virgin casks and refill casks are used. This rum carries an age statement of “8 years” and I’ve it on good authority that this is a minimum age, so there may be some older stock in here too. In terms of aging, the Angels Share in Mauritius is somewhere between Europe and the Caribbean, so you don’t get the intensity of tropical aging with this but you do get the smoothness you’d expect from say, a 12 year old, European aged rum.

Filtered, likely coloured and bottled at 40% abv.

Sugar? No details, but I’ve heard from the coalface that it’s not tampered with and I’m certainly not getting any hint of sugar on tasting, so we’ll give them the benefit of doubt and say “no”.

Nose: Hello! Immediately a shopping trolley full of various yellow stone fruit; you’ve got a mass of peaches, apricots, nectarines – they jump straight out of the glass at you and some of it is a little sharp. Mixed in with this there is plenty of tropical fruit too with a fair amount of mango, some fresh papaya and some banana. This certainly is very, very fruity, aromatic and not what I was expecting. Just as you think things are getting one-dimensional along comes some faint tar, a whiff of smoke and some old leather. There is a little prickle of cask spice from the oak at the back with a little fresh ginger and black pepper – but it’s subtle.

Palate: Sharp delivery, and that slightly sour sweetness you get from over-ripe nectarines. Good weight to the mouth feel for 40% too, it’s not oily but you know it’s in your mouth. Follows the nose really; big whack of fresh fruits – mango, papaya, apricot, peach, nectarine and some pineapple too this time with a little zing. Again, just as things are going to start getting away from you it’s pulled back by that leathery smoke, a little brine and a nice savoury leafy note. It gets a bit hot after a while as things move on to the finish.

Finish: Nowhere near as fruity as the nose or palate, it’s quite spicy with ginger, clove and red chilli. There is still a little bit of a salty note from the brine on the palate to keep it in check. Dries towards the end with some pepper and cold tea. Finish isn’t all that long and the way it dies off leads you straight into another mouthful – which is always a promising sign.

Thoughts? I really, really like this rum. I mean, I like the big bruising savoury ones, but this just has something really loveable about it. The best way I could describe it would be “bright”; it really lifts you with the summery, fruity nature and when I drink it I get a feeling of happiness – sounds stupid I know, but the taste does make me feel uplifted. Sure, it’s lacking a bit of balance and depth, and the finish isn’t the longest in the world, but it’s a happy rum. I paid £40 for this in the UK, and I’d happily pay that again for this rum – in fact, I was so happy with it that I went out and bought one of their 2007 single cask bottlings as soon as I could, which was twice the price of this, without a second thought.

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