Tag Archives: Rum

Symphonia, Irish Apple Rum, 40%

It’s great to welcome new innovation into the spirits category.

Irish Apple Rum c/othewhiskeynut

The Woodlab Distillery in Co Tyrone have released this Caribbean Rum infused with Irish Jonagold Apples grown in Co Armagh to create Symphonia Irish Apple Rum.

I picked one up in my local Aldi for appraisal.

Technically I suppose it’s a spiced rum – which as the fastest growing rum category is no bad thing.

Info c/othewhiskeynut

Initial nosing is full of sweet nutmeg & assorted spices – much like a liqueur – with a hint of apple purée.

Smooth on the palate. A lovely mixture of golden apples & a warming spiciness which grows to dominate the finish leaving a soft tingling caressed with baked apple.

I may not be the target audience – but it’s certainly an entertaining tipple.

Personally I’d have preferred experiencing the apple influence on it’s own – but as the spiced category is booming it’s fabulous to see a new Irish player on the scene.

Congratulations to The Woodland Lab & their Symphonia Irish Apple Rum.

Sláinte

Coop Smooth White Caribbean Rum, 37.5%

I do love trying out these entry level own brand offerings.

There’s no pretence, airs & graces or big price tag.

Smooth Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Just plain & simple no nonsense spirit.

There’s a smidgen of information with this one.

Info c/othewhiskeynut

Blended in the Netherlands using Caribbean Rum & bottled in the UK for the Co-op.

A fairly soft & subtle nose with a faint kiss of funk.

Nice mouthfeel.

Growing heat on the finish with a soupçon of spice to keep it entertaining.

A pleasant easy drinker.

Sláinte

X-Mark, Gold Rum Beer, 5.9%

Rather than bother with the hassle of barrel ageing – X-Mark simply throw some of the flavouring agent into the mix.

X didn’t hit the spot. c/othewhiskeynut

You certainly get the hint of rum from this concoction – but it’s like drinking an ordinary lager with a dash of rum on top.

Ingredients c/othewhiskeynut

Other than the novelty – I don’t think I’ll be indulging again.

Sláinte

Rum, The Epic Story Of The Drink That Conquered The World, Charles A Coulombe

Rum – the spirit that spanned the globe.

The depth, spread, longevity & diversity of rum through all it’s manifestations is chronicled in this entertaining book – along with cocktail recipes if you wish to indulge.

A book on Rum & a bottle of Rum c/othewhiskeynut

From the days of slavery, pirates & colonial might – to the globalization of rum brands today – and all points in between.

Why Cuban rum is not available in the US to how Haiti is still an undeveloped nation.

Clairin to CachaçaDemerara to dunder – it’s in here – along with an intriguing Newfoundland variation – Screech.

Politics, plunder, prohibition & popular music – rum has been central to them all.

Read all about Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Pour yourself a glass, sit down & enjoy the story.

Sláinte

That S*it Will Never Sell! David Gluckman

As much passion, creativity & hard work goes into building a brand that sells big – Baileys – as to one that doesn’t – Kenya Cane anyone?

This attractively presented book delves into the often hidden world of a drinks & brand innovator.

Front c/othewhiskeynut

Clearly the author relished his work. Passion shines through in the pages of this highly entertaining & engaging publication.

In my travels I’ve fortunately encountered some of the brands featured – the aforementioned Baileys – to it’s lesser known Baileys The Whiskey.

Bailey’s The Whiskey c/othewhiskeynut

And there were a few others I’d have been tempted to try – Stubbs White Rum?

When branding is often more about perception than product, the author stresses the liquid must always match the narrative.

Back c/othewhiskeynut

I’ve pictured the book with Proper Twelve. It’s been a runaway success that many scoffed. The whiskey inside is every bit as good as the story.

Sláinte

Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract, Richard Atkinson

I found this book a compelling read.

Some rum for Mr Atkinson? c/othewhiskeynut

Ostensibly tracing the failures & fortunes of one family across the generations – it also captures the ups & downs of the British Empire through the involvement of that same family.

In doing so it details the centrality of the slave trade to British prosperity – the wars fought to maintain that wealth – and the role Rum played in holding it all together.

In the 18th Century Britain ruled the waves.

It’s ships exported manufactured goods, captured slaves from Africa to work the colonies in the Caribbean & N America & imported rum, sugar, coffee, cotton & tobacco from the exploitation of those slaves.

It made Britain – and all the other European powers involved – extremely rich.

The sailors on those ships were given a daily rum ration – not abolished until the 1970’s – and members of the authors family were central in procuring some of that rum – as well as overseeing the Jamaican colony where a lot of it came from.

A compelling read c/othewhiskeynut

The book is a fascinating insight into a dark period of human history where the complete subjugation & exploitation of one people for the unsustainable profits of another was deemed ‘good business’.

I just hope the rum I enjoyed while reading this book came about by a much more sustainable & equitable manner.

A highly recommended read that brings to life the horrors of the past & sheds some light on today’s travails.

Sláinte

Bacoo, 4 Year Old Rum, 40%, Dominican Republic

Aldi are upping their spirits game.

Established brands are now hitting the shelves in addition to Aldi’s own offerings.

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Benchmark No 8 c/othewhiskeynut

Benchmark No 8 – a decent high rye bourbon from the Buffalo Trace stable in Kentucky – represents the whiskey category.

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Bacoo in a Tuath glass. c/othewhiskeynut

Bacoo 4yo does the honours for rum.

Presented in an attractively embossed bottle – common throughout the range – Bacoo offers  ‘Made with Fresh Cane Juice’  &  ‘Aged in Ex-Bourbon Barrels’  as temptation.

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Yummy! c/othewhiskeynut

Fresh & fruity notes greeted me, touches of sugarcane grassiness, slight funk & dollops of demerara too.

Vanillas & caramel dominated the palate over that sweet sugarcane base.

A flourish of welcoming spice wrapped up this smooth – if rather sugar heavy offering.

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Bacoo back label c/othewhiskeynut

A fun, easy going rum vying for sweet dessert status.

Sláinte

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Scottish Rum Festival, 2020

I’d much rather have been at the live event – but COVID has moved us all online with the attendant technical glitches, slow response times & the sad loneliness of drinking alone in front of a computer screen.

It does however enable us to taste a wide variety of spirits, have the producers & brand owners tell their stories as well as allow some limited form of interaction.

A rather wet Saturday afternoon had me, my computer & 10 Scottish based rums ready to roll.

Rum is experiencing a bit of a boom.  I’m on it because I enjoy it – it suits my palate.

Irish Rum meanwhile is a little behind the curve with only Ion & Blacks releasing Irish distilled rums to date.

So what was on offer?

Ninefold Pure Single Rum, 40%

ninefold-pure-single-rum
Ninefold Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Distilled in Dumfries using imported mollases this white rum had a lovely fruity funkiness on the nose. A lovely oily palate with an enjoyable spice on the rear.

A very engaging 1st release.

Devil’s Point Golden Aged Rum, 38%

devils-point-golden-aged-rum
Devil’s Point Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

A Deeside – near Aberdeen – based distillery coming out of the craft beer scene, Devil’s Point Golden Rum had a sweet funk, silky smooth on the palate with a soft spice on the rear.

An easy drinker.

Mutagga Cask Aged Golden Rum, 42%

mutagga
Mutagga Rum c/oMutagga

I’d previously encountered this rum at the Fife Whiskey Show – I had the pleasure of attending just before lockdown – and it was a joy to re-experience it’s crisp , clear & slightly smoky funky appeal. Distilled just outside Edinburgh on direct fired alembic stills & aged in whiskey casks.

A lovely rum.

Liv Navy Strength Rum, 57.5%

liv-navy-strength-white-rum
Liv Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Another Mutagga product. This is an overproof unaged rum showing off the flavours purely from the raw ingredients & distilling process.

A powerful experience.

Rumburra Orach, Golden Rum, 42.3%

rumburra
Rumburra Rum c/oRumburra

This Fife based company imports their rum mainly from Barbados & does the final processing & marketing of the brand in Scotland.

An easy & accessible sweet rum.

The Rum Festival had a highly informative discussion with Dave Broom & Dr Stanley Mullen exploring the Scottish connection with the slave trade, sugar, rum & the whole imperialist domination of the Caribbean that built much of the wealth currently enjoyed in Scotland – and the West in general – today.

As an interlude – here’s a wonderful blend of Caribbean & Scottish musical culture.

The 2nd half kicked off with the following,

Seawolf White Rum, 41%

seawolf-white-rum
Seawolf Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

A very well presented white rum with pronounced funk on the nose. Distilled in Scotland for a popular pub chain focussing on mixing, Seawolf is nonetheless a lively & spicy little number.

Entertaining

Banditti Club, Glasgow Spiced Rum, 44%

banditti-club-rum
Banditti Club Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Now I must admit spiced spirits are not my scene – it’s the art of distillation I’m more interested in – so this offering from Glasgow Distillery – apart from the entertaining history attributable to the brand – was a bit of a diversion for me.

J Gow, Fading Light, 43%

j-gow-fading-light-rum
J Gow Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Great to be reacquainted with this rum from the Orkneys. Unusually matured in chestnut casks this mildly funky & rather spice forward offering stands out from the crowd.

Very nice!

Brewdog, Five Hundred Cuts, 40%

five-hundred-cuts-botanical-rum
Brewdog Rum c/oMasterOfMalt

Five Hundred Cuts would be an aptly named Tory election manifesto – but here is another spiced rum alluring to the variety of botanicals used in the mix. Brewdog are expanding far beyond their beer range with this spiced offering.

Sugar House, Scotch Bonnet, 47%

sugar-house-scotch-bonnet-rum
Sugar House Rum c/ospiritofalba

The bootle looks cool & it’s slightly unusual to have a white spiced rum. Of all the spiced rums this one would appeal to me most.

Hard to pick my winners from such a varied & enjoyable selection – but Ninefold Pure Single Rum & J Gow Fading Light stand out for me.

Sláinte

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Sierra Nevada, Narwhal, Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, 11.9%

Dark – very dark.

Aromas of coffee, sweet vanilla & molasses.

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Sierra Nevada Narwhal c/othewhiskeynut

Almost nitro smoothness on the palate.

For such a high strength ABV offering this is quite a light experience.

Despite it’s full year in bourbon barrels – I didn’t pick up a noticeable bourbon influence.  Truth is – I got more of a rum vibe going.

Those heavy – slightly burnt –  molasses combined with rich dark brown demerara sweetness were actually more suited to the Narwhal & pirate ship motif displayed on the eye-catching can!

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Beast of a Beer c/othewhiskeynut

A ‘beast of a beer’ indeed!

Sláinte

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Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair 2019

The Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair continues to be the first major drinks festival of the calendar in Ireland. Now in it’s 6th year – this is my 3rd visit.

I keep going back to enjoy the friendly atmosphere, sample the diverse & exciting array of craft beers & cider available – and taste some whiskeys too!

I’d like to thank Alltech for offering me a Media Pass to enjoy this years show so #ad is in order.

Now a word of advice – have a plan.

There is no way you’ll get round all the stalls & all the produce on offer – at least not in one day if you still want to be standing at the end of it.

My plan was relatively simple.

In order of priority I’d be checking out any new whiskeys, any new spirits, any new barrel aged beers, having a pie & enjoying myself.

Simples!

I made a beeline for Black’s Of Kinsale.

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#whiskey of the day c/othewhiskeynut

Their sourced 12 Year Old Single Malt – ahead of their own distillate maturing – captured me with it’s bold yet clean design & cool bottle.

The liquid inside didn’t disappoint either.

A warm smooth & inviting start with a slight smoky hint of charred casks developed into a silky mouthfeel which slowly morphed into a gorgeously dry finish.

A great start to the show.

Their Spiced Irish Rum also tempted me.

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#rum of the day c/othewhiskeynut

The Guatemalan sugar cane mollasses are imported into Ireland, fermented, distilled & matured by Black’s to produce an Irish Rum.

Now rum isn’t my speciality – but this had an invitingly pungent nose of earthiness, smokiness, sweetness & spice. The taste followed in this style & was a far more entertaining tipple than I expected.

Thumbs up all round for Black’s entry into the distilled spirits market.

Rye River Brewing happened to be nearby with their ever enthusiastic beer ambassador Simon. Now we happen to know each other prior to his latest rise to beer fame & he didn’t have to twist my arm too hard to get me sampling a Rye River special brewed for the show.

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#grodziskie of the day c/othewhiskeynut

It also wasn’t difficult to go on a slightly wavering tour of the festival – perhaps taking in more than we would have done individually – but having a great time nonetheless.

Kweichow Moutai were up next.

A newcomer into the market for Ireland this historic and extremely popular Chinese spirit often catagorised as ‘baijiu‘ is an area I’ve yet to venture into.

Gorgeously garishly attractive – both the bottle, stall design and uniformed – as well as informed – staff had me trying to get my head round the sorghum & wheat base, 9 distillation production technique and new taste sensations.

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#baijiu of the day c/othewhiskeynut

It has the nose & appearance of a poitin – yet the taste was something else. At 53% it was warm, inviting, softly sweet yet earthy & unusual. I’d have been tempted to buy a bottle to explore further – but on hearing the price – this is a premium product with a premium price tag I was informed – I made do with another sample that still had me yearning for more! One to watch as they say.

Knowing my predilection for darker, heavier beers Simon guided me to Clifden based Bridewell Brewery. Along with their core range a limited edition duo commemorating the historic first flight across the Atlantic by Alcock & Brown resulted  in highly enjoyable & very satisfying Navigator Transatlantic Brown. The Pilot Amber Ale of Alcock wasn’t too bad either!

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#brown ale of the day c/othewhiskeynut

Lough Gill Brewery of Sligo also got a look in with their Award Winning Barrel Aged Dark Sunset Imperial Oatmeal Stout.

Yes, yes and yes! – is all I can say.  Suits me sir!

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#barrel aged beer of the day c/othewhiskeynut

A few other beers were had – some enjoyable – others not so – before Simon went back to work – and I back to whiskey – Pearse Lyons Whiskey to be precise.

Now I thought I had a reasonable handle on the fast moving Irish Whiskey Scene – obviously not when confronted by three age statemented Pearse Lyons offerings!

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#revamped whiskey of the day c/othewhiskeynut

What gives?

Turns out the original core range of 4 has been revamped, rerecipied & rebranded!

Gone are the non age statements, chunky bottles & keyhole like labels – in is a sleeker, leaner shared brand identity with a slightly higher 43% ABV. Also gone is the Cooper’s Select – grab it while you can!

The names & colours remain the same – with Original now a 5yo & Distiller’s Choice a 7yo. Founder’s Reserve was already a 12yo.

Short of a back to back comparison with the old 42% versions I couldn’t discern what changes have taken place. It was admitted the Original had lost a little of it’s smoky character from the former Alltech Lexington Brewery & Distillery barrels. It also looks as if that facilities output has also had a rebrand – but I failed to make the Town Branch stall this time.

The newly rebranded Pearse Lyons trio all still taste very appealing & are attractively priced – yet I was somewhat surprised by the revamp – so much so I needed a break – and a pie – to recompose myself!

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#pie of the day c/othewhiskeynut

Pieman continue to be a favourite festival pie provider of mine. A roast chicken & sausage stuffing pie sated my hunger & calmed me down for the final push. It also allowed some entertaining chats & discussions with fellow attendees on the shared table spaces dotted around the hall. Hats off to the Tempted ciderist who won Best In Show for their gorgeously dry & balanced Tempted Strawberry Cider & explained the intricacies of the trade to me over our meal.

Conscious that time was limited to make the last train home – I found another barrel aged beer to sample at the Clocked Out stall.

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#brett of the day c/othewhiskeynut

Brett  yeast seems to be a growing trend in craft brewing but I’m still not sure of the sour & funky taste even with this fine barrel aged stout. I did manage a quick catch up with the ever energetic Mr Guilfoyle whose rise in beer has been a pleasure to witness.

Scottish punk drink empire’s BrewDog stand earned a final visit. I knew they had a sourced whisky lurking under the counter waiting to celebrate Scotland’s win over England in the Six Nations which ultimately went to a draw.

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#whisky of the day c/othewhiskeynut

Uncle Duke’s is a Cameron Bridge sourced single grain with American virgin oak maturation, no chill filtration & natural colour. Rich, warm & inviting with a lovely dry spiciness showing through the soft & smooth delivery.

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#waffle of the day c/othewhiskeynut

A proud testament to the enduring legacy of Irishman Aeneas Coffey whose continuous still was adopted by Cameron Bridge back in the 1830’s – and is still going strong today – in a larger modern version –  with wonderful results like this.

And with that it was all over for me – despite the growing crowds still entering to enjoy the evenings entertainment.

All I was looking forward to now was that hot cup of tea on the train home!

Sláinte

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