Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum

Gosling's Family Reserve Old Rum review by the fat rum pirateGosling’s don’t tend to rush their releases or have many lines in their portfolio.  Until recently their only rum commercially available was the Black Seal and the Black Seal Overproof.

In recent times Gosling’s have introduced a Gold Rum and finally got around to releasing this well guarded Family Secret.  I quite enjoyed both the Black Seal and the Gold rum so I felt it only fair to review their more premium offering as well.

The rum is made from the same “Bermuda Blend” as the Black Seal rum.  It is then (according to the front label) “aged until it has a luscious, well-balanced complexity.”  Just how long it is aged it not revealed.  I have read it is aged between 16-20 years. 5-7 years and any number of variants in between. The presentation of the Family Reserve is stunning.  As good as anything I have on my shelf.  The black champagne bottle is a homage to the beginnings of the Gosling’s Rum Company, when their rum got its name from the Black Wax Sealed Champagne bottles it was housed in.  The Family Reserve is sealed with a black seal wax which has the effect of dripping half way down the bottle. There is a red band with gold raised lettering around the bottle and the front label is the only thing which reveals this is a modern bottling.

The Gosling’s logo is present just above where the bottle number (3431/14 in my case).  They produce 21,000 bottles per year. They are all hand filled and sealed. As you may have noticed from my pictures the rum comes in a wooden stamped box which has a clear front to it to diplay the rum.  The box is layered with straw.  It’s all very nice and gives the rum a wow factor.  Gosling's Family Reserve Old Rum review by the fat rum pirate A bottle of Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum will set you back around £50-55 in the UK.  The bottle is 70cl and the ABV is 40%.

Unlike the Black Seal, the bottle which houses the Old Rum is actually Black (well VERY dark green). So as the rum empties you are not suddenly surprised to note that the rum is giving the bottle the colour.

As the Old Rum is the same blend as the Black Seal the rums colour when actually poured is not a surprise. In the glass the rum is a very dark brown with flashes of red and orange.

The nose is nice.  Aromas of caramel and vanilla stand out along with some nice aged oak tones.  There are notes of sweet mixed fruit and a little bitter marmalade.  The original Black Seal rum is a slightly “confected” rum in that it does have added sugar and possibly other additions.  However, despite this the Original Black Seal always maintained a very rum like aroma.  As does the Family Reserve.  This smells sweet but still maintains rum like character.  It still smells of rum.  Unlike some other premium rums (Pyrat is the best example) it hasn’t lost the rum like nose.

On with a tasting.  I’ll only be sipping this rum, (unless my previous visits to this rum were way off and I really need to mix it!). Sipped the Family Reserve is initially very sweet.  On the tongue, especially you get sweet caramel and a chocolate mouthful initially.  As the rum is swallowed bitter citrus notes are revealed.  The rum is smooth but has spicy moreish notes.  It leaves a dry mouth. The finish has a lot of oak and spice and the rum really coats the mouth.  The finish gives way to bitter but warming notes. Gosling's Family Reserve Old Rum review by the fat rum pirateThe rum strikes me very much as sweet winter warmer, rather than a sweet light Bajan summer rum for example.

It reminds me a little of British Demerara Blends such as Skipper and OVD.  Sweet yet sufficiently “rummy” enough to still be a mans drink. In spite of all the positives, as a £50 premium sipping rum the Family Reserve does have a few flaws.  The bitterness in the finish isn’t great and does not fade.  It can leave you wanting some water after only a glass or two.  Also like many Blended Demerara’s it is slightly one dimensional.  It’s not a rum which evolves as you sip.  The initial nosing and initial couple of sips will reveal pretty much everything you are going to find.  It isn’t hugely complex. It’s a nice warming, sweet, round the fire winter drink which will work well in colder climbs.  Quite what the Bermudan’s do with the rum I’m not so sure.

I’m sure it wouldn’t be unpleasant in a warmer climate but I’m struggling to picture me drinking this in hot weather.  I’d probably opt for a cooling Dark N’ Stormy with plenty ice.  For that I would use the Black Seal rather than this. This is a nice enough rum but you could probably get the same kind of experience from less expensive rums and as a sipper it is one dimensional.  It’s good but not quite great. 3 stars

 

 

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