Chairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection 2006 13 Year Old The Whisky Exchange Exclusive

Chairman's Reserve Master's Selection 2006 13 Year Old The Whisky Exchange Exclusive Rum Review by the fat rum pirateChairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection 2006 13 Year Old The Whisky Exchange Exclusive. I first noticed one of these Master’s Selection Chairman’s Reserve rums before Christmas 2019. I think it was exclusive bottling for a Belgian retailer, who’s name now escapes me.

Royal Mile Whiskies had one in stock and then I learnt that The Whisky Exchange were getting their own release, as well. Being a big fan of Chairman’s Reserve and St Lucia Distillers I have been looking forward to trying one of these rums.

One of the big pulls around these Master’s Selection rums, is that they are bottled at Cask Strength. Even the Premium 1931 series from St Lucia Distillers were bottled at between 43-46% ABV. This Single Cask release comes in at 56.3% ABV. I’m not fanatical about Cask Strength rum but its always good to try rum with less water!

Chairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection 2006 13 Year Old is as mentioned a Single Cask rum – 286 bottles in total. It was distilled in 2006 and bottled in August 2019 – so it must have been distilled pre-August in 2006 as it is noted as being  a full 13 years old. It was aged in an ex-bourbon cask. The distillate comprises of 50% Pot Still rum from the John Dore #1 still and 50% from the Vendome Pot Still. It retails at £69.95 at The Whisky Exchange, which I think is a pretty decent price. (Providing it’s good of course)

I have long been a fan of St Lucia Distillers and the Chairman’s Reserve brand. We’ve pretty much reviewed every official release (barring the latest 1931 – don’t worry it’s coming) and a few independents. To be honest whilst the official releases have been mostly on point the Independent bottlings have been a real mixed bag. The Berry’s 11 and 14 Year Old expressions were excellent. The Compagnie des Indes 13 Year old less so and the Silver Seal “Dennery” (Dennery Distillery was long when the distillate in that bottle was produced) was frankly awful.

However, all the 1931 aged releases were decent so I have high hopes for this bottling. To recognise it’s more Premium appeal compared to the standard Chairman’s Reserve there are a few tweaks to the tradmark stubby rounded bottle. First up we get a cut out card sleeve to house the rum and a general update on the label to give more specific information on the rum and the collaboration with The Whisky Exchange. Secondly rather than a screw cap opening we are treated to a cork stopper. Nice. I must say I do miss the old style presentation/label as pictured – it was my first “Premium” rum purchase.

Anyway lets move and see how this Cask Strength Pot Still rum goes down.

In the glass Chairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection 2006 13 Year Old is a wonderful golden to dark brown colour with an orange hue. The nose is pretty big! I’ve poured my glass and its a good couple distance away from me and I can nose it a good half metre from the juice.

Not though in the way you can noise the likes Wray and Nephew Overproof or a Clairin. This is a much more refined and less pungent aroma.

I best get a little closer and take a proper nose.

As the rum warms to the glass the more medicinal notes of pine cones and tarry brine integrate more with the softer elements of this rum. Pot Still Rum from St Lucia is quite “pungent” but the “funk” (if you wish to use such a term) is a lot more balanced than rum from Jamaica, for example.

There is a wonderful oak and smoke char to this rum giving it a wonderful smoky aroma on the nose. This nestles beautifully alongside Dark Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee and some sweet chewy toffee. Elements of this remind me of those flavoured toffees you used to get in multi coloured wrappers. Toffo’s! Of course, yeah this reminds me a little of the banana toffees you got in those.

The nose is all rounded of nicely by some spicy notes of ginger and a slight hint of fruity berries.

The nose is as complex as the 1931 series but it seems less complicated. For me the 1931’s could get a bit too busy with all the differing components in the blend. This for me has a slightly better overall balance.

Sipped, when you are pretty much to a more standard strength St Lucia rum – is a big flavour explosion. Got to admit it has taken me a good few sips to get accustomed to this rum. It’s big.

The initial entry is quite sharp with a lot of woody spice and some bitter dark chocolate and cocoa notes. It has that pine-cone/briny element to it as well. It’s bold and flavourful.

It has a slightly medicinal note – not to dis-similar to the Rockley Still Style of rum from Barbados. This runs on into the mid palate which is a wonderfully lightly smoked affair. A slight note of pipe tobacco and salty brine are offset by some caramel sweetness and a nutty like aftertaste. Even at the full 56.3% ABV it is a fantastically complex and warming sipping experience. “Old Leather Armchairs” is a term Dave Broom has used in the past and I’m with him with this rum. It’s warm and comforting and full of character.

Flavours keep coming with each sip. You get more sweet notes of sultana and raisin on the entry and mid palate. An almost peppery spice as well also creeps in and out. Each sip is familiar yet different.

Chairman's Reserve Master's Selection 2006 13 Year Old The Whisky Exchange Exclusive Rum Review by the fat rum pirateThe finish is long and this is very much a rum to be taken slowly. You don’t need to sip a lot such is intense concentration of flavour. This is a rum to be taken little and not very often at all. Savour it. Allow the rum to swirl around your mouth. Then swallow and savour it for as long as you can wait for the next sip. It really is a rum that needs to be appreciated and taken slowly.

You will find the more you sip this rum the more you will get from it. It is wonderfully complex and beautifully balanced. It has that distinct St Lucian flavour profile. To be honest St Lucia Distillers simply do not get enough credit for what they do. They don’t get talked enough about in Rum Enthusiast circles or on the various Facebook groups.

As a result you’ll probably have a decent chance of getting a bottle of this as its not the latest Foursquare or Velier release.

It’s every bit as good though.

 

 

 

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