Category Archives: Rum

Renegade Rum, Dunfermline Column Still & Pot Still Pre Cask Rums, 50%

Mark Reynier has made a big play of terroir in the whiskey trade with his Waterford Distillery.

Renegade Distillery in Grenada shaping up to do the same with rum.

I did purchase one of his whiskies.

Waterford Bannow 1.2 c/othewhiskeynut

Can’t say all the transparency, honesty & information won me over.

All I tasted was quite a young, feisty & very fresh whiskey that needed more time in the barrel.

Haven’t bought another.

I am curious enough however to try out a couple of his rums – the Dunfermline Column & Pot Still varieties.

Renegade use the term ‘pre cask’ – but essentially it’s unaged or white rum in normal parlance.

Unaged rum is a category I really enjoy.

The combination of raw ingredients, fermentation times & distilling techniques can produce exceedingly aromatic & richly tasting spirits that can captivate the senses.

My expectation is the Pot Still variety will be the more flavourful version – but it all depends on the skill of the distiller – so complying with custom I start with the Column Still.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Renegade Rum Dunfermline Column Still, Pre-Cask, 50%

A lovely sweet pungency of sugar cane with a touch of sourness peeking through.

Smooth mouthfeel slowly grows in heat with more fruitiness coming through – but not much else.

Fades rather quickly with a serving of prickliness rounding off the show.

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Renegade Rum Dunfermline Pot Still, Pre-Cask, 50%

There’s an ever so slightly warmer embrace of pungent fruitiness from the pot still.

Definitely an oiliness on the palate of this one!

It’s just an overall fuller & fatter tasting experience for me & leaves with a warmer – even rounder – embrace.

Thoughts

I think Mr Reynier is onto a roll with his distilleries.

Attracting a loyal gathering of fans to snap up his offerings & extoll the virtues of terroir to all & sundry.

No doubt he’ll convince some whiskey drinkers into rum imbibing – which is no bad thing.

Both of these rums are enjoyable & engaging to sip, sample & explore the differences between column & pot still distillation & what they bring to the palate.

I’m just not convinced a single estate, pre-cask single variety trumps a well blended offering from multiple countries, columns & pots, sugar cane & molasses that can be produced time & again at an affordable price.

The art of blending is something Mr Reynier has written out of his agenda.

Sláinte

Waterford Distillery website here.

Renegade Rum website here.

My blog on Waterford Whiskey here.

The samples were purchased via Tiny Tipple here.

Langs Banana Jamaican Rum, 37.5%

The rum world appears to be far more willing to embrace new flavours, styles & experimentation than that of whiskey.

Langs Banana Jamaican Rum is one of many flavoured rums to have hit the market lately – and it’s a growing market too!

Langs Rum is part of the diverse range of drinks offered by the Ian MacLeod Distillers empire.

The nose was very sweet & well – banana-y!

The sweetness followed through into a smooth & oily mouthfeel with the banana being complimented by hints of Jamaican funk & a welcome soft tingling spice on the rear.

Makes for a very easy & highly entertaining tipple.

Sláinte

Langs Rum website here.

Spirits Business report on Rum sales outselling Whisky here.

Ian MacLeod Distillers website here.

A Copeland Rum Triple Tasting, 40% to 57.2%, Barbados & Northern Ireland.

Irish Whiskey is often triple distilled, but this triple tasting includes rum distilled at the Copeland Distillery in Donaghadee.

I’d already purchased their Smugglers Reserve Overproof – read about it here – & found it a lively powerfully funky rum.

Their Smugglers Reserve Bordeaux Cru Rum at 42% won out over a couple of other Irish Rums also due to the funk – blog here.

Image c/o Copeland Distillery

So will the standard Smugglers Reserve at 40% hold up to scrutiny?

Well the nose certainly promised it would!

That sweet fruity funk lured me in. An engaging oily mouthfeel enveloped the senses delivering that rich funkiness & prickly enticing spice on the finish.

Lovely stuff.

Image c/o Copeland Distillery

The last remnants of my Grand Cru sample continued to delight. If anything – it delivered a more mellowed & cultured mouthfeel. Perhaps some would find this more appealing – but the straight forward bold flavours of the original still won me over.

Image c/o WhiskeyNut

The Overproof meanwhile managed to excite!

A powerful explosion of funky flavour, high ABV & an intense drinking experience is something to behold.

I must say I was mightily impressed by all 3!

That fruity funk signature note I love presents itself clearly in all variants making it hard to choose a favourite.

For ease of delivery, richness of flavour & overall accessibility & affordability however – I’m giving it to Smugglers Reserve, 40%.

Who got the funk?

Copeland Rum’s got the funk!

Sláinte

For clarity, Overproof was purchased in Donaghadee, Grand Cru was sample swapped & Original was kindly donated by Copeland Distillery.

Copeland Distillery website here.

A Rum Blind Tasting – 2 Killowens & a Copeland on reveal.

Well – I assumed they were rums!

Having previously arranged sample swaps from a number of sources – by the time of arrival I’ve often forgotten what’s been chosen from whom – rather than look up past correspondence I simply pour, taste & enjoy.

This frees me from any undue bias towards particular brands or styles.

Nor do I sit with them for long.

The samples are poured – 3 in this instance – viewed to compare colour – no noticeable difference here – sniffed, swallowed & immediate tasting notes scribbled.

A few minutes later Sample C was the clear winner.

Notes in italics were written before the reveal.

Copeland Bordeaux Grand Cru Rum, 42% – Sample C

Image courtesy Master Of Malt

Super bad, super funky! Rich & smooth tasting treacly palate. Gorgeous funky finish. Bit of prickly spice.

Nice one!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Peated Dark Rum, 58.1% – Sample B

More depth & more funk – than Sample A. I tasted A to C – Smooth delivery, nice mouthfeel. Opens up on rear, prickly finish. Good depth of flavours.

Enjoyable!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Shop

Killowen Dark Rum, 55% – Sample A

Nice nose, soft, sweet, rum like, slight funk. Bit sharp. Bite on finish, prickly spice. High strength?

Bit of an experience!

Thoughts

Well that was an enjoyable tasting – 3 lovely rums with a clear winner!

The smooth delivery, rich flavours & gorgeous funkiness of Copeland’s Grand Cru instantly won me over.

The 2 Killowen’s funk just didn’t shine in comparison & sadly – I have to admit – the high strength of Dark Rum was a bigger defining feature than the subtle flavours within.

Their Peated Dark Rum however – despite being stronger at 58.1% – did excite & while I didn’t detect the peat presence it clearly influenced my choice. Nor did the high ABV deter.

Where would your palate have taken you?

Donaghadee is where I’m going to replenish my rums!

Pusser’s Rum, Blue Bottle, 40%, Guyana, Trinidad & Barbados

There’s a number of British based rums claiming heritage to the historical ‘sailors tot’ that was given daily to members of Britain’s Royal Navy.

Image courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop

Pusser’s Rum is one of them.

Using Jamaican Rum – a former British colony – is generally a given in these offerings which are usually a blend of Caribbean rums interpreting the original ‘tot’.

Pusser’s however stresses the use of pot still rum from Guyana blended with marks from Trinidad & Barbados to create their ‘Admiralty Rum’.

A very dark nose of rich molasses & treacly funk greeted me.

Smooth & sweet on the palate with dark muscovado sugars dominating.

A prickliness on the finish exhibiting a slight funk & departing with a drying experience.

Ship Inn, Elie c/oTheWhiskeyNut

Pusser’s made a suitable tipple to celebrate completing another section of the Fife Coastal Path in the nautically themed Ship Inn by the Firth Of Forth in Elie.

Sláinte

Stroh ’60’ & ’80’, Original Austria Inlander Rum

A favourite pastime of mine is having a peek at other folks drinks cabinets to see what’s lurking there.

My friends in Bournemouth pulled out Stroh 60.

Never having tried Austrian rum before – I gave it a go.

A rather strange reddish hue greeted me on pouring – along with that burnt rubber, dark molasses heavy treacle kind of nose.

Oily mouthfeel.

Very sweet towards the finish – almost liqueur like – which just about hid the 60% strength alcoholic punch.

Indeed punch might be a more apt descriptor of this ravel novelty style drink.

There’s also an 80% version.

I happened to pick up a miniature when last in Scotland!

The reddish hue & burnt rubber were still there – but no amount of sweetener could calm the rather harsh & biting 80% kick coming through.

Until the finish that is – rather sweet & sticky.

If anything – the 60 version was more palatable.

Just wondering at which point a rum becomes a liqueur with Stroh?

Sláinte

All photos authors own.

Four Bells Navy Rum, 40%, in The Windsor Hotel, Kirkcaldy

After getting off the train from a highly enjoyable session at the Fife Whisky Festival 2022 I thought a night-cap in my hotel bar would be in order.

Having spotted an unknown bottle of rum behind the Windsor Bar when booking in earlier – my curiosity was piqued.

Courtesy Rum Auctioneer

Turned out to be Four Bells Navy Rum.

A tot was ordered amid the sounds of a loud karaoke & merry youngsters downing globes of vividly coloured cocktails.

Four Bells had a soft hint of burnt rubber off the nose.

A rather weak & watery palate – compared to all the wonderful drinks I’d just experienced at the show.

A touch of spice on the rear enlivened this otherwise rather flatly flavoured rum.

Courtesy Rum Auctioneer

Easy drinking indeed – but lacking flair.

Information on Four Bells could only be collated from a number of websites.

Courtesy Tannico

It appears to be/was a Whyte & Mackay brand distilled in Guyana, offered at 40%, 42.9% or 100 Proof, has had several bottle designs & brand owners over the years & seems to be fondly remembered by fans.

I’m assuming I enjoyed the 40% version & despite the lack of punch – Four Bells is just the kind of hidden spirit I enjoy encountering when visiting a bar.

Sláinte

Header image of The Windsor Bar courtesy Booking.com

The Opening Up Of Whiskey Shows In A Post-Pandemic Setting – Fife Whisky Festival 2022

There was a bit of rounding the circle to my attendance at the Fife Whisky Festival 2022.

The show was my last event back in 2020 before lockdown ensued – & marks my first in a post-pandemic situation.

An eager & good natured queue formed outside Cupar’s Corn Exchange building in anticipation of the spirits within & it wasn’t too long before I arrived at my first stall.

Nc’nean are part of the new wave of Scottish Distilleries springing up around the country.

Their debut Organic Single Malt proved a lovely ex-bourbon & wine cask style of whisky with elegantly clear flavours.

I liked the clean, bold no nonsense Ardnumurchan bottle – along with the whisky too! A lovely combination of ex-bourbon, sherry & smidgen of peat.

Badachro‘s whisky isn’t matured – but they offer a gently peated Highland Single Malt from an unnamed source as a taster of things to come from this boutique distillery.

Established distillery Glen Moray provided the first of a few peated drams with their easy & accessible Peated Single Malt.

Springbank showcased their single malt range – but what took my eye was Campbeltown Loch Blended Malt.

Andy Stewart no longer needs to wish Campbeltown Loch was whisky – it is now!

Made up of Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow, Kilkerran & Glen Scotia malts it proved to be a lovely well balanced soft peater.

I couldn’t come to the Fife Whisky Festival without sampling some of the local produce.

Lindores Abbey’s core release is a very pleasant – if somewhat understated – well balanced single malt. Still think Irish Whiskey needs an MCDV release myself.

Kingsbarns Distillery Reserve at 61.8% provided a bigger hit for my palate both in terms of flavour – and spirity punch!

There were a few non-Scotch entrants at the show.

Mackmyra impressed me with their AI:02 Intelligens. The algorithms must be in tune with my tastebuds as I preferred this one over the Stjarnrok single malt from their seasonal release range.

New Zealand’s Cardrona were back with their Growing Wings 5yo single malt. It offered a fuller flavour than the younger Newly Hatched I enjoyed back in 2020. Both packed a high ABV punch at 65.6%!

Spotting Black Tot Rum on the Elixir stall I couldn’t resist.

A delightful blend of Jamaican, Guyanaian & Barbadian rums modelled on the Royal Navy rum tot proved to be a highly entertaining tipple!

My last few samples were from a selection of independent bottlers who mainly do non chill filtered, natural colour & often single cask, cask strength bottles in limited – not to be repeated – releases from a variety of distilleries.

At Carn Mor I enjoyed a 7yo peated bottling distilled at Highland Park named Whitlaw.

For Scotch Malt Whisky Society -SMWS – I shunned their limited edition single malts & opted for the attractively designed label of Peat Faerie blended malt for yet another sweet peater with a kick.

The Single Cask Staoisha 6yo distilled at Bunnahabhain offered a combination of soft peat & sweet wine cask influence.

Fable Whisky‘s artwork had me hooked.

Sadly they had no peated bottles on show – so I chose by artwork. Chapter 11 happened to be a Glen Spey & whilst very nice – didn’t wow as much as the art did!

And with that – it was all over!

A generous feed of chips ‘n’ cheese, a packed train of fellow whisky fans back to Kirkcaldy & a short walk to the hotel ended yet another wonderful foray exploring the fine whisky on show at the highly enjoyable Fife Whisky Festival 2022.

Sláinte

Whiskey Nut’s Readers Favourite Blogs Of 2021

It’s nearly the end of 2021 – and what a year it’s been!

A little reflection of the previous 12 months is in order.

The blogs below are my readers favourites for 2021.

1) Proper Twelve V’s Jameson, Dec 18.

Proper 12 must be the most divisive Irish Whiskey ever – yet it’s already outselling Bushmills 400 years of heritage in the American market after only 4 years. Go figure!

2) Kyasuku World Whisky, Oct 21.

Rising to 2nd spot in only a couple of months is a remarkable achievement for this Aldi brand from Japan.

3) Dundalgan Single Malt IPA Cask, Nov 20.

This popular range of whiskey continues to be an attractive & affordable purchase.

4) Irish Whiskey Distilleries, Dec 21.

The only page to make the list! My constantly updating list of Irish Whiskey Distilleries!

5) Púca Blend, Nov 20.

These mischievous spirits make a welcome return to the Top 10 – as well as Aldi shelves!

6) Ron Rumbero Miniature Pack, Dec 19.

The 1st of a number of rum entries into the list – and a great introduction to the category.

7) Liberté Rum, May 20.

This affordable white rum charmed me with it’s attractive range of flavours.

8) Black & Blue Whisky, Jan 19.

This Nigerian Whisky brand made in India with UK connections demonstrates the global reach of whisky.

9) El Bandido Beer, July 20.

While I can’t say I love this beer – there’s clearly a lotta love for it out there!

10) Ardfallen Whiskey, Jun 19.

A no nonsense Irish Whiskey blend at an affordable price.

A big thanks to all my readers – without you I’d be drinking on my own!

Sláinte

By pressing on the links you’ll be directed to the original blogs.

Fear, Paranoia & Tasting By Numbers In The Spirits Category.

There appears to be a palpable fear within the spirits drinking community.

Fear of being ‘gouged’ or ‘ripped off’ by rogue producers.

Paranoia that brands aren’t being ‘honest and transparent’ in refusing to disclose every conceivable nugget of information.

Refusing to taste a spirit until the correct check list;

Trusted distillery – check.

Non chill filtered – check.

Single Malt – check.

Cask Strength – check.

Distillery release – check.

Or whatever criteria you choose has been adhered to.

It’s all so reductionist.

Taste is not defined by what is – or isn’t – written on the side of a bottle.

Taste isn’t made by engaging tweets or larger than life characters.

Taste is the complex interplay of the individual drinkers palate with the fruits of the raw ingredients, distilling process, blending & maturation regimes of the liquid before them.

Someone’s ‘amber nectar’ is another’s ‘gnat’s piss’.

What if all that extraneous information was removed?

What if all bottles of spirits simply stated the legal minimum?

No branding, no advertising, no stories?

Would the spirit taste the same?

Well – yes and no.

Yes in that the liquid – and your palate – remains the same.

Having blind tasted whiskey for the Irish Whiskey Awards over a number of years a familiar pattern of brands & styles consistently rise to the top.

On the other hand slick advertising, where & whom with you taste the liquid as well as your mood on the day can all sway the results.

But is there another fear at play?

Fear of enjoying a drink that is deemed unpopular?

Fear of enjoying a spirit that hasn’t matched your check list?

Or simply a fear of not conforming?

You don’t have to like the popular brands or top sellers.

Just enjoy what works for your individual palate.

Above all – enjoy the journey.

Sample & taste as far and wide as possible – you’ll quickly find your own sweet spot.

Sláinte

All images authors own.