Bristol Classic Rum are perhaps more famous for their red labelled Port Mo(u)rants. This 1988 Enmore Still bottling seems to have flown under the radar. It has not attracted anywhere near as much attention.
As this Enmore Still rum was distilled in 1988. It is likely that it was actually produced on the old Enmore Distillery site rather than Demerara Distiiilers Limited (DDL). The record books tell me that Enmore Distillery did not cease production completely, until 1993.
In the world of Independent Demerara rum it can be very difficult to judge one bottle from the next. The Enmore Still used for this should be the EHP (Edward Henry Porter) Continuous Coffey Still. Which you might think will simplify things…….not entirely.
The EHP still can produce nine unique marques of rum from light to heavy. From what I can gather this rum is a lighter style. From speaking with John Barrett (the owner of Bristol Classic Rum) this rum has been aged for 20 years in American Oak (Bourbon Casks) and did not have any kind of finish applied to it. It spent most of its twenty years ageing here in the UK.
Which along with all the various stills and marques of rum available under the Demerara name adds another factor when it comes to a potential purchase. Tropical Ageing or Cooler Climate European Ageing.
This rum was bottled way back in 2008. I’m not quite sure how long after that it was made available. I have been told that the only remaining bottles are already with the retailers. There will be no further issues of this particular vintage – this is all Bristol had and its now all gone as far as they are concerned. I didn’t get tube container with this bottle and the label is more the old style Bristol label. So it must be a good few years old.
In the UK a bottle of this (if you can find one) will retail at around the £90-95 price point and it is bottled at 43% ABV.
The Enmore Still 1988 is a very light Demerara rum. Similar in colour to Bristol’s Diamond Distiilery 1998. A light gold to straw colour. It is slightly cloudy suggesting no filtering. The colour also suggests no or minimal caramel was added. It is often not the bottler who adds the caramel. DDL are known for adding caramel before the rum is aged.
The nose is pretty big, like the Port Mo(u)rant bottlings, it has a slightly musky, sulphourous note to it. It’s almost savoury smelling. Leather and tobacco. Reassuringly after a little time in the glass you get less sulphur and more balanced oaked aromas. The lighter style of the rum comes through more. You get a more familiar raisined Demerara note.
Sipping this rum is a bit of a mixed bag. It starts out fairly light with some sweet fruit notes – raisins and a touch of banana. It then changes very quickly. The more oaked notes take over along with some sulphurous chemical like flavour. These notes overwhelm the palate.
Further sips reveal more of the lighter notes, more fruit for a little longer but again the mid palate and the finish are overwhelmed by the more musty tobacco and almost petrol like notes. You could well believe that this was an experimental blend of Caroni and Demerara.
The finish is very hot and spicy and long lasting. Its mainly the leather, tobacco and slightly petrol like notes (or fumes) you are left with, unfortunately.
From a personal viewpoint there isn’t enough of the fruity Demerara notes in this rum. Not enough complexity beyond the oaked notes to make this a really brilliant rum. It’s not a bad rum but there is a sense that its a little overoaked, Maybe the lighter rum just wasn’t quite up to 20 years of ageing? You just get the feeling that one of the components in this rum just hasn’t quite turned out as you might have hoped. Something has just went a little wrong with this.
It’s a piece of history. For a 20 year old rum it isn’t really that expensive. Compared to the Silver Seal Enmore 2002 – this falls quite a way short. It’s a good authentic rum. One that I am pleased to have tried but it wouldn’t be one I would buy again.