Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum

Cockspur Old Special Reserve RumCockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum. I always think of the cricket, when I see Cockspur. Which is strange, because aside from being a mean left handed fast bowler in my youth, my adversity to having small hard things thrown at me at speeds of up to 60mph, largely diminished my interest in the game.

That said, I was more than happy delivering a “full toss” (no sniggering at the back), especially at my PE teacher or kids from rival schools.

Anyway I digress. Cockspur have over the years sponsored various cricket competitions throughout the West Indies and the Caribbean.

Cockspur Fine Rum is probably the most recognised expression in the Cockspur portfolio. It has long been very easily available in the UK. Indeed it was one of the first “premium” branded rums I tried once I gravitated from Supermarket own make rum. Yes, I started at the very bottom. There is little snobbery on this blog.

The brand was re-booted in the UK in 2019. It is now handled by The Cockspur Rum Company, who are based in Warrington. Distribution of Cockspur was passed to Quintessential Brands in 2017. A quick google of the two companies reveals both are coming out of the same address. So although Cockspur doesn’t appear on the Quintessential website it appears they are still involved with the brand.

I thought I had viewed a UK or European Cockspur website a while back but I don’t seem able to find it at the moment. It might have been a figment of my imagination. There is a Cockspur.com website but it’s a little out dated and had no real useful information anyway.

Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum hails from Bridgetown, Barbados and is produced at the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD), which of course is now owned by Maison Ferrand who produce Plantation, which is soon to be The Rum Formerly Known As Plantation – TRFKAP for short.

Cockspur Old Special Reserve RumUnlike the Plantation line Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum has been distilled, aged and blended in Barbados. It says so on the front label. It doesn’t say anything about additives but I can confirm there are none as per the hydrometer.

Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum has not been reviewed much at all online. It is only recently that I have seen this available outside of the Caribbean and the US. I do not recall ever seeing this for sale in the UK, until very recently. I’ve always enjoyed Cockspur Fine Rum, so when I saw this for sale I bought it immediately, along with the XO and the re-branded Cockspur Fine Rum. All will be reviewed shortly. I went for this one first as I hadn’t reviewed any variation of it in the past.

Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum is a blend of Column and Pot Distilled rum. I am putting them in that order because I understand that the majority of the rum is Double Column Distilled rum with a smaller proportion of Pot Still rum added.

The blend is aged in ex-bourbon barrels, for what I understand to be a minimum of 5 years. It has been bottled at “Island” strength (a number of Barbadian expressions, such as Mount Gay Eclipse, are bottled at a slightly higher ABV on Barbados, than they are when exported) of 43% ABV. In the UK you can currently pick up a bottle at Master of Malt and Amazon. Expect to pay around £30.

Presentation wise the bottle is clean and uncluttered. You don’t get any information on the actual rum sadly. Just tasting notes and the fact that it is produced and bottled on Barbados. The labels have a slightly photo-copied look about them but only really close up. The actual bottle is a 3/4 stubby style bottle with a short neck. The rum is sealed with a wooden topped synthetic cork stopper. All in all it looks modern and has an appeal on the shelf.

My curiosity is peaked by the fact that is noted as being around 5 years old so I am keen to learn how it compare’s to Plantation’s own flagship 5 Year Old Barbados rum. Which, I understand is now made using rum from WIRD only. I’ll point out at this stage that Cockspur is not part of Maison Ferrand. The brand is licensed out in much the same way Malibu is.

So l better get down to business and see how the delivery is on this one (get it??).

In the glass I am presented with a classic golden/dark rum profile. As this is a continuous product it is highly likely it has had some caramel added solely for colouring purposes. Cockspur Old Gold Special Reserve Rum has a slightly reddish hue to go alongside the golden/dark brown colour. Cockspur Old Special Reserve Rum

Nosing the rum is quite light. Even by Barbadian standards the nose is not particularly punchy. There is a fair amount of booze on the nose. It does smell a little younger than I would expect. Maybe the information on it being around 5 years old is out of date. It’s a no age statement rum so its no big deal for me. I learnt a while back not to obsess over numbers. In fairness often reviewing rums without all the facts works best anyway…….I’m probably contradicting myself a bit there. Never mind just call me Mary.

Further nosing reveals some toffee and a hint of caramel. A little vanilla. The nose is quite oaky and slightly astringent. Time in the glass brings out a bit more character. I’m getting some heavier notes now of burnt banana and some brown sugar.

As a sipper Cockspure Old Gold Special Reserve Rum is a little rough and ready. The initial entry hints at toffee, chocolate and molasses but it is quickly taken over by a heavier, bitter note of oak and woody spices. As far as a Barbados rum goes it’s quite “heavy”.

With further sips your palate seems to adapt to the overwhelming bitterness of the first sip. The initial entry improves with more of the toffee, caramel and brown sugar notes lingering for a longer time. There is also a fair bit of molasses like bitter treacle which when combined with the bitter woody oak isn’t as pleasant or as balanced as I would like.

That said the sweetness does improve with further sipping and it does get a better balance. Finish wise it isn’t particularly long or very “fiery” you get most of the oak and spice and woodiness on the mid palate. I expected more from the finish but it just fades out quite quickly into a low burn on the chest.

Cockspur Old Special Reserve RumThe back label recommends serving this over ice or with Ginger Ale for a Bajan mule. I mixed this both with Cola and Ginger Beer. It made a pretty pleasant stab at both drinks. In particular with Ginger Ale.

Then again at £30 a bottle it should perhaps be a bit better than decent mixer. If you compare it to other Barbados rums such as Old Brigand, Doorly’s 5 or Mount Gay Black Barrel (I’ve not tried the newer blend so I’m talking about the older one) I just don’t think it is as good a rum.

That said I didn’t find this particularly unpleasant and at the end of the day at least it is an honest Barbados rum.

 

 

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