1931 St Lucia Distillers – 1st Edition

1931 St Lucia Distillers 1st edition rum review by the fat rum pirateSt Lucia Distillers are famous for producing Chairman’s Reserve, Bounty (mainly for the domestic market) and Admiral Rodney.

1931 is a rum brought onto the market in 2011 to commemorate 80 years of the Dennery Distillery, St Lucia.  In 1972 the Dennery and the Roseau Distilleries merged and formed the company we have now, St Lucia Distillers.

Regulars to this site will know that I am a huge fan of St Lucia Distillers.  Whilst bigger producers from more prominent rum producing islands such as Jamaica and Barbados are widely applauded for producing rum the “right way” (no additives – particularly no added sugar), St Lucia Distillers are rarely given the kudos afforded to giants such as Foursquare and Appleton.

The reason for this is possibly due to St Lucia Distillers lack of presence in the US market.  Despite having a distributor in the US – Team Spirits  I understand that they have had difficulty especially with Admiral Rodney due to its similar name to another product widely available in the US Admiral Nelson’s.  It would seem the US like to protect home grown product.  Even if its quality is questionable……..

I am a little behind the times in reviewing this rum.  This is the first edition which was released back in 2011.  Long before I established this website.  Each year a new 1931 is released to commemorate rum production at Dennery the first edition celebrated 80 years, the 2nd 81 years and so on and so forth.  We are currently at the 4th edition.  I’ll try and catch up I promise.

1931 1st Edition Rum Review by the fat rum pirate,1931 is released in limited quantities and each bottle is individually numbered.  My bottle is from Batch 1 – Bottle Number 5457 and was bottled on the 17th May 2011. Each years release is a different rum to the previous years, using different distillates.  It is not a case of batch variation year on year.  Each year a new rum is created.  It is blended under the supervision of Master Blender Evanius Harris.

1931 is bottled in a 70cl, almost decanter like bottle at 43% ABV.  In the UK if you can track down a bottle of this it will cost you around £60.  When released the rums cost around £55-60.

The rums in this blend are a blend of Coffey (continuous column still) and Copper Pot Still distillates.  The age of the blend varies, with rums from 1999 to 2004 used.  The various rums in the blend are aged in Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Buffalo Trace casks and two unnamed Port Pipes, before being blended, aged and left to marry in small Bourbon casks until maturation.

The presentation, as you can see from the photos is exceptional.  The stopper is huge and gives a very satisfying pop.  It has 1931 – 80 Years of St Lucia Rum Making in an metal insert on top of the huge mahogany coloured stopper.  The stopper itself is natural cork.  The bottle reminds me instantly of a fine Cognac bottle.  The protective card box could have been a bit more sturdy however.  Overall though the quality of the bottle wins out and the labelling is cleared and uncluttered.

Of course the most important thing with rum is not the background story or the fancy presentation.  Many rums look premium but are anything but!  From my past experiences with St Lucia Distillers my hopes are high for this rum.

1931 1st edition rum review by the fat rum pirateIn the glass the rum is a lovely shimmering golden brown.  It is bright and vibrant.  The nose of the rum gives you an immediate waft of Pot Still Rum.  Compared to Admiral Rodney which is 100% column distilled, this is quite a big difference.  The nose is more intense.  It is rich and fruity.  Not quite in the boundaries of a Jamaican still pot still but certainly more punchier than the lighter Bajan style.  It is very much like Chairman’s Reserve’s slightly bigger brother.  There is a fair bit going on in the nose.  Initially it is quite zesty, limes and orange peel, but it still has an undercurrent of light vanilla and gentle oak ageing.  It is both delicate and slightly punchy at the same time.  There are notes on the nose that are almost vegetal.  Quite reminiscent of Bourbon in many ways.  Slightly grassy with an almost banana skin like note.

The nose is good and satisfyingly complex.  There is little by way of the harsh alcohol notes that remain in Chairman’s Reserve.  This is without doubt a big step up from that.  The nose is less chocolatey than the Admiral Rodney.  It has a lot more going on, for some maybe too much.  I can understand why some may prefer the more comforting notes of the Admiral Rodney.

St Lucia Distillers are marketing this as a Super Premium Sipping Experience.  On taking a mouthful I can understand why.  There are those out there who think older more expensive rums are better than less aged rums.  Whilst in theory rum should develop with age, in the Caribbean climate it can be a very difficult balancing act.  It does not take a lot for a rum to be aged too long.  There are many long aged rums that really should have been bottled a lot earlier.  The problem is, those that have paid premium price for these products are loathe to admit they’ve bought a turkey!

The rums in this blend are between 7 and 12 years old.  This probably goes some way to explaining how they can package the rum so exquisetly and still sell the rum at a price, which is affordable to most budgets.  It is well within budget for those who have developed a penchant for “sipping rums”.

1931 St Lucia RumSipping this rum offers a rich experience.  The upfront zesty notes almost wine like notes on the nose are there when you take a sip.  The mouthfeel is slightly dry and spicy.  Oak and vanilla are very much present.  This rum is pretty well balanced but not quite perfect.  I would have preferred the citrus and zest to be parred down a little and for more cocoa notes to have been present.  That is largely personal preference and is a very minor criticism.  The finish is long and leaves behind notes which anyone who is familiar with St Lucia Dsitillers products will be familiar with.  It is fruity, oaked and very long lasting.

Further sips reveal more sweetness and less citrus.  A little honey and vanilla, the rum is smooth and goes down very nicely.  It reminds me of a lot of different styles.  Jamaican (but not quite punchy enough), Bajan (but not quite as mellow or as oaky as something like MGXO – more akin to a Foursquare) and in its smoothness and slightly wine like notes Barbancourt.  It has that smoothness.

It’s good very good but for me I can’t help feel it is just missing something.  The citrus peel notes are just a tiny bit over the top for my palate.  Despite Admiral Rodney being only a column distilled rum I found slightly more enjoyment in that rum.

It’s still great though and very much a grower.  A really complex rum.

4 stars

 

 

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