Mount Gay Black Barrel Small Batch Handcrafted Rum

Mount Gay Black Barrel rum review by the fat rum pirateMount Gay Black Barrel was new to the UK Market in 2014.  More Traditional Mount Gay drinkers bemoaned the addition of this new rum.  Not only did it come complete with the newer “Mount Gay 1703 Barbados Rum” presentation but it also replaced the Eclipse Black which was bottled at 50% ABV.

Personally, I think the newer presentation, first seen on the Gold and Silver Eclipse bottles was a much needed update.  It brings the brand into the 21st century.  Purists have also had a bit of a gripe about the new presentation leading to inferior product inside as well.  Tales of how great the older tasting bottles are present on most rum forums.  Rose tinted spectacles truly are a force of nature.

However, what cannot be denied is that the Black Barrel is a completely different beast to the Eclipse Black.  First up the Eclipse Black was bottled at 50% ABV. Secondly the Black Barrel is more expensive. Having never been fortunate to try the Eclipse Black I cannot do a backwards comparison.  If anyone wishes to add comments regarding the Eclipse Black please do so at the end of the review.  If anyone wishes to send me a sample of the Eclipse Black it will be gratefully received.

As well as a re-boot of the presentation Mount Gay also seem to have got themselves involved in some of the marketing sheananigans more common with newer bottlers.  “Small Batch Handcrafted Rum” will raise the eyebrows of a few rum aficionado’s I’m sure.  However, it must be remembered that Mount Gay are a long established giant of the rum game and their Extra Old (XO) is for many, a staple of the Bajan style of rum alongside R L Seale’s 10 Year Old.  So when Mount Gay put such things on their bottles we really must understand that they do know their craftMount Gay Black Barrel rum review by the fat rum pirate!

The “Black Barrel” element of this rum is achieved by the finish. Once blended the rum is placed in “deeply toasted and charred” bourbon barrels.

So here we have an authentic Bajan rum which as a slight twist on the finish.  Sounds interesting.  Mount Gay Black Barrel seems to retail at anywhere between £30 and £45 in the UK.  The rum is housed in a 70cl bottle and like MGXO it’s ABV is 43%.  The presentation of the rum is a half way house between the Eclipse and MGXO.  For your money you don’t get a cardboard presentation sleeve like the MGXO but you do get a very similar corked enclosure.  The labelling is more consistent with the Eclipse.  The bottle shape is slightly longer and thinner than the MGXO but not quite the same shape as the Eclipse.  Overall when paying £30 the presentation and the decent cork enclosure seem about right.

The nose of the Black Barrel is quite spicy.  It has a nice balanced Bajan nose with a little extra spicy kick to it.  The finish has definitely made a difference to the spirit.  The nose is still sweet but not as rich as the MGXO.  It doesn’t have the honey notes displayed in the MGXO but it does have some of the lighter vanilla notes.  It is a lot more oaky  Overall the spirit seems a little younger than the MGXO.

Mount Gay Black Barrel rum review by the fat rum pirateI had read that the Black Barrel had some Bourbon notes to it. I’m always very sceptical about claims like these especially when rum is compared to scotch or whiskey.  Sipped the Black Barrel certainly gives some of the oaky notes of a bourbon but also makes the mouth water with that sour mash like note.  It doesn’t taste like Bourbon as such but it does definitely have similiarities.  It’s still much less sweet and slightly drier.

As a sipper the rum is very good.  Some may find it a little to spicy and oaky but I think it makes a good alternative to the more traditional lighter Bajan rums.  It’s a shame I cannot compare it to the Eclipse Black but taking it on its own merits and even comparing it to the MGXO I find this to be a very good rum in the £30-35 price range.  Sure if you aren’t careful you may pay more but there are plenty outlets with it at this price point.

After the first glass of the Black Barrel your taste buds start to adapt to the spice and further flavour comes through.  Notes of vanilla and some hints of almost marzipan or cashew nuts.  The mouth still waters and the finish leaves nice oaked sour sweetness in the mouth.

I think the Black Barrel would be a real winner with anyone who enjoys the MGXO.  I also think it is quite similar to Captain Bligh XO (St Vincent and The Grenadines) it has that extra spicy dimension.  For the price of some “so called” premium rums you could have a bottle of MGXO and Black Barrel.  It really is a pleasant evening alternating between the two.

The Black Barrel makes an awesome “Rum Old Fashioned” as well.

4 stars

9 comments on “Mount Gay Black Barrel Small Batch Handcrafted Rum

  1. Your site is simply awesome! I bought the Kirk and Sweeney 23 yr old but I haven’t seen your review

  2. First of all, thank you for this great website ! … I am really new to Rum drinking, maybe just a month or 2, and your site has been a source of information and also just good fun for researching too, I like your unpretentious style of writing and reviews.
    After debating what would be my next purchase…………… So far I have tried Appleton Signature and 12 Years, and also Havana Club Especial, and love them all LOL …………….. I am sort of limited by what is on the shelves of my local small town in Scotland supermarkets, so not a great selection, but Mount Gay is one of the ones they stock. After reading your reviews I really wanted to try the Black Barrel instead of the Eclipse…………….. cut a long story short, I just ordered a bottle of BB from Amazon for £22 including free postage, so I,m well chuffed with that, and will let you know what I think of it when it arrives. So thanks again for the great reviews and website !! ………………. PS I also more than a little concerned that I can now by a multitude of different Rums outwith my supermarket with just the click of a mouse, fantastic and financially worrying in equal measures hehehehe 😉 .

    • Thanks Kenneth for your kind words. I use Amazon a lot. I hope you enjoy the BB £22 is a great price!

      • Thanks for the reply FRT 😉

        • Sorry FRP not T .. and that was without Rum lol 😉

  3. Just to say thanks for a great site. Picked a bottle of this up for christmas based on your review. As a bit of a rum novice im very impressed with it so smooth and complex. Am busy scanning reviews for my next purchase.

  4. Would likely cost a pretty penny to send a sample but thanks for the offer. I’ll stumble across a bottle of the Eclipse Black somewhere someday.

    Black Barrel was still enjoyable and better value than many more “premium” offerings

  5. Wes/Pirate… may I first thank you for your great contributions toward understanding and promoting real, pure and unaltered rums. Your efforts are rightfully respected, and not just by me.
    .
    Although Mount Gay remains one of the long term “good guys” insofar as purity, the breakup and jobbing out of the distilling has had an effect. So too have the multi-billion dollar subsidies that have greatly harmed MG but also – sadly – DDL. I will say that Eclipse Black was Mount Gay’s final effort to provide value – imagine, a 50 proof well made rum, higher pot still element, an indicated 4-7 years of age (the sweet spot) and – for less than $20! Great rum, got our high ratings. But then?
    .
    It’s gone from the website and our marketplace to be replaced by a younger, low proof, less pot stilling, and much younger “Black Barrel” for – here it comes – more money. Half again as much. Ouch!
    .
    What was promoted as the special charred barrels was really an attempt to take the harsh edges off a rum lesser than the Eclipse Black it was meant to replace. To my eyes, all marketing and a decline in MG’s status. Thank the subsidies.
    .
    At the Project we’ve tasted both and the Eclipse was notably better. Pirate, I’ll contact you privately to see if it’s possible to get you a sample of the Eclipse. Mind you the Barrel isn’t bad, it is pure but it’s just not all that special. OTOH the Eclipse was brilliant and honestly, a worthy alternative to the MGXO (which has been declining).

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