Tiburon Rum

TIburon Rum Review by the fat rum pirateTiburon Rum is the latest release from Traveller’s Liquors of Belize.  Rum from Traveller’s Liquors is not readily available in the UK.  I have previously tried only one of Traveller’s offerings One Barrel Rum.  Which despite favourable reviews from other sites and a few “awards” was not appraised to well by myself.

It would appear that Traveller’s are trying to break into the “Premium” market with this offering.  It will also be released in the UK and imported by Gentoo Spirits Limited.  As with my last Traveller’s rum review I obtained this botlle via Master of Malt.  The rum cost £36 (the UK retail price when released will be £34.99, I understand).  I am pretty certain the bottle I have received is not the commercial UK release as the bottle is 750ml rather than 700ml (70cl).  For reasons I have never researched the US (which is where this bottle seems to originate) have slightly larger bottles.  Still, before I get anyone into trouble the bottle does have a HMRC pink import sticker on it so Speciality Drinks have paid all appropriate duty etc. NB I have been contacted by the UK distributors for Tiburon rum who state I am misinformed regarding the bottle size and the RRP.  Below is an extract from an email I received from them

Regarding the review I would just like to point out a few things

1. You are correct that it is distilled by Travellers Liquors but it is for an American based company called Shark Bait. Apart from the actual distilling of the rum Travellers Liquor has no input into the design or marketing of the product.

2. In relation to the bottle sizing it will be staying the 750ml bottles and all UK duty has been paid.

3. In regards to the small batch comments only 9,000 bottles were produced in the first run of the product. As it has been successful in the US they next batch is expected to be a few thousand more.

4. As for RRP we haven’t set one yet as we are waiting to see how many cases we can bring in going forward. We brought in a few cases to test the water and the price has been set by the retailers. As you can see it varies between them all. We are expecting the RRP to below £30.  As the number of bottle made are limited and the rum isn’t mass produced it does have an effect on the price. Couple that with the extortionate UK Duty and VAT and it makes a massive difference to the price. As production increases the price will fall accordingly.”

For those familiar with Traveller’s previous offerings, presentation can lead a lot to be desired and in some instances has been very gawdy and overall pretty poor.  Certainly not that of a Premium product.  Shark Bait have tried to address this and fromTiburon Rum Review by the Fat Rum Pirate a distance the rum does look very impressive.  However on closer inspection, the front of the bottle in particular is a little basic.  On the neck of the bottle is a little plastic sharks tooth, which looks a little like a tribal necklace.  Tiburon is Spanish for Shark.  The Shark picture on the front is actually on the inside of the rear of the bottle and when the rum is full looks fairly impressive.

The rear of the bottle gives the marketing story with regard Tiburon Rum.  It also re-iterates from the front of the bottle the “small batch” and “craft” which has went into the making of the rum.  It’s kind of like marketing by numbers.  I doubt the person paid to put this piece together spent longer than half an hour writing it.  It’s very standard.  The rum is finished off with a plastic topped synthetic topper.  It gives a satisfying pop when the rum is opened.

To date, Tiburon Rum has captured eight awards: Platinum at the SIP Awards: Packaging (2014), Gold at Craft Spirit Awards (2014), The Best Aged Rum (2014) and Spirits of the Americas (2014), Silver at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (2014), SIP Awards Rum (2014) and San Diego Spirits Festival Bottle Competition (2014) and Bronze at the San Francisco World Spirit (2014).  It has also received many very favourable online reviews.

Tiburon Rum is a “Small Batch Premium Crafted Aged Rum”.  Traveller’s Liquors distill their spirits using a Triple Column Continuous Still.  Now that does not strike me as small batch production.  Surely the very minimum definition of Small Batch production would be produced (at least partly) in a Pot Still?

Tiburon Rum Review by the Fat Rum PirateI’ll now move onto the ageing claims.  I have no problem with young rums.  A four year old rum can be as good as something aged much longer.  The skill is often in the blender and the care and quality of the ingredients used.  I have noted that in some sources it states that Tiburon is a blend of rums aged a minimum of 4 years but upto 8 years.  Marketing releases from Traveller’s state that the 4 year old claim relates to the youngest rum in the blend and there are older rums contained within, they do not get any more specific than that.  I’ll do a very simple comparison based on perceived value.  Appleton Reserve contains rum which is all aged AT LEAST 8 years and retails for around £25 in the UK.  By putting itself in the £35 market Tiburon is pitching itself in with some very healthy and longstanding competitors.  RL Seales 10 Year Old, Appleton 12 and El Dorado 12 Year Old are just three of the rums which immediately spring to mind in the £30-35 market.  Now that is some competition.

So on with the tasting.  I hope you don’t feel my pre-conceptions will cloud my judgement on this.  However, it is a perhaps something that the producers should consider.  Don’t big up your products too much.

Anyway on with the tasting.  The bottle advises that the “tannins” help colour the spirit and impart subtle hints of vanilla and oaky accents.  The rum is a nice golden brown colour, in keeping I feel with the age of the spirit.  When poured in the glass it is slightly lighter an almost straw colour.

The nose of the Tiburon (unlike I suspect its Spanish namesake) is very muted.  I’m pleasantly surprised that it smells like rum first and foremost.  The One Barrel was one of the most altered rums I have ever had the misfortune to try.  I had suspected the worst with Tiburon but it does seem that Traveller’s have attempted to produce a more rum like experience with Tiburon.  There is a little sweet brown sugar on the nose and faint touches of vanilla.  I’m not really getting a nose that I would expect from an aged Premium rum.  More of a younger mixing rum.  It’s not bad it’s just quite bland and inoffensive.

The rum is very smooth and easy to sip, minimal burn.  I detect possibly a little added sugar but whilst it might be rounding out the rough edges of the spirit I am not being overwhelmed with sugary flavour.  There is a certain amount of oakiness in the profile.  Which suggests honest ageing.  Vanilla is present after an initial very short burst of sweetness.  It’s not prominent so it doesn’t offend my tastebuds too much.  Although this a marketed as a Premium rum I am going to mix the rum as I am finding a lot in its profile which would suggest it would work best as that.

Mixed with cola Tiburon makes a perfectly acceptable rum and cola.  A squeeze of limeTiburon Rum Review by the fat rum pirate adds much needed fruit flavour, but the drink is reasonably well balanced and the spirit does not exhibit any alcohol burn.  It’s smooth and inoffensive.

If Tiburon Rum was being sold for say around £20 and as more of a mixer than a Premium product (I’d cut some of the marketing as well) then I could probably cut it a little more slack.  It would probably find itself in my bar more often at this pricepoint.  However, with so many really great rums available at the £35 pricepoint (and below) recommending buying Tiburon over a lot of those rums would be madness really.

Tiburon has a lot in common with Bajan rum.  However, the best comparison I feel I can make is to that of Cruzan Single Barrel Estate.  Cruzan is slightly better as it offers a few more flavours but both are quite “safe” so-so rums.  Both have something missing.  Bajan rums such as Doorlys XO and Cockspur 12 offer more fruit flavours in the profile and as sippers or mixers offer a more complex taste experience.

Tiburon Rum is a million times better than One Barrel and fair play to Traveller’s for laying off the additives.  However, trying to place a product aged for around 4 years in the £35 price market is madness.  Even an 8 year old rum at that price is pushing it a bit.  I’m not a double digit rum snob but if Traveller’s are serious about entering the Premium rum market then the answer is really simple.

Age this longer and maybe introduce a finish which will make it stand out from the crowd.

2 stars

 

 

 

 

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