Old Monk Supreme XXX Rum Very Old Vatted

Old Monk Supreme XXX Rum review by the fat rum pirateThere were a couple of rumours going round the internet last year that Old Monk Rum was going out of production,  It appears those rumours were false. Still I felt it was about time that I published my review of Old Monk Supreme.

Bought as an impulse purchase online – it had previously been available very briefily and then disappeared again.  I wasn’t going to miss out on this unique Monk shaped bottle again.

At around £35 and imported from Germany this version of Old Monk Rum is bottled at 42.8% ABV.  Slightly higher than the “regular” Old Monk 7 Year Old.  There is no age statement on this rum it merely states it is “very old vatted”.  It is currently available on Beers of Europe’s website.  They have it noted as being 18 years old.

From other information (The Rum Howler site) I see that whoever gave Chip his sample must have led him to believe the rum in this bottle is 12 years old.  To be honest I’m not really sure how old any of the Old Monk rums really are.  Due to the lack of information forthcoming from Mohan Meakin, I think they rely on mis-information regarding the age of this rum to help it sell  They never seem to come out and deny or to be fair promote anything!  There are also doubts about a lot of Indian “rum” production and whether it legally should be called rum due to the way it is distilled.

Old Monk has been the subject of much debate recently.  Both with regard its age statements and constant rumours of its demise.  Some commenters have even suggested that Old Monk may not even be a true rum but flavoured alcohol.  Much like the Croatian Domaci Rum.  I have reviewed an example of this previously here.

I have been told that the “rum” may well be distilled to above 90% ABV which really makes it ethanol rather than rum which should really be distilled to a maximum of 85% ABV in order to maintain its rum characteristics.  Without any facts to back up any of these claims or comments I will not delve any further into the debate.

Old Monk Supreme Rum Review by the fat rum pirateSo what I should be faced with here is a older version of the Old Monk 7 Year.  The presentation of the Old Monk Supreme is actually not quite as striking as it first appears.  From a distance it looks fine but closer inspection reveals the bottle to be glass and the head of the monk to be plastic.  Beneath the plastic head is a black screw cap, which to be fair is better than the plastic diffuser used on the 7 year old but still not exactly top notch.  The label around the bottom is actually quite twisted and sloppily stuck especially to the rear.  All in all its pretty cheapo packaging really.  My bottle is intended for the German market only, but I have seen this bottle available to consumers in the US as well.

In the bottle and the glass the rum takes on the very dark brown, almost black colour of the standard Old Monk.  There is little by way of surprise in the bottle.  Nor is there when the rum is poured into the glass.  The unmistakable (unless you do find a Domaci rum) aroma is 100% Old Monk.  It’s hard to describe really.  It’s a confected smell.  You could imagine smelling boiled sweets like these. It’s very sugary, caramel, toffee, brown sugar.  I like it, its familiar and reminds me very much of the 7 Year Old.  I’ll go as far as to say that without the fortune of having any of the 7 Year Old to compare – it smells pretty much the same.  Is it a kind of Butterscotch perhaps?

If this rum has been aged for 12 or even 18 years (which I doubt based on price alone) then I should notice a considerable step up between this and the 7 Year Old when sipped.

Old Monk Supreme Rum Review by the fat rum pirateIt is not noticeably any different flavourwise.  It’s okay as a sipper but the heavy flavour of Old Monk is quite cloying on its own. The extra 2.8% ABV doesn’t make much difference – the rum is certainly not noticeably any stronger.  I would question anyone who would say they could notice such a small difference anyway.

At £35 I did buy this pretty much for the bottle.  It’s much like Old Monk Rum really – a bit quirky.

I do enjoy an Old Monk rum and cola.  It’s sweet and tasty as a mixed drink.  Old Monk is very much a molasses, chocolate, toffee sweet rum rather than tropical fruits or lighter notes.  Coffee and cocoa, a little butterscotch.  It’s all good for an easy going sweet mixed drink.  It’s not a hugely rummy rum as mentioned earlier technically it might not even really be rum.  It doesn’t have any oak ageing notes, any vanilla, smokiness or any esters.  It’s just a pleasant sweet drink.  Bit like a spiced rum really.

I will enjoy this bottle of Old Monk.  Much as I have the 7 Year Old.  Without a direct comparison being available and relying on memory I don’t think much (if anything) has changed between this bottle and the 7 Year Old.  If it has indeed been aged for a further 5 years it has had no impact on the flavour or smoothness.  It really wouldn’t surprise me if this was the same rum.  To be fair nowhere does it claim to be 12 or 18 years old.  No age statement at all!

As much as I have enjoyed this I couldn’t really recommend buying this over the cheaper 7 Year Old.  The differences aren’t sufficient (if any).  Old Monk (in whatever variant you may come across it) is worth trying, however trying the 7 Year Old is noticeably easier on the wallet.

For that point alone the Supreme loses half a point.  I could deduct another half for deliberately confusing consumers but I’ll let them off.  Old Monk Supreme isn’t hugely expensive.

2.5 stars

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