Inner Circle Traditional Pot Still Rum

Inner Circle Red Dot Rum review by the fat rum pirate“Red Dot” Rum is the entry-level offering from Inner Circle, who are probably Australia’s second most famous rum producers.  I cannot even bring myself to name the first….With this previous experience in Australian rum I am trying to approach this with an open mind.  However, I will confess this is proving slightly difficult.

Inner Circle gets its name, because back in the 19th century this rum was produced for those who were indeed in the “Inner Circle”.  From what I can gather this will have been the people who owned the distilleries where the rum was produced.  This was the rum kept for the owners much like the Family Reserve rums we have seen sprout up from other producers such as Foursquare, Bacardi and Gosling’s.

First up this rum is produced from Fijian sugar cane (Fiji is fairly close to Australia) and is pot rather than column distilled.  Pot still rum is often more flavoursome, more intense than column distilled rum.  Think Jamaican rum.  Inner Circle “Red Spot” (other rums in the brands portfolio have different colour spots on the front label) is available in the UK for around £20 per 70cl bottle.  The rum is bottled at 40% ABV by Beenleigh Distillery in Australia.  The rum is a blend of rums aged both in Fiji and Australia.

I was apprehensive about trying this rum having tried “Bundy” (there I’ve said it) however it was noted online that this is much better and I felt I should give the Aussies another try.

Inner Circle comes in a standard bar bottle with a slightly bulbous neck.  The neck also reveals a few of the gold medals the rum has won over the years.  It is worth noting the rum was discontinued in the eighties and re-appeared back in 2002.  The presentation is clear, uncluttered and fairly simple.  It doesn’t jump off the shelf but its okay.

Inner Circle Red Dot Rum review by the fat rum pirateIn the bottle the rum is a nice golden brown colour.  It is slightly darker than the picture shows.  The nose of the Inner Circle fortunately was more Jamaican funk than Bundaberg nail varnish and cheap whisky.  I was very pleasantly surprised.

The nose exhibits a lot of pot still type features however the heavy banana and pineapple tones present in most Jamaican pot still rums is muted.  There is a lot of pungency there and high ester like rum.  Its quite sugary and sweet smelling.  A little sweet alcohol is also in the nose.  I would hazard a guess that the rum is probably at best around 5 years old but more likely much nearer 2 or 3 years old.

I don’t mind a little roughness (I quite like rummy Pirate like rum).  I certainly don’t look for smoothness in my rum or overly sweet tasting rum.  I’ve found a lot of my better experience with rum to be a the younger end of the scale.  When sipped Inner Circle offers a very rich intense pot still experience.  Most people if blind tasting this rum would say it was Jamaican.  It definitely has a lot in common with those rums.  Despite its youth it reminds me more of the slightly better balanced, more rounded rums from Appleton Estate rather than the more intense offerings from Hampden or Monymusk.  It burns a little but it packs a lot of rich sugary flavour and a few pungent notes just the right side of bitter.

I’m pretty cynical when it comes to Rum Awards and Inner Circle has one a fair few according to its label.  To be honest I’m fairly surprised that a rum such as this has impressed some of the judges at such events.  It’s not super sweet and super smooth so maybe some contests still have some knowledgable judges on the panel.

Mixing Inner Circle gives you a very tasty funky rum and cola.  If you had a choice between Hampden Gold, Appleton Estate V/X and Inner Circle for enjoying some nice mixed drinks you would have a very good choice!  It is a half way house between the slight refinement of Appleton Estate V/X and the no-nonsense Hampden Gold.

There are a lot of very good mixing rums in the world and this is another.

3 stars

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