Cadenhead’s Classic Rum

Cadenhead's Classic Rum Review by the fat rum pirateCadenhead’s are an independent Scotch Whisky and Spirit bottler from Campbelltown, Argyle in Scotland.  They are well respected, not only for their whiskies but also for producing some legendary rums over the years.  They have put out several 30 plus years old Demeraras and have a very eclectic mix of rums currently available.

Most of these bottlings are issued at Cask Strength.  Though they do have a number of “Green Label” products which are bottled at more recognisable ABV’s of 40, 43 and sometimes 46%.

Now I’m not exactly inexperienced when it comes to buying rum.  Despite this my choices continue to puzzle me to this day.  I originally wanted a Cask Strength Demerara but upon seeing that the postage and packing on the Cadenheads site was a princely £10, my infuriating logic took hold and I found myself buying this 50% Demerera blend and a 20cl bottle of the 1824 Cask Demerara Blend (68% ABV will be reviewed soon).  This rum retails at around £30-35.

I do read a lot about rum and whilst I honestly don’t read many reviews I had stumbled across a couple of reviews and remarks about this rum.  Before buying it, despite the lack of information on the bottle and cylinder I knew it was a Demerara only blend.  Unable to find much else about the rum I fired off an email to Cadenhead’s and was pleasantly surprised when they came back virtually straight away with the following information regarding this rum.

“The classic is a blending of several dark rums from Guyana (Demerara mainly) the age is around 5-7 years old but they will use up to 10 year old for the consistency as and when needed.”

The Classic Rum is bottled at 50% ABV and comes in a very nice stubby style bottle.  It comes with a nice gold cylinder and the plastic topped stopper is a synthetic cork.  The rear label has only a very small sticker with some information about the rum

“This product has been bottled under the sole responsibility of Wm Cadenhead Ltd.  With the exception of the addition of water to bring it to drinking strength it has not been treated to change its colour and is free from all additives.  It has not been subjected to any chill filtering that might remove natural constituents and spoil its flavour”

Can’t say fairer than that! The Hydrometer Tests also show the rum at least has no added sugar.The classic is a blending of several dark rums from Guyana (Demerara mainly) the age is around 5-7 years old but they will use up to 10 year old for the consistency as and when needed.   The rum even in the bottle is a golden colour.  This also backs up the lack of colouring.  Most Demerara’s particularly younger ones are very dark due to added Caramel.  This is a lovely vivid reddish, golden brown.

In the glass the rum shimmers red and gold.  The nose has that rich unmistakable Demerara profile. It’s sweet, brown sugar and dried fruits.  Like Pusser’s Blue its ABV gives it an extra kick.  It smells a little spicy and quite boozy.  At 50% ABV it treads the line for me at what you can sip without any water.

Neat and straight from the bottle this rum is very spicy and warming.  It delivers a kind of kick I get, as a pretty inexperienced Scotch Whisky drinker, when I occasionally try a more full bodied whisky.  The initial sips are very intense.  However, given time the tongue gets used to the spirit and the fruit notes begin to shine.

When you add a drop or two of water you immediately notice the rum cloud a little.  This is due to the fact the rum has not been chill filtered so sediment which reacts to such things causes this haziness.  It does not in anyway detract from the flavour of the rum.  Or the quality!

Adding water certainly tempers the alcohol burn and reduces the intense spiciness of the rum.  The sweeter notes become more prominent.  Nice recognisable Demerara notes such as brown sugar and raisins become more prominent.  Finding the balance where the spiciness is not totally lost and the fruit flavours come though best, is a bit tricky.  When you can get that spot then you have a very enjoyable sipping rum at a very agreeable price.

There is a lot of snobbery around a rum and cola.  Many believe that “quality” rums should not be used in this way.  Whilst this isn’t one of Cadenhead’s top of the range offerings I have no doubt that some readers may think I’m potty for mixing this rum.  Well John Barrett of Bristol Rum puts out a 1998 Diamond Distillery rum which he recommends solely as a mixer despite the £50 price tag. At £30-35 and with the rums at the very oldest being 10 years old I would say that I am still within mixing territory.  So mix I shall!

As the rum is a little fierce at 50% ABV I’ll opt for a 30/70 mix of rum to cola.  This is without doubt a great mixing Demerara.  I would say it will make a great ingredient in (I hate this term) “Premium Cocktails”.  This really is a beautifully balanced and indeed Classic Dark Rum.  A rum and cola with this is sublime, it really is.  Rich dried fruits, juicy raisins, cocoa, a little kick of spice – it shows that a fruity and rich profile can be achieved without any sugar or additives.

The skill here is in the blending.  However, the only disappointing thing is that over time there will be no guarantee that Cadenhead’s will be able to produce a rum quite like this year in year out.  It will depend on future cask selection etc.

This rum comes very highly recommended. Get it while you can!

4.5 stars


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