If there is any subject that sparks more debate than any other in the rum community it is overproof rum. According to some, likely recalling time spent with Bacardi 151, it is the domain of frat boys trying to black out and showy, untrained bartenders lighting sickly sweet shots on fire. To others it is not so much overproof, though it is that too, but overflavour rum that mixes like a dream, especially in highballs. I should note that natives of Jamaica and other islands tend to be in the latter camp. Jamaica’s favorite rum, JB, is not widely available Stateside, but their second choice is. Let’s have a look.
J. Wray & Nephew Ltd.: White Overproof Rum
Tasting Conditions: I enjoyed this rum after a relaxing evening watching some quality TV and doing a bit of work. The bottle had been open for a while before I tasted from it, so there could be some oxidation. While it is allergy season here in New England, my sniffer does not seem significantly impaired. Lastly, I used a Spirit Sippers Flare rum glass for the tasting.
Eye: Like the Myer’s, this rum is a crystal clear white in the glass with thin, bulbous legs that didn’t take too long to form. The bottle is quite simple in J. Wray & Nephew’s livery of yellow and green showcasing some of the Nineteenth Century medals the spirit has won. Also note that at 126° proof this rum pack a punch, but not as much as the more common 151° proof of most overproof rums.
Nose: The nose is primarily redolent of honey with a bit of apple on the finish. I should note that it has none of the burn I had expected.
Mouth: Despite the smoothness in the nose, in the mouth this rum is quite rough around the edges. However, that is not to say it is bad. It is quite warm in the mouth with wonderful notes of warm honey, toffee, and caramel. There are also hints of cinnamon and perhaps lime oil. However, a rum of this strength really needs to be adulterated with a bit of water. A generous dilution really smoothed things out, and brought forward some good spice and molasses notes. The last step in the tasting was the addition of a bit of ice. After waiting for it to cool, I had an experimental sip. The only thing the ice brought to the table was a bit of lime pith which I found rather unpleasant.
Conclusion: This is not a bad rum. It will remain a staple of mine because it is a great infusing rum and a required ingredient in both allspice dram and falernum. In addition it is supposed to be quite good mixed with a Jamaican grapefruit soda called Ting. Overall, there is nothing wrong with this bad boy, though you might want to back off the rum just a touch and shake a little longer if mixing with it.
While I have found my camera, I can’t find the cable, so pics will be up later.
Try it unseasoned,
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