Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum

Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum review by the fat rum pirateBlack Ven Distillery Dark Rum. There has been quite an explosion of rum production in the UK over the past 5 or so years. Many of these rum “producers” are doing little other than “spicing” an existing imported Caribbean rum base and then proclaiming it as British, English or Scottish or even Welsh “rum”.

I’ve not focused very much on such offerings, though I have tried quite a few of them. It’s just not something I really wish to encourage or “promote” if you like.

What I am interested in however are the actual distilleries in the UK that are producing their own rum from scratch.

Black Ven Distillery in Lyme Regis, Devon is one such operation. The ethos behind the brand led by John Tucker is refreshing and in line with what a lot of Rum Enthusiasts are seeking nowadays. Tired of being deceived by so-called Premium (and Ultra Premium) brands and bored with the never ending cycle of Spiced Rums.

I reached out to John upon trying his Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum and he provided a lot of quite “geeky” information on his distillate. I will share that with you in this review as it is refreshing to get so much information from a producer.

Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum is handcrafted from scratch in a small distillery housed in a converted artist’s studio. The distillery/studio itself is flooded with soft natural light with high ceilings and far reaching views of the Black Ven cliffs. Which give the distillery its name. The rum is aged nearby in a small eco-friendly warehouse.

The molasses used in the production of Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum is sourced from a local bakers co-operative. Black Ven is currently the only distillery customer. The molasses is not overly processed which means more of the natural sugar remains.

The rum is produced in small batches. Typically around 900 litres of rum wash at a time. Produced from 100% molasses. A healthy drop of dunder is taken from each batch and recycled into the next fermentation. This is typically done up to 10 times before the cycle is reset. This is because large amounts of dunder can make the fermentation overly acidic and begins to have an impact on alcohol yield.

Once the fermentation is complete a Continuous Still is used to strip the wash. The whole strip takes around 8 hours to complete.Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum review by the fat rum pirate

The spirit run is conducted on a smaller Hybrid Still. Once distillation is complete then the rum is diluted to 60% ABV. The rum is then aged for 4 years in oak or more specifically ex-French Red Wine Barrels.

The final bottle strength is 50% ABV. Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum batches are typically around 250 bottles with the batch and bottle number hand scribed on the bottle. The bottle designs are from a local student (Jack Price) and the bottles are spray painted – labels are not used.

Black Ven Rum Distillery Dark Rum is available direct from their own website. It is priced at £48 for a 50cl bottle.

So there you have it. Thanks to John for supplying so much information. I hope you all have found it interesting. Don’t quote or question me on any of the technical aspects of what I have been told. I have long confessed to not being much a Rum Geek in that regard…..

In the glass Dark Ven Distillery Dark Rum is a a very dark brown colour with an orange/reddish hue.

On the nose you initially get molasses but perhaps a sweeter more “golden syrup” like note than you might be used to. Beneath this I am getting some tannins and some fruity red wine notes – blackberries and redcurrants. The nose is rounded off by a very light smokiness and a nice hit of oak spice and vanilla.

It’s rich and very intense. The molasses note is particularly strong giving aromas of black treacle, caramel, treacle toffee and some dark chocolate. Its a powerful rich nose which reminds me of Navy Style Rum.

Sipped at the full 50% ABV the rum packs a nice punch but the sweet fruity notes and the treacly molasses notes make it a very enjoyable sip. Its sweet but not overly so and has a niceBlack Ven Distillery Dark Rum review by the fat rum pirate weight of dark berries and acidic wine like notes to give it a more rounded flavour.

This is backed up further by a drying on the mid palate. Which brings out more of the dark chocolate notes. Throughout the sipping experience you get a nice backdrop of oak spices. Followed by vanilla, which gives further depth to the sip.

The finish is a good length and you get a nice hit again of the oak spices alongside a touch of zesty lemon and some vanilla. The molasses notes continue throughout right to the very end.

As well as sipping this I was curious to see how this would fair in cocktails and in a simple rum and coke.

Black Ven Distillery Dark Rum works brilliantly in a rum and coke giving a very rich and very intense taste experience. It certainly isn’t overshadowed by the coke that’s for sure!

In cocktails again it seems to work well with cocktails calling for a “dark rum”. It works very nicely as a float in a Zombie.

That said I would predominantly use this particular rum as a sipper. Although relatively young it does have a unique profile.

At the price point I certainly think this is more than worth a punt. I’ve really enjoyed my bottle. I would be keen to see how this evolves. I feel longer ageing will further enhance the distillate. So maybe some longer aged releases are in the pipeline? It is a young distillery after all.





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