Category Archives: Rum

Havana Club, Anejo Especial, Cuban Rum, 40%

It’s International Rum Day today – 16th August.

I’ve just found out – which was a bit of a surprise – as I’d only been down my local Tesco & picked up a bottle of Havana Especial to continue my exploration of all things rum.

Already my limited tastings are taking me down the barrel aged dark rum route.

The contrast of sweet caramels or darker molasses contrasting with spicy oaky tannins appeals to my palate – which is just what I found with this Cuban Rum.

Double matured in ‘old oak barrels’ & ‘ex-whiskey casks’ it says on the label – ex Irish Whiskey casks I later found out on Havana Club’s website – certainly piqued my interest.

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Especial back label c/othewhiskeynut

Described as ‘amber coloured’ I found the nose caramelly sweet – with no real depth to it.

The palate started off very smooth & sweet too – but gradually built up a nice oaky spice as it warmed up.

Most of the flavour I found on the finish.

A prickly spiciness contrasting with a dark, almost burnt molassey note just rescued it from the overt sweetness at the start.

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Garantia Cuba! c/othewhiskeynut

Overall an easy drinking everyday rum with just enough character & depth to enjoy of a balmy summer evening.

Happy Rum Day!

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Old Hopking, Dark Rum, 37.5%

Welcome to the dark side.

Of rum at least.

Dark Rums are characterised by their – well – darker colouring.

This can come about through the use of heavily charred casks & longer maturation times – although as in whiskey, added caramel is not unknown.

Dark rums are also usually stronger flavoured than their lighter colleagues – and it was for this reason I picked up a bottle of Old Hopking in my local Aldi.

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Funkin’ For Jamaica c/othewhiskeynut

‘Imported from Trinidad and Jamaica’ also piqued my interest.

Jamaican rums are generally made from molasses, distilled in pot stills & are considered full bodied with strong flavours. Suits me!

So how was Old Hopking Dark Rum?

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Old Hopking back label c/othewhiskeynut

The nose certainly offered a lot more than the clearer rums I’ve tried. Soft, funky & sweet with some burning rubber going on.

An easy delivery slowly developed through a burnt caramel sweetness into a touch of warm woodiness & gentle spice.

A long lasting hug of warmth.

I really enjoyed this one.

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Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby! c/othewhiskeynut

I think I’ve just been touched by the dark side!

Sláinte

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Íon, Whiskey Cask Spiced Rum, 43%

The renewed & growing interest in brown spirits doesn’t just stop at whiskey.

Rum is also showing an increase in appreciation.

The  enterprising Íon Distillery near Omagh, County Tyrone, is banking on this appreciation by producing a rum aged in whiskey barrels!

I couldn’t resist trying it out.

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Irish Rum c/othewhiskeynut

A bottle was promptly sourced via the fast & efficient KWM Wine & Spirits online store in Kilkeel.

Íon – meaning pure – combine the history of the past blended with a sense of people & place finished in a modern innovative twist.

Sugar cane molasses from the Caribbean are distilled in a ‘doubler style’ copper pot still, infused with spices, cut with locally sourced water & laid to rest in ex-bourbon barrels.

Ogham style markings – found on ancient stones around Ireland – are used as an attractive motif on the bottle – along with images of the Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley’s Castle –  who possibly downed a few bottles of contraband rum in her time!

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My tot of rum. c/othewhiskeynut

I poured a glass.

The lovely golden hued liquid gave off a gorgeously spicy bouquet of cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg over an underlying gentle toffee sweetness.

Light in body, the soft caramel notes gave way to a growing spiciness & warming heat in a smooth delivery.

The spices left an enjoyably prickly sensation at the end as they slowly faded.

Very entertaining.

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Íon Rum c/othewhiskeynut

More of a winter warmer to me than a summer sizzler.

Being a bit of a purist myself I couldn’t help wondering what the rum would be like without the additional spices which tended to dominate the more subtle flavours within.

However this is in contradiction to the latest trend which shows spiced rum to be the fastest growing category in this segment.

Perhaps Íon are onto a winner here!

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