St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year and White Rums

St Abbey Rums 2

The St Nicholas Abbey Distillery in Barbados operated by the Warren family is one of those gems in the rum world that you know always stand for impeccable quality and that will bring smiles to your face when you try their amazing rums which uses traditional distillation.

The St Nicholas Abbey plantation was purchased by the Warren family in 2006 who restored the property to it´s original state and it´s one of the last surviving 17th century plantations on the island. Their mission is to make it self supporting and it also contains a cottage industry of sugar cane related products such as tasty brown sugars, molasses, sugar honey and rum cakes to name a few of the lovely products they make on the estate.

My first experience with their rums was at the UK Rumfest 2011 (and later in 2013) when i tried their range of rums and got totally blown away and among them was one peculiar rum that not yet had a name, an unaged white rum called the “see through”

The-see-through-768x1024

The unaged “see through” was made with estate grown cane, crushed in a traditional steam press and then made into sugar cane honey and fermented before being transferred into a pot/column hybrid still named Annabelle for a double distillation. And then after distillation only water is added and there`s no chill-filtration used. It was a rum with a rich fruit and vanilla finish.

This lovely white rum later got a name – simply St Nicholas Abbey White Rum – and became the winner of the Bronze Medal at the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London and in 2014 it won the Premium White Rum Category at the Bartender’s Best Awards.

Now at this past years UK Rumfest was out for tasting a portion of this white rum that was laid to rest and aged for five years and thus creating their first estate produced 5 Year Old Rum.. It`s their first rum distilled and aged entirely on the estate (the previous rums were made exclusively for the plantation by master Distiller Richard Seale from R.L Seale and Foursquare) and was ready in 2014.

The St Nicholas Abbey Rum 5 Year Old is a beautiful Rum and commemorates a beautiful story – not least, the first generation of Warren’s, Arthur and Henry, born into St. Nicholas Abbey 21st May 2014. I believe the 5 Year Old Rum will be released soon during this year.

Fermented sugar cane juice

Sugarcane honey

Interesting also with St Nicholas Abbey rums is that these are not molasses rums! but neither are they rhum agricoles – they are made from fermented sugar cane juice, called “sugarcane honey”. Rhum agricole is made from fresh sugar cane juice and tastes totally different.

The fermented sugar cane juice is thick, syrupy and very dark brown in color, almost black – it looks like molasses but it is not and it doesn`t taste very much like molasses either. It has a sort of funny smell, i cannot really describe it, it´s like a mix of earth, dirt, molasses, old sugarcane syrup, yeast and overripe purple plums.

The taste is somewhat like that too, like a mix of  Steen`s sugarcane syrup, earth, dirt, yeast and overripe plums…it´s not very sweet, rather semi-sweet. It has that kind of earhtiness (not heat) as say, chipotle peppers. Could be used for a earhty ti-punch…

Interesting how it can bring forth such rums as these!

Here´s a short description of my impressions of these two wonderful rums:

St Nicholas Abbey White Rum:

St Nicholas Abbey White

The nose is intense with fruity and sugar cane notes and somewhat slight peppery, this is a rum that got both attitude, complexity and flavor.

In the mouth it`s rich, a bit fiery with white pepper notes, tropical fruits and vanilla. It has the same sort of intensity as a rhum agricole but lacks the agricole`s pronounced grassiness, instead it has a mellow fruity and slightly green vegetal note. And it has a little “bite” but in a good way, it´s not at all harsh, it`s round and very very nice.

The bottle is simple, tall and elegant.

Very pleasant rum and for mixing it`s perfect but it`s just as good for sipping. I would say it´s a very good all-round white rum that got it´s own personality with a slightly peppery attitude.

Try it in a refreshing daiquiri!

Now let´s move on the five year old version of the former “see through”:

St Nicholas Abbey 5 Year Old Rum:

St Nicholas Abbey 5

In the nose: It has a brilliant golden amber color and when opening the bottle and pouring a little of the golden goodness into a tasting glass the velvety rich nose is filling the air with sweet, toffee-like notes that are totally addictive. I smell depth here too, not just toffee-like sweetness, there`s a hint of wood from the barrel it has been resting in adding some depth and character.

The taste: Here you can feel the rum is young but it´s exceptionally well balanced and the same soft velvety character that was in the nose comes forth here too. It`s rich, warm, welcoming with notes of toffee, vanilla, orange peel and tropical fruit backed up by some spicier woody notes.

The slightly peppery notes from the unaged white rum is not present, instead it´s mellow and soft but does have a lively character.

I have tried their 12 and 15 year olds and they are both incredible rums, especially the 15 year, and this one is like their little sister. It has the richness of what i have got to know as the trademark of the St Nicholas Abbey rums but it lacks the extreme depth and complexity that the 12 and 15 year olds have and of course, it´s a lot younger! that said, it´s a very good rum and you can safely go and purchase a bottle without any hesitation, this is good stuff.

I would actually use this as both sipper and mixer and leave the older rums entirely for the sipping glasses.

The decanter bottle is a masterpiece of beauty, simple and yet distinctive, elegant and with a personal touch with the beautiful engravings of the St Nicholas Abbey estate mansion and palmtrees (they do personal engravings too with for example your name on the bottle when you purchase directly at the plantation) hand applied labels and the mahogany cork topped with embossed leather which is symbolic of the islands first mahogany trees, planted 250 years ago on Cherry Hill.

It`s really a thing of beauty!

St Nicholas Abbey cork top

Final thoughts:

I cannot enough say how good the rums from St Nicholas Abbey are, everyone of them! this is quality at it´s best! and there are of course no extra sugar or additives in this rum. Go get a bottle of these and their other expressions and you will have treasures in your house.

They are on the higher price level yes but you will get really good value for the money.

Everyone knows i`m in love with the tropics, so let`s make a daiquiri dressed up in tropical attire:

Bajan Daiquiri

Bajan Daiquiri

2 oz St Nicholas Abbey White Rum

0.5-0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or glass and garnish with something tropical….i used speared pink bougainvillea, braided palm leaves and a lime slice.

Enjoy!

 

Bajan Daiquiri collage

 

 

See other St Nicholas White rum reviews on RumRatings

See other St Nicholas 5 Year Old rum reviews on RumRatings

February is Tiki Month! An interview with Doug Winship!

 

FI mug

Tiki Month is here! AGAIN! we`re actually right in the middle of it….

On Doug`s blog the Pegu blog that is, because every year for the past six (!!) years Doug have transformed his Pegu blog into a Tiki blog for one month where he have dived deep into all things tiki – the history, decor, garments, torches, drinks, music etc and sometimes been posting with such a frenzy that i`ve had a hard time catching up…

You see, Doug wasn`t a tiki guy at all when he started and it takes some guts to get something like this rolling for the entire world to see with no knowledge whatsoever about tiki culture or tiki drinks and it´s been a joy to see how he have dug deeper and deeper into the pit of tiki over these years until one day he had his own home tikibar in the basement with a friggin`volcano!

This started in 2009 during the “golden booze blog era” when we had the CSOWG (Cocktails and Spirits Online Writers Group) with bloggers such as Rick “Kaiserpenguin” on board….oh those were the days!

It`s been a pleasure to follow his Tiki months year after year and see how for example the drinks have been transformed from quite the new beginners tiki drinks (especially when it comes to the style with garnish etc) to full fetched tiki libations worthy of any tiki afficionado`s approval.

In his basement Doug has a tiki bar but it`s not just a tiki bar…it has it´s own man-sized erupting volcano! complete with a light and smoke effects-enabled volcano – and he built it all by himself – how cool is that?

Watch it erupt here in this video:

He also describes how to make it in this post.

Damn….i wouldn`t mind having one like that myself…i`m deeply impressed!

So i went and asked Doug a few questions about tiki and his tiki month:

pineapple small small 2 It´s been six? years that you`ve been doing your tiki month every year in februari, what made you get into the idea?

Yep, about six years. About that time I was starting to feel like I had my feet under me with classic cocktails. Several of the blogs by my fellow early cocktail bloggers that I found I liked the most were the Tiki-centric ones like yours. The drinks were always visually stunning and sounded delicious. It was clear to me that there were some unique avenues with creativity in the Tiki neighborhood of cocktails.

What was also clear, whenever I tried out some of your recipes, was that doing Tiki right in a home environment was a serious commitment. The produce and syrup inventory issues made it so that any time I saw a drink I wanted to make, I never could.

So I decided to devote a whole month to tiki drinks, where that would be all I’d make, and see what all the fuss was about. It was fun and I decided to do it annually.

pineapple small small 2 Which are your three most favored tiki drinks and why?

Number one with a bullet is the Mai Tai. Trader Vic’s version is one of the true super weapons of the cocktail world, regardless of whether or not you are talking tiki.

Number Two is an oddball. It is called the Coconaut Grove. It is what I think of when someone drifts perilously close to asking for a Piña Colada. It has all the good parts of a PC, and none of the goopy syrupiness.

Number Three, off the top of my head is the Missionary’s Downfall. It stands out among a drink genre that celebrates ludicrously boozy drinks as one that is just this side of non-alcoholic. But it is marvelously delicious and totally Tiki.

pineapple small small 2 It`s clear that a lot us booze and tiki bloggers have been of great influence especeially during your first years of tiki month, but what other influenses have really affected you?

Beachbum Berry is number one, of course. The fact that when I first met him, he knew who I was was one of the biggest fanboy moments in my life. At 45 years old, I was squeeing like a teenage girl. Tiki or not, The Bum is what booze writing is all about. My wife is actually another big influence. She is a cook, not a mixer, but no one has taught me more about how to analyze a recipe and modify it, nor how important precision is.

And precision is the soul of Tiki mixology.

pineapple small small 2 Today, six years after you first started with tiki, what would you say to a tiki newbie wanting to explore tiki?

If you are doing it yourself, take it in bites, but big bites. When you are still learning, dive deep, then get out of the pool for a bit. Repeat.

If you are trying out tiki bars as an intro, pay attention to everything. The chemistry of Tiki is totally different from that of Brown, Bitter, and Stirred.

pineapple small small 2 Which tiki bars do you recommend?

Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco stands out above all others I’ve visited. Martin Cate has made a bar where every damn element was better than I’d previously imagined. Go in a slow night, when you can absorb all the spectacular detail.

pineapple small small 2 You WILL continue with the yearly tiki months for yet a couple years  won`t you? i mean there gotta be more areas you haven`t been exploring? (hint “flaming drinks”, “tiki food”………)

I love Tiki Month. And my local friends who drink with me would hardly let me stop!

As for places to go, I love the fact that a new area of concentration presents itself each year, without much effort on my part. I just put up the decor, make some syrups, and something new demands my attention.

pineapple small small 2 What`s your most memorable tiki experience?

That first visit to Smuggler’s Cove. And my first real, honest to God Mai Tai. Transformative experiences.

pineapple small small 2 What do see in the future for tiki in terms of the survival of the culture and standard of tiki bars and drinks?

This goes to what I’m focusing on as this year’s Tiki Month theme. I think that Tiki bars are awesome, and may well be in that sweet spot of coolness but not hotness, in the US, where they can become a sustainable thing.

What is more interesting is that the modern Craft cocktail movement has resulted in hordes of non-Tiki bars that have the skill and infrastructure to deliver complex recipe drinks with oddball syrups and multifarious fresh juices. The result is a lot of Tiki drinks showing up AMONG other styles on “regular” Craft menus.

There is some great stuff being done in expanding the true Tiki portfolio buy guys and gals who are not Tiki specialists. If Tiki can burrow into the high-end drink mainstream, I think it will avoid the boom and bust that accompanied its first appearance.

T Tikiroom Tiki4

Mahalo Doug! now y`all go and check out his tiki month, it´s still february! and when the month is gone the Pegu blog will still be there…

And finally i`d like to re-post a few of his drinks that has been on his blog during the tiki months, each using a different spirit – enjoy! (picture courtesy Doug)

Three Dots and a Dash

Pegu blog - Three-Dots-and-a-Dash

1 part fresh lime juice
1 part orange juice
1 part honey mix
3 parts amber rum
1 part Demerara rum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1/2 part falernum
1/2 part pimento dram (allspice liqueur)
12 parts small ice

Flash blend all ingredients for about five seconds. Serve in a fun vessel, and garnish as below. Classic serving is 1/2 ounce per part per person. The classic garnish is a long skewer with three cherries and a pineapple spear; three dots, and a dash, see? In this version is the cherries nestled in a pod of a pineapple leaf. It is still three short things, and one long.

Three dots and a dash stand for the Morse Code letter ‘V’. The drink was invented during World War Two, and V for Victory was an important part of the mindset of most involved in the war effort on the Allied side.

Regal Daiquiri (Doug`s version of Don Beach`s Royal Daiquiri)

Regal-Daiquiri-sq-450x450

1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. Creme Yvette
1/2 oz. OYO Honey Vanilla Vodka
1 1/2 oz. silver rum
4 oz. small ice

Combine in a blender and flash blend for 5-7 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime and perhaps a preserved hibiscus flower.

Margarita Atoll (made for the National Margarita Day in 2014)

Pegu blog - Margarita-Atoll-

1 1/4 oz. good silver tequila
strong 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. Bols Blue Curaçao
1/4 oz honey mix

Combine in shaker with ice and agitate until frigid. Strain into a cocktail coupe rimmed with crushed Hawaiian salt.

Happy Tiki Month!

 

pineapple small small 2       pineapple small small        pineapple small small 2       pineapple small small      pineapple small small 2      pineapple small small

Rhum Arrangè de Cèd – Point G – Rum Buried in Salt…

POINT G bottle

The Point G by Rhums de Cèd is a very special curiosity – it´s a rhum arrangè with Ananas Victoria (a special type of pineapple growing in la Rèunion island) that has been buried in a salt marsh for 2 months….

Yes you read that right, the bottles were buried in a salt marsh (marais salant) with seawater and clay in France for two entire months allowing the salt flavors to enter through the cork and thus give the rum inside a special flavor note. I especially like how there is still dried clay on the rum bottles!

I asked Cèd what the salt have done for the rum? he said the pineapple note is prolonged and salt helped approve its taste and smell with a little salty note. I have tried some of his other rhum arrangées and let me tell you he makes some quality stuff! (I earlier reviewed his Rhum Banane Cacao) he sure knows what he is doing.

“Point “G” is macerated with pineapple Victoria and was buried for 2 months in the salt marshes. It was covered with clay and then sea water. The result is quite surprising on the color and taste”

I also asked two rum cork makers and experts in London during the rumfest this past fall what their thoughts were about whether or not salt can actually enter through the cork into a bottle and affect the flavor of the rum and wooow did I get them to scratch their heads…I bet they never got such a question before… 🙂 Well, they had never heard of it before..but they did not deny it could happen.

In any case this rum does taste wonderful and I think it`s a VERY interesting experiment to say the least and btw who does this??

Gotta be a real rum geek right?

I just love it!

POINT G in the marsh

The nose of Point G is mature tropical pineapple paired with a musky earthy scent and in the mouth the pineapple flavor is of course dominant, paired with that earthy taste and then a tiny hint of something, could it be the salt? adding a bit of zing to the flavor.

The overall impression is a very tropical mellow flavor – soft, rich, full-flavored from ripeness and earth that is pleasantly agreeable.

The best way to enjoy a rhum arrangè in general is to drink it as it is with a little ice or without, but you can make cocktails with it too and since this rum is made with pineapple there´s a lot of drinks it can be used with. I would keep it simple though in order to not let these exquisite flavors get lost with too many other juices and stuff.

The Point G was an experiment and the limited amount of bottles are unfortunately long gone, but let`s hope he does this again in the future! but Cèd does indeed have some very good other rums, all excellent and made with real fresh, organic and seasonal fruit macerations – “rhum arrangè” – for sale on his web page and also in spirit shops in France.

One online (and physical in Paris shop) is Christian de Montaguère and another is La Gourmandine Rhumerie and they ship worldwide.

POINT G collage

He has rums such as Mangue-Passion, Ananas Victoria, Carambole-Passion, Banane-Cacao, Vanilla-Macadamia…(i`m drooling here 🙂 Another thing these rums can be used for is in desserts! i made baked papaya with vanilla, dark sugar and coconut milk “garnished” with the Banane-Cacao rhum…

So I keep it simple and serve this drink, and since the Point G is not available right now you may use his normal pineapple rhum arrangè which is made with the same ananas victoria and a hint of vanilla.

Mixed with fresh pomelo juice and lime plus a touch of dark sugarcane syrup and chilled with ice, the heavy earthiness is lifted up into a more fruity fresh character that would be very nice I imagine on a hot day on the beach.

Point G Rhum Punch

POINT G Rhum Punch

60 ml (2 oz) Point G or Rhum arrangè Ananas Victoria

30 ml ( 1 oz) Pomelo juice

15 ml (0.5 oz) fresh lime juice

15 ml (0.5 oz) dark sugarcane syrup (sucre de canne roux)

Don`t shake, just stir together like you would do a ti punch and add a chunky ice cube or two that doesn´t melt too fast.

Garnish with a slice of pomelo fruit.

This makes a very refreshing distinctively tropical drink to enjoy.

PONIT G in the marsh 2

Isn`t it beautiful? (picture crèdit Cèdric Brement)

Real McCoy 12 Year Old Rum!

Real McCoy 12

From Barbados…

When a rum is distinctive and genuine, carrying great flavors it makes my rum palate sing and if it´s backed up by a really interesting history it gets even better. Real McCoy is such a rum and i have reviewed the 5 year old rum before, now it´s time for the 12 year old which is a masterpiece as far as i`m concerned. First time i tried it was at the 2013 UK Rumfest and i was impressed by it`s deep flavor.

Real McCoy rum is produced by the legendary Foursquare distillery and it has an interesting and colorful history and is an excellent rum from Barbados bringing that genuine Bajan flavor to your glass – and with no extra sugar added – because rum does not necessarily need extra sugar to taste good!

Real McCoy rums are completely unadulterated — there are no added chemicals, sugars, flavors or perfumes – using blackstrap molasses and spring water. The rums are distilled in a combination of column and pot stills, then aged in American oak bourbon barrels for 3, 5 and as in this case, 12 years.

Real McCoy

The Real McCoy rum is based on the story of  William “Bill” McCoy, the pioneer rum runner of the prohibition era, who fueled the Roaring Twenties by delivering over 2 million bottles of rum to the speakeasies of New York back in 1920.

McCoy took pride in the fact that he never paid a cent to organized crime, politicians, or law enforcement for protection and unlike many others that illegally produced and smuggled alcohol for consumption during prohibition, McCoy sold his merchandise unadulterated, uncut and clean,

He never came ashore but instead anchored 3 miles off-shore, which back then was international waters, acting as a floating liquor store within sight of the metropolis of New York. People went out to McCoy, bought the rum and returned hoping to escape the Coast Guard on the way back in. An interesting fact about him is that he himself never touched alcohol…(!)

It’s a great story and the rum absolutely lives up to the name.

Yes indeed it does…and the 12 is even better!

The 12 year old Real mcCoy

The nose: It´s really a pleasure to close the eyes and inhale that nose of mature tropical fruits, demerara sugar, oak and baking spices. Sometimes i think i could just sit there and keep smelling these wonderful rum notes but of course i gotta taste it too…and the nose is really promising me of goodness to come.

In the mouth this rum has a wonderful aroma of rich toffee notes, tropical fruits, spices, smoky oak, banana, orange peel and molasses. It´s very balanced and softly caresses your palate while breathing a little bit of old rum history on you. It`s an old fashioned rum and like it. You feel good when you drink it!

The bottle is simple and look like a rum bottle from the old Caribbean, no extra “luxury” nonsense to dress up the bottle which btw is something that often makes me suspicious. If you know the content is solid and good it will speak for itself. That said, a nice bottle is always a plus but i do prefer the not so over-luxury looking ones.

Conclusion – The 12 year Real McCoy is without doubt a rum worth buying, you know what you get for the money and it does taste excellent both neat in your sipping glass or in your classic or tiki drink! and the price doesn`t hurt you either.

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch

This is a hybrid of a Rum Barrel and a Rum Punch… and like i said about the Rum Barrel cocktail – there´s something very relaxing and rewarding in having a BIG Rum Barrel mug filled with goodness to sip…like a giant pacifier for grownups…

Yes indeed, everyone who have had one knows how relaxing this drink can be. The West Indian Rum Punch or Rum Punches, since there´s so many different variations is also such a comfort drink.

I think Real McCoy is one of those rums that is perfectly suited for this type of drinks.

1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
0.5 oz dark sugarcane syrup
0.25 oz honey-mix (equal parts honey and water, heated to dissolve the honey, then mixed and cooled to room temp)
2 oz Real McCoy 12 year old rum
Dash Angostura bitters

Shake everything with plenty of ice cubes and pour into a tiki mug or tall glass filled with chunky cracked ice.

Garnish with a tropical flower and piece of lime.

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch 3

The colors of the tropics…..

McCoy Rum Barrel Punch 2

The Tiki mug is created by Wild Thing Creations in Australia, they also have a Facebook page. This particular mug is part of a two mug set with two similar but different mugs called “The Royal Pair” which i was lucky to be able to grab before they were gone…

Check out the web and facebook pages for updates,  it´s great mugs to very reasonable prices which takes away from the burden of high shipping costs and they ship worldwide! shipping prices are not that high either, go figure since they are shipped all the way from Australia.

It was a joy to make this drink with this absolutely fabulous rum in such a great mug!

See other The Real McCoy 12-Year rum reviews on RumRatings