Mount Gay established in 1703 report that they are the oldest rum brand in existence. Which is arguable. What cannot be argued is that they are one of the top producers of authentic rum in the Caribbean.
Alongside Eclipse – Mount Gay Extra Old (Mount Gay XO or even MGXO) is their most recognised and most respected rum. A blend of Pot and Column molasses it is seen as a benchmark in the birth of true sipping rums.
In recent years Mount Gay have revamped and revitalised their rum line up. New logos and new expressions have hit the market. The culmination (to date) is this, Limited Edition Cask Strength Extra Old rum.
Coming in at a hefty 63% ABV and carrying an equally hefty £140 price tag the rum is housed in a luxury wooden box. Complete with a booklet and notes written by master blender Alen Smith. Limited to only 3000 bottles worldwide. If you are after value for money against the regular XO you may feel its too expensive. In fairness you are paying for it being limited and attractively packaged.
Released exclusively into the UK market in November at Selfridges, the rum is now available online at other retailers. Just in time for Christmas. As one of the more recognised rum brands in the UK, I am sure more than a few XO lovers will wake up to find their better halves have treated them to a bottle of this. What glorious timing Mount Gay!
I reviewed MGXO around 18 months to 2 years ago if memory serves ( I should check but its not that important). I recall giving it a slightly stingy 4 star rating. There are still a fair few rums I need to re-appraise as my knowledge and tastes have improved over time.
In the glass the rum is lovely copper colour. Much like the XO and most Bajan rums. I don’t worry too much about colour these days, as most commercial blends are coloured with caramel.
On the nose you notice straight away that this not your usual 40-43% Bajan rum. Like the Cask Strength Velier Foursquare from earlier this year, this is much more intense. I would make a comparison between a European aged Demerara and a Velier one. Everything seems more concentrated – all the flavours which existed before are present but just in much more clarity. Standard Definition TV versus HDTV maybe?
The nose is classically Bajan – very pronounced spicy oak notes. You can almost taste the Bourbon that was in these casks prior. Vanilla, a nice creamy nuttiness and a slight hint of banana, toffee and caramel. Despite the ABV there is very little “menace” as I like to call it. It’s still a very nice well balanced, skillfully blended spirit.
Sipped even at 63% it is a surprisingly mellow and pleasant experience. I would recommend a little water but not much – just to bring out all the flavour. Not too much or you might as well stuck with the regular XO.
There is a lot of flavour to savour. Everything which was on the nose transfers to the palate. Which gives you a very satisfying and complex sipping experience. The initial sip is quite spicy and very oaky but as you progress and your taste buds acquaint themselves with the rum these move quickly into sweet toffee, caramel and chocolate notes. There is also a nice fruitiness in the rum which runs right through to the very long spicy and tingly finish. Peaches and a hint of banana?
Like the XO my only real criticism is that I can find it a little dry at times and perhaps a touch too oaky. However, this is quite dependant on my mood and what food etc I’ve eaten. Sometimes I can drink the XO like pop, other times I can only have a glass. R L Seales 10 I find similar.
For a seasoned XO drinker this will be a no brainer of a purchase. After trying this the XO does seem a little “watery” but only immediately after drinking this at nigh on Cask Strength.
A very well made, well balanced and blended authentic rum. Highly recommended. If the price is a problem then just go for the regular XO an perhaps a bottle of Black Barrel.