John Watling’s Single Barrel

John Watling's Single Barrel rum review by the fat rum pirateJohn Watling’s Single Barrel. The John Watling Distillery is based at the Buena Vista Estate in downtown Nassau on the Island of New Providence, which is part of the Bahamas. Despite being called a distillery the estate does not actually distill the rum on site.

Despite calling themselves a distillery, they are honest about the fact they import rum from other Caribbean islands/countries. Ageing, filtering and blending the rums under the guidance of their Master Blenders Guillermo Garcia-Lay and Pepin Argamasilla.

The estate tours are very popular on the Cruise Ship circuit and you can visit the estate nearly every day of the year (aside from National Holidays).

John Watling’s Single Barrel is a 4 (or 6 depending on where you get your information from) year old 100% Pot Still rum. Each batch is drawn from a Single Barrel. It is not a release of just one barrel. Seemingly they have a number of barrels with similar characteristics. Which means that this particular rum has been in production since 2017. Much like Cruzan’s Single Barrel offering. This is bottle number 10005!

Although the company are happy to disclose they import rum from the Caribbean they do not disclose where the rum is from. So I do not have any details of what type of rum this actually is. The fact it is 100% Pot Still rum does cut down a number of options – where they always either blend with column distillate or simply do not have an operational Pot Still.

John Watling’s Single Barrel is bottled at 66.2% ABV. It is available on site and in selected outlets around the Bahamas. In 2019 they expanded into the US market with this bottling. A 750ml bottle will set you back around $120 in the US. John Watling was a British pirate commonly associated with the Bahamas. For more information you can visit the John Watling’s Distillery website here.

It is yet to make it into the UK or European market. None of the John Watling’s expressions are available. So your best bet for a bottle of this rum would be a trip to the US or the Bahamas.

Presentation wise the rum comes in an eye catching stubby style bottle. Presentation is modern and is sure to appeal to tourists even if their rum knowledge is very basic. They produce the kind of product which people will buy because it looks premium. It is sure to be brand which is brought back and gifted on a regular basis I’m sure.

John Watling's Single Barrel rum review by the fat rum pirate

So with little else to say about the rum lets move on to the fun part………

Colourwise we have a copper coloured liquid with an orange hue.

On the nose I am hit immediately by notes of milky English Breakfast Tea, toffee, pecans and some buttery toast.

Further nosing reveals banana, coconut and a note of pear drops and varnish. You can tell this has been bottled at a high ABV at the rum has a certain amount of aggression.

Those familiar with my reviews might not be surprised to learn that this a rum sourced from Worthy Park (I haven’t had this 100% confirmed but they have told me they sold some rum to John Watling’s a few years back). I’m pretty confident this is Worthy Park juice.

Sipping is a more “malty” experience with some more savoury note mixing in with the Breakfast Tea, Toffee and Banana. It’s quite spicy especially on the entry and you do feel the full affect of the 66.2% ABV.

It certainly tastes quite boozy and you get a very substantial hit of alcohol which carries on into the mid palate. I’d say the 4-6 year age noted online is likely to be quite correct. I wouldn’t guess it to be much older. It does have a youthfulness to it.

On the mid palate the spices grow and you get some nice oaked notes and some slightly roasted and smoky notes. Plenty influence from the barrel comes through at this stage. It’s rich and warming and certainly a few sips in the alcohol dissipates a little and I’m enjoying this a lot more. It maybe needs more time in the glass to settle. I’m and impatient man……..

John Watling's Single Barrel rum review by the fat rum pirateFinish wise it’s a good length with more smoky notes and a touch of pipe tobacco, warming oak and a nice hit again of stewed Breakfast Tea and burnt banana. The finish is long and slightly heated.

With this being at an ABV of 66.2% there is certainly room to add a spoon or two of water. I found this less aggressive at around the 55% ABV mark by adding a drop or two of water and checking the ABV with my Hydrometer. Another plus point for this rum is it is unaltered, no colouring or additives.

All in all John Watling’s are probably losing out not noting this is a Worthy Park rum (they maybe can’t) as it would certainly spark more interest in it. Sadly the market is limited to the Bahamas and parts of the US.

A very solid offering though and a quite daring ABV. It’s a good example of Worthy Park but I think you can get better from their own bottlings.





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