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:
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,