The first time encountered Denizen rum i was very pleased with it`s flavor, it was their white rum i tried and reviewed. Denizen rums are blends of rum from the Caribbean selected by master blenders in Amsterdam who have been handcrafting small-batch Caribbean style rums dating back to the early 1700s, when the Netherlands colonized much of the Caribbean.
Now Citizen Spirits have followed up with an aged rum that is a blend of aged plummer style pot still rum from Jamaica and also are component of Rhum Grande Arome from the Le Galion S.A.E.M distillery in Martinique.
60% of this rum has been aged 8 years in small used American oak bourbon barrels. The Jamaican rums used in this blend come from Worthy Park, Hampden, New Yarmouth, and Clarendon. Most of the aged rum comes from Worthy Park Distillery.
The rums used in the blend were fermented using slow working yeasts in order to extend the fermentation time and allow the high ester flavor compounds to fully develop – a very important step in the rum making process.
One of the reasons they chosed to include the molasses based rhum grande arome in the blend and not the more traditional rhum agricole from Martinique is because when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.
Having learned this, they tried to come up with a historically accurate classic amber rum that is unapologetically funky and would have made Trader Vic proud. The fact that it has been aged 8 years also makes it a fine sipping rum despite it being slightly higher proof at 43% ABV.
Denizen Merchant’s Reserve should be available in the US early April. Citizen Spirits will launch it in New York City and San Francisco initially and then expand to additional markets.
So i go straight to the Mai Tai eh?
This is a rum which obviously is partly designed for making great Mai Tais but of course not only – but also to be sipped neat and make other cocktails with – and flavorless cocktails you won`t get with it.
What a shame i haven`t had any chance to try the old JWray 17 year….which is a long time dream of mine, so therefore i cannot compare with it, but i can compare with other Mai Tais i`ve had with great rums and see how this rum stand up in comparison and i have a feeling it will do very well.
Also the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve earned a score of 94 at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and was recognized as a finalist. Scoring 94 points is equivalent to “Excellent and highly recommended”
Let´s taste it.
Nose – It`s a fruity nose with a bit of citrus and apricot, a hint of wood, very fresh.
Mouth – The same fruitness is there and it has a warm spicy finish. A hint of sugarcane, warm caramel, ripe tropical fruit, dried banana, apricot, wood.
My impression – This is a warm, funky and flavorful rum, not much alcohol burn, it´s smooth enough to sip and flavorful enough to mix tiki drinks with, at the same time it`s great for classic rum drinks as well. Fruity and spicy!
I bet it`s good to drizzle over ice cream too…or use in baked papaya with butter, vanilla and demerara sugar.
The first drink i wanted to make with this rum is the PYT swizzle from Rumba Seattle, (a bar and Caribbean restaurant in Seattle) and a place where they make some extraordinary cocktails, actually everything they make at that place looks tasty, i hope i can visit some day.
The PYT swizzle first catched my attention on instagram where i saw pictures of it after it won the Island Imbibe competition in august 2013. I thought it looked so tasty….so here`s a version of it with Denizen Merchant`s Reserve and again, i regret not having any mint!
2.5 oz Denizen Merchant`s reserve rum
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz passionfruit syrup
0.25 oz falernum
Glass: Libbey Everest hi ball
Top with a heavy doze of angostura and peychaud`s bitters
But mint or not, with this rum the swizzle turned out nice and spicy!
The next drink is the quintessential test cocktail when you wanna evaluate a rum in cocktails, due to it`s simplicity and way of letting the rum shine through in such a way that you cannot make a good one with a bad rum – the classic daiquiri.
2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz demerara sugar syrup
Glass: Libbey SPKSY
And yes, it pass the test! this rum makes a very nice and somewhat spicy daiquiri!
And finally…the Queen of Tiki Drinks…(and the Zombie is the King:-)
2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve rum
1 oz fresh lime juice (add the spent lime shell to shaker and later, in the glass)
0.5 oz orgeat
0.25 oz Combier triple sec
Shake all ingredients and garnish with mint – or if you don`t have mint, add the spent lime shell and a sherry into the glass.
Serve in rocks glass with crushed ice.
Yep, it definitely makes a great Mai Tai, the kind that gives that extra yummy after taste, provided you use good quality mixing products throughout. Of course i did the Trader Vic´s Mai tai. The only thing i regret is that i was out of mint but instead i just used the spent lime shell and a sherry.
To wrap it up – Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is very good, flavorful and i warmly recommend anyone to try this rum!
You find Denizen´s website here.