Oh Soon We’ll Hear the Old Man Say

Leave her, Johnny, leave her.

As September fades into October, so, too does Rum Month here at the Dram fade away. I’ve had a blast putting up all these cocktails and rums. We sipped a dozen rums, tried over a dozen rum cocktails, examined barware, watched TV, and generally carried on. I’ve also been averaging two posts every three days, and I hope they have been reasonably high quality posts. I’ve certainly enjoyed putting them up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a Dramproject up this month. Between the GRE, school, and lots of rum and cocktails, it just wasn’t in the cards. I’m trying to decide whether to make next month beer month, as I have over a dozen beers sitting in my house waiting for a review, but putting up one of these intensive months is a lot of work. Well, I guess we’ll just have to see what I decide tomorrow. I must say that it was a blast. Also, this whole going with sea shanties for every post title has been much trickier than I thought. Some of them are pretty obscure, but bonus points for naming the more obscure ones.

Well, it’s time for us to leave her,
The Scribe

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That Clear Crystal Fountain

A while back, as I mentioned, Spirit Sippers sent me their full line of…well…Spirit Sippers. Here I review their rum glass:

So you've seen this already? It's still my best shot of the Flare.

So you've seen this already? Yes, and? It's still my best shot of the Flare.

Spirit Sippers Inc.: The Flare Rum Tasting Glass

Eye: The glass has a gorgeous hourglass shape. While I did not get much of a presentation, it was shipped with lots of padding wrapped in tissue paper and then two large pieces of bubble wrap.

Nose: I found this glass to be wonderful. I will slowly taste a variety of rums in it to see how rougher rums fare, but with the El Dorado 15, the nose was completely smooth in the Flare, but a London dock glass provided a noticeably rough nose. In the Pampero Aniversario was similarly smooth, and much fruitier than my notes indicated from a snifter.

Hand: This is my only complaint about this glass. I would have preferred a bit more of a stem. While the glass is elegant enough without the stem, I think a bit more stem would provide additional ability to control the temperature of the glass, as well as a more comfortable hold.

Numbers: The bowl holds about .75 oz, and if you put the glass on its side, it will hold about a third of an ounce. If you were to fill it to the brim, it would hold 5 oz.

Addendum: I have been using this glass for most of my neat rum drinking, and all of my rum reviewing, and it has been wonderful. I feel that any rum you want to sip will come through clearer with this than at least any basic tasting glass (a short tumbler, a London dock glass, or an European-style whisky glass). I feel that some rums would probably fair better in other styles of glass. For example, a smoky rum might do better in a chimney-style whisky glass than this. Given that rum is such a varied spirit in comparison to a most other commonly drunk distillates, I think that the Flare does well at capturing them and presenting their variation.

Conclusion: I like this glass. It has a gorgeous elegant shape. If only it had a slightly longer stem, it might well be the perfect glass

So hand me the punch ladle, and I’ll fill up my flare,
The Scribe

There Were Four Lofty Rums from Around the World Came

Oh gosh…Four rums and all of them on this side of yummy. Where to start? I guess we’ll begin with the Single Barrel, which was by far my least favorite. Next, but only a scosh behind is the Temptryst Peachwood. In first were the El Dorado and Temptryst Hickory. I know, it’s a hard decision to make, so maybe I need just one more taste, and maybe another after that…Ah, it’s too close to call. Both are wonderful.

So here’s to all the rum you’ve sunk at sea,
(Roll high, roll low, and so sailed we…)
The Scribe

Young Man, You’re Rather High

So two days ago we covered the Temptryst Peachwood, and tonight we get to see another Au Natural product. This of all the Au Natural products, this has gotten the best reviews, so I am quite excited to try it. I give you:

Au Natural Spirits Co.: Temptryst Hickory Rum

Tasting Conditions: I enjoyed this fine rum after a day of hard sailing in storm conditions, soaked to the skin, and chilled to the bone, cuddled up, warm, and watching the debates. In the interests of full disclosure, I did not pay for this bottle of rum, but rather it was sent to me for a review. I used a flare style rum glass from Spirit Sippers for this tasting.

Eye: The rum is a pleasant honey colour with a swirl revealing slow forming, stout, manly legs. The bottle is pyramidal and elegant with a non-production simple industrial label. I don’t know what the final packaging will be, but I would encourage Au Natural to keep the bottle shape.

Nose: There is a very sweet nose, with a pronounced aroma of hickory, with tempered well with maple syrup. In fact, I might even say that the maple syrup aroma really dominated the nose quite heavily.

Mouth: This was fairly smooth, definitely well within what I would consider a sipper, but close to the border. The best I can describe the base flavour is the maple syrup I got from the nose, but not quite as sweet as maple syrup, though still on the sweeter end of rum. This was tempered by a large variety of spice including cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves. In addition there were some nice fruit notes with apple the most prominant. Adding in some water revealed a wonderful hickory smokiness on the finish. In fact, the water really brought the hickory to the fore. For a second, it was almost unpleasant as I felt like I was breathing in thick hickory smoke. The water took this from a good rum, to an amazing one. Last, I dare the ice cube. After waiting a minute for the rum to cool, I had a sip and found that the ice cube really supressed much of the complexity that was brought out by the water, and left this a fairly smoky, almost Scotch-like rum on the rocks. In fact, I might have been able to fool a friend into thinking this was whiksky on the rocks.

Conclusion: This is a wonderful rum. Truly outstanding. If this is being sold at under $30, I will try and keep this stocked. Really quite good. Definitely one of the tastier rums I have had the pleasure of trying.

So here’s to a rovin’ fair,
The Scribe

A Cargo Gold

For those of you in the know, you will know that Dr. Daniel Watson of Angelsword fame has begun a distillery for the purpose, at least initially, of producing rums. These rums are not yet available, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle of two of his rums: the peachwood and the mesquite. In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that these bottles were sent to me as free review samples, and, unlike almost every other product I review here, I did not purchase the two Temptryst rums. Anyway, what Dan is doing is really quite novel. He is using the wood and the flavour of the wood to, in effect, infuse the rum. However, using the woods is supposed to lead to a more complex rum. Let’s see if it works:

Au Natural Spirits Co.: Temptryst Peachwood Rum

Tasting Conditions: I tried this rum after hearing rave reviews of the Temptryst line. After talking to its maker, I was sent a small sample for review purposes. I enjoyed it as an evening digestif after a long day at school, a hard exam, some great sailing, and an evening of relaxation. I used a Flare rum tasting glass to try it. This was the first dram out of the bottle.

Eye: This rum is a golden amber in the bottle and a dark honey in the glass with very quick forming, stubby legs. The bottle is pyramidal in shape with a non-commercial label. I have no idea what the final packaging will be.

Nose: The nose is very subtle and mostly generically “rummy.” I got just a hint of peach, as I might expect, on the finish, and touch of molasses.

Mouth: This was a very smooth rum, and quite sweet. There was definitely a distinct peachiness to it. In addition, I got some nice honey, and perhaps a bit of cloves and apple. Next I added in a bit of water. The water, surprisingly made it a bit harsher. However, we are talking shades of harshness here. It is still well within the sipper category. The water also brought out a bit of cinnamon and citrus. Lastly, and not without trepidation, I added some ice. After waiting for the ice to melt just a bit and cool the rum, I had a sip. The ice really upped the sweetness and pushed back any complexity leaving just peach and vanilla.

Conclusion: I enjoyed this rum, and it is very unique. I cannot wait until Au Natural releases it so it is available. However, given what I expect the price to be, I think it is a bit out of my price range, and, frankly a bit beyond what I think the price ought to be. This is a fine rum, make no mistake, but for me it is a bit one dimensional, which is not a bad thing in and of itself, but does make it less what I want to shell out the big bucks for.

CORRECTION: In this post, I suggested that the price was a bit beyond what I thought it should be. After talking to Dr. Watson, I was informed that the expected commercial price for this rum should be under $20, which is between half and two thirds what I had guessed. At $20, this will have a permanent place on my shelf.

So here’s to you and rum as a long time ago,
The Scribe

I’d Load Her With Guyana Rum

Next up on our round the world in a bottle of really tasty rum is the rum bottle that is currently my most prized bottle. This rum is considered one of the better Demerara rums. What is a Demerara rum, you might ask. I would respond that rum started, as best we can tell, in Barbados, and is still fairly similar to modern Bajan rum. It then spread around the Spanish Main. From there each nation developed its distinctive style. The British style is typified by Jamaican rum, the French by the rhum agricole of Martinique, the Spanish by Cuban rum. But then you get oddballs, and the Demerara Valley in Guyana is one of those. The sugar produced there is special and while it is similar to other bold, big bodied British-style rums, the Demerara sugar from which it is made as well as a longer aging gives it a wonderful rich fullness. And with that, I give you:

Demerara Distillers Ltd.: El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve Finest Demerara Rum

Two glasses, and both for me!
Two glasses, and both for me!

Tasting Conditions: In addition to reviewing this fine dram, I am also reviewing Spirit Sipper’s The Flare rum glass. I drank this fine aged rum after my last day at work for the summer, after an excellent dinner of Southwestern risotto. I compared a Spirit Sipper’s rum tasting glass and a Ministry of Rum London dock style tasting glass. I tasted straight from the bottle, which according to notes on the bottle was bottled just after noon on September 21st, 2006.

Eye: This rum presents beautifully in a box, though it is cardboard not wood, which would be even nicer. The bottle is squat with a long bubble neck. It is a very traditional bottle style, and I can easily see a pirate swigging directly from it. The label is elegant with its trilingual description of the contents and it’s drawing of a sailing ship. The rum it self is a gorgeous honey amber with legs that formed quickly and needle-thing in The Flare, and much slower and thicker in the dock glass.

Nose: In the Flare, this was very smooth nosing with hints of honey, lime, and oak. The dock glass produced a noticeably harsher aroma with a more caramelized nose, and what had been citrus tended more towards banana, and I completely missed the oak, though I think it showed up as the burn odor.

Mouth: In the mouth this was quite nice with citrus notes on the front and transitioned to toffee and then on the finish blossomed into honey. The dock glass was slightly sweeter on the front but on the finish continued in the same lines as the Flare. I also got some good vanilla notes. The rum was smoother than the aroma of the dock glass would have suggested, but a bit rougher than the utter smoothness of the Flare. Adding water seriously upped the sweetness of the front in what I believe are the characteristic demerara notes. The taste in the dock glass was identical. I added ice to the dock glass after pouring the majority over to the Flare to finish sipping after the review. After waiting a minute for the rum to cool, I tasted it. The ice revealed more spice notes that had previously been hiding and a lot spicy cinnamon on the finish. In fact, I would say the most flavour emerged when a bit of ice pushed the sweetness back a bit.

Conclusion: I was very pleased with this rum. While this will never be an everyday for me, this may be my staple for fine rum. I am definitely a fan of this. If only the price would come down by ten bucks this would be something like a daily sipper.

So here’s to you, my bullies,
The Scribe

It’s There We’ll Sit and Take Our Ease

Now we are into the creme de la creme, the ultra-premium sippers. I have four lined up for you: Cruzan Single Barrel, El Dorado 15, and two offerings from Au Natural’s Temptryst line. I’m pretty excited. Now in the rum world, one major course of debate is whether so called “single barrel” offerings are really worth anything. Marketing people will tell you that it is your only chance to “taste what the master blender tastes.” Of course, if I had the tasting ability of a master blender, that might be special indeed. On the other hand, what a master blender does is combine a variety of barrels with slightly different qualities to round out the weaknesses in each. You will have to make your own decision, but I will give you this to think about while you decide:

One Glass, One Barrel

One Glass, One Barrel

Cruzan Rum Distillery Co.: Single Barrel Estate Rum (Barrel #86499)

Tasting Conditions: I cracked open Cruzan’s single barrel after a relaxing day of running errands, seeing friends, and just a little work at the end. I had an absolutely delightful dinner, and came back a few hours later for a digestif. The bottle was freshly opened and I used a Ministry of Rum tasting glass of approximately six ounces.

Eye: The bottle that the single barrel comes with is similar to the other bottles bottled under the “estate rum” label, yet it is quite distinct. The neck is taller which makes the bottle more distinguished. While both bear the Cruzan barque logo embossed on the bottle, the single barrel also has a date – 1760 – the date of the founding of the distillery. The bottle also has a pebbled or hand-beaten texture, and of course, is capped by a cork, not a screw cap. Overall, it is simply a more elegant presentation as befits the top of Cruzan’s line. My bottle was number 446449 and the contents came from barrel number 86499. In the glass, the rum was an amber color with stubby, reasonably quick forming legs.

Nose: The nose was fairly smooth, and had notes of caramel, oak, and some sort of fruit.

Mouth: The rum is quite sweet in the mouth with the caramel from the nose coming through quite clearly in the mouth, as well as molasses, and cloves. It was quite smooth, as such a rum should be. This is clearly a sipper. Next up, a bit of water to try and help the rum open up. There isn’t much of a change in taste, except that the spice comes through perhaps a bit more strongly and the bitter end of the molasses comes through a bit. As I roll another sip around in my mouth, I am also getting quite distinct citrus notes. They are a cross between orange and a bit of grapefruit pith. After liquid water, I added solid water: a small ice cube. I waited for a bit to allow the rum to cool, and the ice to melt a little. The ice really pushed the bitterness and sweetness back. I got some nice spice notes, as well as citrus, and the clove really took the spotlight.

Conclusion: At no time was this rum ever bad. However, I expected a real knock out rum, and I got a rum that was good, but never really crossed the threshold to great. I don’t particularly plan to mix with this rum, but it is not going to make the cut for my nightly inbibment. I guess what I am trying to say is that for it’s price, I really expected something a bit nicer, a bit more multi dimensional. Unfortunately, as the other dimensions opened up, they weren’t particularly good dimensions.

I’ll see you ‘ round the corner,
The Scribe