1931 St Lucia Distillers – Chairman’s Reserve

1931 St Lucia Distillers - Chairman's Reserve rum review by the fat rum pirate1931 St Lucia Distillers – Chairman’s Reserve. This is a rum which is both new and familiar. Iterations of “1931” have been available since 2011. The rum was originally released to celebrate 80 years of rum production on St Lucia. For 6 years a different blend of rums were put together to commemorate another year of rum production on the island.

The blends became increasingly complex and increasingly popular. It is sad but not entirely surprising to learn that the only rum St Lucia Distillers “adultered” with added sugar in this series was also the biggest seller! The third edition whilst still a good rum was in my opinion, not as complex as the others.

In 2017/18 St Lucia Distillers re-branded and revitalised their whole range of rums. Bounty Rum became available in various different guises and was distributed far wider than before. Admiral Rodney became a range of rums rather than a standalone product and it was decided that 1931 would become a more defined product under the popular Charman’s Reserve banner.

So rather than a limited edition once a year release 1931 St Lucia Distillers Chairman’s Reserve, is now a continuous release. It is still a very complex blend of Pot and Column distilled rums but the formula is one which can be produced on a regular basis. So the 1931 you buy this year will be pretty much the same as next years. Unlike the previous very differing 1931’s that were released each year.

The bottle i am reviewing is from 2017 and I have bottle number 4128 it is a blend of both Column and Pot distilled rum. There are no fewer than 14 different distillates in this blend. From 4 seperate stills at SLD. These stills consist of 2 John Dore stills, one Vendome still and a Coffey still. There is also a agricole style rum produced from estate grown sugar cane.

The rums have all been aged seperately in ex-bourbon or ex-port barrels for a period between 6 and 15 years. The final blend is lightly filtered and then bottled at 46% ABV.

Presentation wise SLD have kept the lovely decanter style bottles with the huge chunky wooden stoppers they have adopted the Chairman’s Reserve logo and went for a khaki green, gold and off white colour scheme. It looks very impressive particularly the bottle.

In the UK a 70cl of St Lucia Distiller’s 1931 – Chairman’s Reserve will cost around £75 the usual stockists apply. You can read a little more about SLD on their website, though I warn you now it could do with a bit of an update.

I’ve always had a soft spot for St Lucia Distillers and Chairman’s Reserve. It was a bottle of Chairm1931 St Lucia Distillers - Chairman's Reserve rum review by the fat rum piratean’s Reserve that first made me appreciate something a little more “Premium” than Supermarket swill. It was also the first rum event that I ever attended in person. A Chairman’s Reserve Master Class with Dave Marsland aka Drinks Enthusiast. As well as being the Brand Ambassador for Chairman’s Reserve Dave has also been running the Manchester Rum Festival, which unfortunately has had to be postponed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a lighter note lets see how this compares to the previous 1931’s.

In the glass the rum is a very dark brown with an orange hue. The nose is familiar and welcoming. Pine cones and forests in full bloom, mingle alongside a slightly briny note. Further aromas of dark chocolate, coffee and caramel put in an appearance as the complexity builds.

Further nosing reveals a slightly bourbon-esque note of charred wood and vanilla. Peaches and raisins are also coming through the more I nose. There is a slightly sweeter note – which I think may be from the agricole style component. A little hint of grassy freshness is definitely there.

Sipped, this is a very complex blend of rums. In the past I have suggested that the 1931’s were maybe a little over complicated. This definitely has got the balance right. The flavours are well defined and there is a lot going on but it’s all well balanced and each component really makes its mark.1931 St Lucia Distillers - Chairman's Reserve rum review by the fat rum pirate

The initial entry is quite herbal with a touch of mintyness. It’s bright, clean and fresh. There is a nice burst of cocoa and a touch of tobacco. This moves onto a mid palate which has a nice oaky char resting alongside banana, dark chocolate and caramel.

The finish is long with lots of spicy ginger and charred oak. It’s warm and luxourious and you will sip this sparingly to enjoy the long elegant slightly smoky finish.

This is pretty much near the top for me in terms of the 1931 series. Though I must confess I do prefer the recently released Whisky Exchange Chairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection, but only by a very small margin.

This is still an excellent rum for the money.

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