Cadenhead’s Classic Rum Aged 17 Years

Cadenhead's Classic Rum Aged 17 Years Rum review by the fat rum pirateCadenhead’s Classic Rum Aged 17 Years. I reviewed Cadenhead’s Classic Rum way back in 2015, when I was just cutting my teeth in the review world. I liked it quite a lot and along with their 1842 cask became quite a fan of these blended rums from the Scottish Indie Bottler.

Now Cadenhead’s are not one of the new kids on the block when it comes to bottling fine spirits. Indeed they recently celebrated 175 Years in the business. They are proudly Scotland’s oldest Independent bottler. So they know a thing or two.

Cadenhead’s Classic Rum has become a bit of a cult classic since 2001 when it was first introduced. It is the ideal match of value and quality. It’s a bit of a bargain to be honest.

This bottling is an aged version of the blend. In fact the rum in this bottling is all likely to be considerably older than 17 Years Old. This rum hails from 2001 and was bottled in 2018. It was aged in the UK for this period but the rums in the blend will have had some Tropical/Continental ageing prior to arriving at Cadenhead’s. It comprises of various rums from the Caribbean.

The bottlings of the Classic Rum I have had in the past were quite heavy on the Guyana and Jamaica elements (or at least that’s what I tasted). However Cadenhead’s do note on their website that although this is a continuous release – the blend can vary from each batch. In all fairness this is true of all rum over time! It’s just something expert blenders keep well hidden from us.

The rum was aged in a single ex-bourbon cask for 17 years and is (as the rear label tells me) a blend of Pot and Column distilled rum from throughout the Caribbean. That is as much detail as I have on this one in terms of the actual rum anyway.

The rum was bottled in March 2019 and was treated to the updated Cadenhead presentation, which replaced the rather tired and “70’s living room” chic of the other aged bottlings. The Original Classic rum actually had a much better presentation than the “Dated Distillation” bottlings but it has also been changed to a bottle the same as this.

The only hint you get that this is different to the Classic Rum from the front, is the Aged 17 Years printing on the sticky strip over the top of the cork and down the sides of the bottle neck. The rear label however reveals the information I have noted already.

Like the Original Classic rum it has been bottled at 50% ABV. The single cask put down in 2001 yielded just 174 bottles. It didn’t sell out immediately on the Cadenhead’s website but I’ve struggled to find a bottle available outside of the Auction Houses as I sit here in early September 2020. That said the bottle sold at auction for £50 which was slightly less than I paid for mine. I think I paid around £60-65(?). Maybe less.

Now I bought this on the basis of being a fan of the original Classic Rum. So expectations were quite high.

In the glass Cadenhead’s Classic Rum Aged 17 Years, isn’t quite as dark as I was expecting. The mCadenhead's Classic Rum Aged 17 Years Rum review by the fat rum pirateore recent Classic Rum I have grown accustomed to was/is considerably darker (probably due to the amount of Demerara rum in the blend). It’s more of a darkened golden brown once poured into the glass. It has an orange glow to it as well.

The nose is well it’s a bit musty – it smells a bit old, a bit foisty almost. Beneath this I am getting some orange marmalade and some apple blossom. This slightly sweet perfumed note is undercut by note of raisin but it’s raisin mixed with some sour yoghurt. A bit like those yoghurt covered health bars you can get. It smells a little like sour milk. Just a bit off.

There is a fieryness about the nose as well – a dry heat eminating from it that adds an extra punch to the nostrils without adding any real discernible scents.

It does smell a little like the Classic Rum I have encountered before but it smells old rather than aged. It’s musty and it all just smells a little “off”.

It has a sour pineapple Jamaican note which is very apparent but it’s not quite ticking the boxes for me and its not really working with the rest of the blend. It’s odd, a bit like an Infinity bottle spoiled by something completely out of kilter with the rest of the blend.

That said it’s not a terrible nose, there is plenty going on. It’s fairly complex but it just doesn’t smell all that inviting. There is smoke and musty tobacco notes which I don’t enjoy.

Sipped Cadenhead’s Classic Rum Aged 17 Years is very Jamaican on the initial entry it’s a kind of muted Monymusk/Hampden type of “funk” going on. It tastes Jamaican but not full on Jamaican. a bit clipped I feel by the other components in the blend. There’s a softness and a sweet note in there as well some raisin and some red grapes.

Unfortunately there is a tobacco and smoke note which seems to overwhelm the spirit. It was less prominent on the nose but it shows itself more as you sip. There is also a very large sense of wood but more in a damp wood kind of way. Rather than spice and rich oak notes from the cask. It’s not very vibrant. Again it tastes “old” and a bit mouldy.Cadenhead's Classic Rum Aged 17 Years Rum review by the fat rum pirate

The mid palate has a decent amount of oak spice and it’s fairly vibrant (compared to the entry) but the tobacco and smokiness take over all to quickly. The finish is a reasonable length but in all honesty its not all that pleasant. It’s woody and smoky and not much else is going on.

In terms of what I was hoping to get. I would have to conclude that, either the early 2001 blends of the Classic Rum weren’t that great and/or this has simply been aged for too long in a damp dark warehouse. Indeed it almost tastes like one.

A bit of a disappointment for me in all honesty. It’s reasonably complex but there are notes and flavours in this rum that really don’t grab me. I just didn’t get what I wanted with this one. I put this review off because I thought I would eventually grow to like this rum. Sadly I never did very much. I even mixed this with cola and still wished I’d bought two bottles of the Original Classic Rum instead.

Not their best by a long stretch. Not for me anyway. You can’t win them all I guess.




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