Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004

Holmes Cay Single CaHolmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004 Rum Review by the fat rum pirateHolmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004. Fiji has been on the “rum radar” recently with Plantation Rum releasing the newest addition to their Signature Blends in the shape of the “Isle of Fiji” which I reviewed earlier this month. It has also been revealed that Plantation have an agreement with South Pacific Distillery (the only active distillery on Fiji) to be the exclusive buyer of their rum.

Going forward that will mean less Independent bottlings of Fijian rum will appear on the market. Instead the Fijian rum will be produced by South Pacific Distillery, under their own brands and by Plantation, as part of the agreement. No other bottler or producer will be able to access Fijian rum. That said E&A Scheer and the Main Rum Company, here in the UK still have plenty of casks ageing in their warehouses……so it may be a while before we notice any difference.

One such cask, which has been ageing here in the UK for the past 4 years has now been bottled by Eric Kaye. Eric runs Homes Cay Single Cask Rum. Coming out of New York City, Eric is introducing rare and exciting premium rum to the US. He previously bottled a relatively “safe” bottling a vintage 2005 Foursquare rum to widespread acclaim. It was a fantastic debut!

For the next Holmes Cay release Eric has decided to push the boundaries and really go a little “out there”. He is releasing a “safer” Port Mourant Guyana, at the same time as this bottling but he is really putting his faith in the juice rather than the name with this particular bottling.

Fijian rum hasn’t quite got a “name” for itself in the way Jamaican, Barbadian or Guyanese rum has over the past 5-10 years. Aside from Bounty Overproof there is no real “staple” Fijian rum. The attempts by Coca Cola (who own South Pacific Distillery) to market the Ratu brand – hasn’t quite caught peoples attention for one reason or another.

As far as Independent bottlings of Fijian rum have been concerned, they have been very variable in terms of both quality and profile. In some instances you would be hard pushed to even guess the rum was from the same distillery. Trying to explain the profile of Fijian rum is difficult. It can be anything from a lighter St Lucian style of rum, right upto a Jamaican Overproof style of funk and esters. It’s a distillery which never ceases to surprise and confuse me on my rum journey. Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004 Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

So what do we have in our glass today? Well, as is the case with most Independent bottlers, Eric at Holmes Cay is very keen to share as much information as possible.

Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004 is, as the title tells us a single cask of rum. Which yielded just 240, 75cl bottles. It has been bottled at 58% ABV. 100% Pot Still rum. Aged for 12 years in Fiji and 4 years in the UK, at Main Rum Company, Liverpool. Aged in ex-bourbon barrels. (It was re-casked in Liverpool) It may prove difficult to find this in Europe and the UK but here is a list of current stockists at least for the US.

I’ll let you know how I came about being able to review this rum at the end. In the meantime lets take a look at the liquid I have in my glass.

Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004 is a light golden brown. Certainly not as dark as I might expect of a 16 year old rum, with a high proportion of Tropical Ageing. That said, this is perhaps testament to the fact Holmes Cay have not added anything to this rum. No colours no additives.

Nosing Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004 is a much lighter experience than I had expected. For a 100% Pot Still rum this shows a remarkable amount of balance and restraint. I was expecting a lot of funk, brine and booze. Instead I am getting a very well balanced profile.

Wafts of vanilla ice cream and cream soda are immediate. There is a slightly salty aroma – a touch of sea brine and some green olives. A touch of pine cone. This is all brought together by a layer of toffee and a dusting of icing sugar.

I’m not sure blind I would guess this was from Fiji. I think I may have thought it was from Worthy Park or even St Lucia Distillers. Maybe a blend of them both?

Certainly not bad company to be keeping!

Sipped, this is a very punchy flavourful rum. It has a good hit of brine and some funky Jamaican notes. It also has a really good weight of vanilla, toffee and double cream to keep it all together. Great balance even sipped at 58% ABV.

The mid palate builds and builds with an array of spices and wonderful aged oak notes. Cinnamon, butterscotch, ginger, white pepper and some smoky notes all put in an appearance.

The finish is long and lingering with a fantastic array of woody spices and a dry smoky finish which just goes on and on. It has a wonderfully chilli like heat which builds but never dominates or throws it off balance. This is not just one of the best Fijian rums I have tried but also one of the best rums I think I have had…..ever.

I’ll make a little disclosure but in all honesty, I doubt anyone who tries this rum will be disappointed by it. I wouldn’t have said what I said to Eric upon first trying this if I didn’t think it was as good as it is.Holmes Cay Single CaHolmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004 Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

In October last year I met Eric Kaye at London Rumfest. He came out to dinner with our group after spending a large part of the day socialising with us. He had samples of Holmes Cay Barbados and he was keen for me and others to try it. The result was my review in November and I was suitably impressed!

Following, on from this meeting Eric arranged for Main Rum Company to send me some samples. He was working out what he wanted to buy. For some reason he valued my opinion. Amongst them was this SPFD (South Pacific Fiji Distillery) 2004 sample.

Upon trying it, I told Eric if he didn’t buy it I would! I really did think straight away it was excellent.

An absolutely fantastic find.







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3 comments on “Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Fiji 2004

  1. Just picked up a bottle of this rum recently. Your review encapsulates my thoughts about this rum. I was expecting a typical Fiji profile with funky, briny petrol notes, and thought perhaps the bottle was a mis-labeled Barbados expression. It really is a superlative rum, along with the Guyana 2005 (which I also picked up). Cheers!

  2. I suppose I have more chance of catching a ride home on a flying unicorn with Elvis than getting a bottle of this in Oz.

    • It’s interesting to try an older Fiji more to come as well

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