A Demerara rum from Whiskybroker. Whisky Broker seem to be a company that goes down the Ronseal route of promotion by doing “Exactly what it says on the tin”. So apologies for the slightly long title for this particular review. They have declined to give their first rum bottling a snappier title.
Which is a Cask Strength Single Cask bottling of Demerara rum from Guyana. ABV of 63.5% from barrel number 34. My particular bottling is number 32 of 264. It is none chill filtered and no colouring has been added by Whisky Broker. The barrel was filled in July 2004 and this was bottled as recently as December 12th 2016.
I would/could have had this review out earlier but I was waiting further information from Whisky Broker on the still on which this rum was produced and any marques notes on the barrel. This rum is from the Enmore Wooden Coffey Still – the marque on the barrel MDXC (god knows).
From the appearance of the rum you could be led to believe this rum has been mostly tropically aged. It is significantly darker than any 12 or even 15 year old Demerara rums that I have seen that have been aged in Europe. It is of course entirely possible (and probable) that DDL coloured this prior to or even after some ageing, before it arrived in Europe.
The rum comes in a rather simple/standard bar style bottle with a bulbous neck and a decent quality plastic topped real cork. It retails (there are still a few bottles remaining) at £45 for a 70cl bottle. Taken at face value it is extremely good value for money. Unfortunately sometimes things are cheap for a reason.
Now I will give credit to Whisky Broker for providing the information they have provided on the bottle. Yes I would have liked more information but unfortunately the actual still is quite frequently omitted from Independent bottlings of Demerara rum (and indeed most of El Dorado’s blended efforts -you have to search to find a table showing what rums are in their blends). Still it is an encouraging start.
The colour of this rum has been a bit of a talking point. A word to the wise – do not ever judge a rum on its colour and do not dismiss a lighter rum in favour of a darker rum. In fact view all expensive dark rum with caution. Do your homework before splashing the cash.
DDL have recently admitted to both coating their barrels with molasses and adding “caramel” – the caramel addition was particularly interesting as it was in relation to a hydrometer reading. Thus indicating that it wasn’t E150 that the UK Brand Ambassador Dean McGregor was actually referring to. Whisky Broker have stated they have not added anything to the rum and as predominantly whisky bottlers I sincerely doubt they have. A hydrometer test comes up clean.
Despite dismissing a rums colour I will concede that this rum is a nice welcoming dark brown.
The nose is equally welcoming. It’s a very rich smelling rum. Big juicy raisins and sultanas, a hint of liquorice, a little coffee, dark chocolate even maybe a touch of port.
For those familiar with rums from the Enmore still particularly those aged in Europe there is a slight undercurrent of something a bit more medicinal, a bit more “fiery”. You get a real waft Pussers Goodpowder. In fact this rum puts me in mind of both Woods Navy and Pussers. I’m also being reminded of El Dorado 8 Year old and Cadenhead’s Classic Rum Blend.
None of these comparisions will do the rum any harm if they follow onto the tasting.
Now as this is bottled at 63.5% it should be pretty much at the edge of what any reasonable human being can really glean much taste from. The effect of alcohol at such strength numbs many of the taste buds (for most people) including me.
At the full 63.5% the rum is surprisingly “hot” both in terms of ABV but also the flavours. It is quite difficult to drink at this ABV and is (especially the first couple of sips) quite bitter and very astringent.
So we’ll add a few drops of water. (if you do have a hydrometer at home you might consider using this to measure how much you need to dilute the rum so it enjoy it at its peak). I’ll dilute this down to around 55% ABV.
Which does make a big difference. It brings out a lot more flavor and also calms some of the more fiery elements of this rum. It is not as sweet as the nose suggests. If you prefer sweeter then you may wish to stick with the rums I compared it to during nosing. It’s not a bitter or astringent rum though (when diluted a little!). In many ways its just a good well aged clean spirit.
The promise of sweetness lasts literally no time on the lips. You then get an almost burnt caramel and unsweetened liquorice. There’s some strong cold coffee in there as well. The finish is quite long and warming without being overly aggressive. It tingles and leaves behind cocoa and some spicy oak.
With it being a single cask rum it doesn’t have the benefit of blending so like the Silver Seal 2002 Enmore I reviewed previously this does have a couple of more aggressive notes in the mix. It’s slightly medicinal/petrolly at times but at the same time it also has a very soft and easy entry. The mid palate is probably where it is at its most medicinal but the finish is much less aggressive.
Overall at this price point you can’t really go wrong for an unadulterated Demerara. I do think it has had some ageing in the tropics (I’d estimate around 5 years but its just a guess) and it is a very pleasant and very strong tasting rum.
It’s not perfect but this is a more than decent start to Rum bottling from Whiskybroker!