The fifth edition of the 1931 series which is now celebrating 84 years of Rum Making on the island of St Lucia. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the UK will see any of this stock as they have struggled to make enough to satisfy demand particularly in US. I’m not going to give this issue anymore time – suffice to say this is the second rum producer in the past few months to have disappointed me by not making their product available in the UK. I’m no longer interested in the reasons or excuses.
So I had to import this from mainland Europe which shipping aside presented few issues and enabled me to pick up another few interesting bottles. The average price for a bottle of 1931 each year has been around £55-65. This 5th edition bucks the trend ABV wise and is bottled at 46% ABV which is higher than the usual 43%.
Presentation wise the 1931 have all been identical apart from the colour scheme. For this outing we are going for a very fetching shocking pink. Which is nice…….
St Lucia Distillers have a variety of both pot and column stills available to them. They also get quite a selection of used Bourbon barrels. They have also begun experimenting with Cane Juice rum (I won’t dare call it Agricole). As a result the 1931 series gives the master distiller licence to play with the available stocks and create something unique. In the past this has also resulted in the addition of sugar. A small amount has also been added to this blend. The rums in the blend are aged between 6 and 12 years.
Michael Speakman who works for SLD was kind enough to provide the following information on a Facebook Group
“35% Vendome Pot Still
18% John Dore Pot Still
20% John Dore/Vendome blend
18% Column (Coffey)
and 9% Agricole (John Dore)”
I like the transparency that Michael gives us as Rum Enthusiasts. Its refreshing and good to see.
So with all that information concluded we may as well move onto the fun part. Nosing and sipping.
A little more information first this rum is Batch 05 Bottle Number 550 and was bottled on the 7th December 2015.
In the glass the rum is a fairly dark reddish/brown. The nose is immediately familiar. It’s quite a sweet and fruity nose. There are nice notes of red grapes, banana and some zesty tangerine/orange. This is all held together nicely be a very inviting spicy sweet/sour oak. There is a freshness to the rum – unlike the minty 3rd 1931 this has more of a slightly agricole like cane freshness.
There is a little of the brine and tree-sap which crept into other 1931’s but not as much as the 1st or 2nd editions. The more you nose the more you seem to notice – traces of mint and even a slight char from the oak are evident with more extensive nosing.
It’s complex stuff but overall the feeling is this has a sweet, fresh profile. It’s inviting and very interesting. In many ways its similar to the 4th edition 1931. I believe since the 3rd edition all the 1931’s have been sweeter and less dry than the first two offerings. This continues that trend.
Sipped the rum is drier than I was expecting. It has a surpising amount of oak.and there is a definite char to the oak spices I’m experiencing. There is a touch of burnt caramel on the palate. Sweetness is delivered by way of some vanilla and a almost tannic like red wine “grape” note.
A slightly salty sea salt note is also present which again gives the rum a slightly vegetal feel. The rum in many ways gives a mouthfeel of menthol chewing gum. It’s a very clean distillate but not in the conventional sense.
There is a lot going on with this rum and as I have said before with other 1931’s I’m not sure if there is just a bit to much going on. I feel they are trying to cram to much into this drink. We have after all in this rum two different pot stills, column distillation and agricole.
I do often feel some rums are trying to much to be different when a more straightforward approach maybe better.
Having said that at around £60 if you like this particular very distinctive style of rum then you will find yourself in very safe hands.
For me they still haven’t trumped the 2nd or 4th release but this is another very good addition.