English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish

English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish. English Harbour are a rum brand from Antigua, an island in the West Indies. They are pretty much famous for their signature English Harbour 5 Year Old and frankly not a lot else really.

Domestically they produce Cavalier Gold and White rum and Koko Caribe Coconut Rum. Rarely, if ever have I seen these rums for sale outside of Antigua. The rum is produced at Antigua Distillery Limited. Which is the islands only active distillery.

Until a vintage 25 year old “1981”  bottling was released in 2006, the only way to try some output from the Antigua Distillery in the UK, was to get a bottle of English Harbour Aged 5 Years.  To be honest I didn’t think either bottling was great. Solid, but nothing spectacular. In all honesty I felt some of the fanfare English Harbour were getting was a little outdated compared to some of the more recent rums I had tried.

However, over the past few years Antigua Distillery seem to be moving a little with the times. They have begun introducing “Cask Finish” rums similar to the likes of Foursquare. Whilst a secondary maturation period does probably explain Foursquare’s recent output a “Finish” is probably more suited to these offerings from English Harbour.

They also had a well received collaboration with Velier as part of Velier’s 70th Anniversary and I reviewed the cheaper offering of that rum only recently. I partly reviewed that one as I new I had acquired this more recently and wanted to get both reviews published.

So what do we have here then? Well a lot of information is provided on the bottle and box the rum is housed in. This is a small batch, non chill filtered rum. It is a limited release of 5 Year Old rum finished in Port Cask.

The Port Casks in question are 200 year old Port Barrels from the Royal Oporto Company of Porto, Portugal.

English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish is English Harbour’s standard 5 Year Old aged in ex-bourbon casks, bottled at 46% ABV and finished for six months in a Port Cask.

As it is the “standard” English Harbour 5 Year Old it is a blend of rums distilled on the 5 Column Still at Antigua Distillery. Curiously, although the 5 Year Old showed up some additives on a Hydrometer Tests, this one did not. Change in formulation?

Presentation wise we get the standard shape English Harbour bottle but the glass is clear and the colour scheme has been modified to yellow/cream and Purple. It looks a little dated but it’s still quite nicely presented. The card sleeve is strong and sturdy and the plastic topped real cork stopper completes the look. In the UK you can pick up a bottle of this for around £39 at the usual suspects.

My bottle as you can see from the photos is from Batch Number 002. Although there is a space noting the bottle number it has not been completed. Other information on the bottle notes that this is a Small Batch rum. Which doesn’t tell us much to be fair! That said I think I have given you as much detail on this rum as I can find. So lets move on and see how I find this.

The nose is quite sweet (as expected) but not overly so. Dark Fruits, Blackcurrant Jam, a tiny hint of liquorice. There are some baking spices and some lighter notes of sponge cake and shortbread biscuits as well.

Red Wine and some slight traces of ginger complete the nose. English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish has a pleasant, gentle/easy going approach. Similar (I know people are going to want to know this) in many ways to Foursquare Port Cask Finish.

English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish Rum Review by the fat rum pirateI would say this has less coconut and vanilla than that rum and is every so slightly heavier on the Port on the nose. This is more “old” Port where Foursquare’s Port Cask Finish seemed a little “younger”. This is just a touch or two less vibrant. Less well defined.

Sipping English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish is as easy as falling asleep (apologies out there to any Insomniacs). The 46% ABV is a really good point to appreciate this rum at I feel. I can’t say its the best because I can only really dilute it down not up but it works very well.

The initial sip is rich and warming with lots of red wine notes and some lighter berried sweetness. Raspberry Compote, Blackcurrant Jam even a Touch of Black Forest Gateaux.

The mid palate evolves into an array of well balanced and defined spices and oaky overtones. These nestle wonderfully alongside the fruitier notes. Ginger, baking spices and a touch of chilli pepper heat and a layer of complexity.

The finish is perhaps the spiciest and most challenging part of this rum but even then it’s still not a difficult or demanding rum. It has all the necessary oak and spice to give a very warming and very satisfying burn. It’s very easy going and easy to drink. Do not however think it lacks complexity or flavour. It doesn’t it’s just a lighter more balanced style of rum than say a funk heavy Jamaican or a burnt tyre Caroni. Think more the Barbados style. English Harbour is very much in keeping with that style of rum.

English Harbour Antigua Rum Port Cask Finish Rum Review by the fat rum pirateComparisons with the Foursquare Port Cask Finish will be inevitable. No, it is not as good as that in my opinion. That however does not mean this is not a very good rum in it’s own right.

If you want a glass of something with a little sweetness (I think we know by now that when I say this, I am not talking “sweetened” rums) this is something light and easy going which will give you that.

At under £40 I think it is well placed. If you like something like Doorly’s XO on a regular basis, you could do worse than swap out a bottle for this. Just for a change. They also have some Sherry and Oloroso finished rums as well. Lance over at The Lone Caner reviewed a Sherry Finish way back in 2017. On this evidence I need to up my English Harbour game!

I think you might quite like it. It’s really good value as well.

 

 

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