The Rum Swedes Barbados 2000 hails from the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) who are responsible for the Cockspur brand.
The Rum Swedes brand is part of Svenksa Eldvatten (Swedish Firewater). They are independent bottlers of Whisky, Rum and Gin. Ran by Tommy Andersen and Peter Sjögren,who both have a long history with Scotch Whisky.
Which may go some way to explain why they sought out and bottled this particular rum. The Rum Swedes seek out single barrels of rum and issue them at Cask Strength.
The rum was distilled at WIRD in 2000 and was bottled in 2013 at a cask strength of 58.8%. Only 215 bottles of this rum were available. As is common with rum it was aged in ex-bourbon barrels. In the UK this was available in very limited quantites and retailed at around £90 per bottle. It is noted as being Cask Number 36.
Bottlings of independent rum from WIRD and Foursquare distillery on Barbados are not particularly uncommon, so without further information it would be easy to find this rum to be pretty unremarkable, aside perhaps from the Cask Strength issue.
The packaging is minimalistic but I like the stubby bottle and the cork stopper is always a bonus. The presentation is clear and uncluttered a little like Mezan. The name Rum Swedes would make it, for me jump off the shelf as its different and quirky.
At some stage (not sure when or by whom) this rum was identified as a “Rockley Still” rum which is what makes it more interesting to the Rum Aficionado. It was Steven James of Rum Diaries Blog who sent me my sample – he has a great interest and love of the “Rockley Still” rums. He also published an essay by Nikos Arvanitis regarding the mythical Rockley Still. It’s well worth a read. I would urge you to take the time to read over it.
Rockley Still rums offer an altogether different experience to most, if not all Bajan rums. They are best described as a mixture of Heavy Caroni and St Lucian Pot Still rums. There are tarry, petrol like notes but also elements of slightly salty/sour bourbon nuances. It nods in a couple of directions but comes down as very much its own style. It has a kind of Marmite type appeal much like Caroni. It’s as far from Plantation Barbados 5 Year Old as you can get!
So lets see how this one goes down.
First up the colour of this spirit its very light a straw like colour suggesting no added caramel, it also has a few small particles and perhaps a little cloudiness suggesting no chill filtering.
The nose is big and immediately I am put in mind of St Lucia distillers 1931 series – turned up a notch or two. Its intense. A few drops of water allow less of the heavy Pot Still and the raw petrol like “fumes” to dominate giving way to some more gentle notes – vanilla and some more floral notes.
In the mouth the feel is very hot, with an almost pepper like heat. It takes quite a lot of taming with water to bring out the full falvour of this rum. When you do hit the sweet spot though the rum becomes very intriguing, the entry is sweet apricot, vanilla a lot of Anise, which gives way to a spicy, oaked, oily and slightly peppered mouthfeel. The finish is very long slightly salty and dry.
In many ways this rum defies logic – nose needs turning down to get all the notes but is best taken at full strength to appreciate all its flavours. The anise notes are quickly lost.
It’s a beast all right and not for the faint hearted but if you like dry, unsweetened and intense rum this might well be for you. This rum hasn’t enjoyed a Sherry Finish that the more recognisable Bristol Rockley Still 1986 bottlings have. As a result it offers a more intense slightly less refined and drier profile.
A very interesting rum to try and one with a lot going on. Not everything might be perfect – it’s still a little to tarry and petrol like for me personally, but its is without doubt a very good rum.