I stumbled over St Nicholas Abbey rum at the UK rumfest and out of all the new things i tried this is the rum that impressed me the most.
The one i`m gonna write about here is their 12 yo limited reserve rum which is a veritable explosion of flavors and so smooth….yet with a powerful punch. St Nicholas Abbey is a 350 year old plantation on the island of Barbados in the Caribbean with a rich and colorful history which you can read more about on their website.
They have a long traddition in producing rum and is one of the last surviving and intact 17th century plantations on the island. Initially R.L. Seale did help produce St Abbey´s first rums after the plantation was bought 2006 by the Warren family. They have chosen to avoid the mass production in favour of the traditional distillation process that has made rum from Barbados famous for more than 350 years.
What is interesting is that it´s not a molasses rum…it´s made from concentrated cane syrup that is double-distilled to about 92% prior to ageing. (traditional rhum agricole is usually distilled at 70-72%) At the UK rumfest i tasted a couple different agings – among them the 10 and the 12 yo plus the unaged and unlabeled rum they called the “see through” which isn`t sold commerically.
The unaged “see through” was made with estate grown cane, crushed in a traditional steam press and then made into cane honey and then fermented before a rough distillation in the pot column hybrid still. And then put through again and taken it off at 92% abv and cut with water to about 43%.
I have here their 12 yo dark rum in that stunning glass decanter and a sample of their unaged “see through” rum which is surprisingly smooth – very smooth actually and with a rich fruit and vanilla finish.
The “See Trough”
St Nicholas Abbey 12 yo
The 12 yo is so good that i am hesitant to mix with it but i`m gonna mix a cocktail nevertheless and it got to be a daiquiri since i don´t wanna destroy this fine rum with too many mixers and juices. It`s hand bottled unblended straight from the barrel in a glass decanter that is one of the awesomest i´ve seen with the great house, built in 1658 and palmtrees beautifully engraved on the glass.
The heavy decanter is sealed with a beautiful mahogany cork topped with hand-embossed leather, a symbol of the island’s first mahogany trees, that was planted 250 years ago on Cherry Tree Hill. And i find that cork very sturdy, something that i really like and which is necessary to keep the rum well closed in.
The label is applied by hand and each decanter is engraved with both a number and date. I really have nothing to complain about concerning this stunning decanter. They really have come up with some classy packaging!
The 12 yo rum won gold medal at the Ministry of Rum tasting competition in 2009 and the 10 yo won silver in the 2009 International Wine and Spirits competition.
Today the plantation also have a cottage industry producing a range of very interesting and pleasant condiments such as St Abbey Blackstrap Molasses, Pepper Rum, Gourmet Sugar and Hotpepper sauce which can be purchased at the plantation. That pepper rum, hot pepper sauce and black strap molasses….i feel like going straight to Barbados!
Before i make that daiquiri i`m going to describe how i find the 12 yo rum in the nose and on the palate:
ST NICHOLAS ABBEY 12 yo Limited Reserve
I would describe the nose as warm, rich and fruity with a touch of spices, wood and caramel. It´s like it tells you – taste me…
ON THE PALATE:
Well here we go…this is a journey into the land of what a really great rum can be…and swirling the rum the many “rum-legs” makes the glass almost striped.
This is really good stuff. I find it difficult to describe flavors but what i find here is even harder to describe because it´s such an explosion of flavors completely filling your mouth, I find tropical dried fruits, caramel and oak, molasses, and spice.
It`s a veritable flavor attack actually, filled with fruits, warmth, dried leather and it got punch. I start to wonder how a Mai Tai with this would taste…hmmm…
But i`m not making one, i`m making a daiquiri instead. But really, this is a premium sipping rum and i`m not gonna use up my precious bottle for too many mixed drinks, i have other good rums for that. It also has a long finish as well leaving you warm and comfortable.
What i`d like to do is just sit back in an old leather couch sipping this while reading a good book – or relax on the porch in a rocking chair somewhere where it´s warm and tropical. This rum provides great flavor and comfort.
WITH ST NICHOLAS ABBEY RUM TRUFFLES:
I was provided with a little lagniappe (a New Orleans expression for that little extra) to go with the rum…their own rum truffles! these are some wonderful dark chocolate truffles made with St Nicholas sugarcane rum, cocoa butter and dark chocolate coverture dusted with very small ruby red glittering stardust…like a dust of microscopic stars…
Inside is a crunchy yumminess – which paired with the rum took the rum flavors in a different direction to a higher sweeter level ending with a very fruity finish.
Well this was a treatment indeed! leaving you feeling like a luxury queen:-) I like how they put attention to details from the beautiful engravings of the bottle to the thin stamped paper enclosing it inside the box – or the little golden truffles box with brown satin wrap with St Nicholas Abbey stamped in gold.
It´s all just beautiful.
All i can say is that this is a exquisite aged rum, one of the best i´ve had. It´s full bodied, complex, flavorful and pleasant. You get a lot of good handcrafted old style rum here. I like the heavy beautiful glass bottle as well and it`s a rum with a colorful and rich history. My overall impression is that of a solid and very pleasant top shelf rum.
Finally, here´s a daiquiri with a demerara sugar syrup and fresh lime:
ST NICHOLAS DAIQUIRI
2 oz St Nicholas Abbey 12 yo rum
0.75 0z fresh lime juice
0.5 oz demerara syrup
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.
Garnish with a golden demerara sugar rim.
As i expected it makes a tasty daiquiri but i still think it should mostly be sipped.