Water of Life - Mount Gay
Lord Byron claimed that there is naught so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion. While I concur with Karl Marx who has attested to the calming effect of religion, i.e. declaring it as opium for the masses, I am new to the world of rum and have at times to be convinced of why I would find similar enjoyment in indulging in it as I do with whisky.
Tonight’s centre of attention were the emissions of one of the oldest existing rum houses, i.e. Mount Gay rum, a distillery based in Barbados and known for pioneering the use of double copper pot stills, whose Eclipse expression - named not only after the phenomenon of a solar eclipse but also a reference to the the passage of Halley's comet in 1910 – was introduced after an excellence daiquiri that was based on the silver expression.
Mount Gay’s Eclipse hits you with an array of flowery notes and the hints of vanilla create a seamless transition to the fruity nuances that unfold once it hits your palate before it exits through a spicy and oaky alley. Not overly complex yet with its creamy molasses, light-bodied viscosity and aged for up to two years in Kentucky oak ex-bourbon barrels quite nice as a sipper and as a utility rum and I’d imagine this to be the perfect adage to a good cup of tea or as an adult beverage after dinner.
Next up was Mount Gay’s Black Barrell, which as per the expression’s telling name, has been aged in heavily charred bourbon barrels. On the nose the bourbon barrels’ impact hits you first in the best way possible with a rich and warm melange of creamy vanilla, sultanas and hints of pepper. More vanilla finds itself on the palate, complemented by cinnamon and other spicy notes, before it culminates in a well-balanced, looping finish that can be best described in an extended hybrid of the notes.
A gorgeous, spicy and earthy rum with a thick creamy mouthfeel and definitely a step up from the Eclipse.
Completing the troika of tonight’s offerings was Mount Gay’s XO, i.e. “extra old” as it has been aged between eight and fifteen years in ex-bourbon barrels. Now, we are talking: Upon the first sip the borderline perfect balance of dryness and sweetness, wood and salivation won me over. Almost too smooth with its cinnamon-esque wood aroma, this is one distinguished rum that with its warmth goes down a treat. Paired with dessert, the fruity character of the XO was even more amplified.
If you harbour a weak spot for Glenmorangie’s Quinta Ruban Cask expression, this smooth yet robust one is the rum you want to try.
Now, having had the trio of the three rums was a nice introduction to what Mount Gay has to offer, however, it was to be topped by an epic expression that pretty much encapsulates the essence of the nexus between excellence in rum distilling and the craftmanship that Islay whiskies are known for:
Mount Gay’s XO limited edition single blended Peated expression – a drop that after having been matured for eight to fifteen years in bourbon barrels, then gets its refined edge through a finish based on maturation in Islay peated whisky casks from Port Charlotte distillery.
Sounds like some serious rum / whisky crossover porn? Well, it does not only sound like it. It starts with the presentation, as the flask shaped bottle is housed in a wooden box.
Amber-mahogany in colour, this is one fruity, nutty rum number resting on a well-made bed of vanilla and fruity notes, clocking in at 57% that is serenaded by the trademark salty and smoky notes from the peated whisky casks.
What a velvety balance.
Pineapple with a smoke finish that is subtle and simply amazing.
Have you started salivating yet? Well, you should . . .
A rich, superb and complex special edition indeed that proves to be an extension of Mount Gay’s excellent core range and one that grows with each sip.
The Mount Gay tasting was hosted at The Forgotten Cask, a Rum Bar & Kitchen on the rooftop of the Cauliflower hotel in Sydney’s Waterloo. If you ever find yourself in town, the bold and flavourful sustenance coming up from the kitchen along with the tiki inspired tropical décor that frames the over ninety rums and spirits on offer prove to be an enjoyable location to either be educated by the engaging staff’s rum expertise as well as a casual drink.
Read more Water of Life entries here.
Photos by @k.a.vv