1931 4th Edition is the latest release in the series from St Lucia Distillers. Originally produced to commemorate 80 years of the Dennery Distillery we are now celebrating 83 years of rum production at the distillery.
Released in the UK shortly before Christmas 2015 this is batch 04, bottle 5806 which was bottled on the 8th December 2014. In the UK a bottle of this rum will set you back around £60 it is a 70cl bottle and the ABV is 43% which as the bottle kindly points out adds upto 30 UK units of alcohol.
Presentation wise it is the same as previous years the only difference being the colour scheme which this year is black, gold and yellow. The presentation is still as striking as ever and as ever the huge cork stopper gives a very satisfying pop when opened.
With each year the blend changes – this year we have the introduction of some of St Lucia Distillers Sugar Cane Juice r(h)um. I’ll stop short of calling it agricole just in case it isn’t 100% agricole – the French can be very touchy about it!
The blend in this years offering is as follows from what I have been able to gather up (unfortunately they haven’t released as much information on their website about this or the 3rd edition). It is a blend of pot and column distilled rums aged 6 to 12 years. There is a new component in the Cane Juice r(h)um which St Lucia distillers have only recently begun producing. The rum has been aged in Bourbon casks and blended together to finish in Port Pipes/casks.
Recently St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies (SLD) has been acquired by Martinique conglomerate Group Bernard Hayot (GBH). Founded in 1960, GBH has a number of businesses through the French overseas departments including Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Reunion and New Caledonia, as well as other enterprises based in Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, West Africa, China, Morocco and Algeria. In terms of rhum they own two distilleries on Martinique – Clement and J.M. It’s certainly an exciting merger and one which I am sure help grow St Lucia Distillers profile even further.
At this stage I’m going to show you a photo of something really good to pair with this rum. Regular readers will no doubt be aware just how excited these chocolates made me! (If the picture isn’t that clear they are Dark Rum truffles made with Chairman’s Reserve)
So lets move onto the actual rum now. It may be the colour scheme used but this rum does look a shade darker than the other rums in the 1931 series. Particularly in the bottle but even perhaps in the glass. Not much at it might just be my eyesight. It an inviting vibrant reddish/mahogany brown.
The nose on the 4th Edition 1931 is also very inviting and refreshingly familiar. Although coming up “clean” on a Hydrometer test Michael Speakman of St Lucia Distillers has since revealed the 4-6 g/L of sugar have been added to this rum. Michael also gave the following information regarding the blend. You’ll struggle to find anything more transparent than this.
1931 – Fourth Edition (Black Label) – 43% alc/vol; 86% proof
Molassas Base – 89%
Column Still – 46%
6% – 11 year (Bourbon Cask)
9% – 9 year (Bourbon Cask)
9% – 7 year (Bourbon Cask)
9% – 9 year (Bourbon Cask)
7% – 7 year (Bourbon Cask)
3% – 9 year (Port Cask)
3% – 9 year (Port Cask)
Pot Still/Column Blend – 11%
11% – 10 year John Dore 1/Column 50%/50% (Bourbon Cask)
Pot Still – 32%
13% – 15 year – John Dore 1 (Bourbon Cask)
5% – 9 year – John Dore 2 (Bourbon Cask)
7% – 10 year – Vendome (Bourbon Cask)
7% – 9 year – John Dore 1/Vendome 50%/50% (Bourbon Cask)
Sugar Cane First Press (Rum Agricole) – 11%
11% – 6 year – John Dore Pot (Bourbon Cask)
Maturation: 94% Bourbon; 6% Port Cask
Ages: 13% 15 year; 6% 11 year; 18% 10 year; 36% 9 year; 16% 7 year; 11% 6 year
Familiar almost Jamaican like funk and notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and a fresh almost minty note are present as expected. Alongside some slight hints of caramel, leather and tobacco. As with all the St Lucian rums it has a profile all of its own yet it has so many recognisable influences. The rhum in the blend seems to be adding the fresh minty notes – there is nothing grassy or immature on the nose. Nice but not overdone oaked notes and an almost bourbon-ish note also contributes to the very complex nose. This is a rum you can spend a lot of time nosing and enjoying more and more flavours. It’s very complex and multi layered. Overall it is best described as fairly sweet.
Sipped and this is the only way to enjoy this rum – (it is wasted mixed believe me) you are enjoying a rum which is very distinctive. Whilst St Lucia Distillers rums have similarities with rums of other Caribbean Islands (Jamaica and Barbados) they have at the heart of them their own thing going on. The funk which reminds me of Jamaican rums has a more earthy almost vegetal feel to it than the more ester heavy Jamaican rums. It has a nice funk heavy bite but flavour wise it is much different – the bourbon cask (they use a lot of different bourbon casks) is very active in the rums profile giving a sweet sour mouth feel especially on the first few sips.
It is like all the 1931’s amongst the most complex sipping rums you will encounter. There is a lot going on and whilst all the components occasionally feel like they are clashing its still a very good rum. The only thing that lets the 1931 series down is a slight lack of balance overall. Almost as if it is trying too hard. There is nothing wrong with it as such- but on occasion you can find it all just a bit too busy.
It is a rum which carries all the promise of its nose through to the flavours when sipped. It is best enjoyed slowly. It has a very long and layered finish.
A rum which really needs to be savoured. Great stuff.