West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants Jamaica XO Rum

West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants Jamaica XO Rum review by the fat rum pirateWest Indies Rum & Cane Merchants Jamaica XO Rum. A recent bottling from a new Independent bottler on the block in the shape of the West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants.

Based in Berkely Square, London – West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants are the Single Cask bottling operation branch of Crucial Drinks. Who also distribute Six Saints rum from Grenada. They have released numerous Single Cask and blended rums over the past 18 months.

As you can see from the photo above the company are clearly trying to do things “right”. Not chill filtered and no added colour is prominent on the bottle. They also do not put any additives in their rums – bottling them as they receive them. The rum I have up for review today is a Single Cask Bottling of Jamaican Rum.

This rum hails from the Worthy Park Distillery it is noted as a molasses based rum which has been aged in a “refill rum” cask (though I suspect it will be ex-bourbon. My bottling is number 324 from Cask Number 2.

Unfortunately I don’t have any information on how old this bottling is. I neither now when it was distilled or for how long it was aged. XO could mean just about anything – I assume it is more than 5 year old (probably nearer 10) but that is just based on guesswork form the overall taste of the rum.

West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants Jamaica XO Rum review by the fat rum piratePresentation wise I really like the bottle shape which is the kind used on old sailing ships (because it won’t easily tip over). Its similar to the bottle used by Pyrat XO. The branding is clear and the information which is provided is clear (though I would like more). In the UK this rum retailed at around £55 for a 70cl bottled at 46% ABV. So not Cask Strength.

In the glass the Jamaica XO is a golden brown/straw colour so the lack of colouring is evident. It is also a touch cloudy, a little “milky”.

The nose is familiar of the Worthy Park Pot Still style. Huge notes of strong breakfast tea, milk chocolate and toffee. Further notes of coconut and pineapple and a nice fruitiness to the mix. Light spices and some white pepper and ginger add a further layer.

The nose is nicely balanced and I’m a big fan of Worthy Park so its all good so far.

Sipped the rum is quite heavy on the tea notes – black tea maybe over stewed tea left in the pot with the tea bags in. It’s not as sweet as the nose suggests and it has some notes which remind me of a cheaper blended Scotch Whisky. I’ve found the tropically aged Worthy Park rums to be more fruity and sweeter than those aged in Europe. I’m more than sure this has spent most (if not all) its maturation in Liverpool or Amsterdam.

West Indies Rum & Cane Merchants Jamaica XO Rum review by the fat rum pirateThere is an initial sweetness of white chocolate on the sip but it quickly gets carried away by the tannic notes of the tea. There’s some banana trying to make its presence felt on the mid palate but its over taken by a pretty spicy and quite woody profile. Fortunately further sipping reveals a more balanced and slightly sweeter rum. This definitely improves after the first glass. The tea seems to fade out more and you get more of the sweeter toffee and chocolate notes. Nice notes of banana and coconut as well.

This isn’t a bad rum. Its good no question. Problem is I’m comparing it to the Habitation Velier releases and Worthy Park’s own output. The benefit of the Tropical Ageing really adds an extra layer to the rums of the Worthy Park Estate. If you prefer a drier profile this may suit you more – this is about my palate rather than the overall quality of the rum.

I was initially a little worried by the ABV but I honestly don’t feel like I am missing anything with this at 46% ABV. I think the dilution from the Cask Strength rum has probably given it a slightly sweeter, less dry profile. Which appeals to me.

It’s not as complex and fruity as the Habitation Velier I reviewed previously its similar to the Cadenheads but I feel it might just have the edge.

An encouraging start for the new brand.

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