Chairman’s Reserve 2005 Vintage

Chairman's Reserve 2005 Vintage Rum review by the fat rum pirateChairman’s Reserve 2005 Vintage. Chairman’s Reserve Finest Saint Lucia Rum has been available since 1999, long before I got into rum.

It has even worked it’s way into UK supermarket shelves and has been stocked by Sainsbury’s for at least 7 or 8 years. It has certainly helped raise the profile of “Supermarket” rum.

We’ve recently seen quite a lot of Chairman’s Reserve branded Single Cask rums being released by various different stores, Rum Clubs and even investment businesses. Saint Lucia Distillers in general have increased their overall portfolio considerably, especially here in Europe.

They have added rums to all their “brands” such as Bounty, Admiral Rodney, 1931 and of course Chairman’s Reserve. So lets take a look at what they are offering us this time.

Chairman’s Reserve 2005 Vintage is a 14 year old blend of rums from their John Dore 1 still and their traditional Column Coffey still. The rums were originally aged seperately for 4 years in ex-bourbon barrels. After this time they were “vatted” together and aged a further 10 years until 2019 when the contents were bottled.

It has been bottled at 46% ABV, which may disappoint some, sorry correction this HAS disappointed some wanting Cask Strength rum. I am tasting from bottle number 132 of only 390. It is noted as being from Cask 7/10. Which I presume means their are 9 other similar casks to this rum floating about somewhere? Perhaps this was the only one that was bottled at 14 years. To be honest I’ve not asked anyone about it. So if anyone wants to shed more light please feel free.

Despite the low out turn of bottles it is still available. You can pick a bottle up for £59.95 over at Master of Malt. It’s a shame no one told this guy who paid nearly double that at auction. This is something which seems to be happening rather a lot lately. People paying over the odds at auction for bottles they could have easily ordered online. Still a fool and his money are easily parted.

Presentation wise the Chairman’s Reserve 2005 Vintage is similar to the Single Cask offerings that have been popping up everywhere in terms of colour scheme. However this has a gold band around the bottom noting 2005 Vintage rather than the Store or Club the rum was bought by. The cardboard box is also a full box rather than the cut out style used on the Single Cask bottlings. I guess this is Single Cask as well but I’m still not totally sure whether there are more 2005 VIntage’s around (from the remaining Chairman's Reserve 2005 Vintage Rum review by the fat rum piratecasks of the original 10).

Other than that bottle is the traditional stubby Chairman’s bottle and you get a nice synthetic cork stopper. All very nice.

In the glass we have a vibrant reddish/dark brown liquid.

Nosing I am immediately taken back to my first experiences with Chairman’s Reserve. I remember my first nosing of Chairman’s and thinking “this is rum”. This has a similar balance to the standard Chairman’s in terms of the nose.

There is a really nice vanilla sweetness, which is overlapped by some spicy and very nicely balanced oak notes. It’s woody but sweet with it and it’s very harmonious. Chairman’s Reserve 2005 Vintage is not as herbal as some of the Saint Lucia Distillers rums – such as the 1931 line up. It’s more a “straight forward” kind of delivery.

That is not to say though that it doesn’t have a fair bit going on. It certainly does. As well as being reminded of Chairman’s Reserve “standard” edition I am also getting quite a lot of the Admiral Rodney style. Now Column Distilled rum can get a fair bit of flack and a lot of people (incorrectly) label and consider it to be “neutral” and of little merit. That is not the case when it is done well – and not done on a mass industrial multi column.

Notes of leather, cocoa, some dark chocolate, pipe smoke and chewy toffee. A slight spicyness with a tiny hint of ginger and some fennel. Bit of stewed breakfast tea – bit of an almost Worthy Park vibe going on. Baked banana bread, stewed apple.

It’s a lovely nose with most of the things I like – if not all.

Sipped, it has a touch more bite than I was expecting. That isn’t a problem though it’s still quite soft and pretty easy to drink. The initial entry is a touch bitter with some spicy oak and ginger – a touch of lime zest and some chilli heat that never quite comes to the boil.

Swirled in the mouth the mid palate develops into chocolate, toffee and some sweet vanilla. The balance and ease at which this can be drank is more than a little dangerous. It’s also very moreish.

The finish is a good length and moves nicely into more spicy and oaky territory becoming woodier and more nuanced with some bitter cocoa notes – like chewing on cocoa nibs. There is a touch of red apple towards the finish as well which adds a little Chairman's Reserve 2005 Vintage Rum review by the fat rum piratesweetness and makes you reach for another glass.

The key to this rum is that it hasn’t tried to hard. Some of Saint Lucia Distillers blends (particularly in the 1931 series) could get a little busy. This is a simple balancing act of quality Pot Still and Column Distilled rum. For me the very backbone of good rum making. No matter what any Cask Strength 100% Pot Still nutjob might think on that matter.

I’m all for challenging rums but I also think we should appreciate when a Master Blender does exactly what his job title suggests. He certainly has here.

Well played Mr Harris.






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6 comments on “Chairman’s Reserve 2005 Vintage

  1. Mine is exactly the same as the author’s? Hmmm…

    Barrel 07/10

    • There was a printing error on the labels

      • Has that been confirmed by the manufacturer? It just seems a bit suspect.

  2. Interesting, the bottle I bought from the Netherlands has the same stat line (46%, blend of JD and coffey, 14 years, 2005 vintage), however mine is bottle 287/3,570 and says ‘Barrels Selected: 10’.

    This explains why there is an extra sticker over the label denoting this information, but I’m not sure why there is a single cask and blend to begin with.

    • Mine is the same, nr 2028/3570, barrels selected 10.

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