Kill Devil Guatemala – Darsa Distillery Aged 8 Years

Kill Devil Guatemala 8 years rum review by the fat rum pirateKill Devil is an old fashioned term for rum but this is a very new rum brand.  Coming from independent whisky bottler Hunter-Laing.  I came across these distinctive bottlings for the first time on a German website 4finespirits.  I was interested in trying them but importing spirits into the UK can be a bit of minefield (the German’s also have a different rate of VAT which further complicates things) so I passed over buying them straight away.

As luck would happen Master of Malt picked up some very limited stocks of these rums and I was quick enough to snag a few bottles.  The rums are Single Cask Rum and they are limited to approximately 350 bottles per release.  All the rums I have seen have been bottled at 46%.  This might not please everyone (I’m not hugely bothered about higher ABV’s to be honest) but it keeps costs down and these offerings are very competitively priced.

The bottling I am focusing on today is slightly unusual, which is why I picked it up.  This is an 8 year Guatemalan rum from the Darsa Distillery.  Prior to this bottling I had no idea what or where the Darsa Distillery was.  For many, Guatemalan rum begins and ends with the Ron Zacapa range of rums.  Some more knowledgeable rum fans afollow the Ron Botran brand but both come out of the same distillery or group of distillers Industries Licoreras de Guatemala.

With both Zacapa and Botran much is made of the high altitude ageing and use of the “Solera” system.  To be fair amongst rum fanatics Zacapa is seen as a little bit of a marketing myth and the make up of the rum is continually questioned.

In the case of this rum the “solera” ageing is certainly not an issue as this is single cask – so not a blend of old and younger rum.  So that leaves the question where is it aged? At high altitude? The honest answer is I’m not that sure and the information on the Darsa Distillery is a little vague and what exists doesn’t feel me with much hope for this rum.

Darsa should really be printed as D.A.R.S.A it translates into English as the Alcohol and Rum Distillery.  Further information is even more disappointing and is published here.  It sounds pretty industrial.  Certainly not the picture painted by Zacapa and Botran!

The reason I bought this rum was that I wanted to try a rum from Guatemala which does not have any additives.  Zacapa is sugared – amongst other things and Botran has been noted as also having additives.  The only other Guatemalan rum I have seen is from Planatation and again they add sugar.  I basically just want to see what a Guatemalan distillate taste like – is it actually any good?

This Kill Devil offering cost me just over £40 – pretty reasonable for an 8 year old singleKill Devil Guatemala 8 years rum review by the fat rum pirate cask. The presentation I really like.  The slightly macabre “spirit” on the bottle is good instantly giving you the feel of a kind of “Kill Devil” and the labelling is uncluttered and gives you some information on the rum.  Though to be honest not a great deal unfortunately – no information on still used etc.  The back label has a nice story about “Kill Devil”.  I like the opaque squat bottle and it has a very nice synthetic stopper.  You also get a very sturdy cylinder to store your rum in and keep the Kill Devil trapped perhaps!

The back label states that these bottlings are hand selected and them imported and bottled in Scotland.  Which kind of indicates they are aged at source but hey maybe not.  This is one of 333 bottles.

So enough of the pre-amble lets get down to trying this mysterious spirit!

First up in the glass the rum is a fairly standard golden brown. Although no additives in terms of taste are in these rums, I’m pretty sure like most bottlings this has caramel added for colour – which is not something that overly worries me.  I don’t really go with the idea that it has an impact on the flavour.

The nose is quite delicate and fragrant. A nice balance of oak and vanilla are present and a nice delicate almost floral sweetness comes to the fore.  There is a slight oaky char to the rum, which I quite like and seems to open the rum upto some sweet/sour Bourbon like notes.  My thoughts are how nicely balanced this rum seems.  A nice example of a good well aged column distilled rum.

Sipping the rum is quite a spicy experience.  Despite the ageing its pretty hot and there is quite a lot of burn.  Having said that although there is a definite tingle on the tongue its not entirely unpleasant or rough.  The overall hot and spicy feel leaves the sweeter notes that were on the nose almost impossible to detect.  It’s not as balanced as the nose suggested and it has a lot of heat followed by lot of spice and not really a great deal else going.  It leads into a very oaky and long finish with a slight bitterness.

Kill Devil Guatemala 8 years rum review by the fat rum pirateIt’s not a great sipping rum but its not without its merits.  It’s certainly nice to try a Guatemalan rum sans sugar or other additives.  I presume this has been aged solely in ex Bourbon casks maybe a Port or Sherry Finish may add and extra layer of complexity to this.  It’s pretty one dimensional and doesn’t have a great deal of flavours beyond oak and peppery spice.

At £40 its out of my price range in terms of a mixer but I have mixed a little of this rum just to see how it works.

The result is not bad – the cola tones down the spicy pepper and the oak goes nicely with the rum.  The cola however doesn’t really develop the rum in anyway – you don’t get any fruity flavours you sometimes get with rums when mixed.

An interesting rather than a good start to my experiments with the Kill Devil bottlings but I have a couple more reviews coming soon.  I have high hopes for those rums as they are from distilleries which I am more familiar with – so I expect the standard to by high.

2.5 stars





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