Kill Devil Cuba 17 Year Old 1999

kill devil cuba santci spiritus rum review by the fat rum pirateKill Devil are and ever increasing range of Independently bottled rums from Whisky bottler Hunter Laing.  Unsurprisingly perhaps Whisky based online retailers such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt have been stocking their rums from the outset.

As a curious rum consumer and a lover of Independent bottlers I’ve found myself with a good few bottles and samples.

Today we have a 17 Year Old Cuban rum from the Sancti Spiritus distillery.  I have tried in vain to find any meaningful information on this distiilery.  It has been in operation since 1946.  It also produced a short lived rum called Paraiso which was intended for the UK market.  As far as I can see it never really caught on.  Other than seeing the name on other Independent bottlers such as WM Cadenheads and Bristol Classic Rum I have drawn a blank.  The name of the distillery doesn’t help much as its the name for a province in Central Cuba.

Kill Devil have released two different casks from the Sancti Spiritus Distillery – both aged 17 years.  This particular rum was distilled in January 1999 (the other was July 1998).  It is one of only 362 bottles from a single cask.  It is bottled at 46% ABV.  It will set you back around £60 in the UK.  For those interested in Kill Devil rums but put off by the ABV i.e. not Cask Strength – they will shortly be releasing some Cask Strength rum as well.

My experience with Cuban rum has increased recently with a visit to Spain.  Where it is very popular and inexpensive.  I also have past experience of a 10 Year Old Sancti Spiritus rum from Bristol Classic Rum.


The presentation of the rum I like.  It’s consistent with their others offerings and its always nice to get a good quality cylinder to store your rum.  Information regarding the bottling is also a bonus.  Something which should be done a lot more in my opinion.

In the glass the rum is a very light straw like colour.  As with most “ron” the rum is produced on multi column stills.

It doesn’t appear to have been coloured in anyway though it may have been lightly filtered.

The nose is the first surprise for me.  It’s quite aggressive.  It is not as sweet as most Cuban rum I have tried.  It is not as clean and grassy as the Bristol 10 Year Old I reviewed earlier this year.

Predominantly it has a tarry note.  There is a little sweetness – almost citrus like.  It is quite an oaked rum.  Unlike many Cuban rums this oak isn’t charred though. It’s quite clean and very woody.  Vanilla wafts in and out of the mix.

Sipped it is very spicy.  Quite heated initially.  This fades quite quickly though.  There is a decent amount of flavour in the mid palate – it’s a pretty dry oaked rum.  It leaves behind a good hit of oak and smoky notes.  The finish isn’t long but it is pleasant.

It is not a rum that I would pick out as being a Cuban rum.  It is not representative of the that style.  At least not the style which is commercially popular.  Much like the Kill Devil Guatemala – it offers a very different perspective on what can come out of certain countries.

Being single cask it hasn’t benefitted from any blending.  As a result it does have a few rough edges.  It comes close to having the balance of a Bajan but it has an extra bite to it.  The tar or spice puts it a little of balance.  It is perhaps just a touch too dry for my palate.  Maybe it strays to close to whisky for my liking.

What shouldn’t be ignored though is how good the spirit is.  It’s punchy.  It’s certainly not a light Cuban style “ron”.  Maybe an almost Caroni like note to it -slightly industrial.

Another positive addition to the Kill Devil range.  If you want to try a Cuban rum stripped bare (rumour has it wine and vermouth is often added to the aguardientes) this is certainly a good place to start.

3.5 stars







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