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

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

High Proof rums from Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados by Swedish Fire Water

RumSwedes

This fall came with four new rums in the “Rum Swedes” series from the Swedish independent bottler Swedish Firewater (www.eldvatten.se) with full proof single cask rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. I wrote a review of their Caroni 1997 Single Barrel Rum earlier this year.

From Guyana i have two samples, one from 2002 and one 2003 and then Barbados 2000 and Jamaica 2000.

GUYANA 2003

From Diamond distillery and aged 9 years, (60.9%/121.5 proof) it´s a heavy rum with hints of smoke. The color is dark mahogany.

Nose – Oh lovely demerara….it´s smoky, heavy, woody, dried tropical fruit, leather, banana peel, burnt molasses. A kick of strong alcohol if you come too close with the nose but a bit away from the glass a whole orchestra of flavors hits you.

Mouth – I added some ice to the glass and it opened up the rum a bit and made it easier to drink. It`s typical dark demerara flavors, same as the nose and slightly smoky. The mouth feel is a bit viscous and slightly oily, just as it should be with this kind of heavy rum. Neat it´s all these flavors concentrated and the aftertaste stays with you for quite some time. It`s lovely!

GUYANA 2002

Distilled at the Port Morant Double Pot Still (61%/122 proof) the color is golden. It`s a more elegant and fruitier rum than the first one.

Nose – it has a lovely nose of both dried and ripe tropical fruits, banana, vanilla, mango, sugarcane.

Mouth – a bit of wood, same tropical fruits as in the nose, sugarcane but not very sweet though, just fine. Neat you feel the wood more and then the fruits step in. A great rum!

JAMAICA 2000

This rum is from Hampden Distillery which is famous for their high ester rums which are the result of very long fermentation of the molasses.They are doing their rums in an old fashioned way producing very distinctive but expensive rums.

The Hampden distillery dates back to 1743 and uses three copper pot stills. The distillery was closed in 2003 and re-opened with new owners sometimes around 2009. So this rum is from before the closure which makes it even more valuable. This rum is (58.4%/116.8 proof)

NOSE

Very “creamy”, fruity, ripe tropical fruit, banana, sugarcane, very pleasant nose!

MOUTH

So tasty! tropical fruit again, banana, banana peel, overripe mango, brown sugar..some wood, burnt molasses. A rich rum with an elegant aftertaste that lingers in the mouth for a while.

BARBADOS

And the last one, from the island of Barbados where they say rum was first made in the Caribbean. This rum is distilled by the West India Rum Distillers which are located at Brighton, Black Rock in the southern parish of St. Michael on the island of Barbados.

The distillery dates back to 1893 and was established by two German brothers (the Stades brothers) who wanted to produce rum to be shipped to Germany. It returned into the hands of Barbados again in 1903. They are using two old pot stills and four column continuous stills. The famous Cockspur rum is distilled there.

NOSE

The nose is a little fruity and sugary with something more, maybe toffee?

MOUTH

Fruity, a little wood, toffee, pralin, sugarcane, hint of chocolate. It`s not a heavy rum but rather elegant. Neat it has some more punch of course, after all it´s 116.8 proof.

Rum Swedes tasting bottles

CONCLUSION

They are all very good rums, i`d say the Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 are my favorites of the four. They fetch the same high price as the privately bottled Caroni and Demerara rums in Italy and is about 120 euros a bottle and can as far as i know only be purchased in Sweden. There´s only 215 bottles of the Barbados 2000, 245 bottles of Guyana 2000, 185 bottles of Jamaica 2000 and 230 bottles of Guyana 2003.

The one cocktail i feel really eager to try with these excellent rums is a Mai Tai…it´s the idea of trying a combo of the 2003 Guyana and the 2000 Jamaica that intrigues me…

MAI TAI  (Guyana and Jamaica)

MAI TAI INST 2

1 oz Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 combo (0.5 oz of each)

1 oz Appleton Extra

0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao

0.25 oz orgeat

0.25 oz sugarcane syrup

1 oz fresh lime

half spent lime shell in the shaker

Shake with plenty of crushed ice and pour into a double old fashioned. Top up with more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with a mint sprig.

I think the mint is an important part of the Mai Tai, it adds that fragrance and you should spank it before adding it to the glass and then add a short straw placed near the mint.

The spent lime shell adds some of that lovely lime oil to the drink.

These two rums made an excellent Mai Tai, the drink was strong, flavorful and refreshing. They paired very well with Appleton Extra but if they had been of lower strength, say 55 % i would have used one oz of each.

Either way you can`t go wrong with these good rums.

Real McCoy 5 year old Rum – A Premium Rum with Interesting History

Real McCoy bottle

Here´s a very interesting rum produced by the legendary Foursquare distillery that have an interesting and colorful history.

It´s an authentic, handcrafted excellent sipping rum from Barbados bringing that genuine Bajan flavor to your glass.

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. It’s only been in the US for a few months, but it has already received the following accolades:

Silver Medal – San Fransisco World Spirits Competition
“Best in Category”, Aged Rum – The American Distilling Institute
Score 91 – The Tasting Panel Magazine, Anthony Dias Blue
Score 92 – The Ultimate Spirits Challenge, F. Paul Pacult

While researching the life and legend of William McCoy, a Connecticut man became interested in developing a rum in remembrance of McCoy.

So he contracted Richard Seale of Four Square distillery in Barbados, to craft an authentic rum blend and the final result the Real McCoy Rum is nothing but excellent!

Now i sit here with a bottle of the Real McCoy rum – aged for 5 years in American oak bourbon barrels. It´s a  blend of column and pot still rum and what i have here is plain good old-fashioned rum!

I like that…

This is a sipping rum but i`m gonna make a few cocktails with it too – real good quality rums makes real good quality cocktails too – provided that you carefully chose what to mix the rum with. Don´t waste the drinks with ready-made commercial or chemical mixers! use fresh!

 Nose

In the nose i find dried tropical fruits, baked spices, vanilla, caramel and honey – it´s very pleasant…a promising hint of what to come…

The taste

To me it has a distinct aroma of a well aged rum with hints of oak, vanilla, dried tropical fruit, sugarcane and maybe of dried orange peel. It`s a bit on the dry side but has some sweetness. It`s a warm welcoming rum.

The rum also have a long pleasant finish.

I see an image of someone sitting in a comfy sofa in front of a fire in the fall with a sipping glass in hand – or someone on the porch watching a tropical island sunset…

My final conclusion is that i like this rum- it´s of excellent quality but i didn`t expect anything less, seeing to where it´s coming from.

Cocktails

I made two daiquiris with it, one classic with just rum, sugarcane syrup and fresh lime and another with chocolate bitters and pineapple gomme syrup, both were very good.

Then i made a tropical tiki style drink with pineapple juice and coffee that turned out spicy and tasty.

The Real McCoy Rum is excellent for sipping and can be used in classic cocktails as well as well crafted tiki drinks but should not be wasted in drinks like rum and coke.

 Real McCoy Daiquiri

Real McCoy daiquiri

2 oz  Real McCoy Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz brown sugarcane syrup

Stir together in a shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

 Back to the Tropics

Real McCoy Back to the Tropics

2 oz Real McCoy Rum

2 oz fresh pineapple juice

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz coffee liqueur ( Fair Cafè or Tia Maria)

Shake with ice and strain into a tiki mug or glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and pineapple chunk or tropical flower.

McCoy Cocoa Daiquiri

Real McCoy Cocoa daiqiri

2 oz  Real McCoy Rum

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup (or use simple syrup)

2-3 dashes Mozart chocolate bitters

Stir together in a shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

The Real McCoy Rum website is here.