Bristol Classic Rum 1998 Diamond Distillery Demerara Rum

Bristol Classic Rum Diamond Distiilery 1998 rum review by the fat rum pirate Bristol’s 1998 Diamond Distillery Demerara rum has got to be up there as one of the longest titles I’ve put up, but I felt all the information was valid.  Over the next few months I will be putting up my usual “commercial” rum reviews alongside a number of “independent” bottlings.

That is not to say that the independent bottlers aren’t in it for the money but they offer a niche product for which a select few are willing to pay for.  The independent bottlers are doing this equally for the love of rum, whereas some of the commercial peddlers of sub standard swill are doing it for the filthy lucre.

Bristol Classic Rum hail from (where else) Bristol, England.  According to Managing Director John Barrett Bristol Classic Rum do the following

“Seek out small quantities, sometimes only single barrels from a single distillery, or a single estate or even a single still to show rum in its true unblended form.

Aging at the Distillery, or here in the United Kingdom is so important to the rums development, thus combined with careful bottling and a minimum of filtration allows the characteristics of each individual rum to show.

Enjoy with your favourite mixer, in exciting cocktails, or at its best just over ice!”

Now for anyone who accessed the website I think its pretty clear that John Barrett probably has his fingers in many pies and I suspect……he’s not short of a bob or two.  Bristol Classic Rum is without doubt a labour of love.  In many respects its almost like a whacky experiment.  They have added some unusual finishes to some rums (I have a 1990 Port Morant which was finished in port casks) and have sourced rum from Peru and Mauritius rather than the standard ports of call.  They have also introduced a Spiced Rum which has been described as liquid Christmas pudding……

1998 Diamond Distillery Demerara rum review by the fat rum pirate BristolThe rum up for review today is the 1998 Diamond Distillery Demerara Rum.  Now I have done some research and I have managed to work out the rum in this bottle is column distilled rather than pot distilled and may come from the Coffey still which has always been housed at the Diamond Distillery, which now makes up part of Demerara Distillers Limited huge operation.  However if you know different let me know.  Unlike a lot of the stills at DDL this still has always been part of the estate rather than a still from another distillery in Guyana such as Uitvluigt.

The rum has been aged for 12 years in England (up to 2010) and then bottled by Bristol Classic rum.

This edition of Bristol rum set me back £48.99 for a 70cl bottle.  The rum is bottled at a respectable 40% ABV.  I was a little taken aback by the reverse of the bottle which states it is “a perfect rum to enjoy with your favourite mixer”.  Like I said I don’t think John Barrett is short of a bob or two.

As with most Bristol rums you get a nice cylinder to house the rum which further states the companies philosophy.  Each rum has a sticker on the cylinder which give a nice touch of DIY to proceedings.  The bottle itself is a heavy well made medium sized bottle with a very nice corked enclosure.

I’ve tried this rum and a few other independent bottlings I have reviewed recently over a number of sessions.  I’m pleased I have done so you really need to give these rums a chance to grow on you.  It sounds silly that you have to do that but believe me you will notice the difference after a few sittings with just about any rum.  What can seem fantastic initially can quickly fade and vice versa.

1998 Diamond Distillery Demerara rum review by the fat rum pirate BristolMy first impressions of the 1998 Diamond were quite disappointing.  Whilst I knew I wasn’t going to get an El Dorado type rum, I was expecting a little more.  What I found was an almost vegetal tasting rum.  My initial thoughts were not good.  How pleased I am that like my recent taste of Caroni, that I persisted.

Re-visiting the rum today I am much more impressed.  The nose hints at that classic El Dorado nose.  It offers that sweet Demerara like profile but it isn’t the big sugary bouquet that is offered by the El Dorado range.  What it definitely doesn’t offer is the overly sweet sometimes cloying sugar and treacle rush of many of the cheaper Demerara rums or Caribbean Blends.

There is enough of a sweet nose their to tempt you in.  There is also a very slight almost hops like nose.  A little like a sweet beer.  Again its quite subtle.  The hint of the vegetal flavour I first encountered can also be nosed.  However, this is something which is adding a lightness a kind of freshness to the nose.  The nose isn’t outstanding like some rums such as Captain Bligh XO or El Dorado 15 but its pleasant and inviting enough..

As the rum is bottled at 40% rather than cask strength the rum can be sipped without any water.  In many ways it would have been nice to see this bottled at Cask Strength but I think the company knew what they were doing with this particular rum.  I’ll come to that again later in the review.

1998 Diamond Distillery Demerara rum review by the fat rum pirate BristolSipping the rum is a pleasant experience.  Upfront you are confronted with that familiar Demerara flavour.  The rum is quite rich and despite the slightly muted nose, full of rich flavour.  Initially.  Rich fruity raisin and chocolate notes dominate giving a intense hit of flavour.  Unfortunately it is quite short lived.  The finish is very short and little by way of flavour is left behind.  The alcohol burn is pretty minimal and the rum is very easy going and pleasant enough to sip.

As advised the rum should be enjoyed with your favourite mixer so I will give it a go.  (It’s a hard life sometimes……)

Around 50ml of rum and approx. 75ml of cola will do nicely.  It makes a nice rum and cola.  At £48.99 a bottle I would suggest it should.  I’m probably being unfair as the rum works really well with the cola.  It’s a very good rum and cola.  Despite the lightness of the rum, it isn’t dominated by the cola at all.  The familiar Demerara nose and flavour come through.  I’m now getting a bit more of the slightly bitter liquorice flavours that I would associate with Woods 100 Navy Rum.  However, what will become very clear to anyone who tries both this and the 1990 Port Morant ( a review will be in the next few weeks) is just how sweetened all our much loved commercial Demerara rums are.

It’s been very interesting reviewing another Independent bottling.  For me it’s not really been a surprise what I have tasted with this rum.  I long since abandoned the idea that “sweet and smooth” was due to ageing or any of the marketing hyperbole surrounding certain products.  I know when someone has added sugar to my tea, salt to my steak and I sure as hell no when someone is trying to add maple syrup extract to my rum!

This rum makes for a pretty decent mixer and I would recommend it to anyone who wishes for a less sugary Demerara.  It’s okay as a sipper but it is a little short in the finish.  I salute John Barrett for allowing us to taste this rum as it is but at £48.99 I would personally want more than a mixer.

3 stars

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