Lemon Hart 151 Premium Rum

Lemon Hart 151 the fat rum pirate rum reviewOver two centuries ago Lehmann (Lemon) Hart was named an official purveyor of rum to the British Royal Navy, subsequently establishing the Lemon Hart Rum Company in London, England, in 1804.

Whether Mr Hart ever intended a 151 Lemon Hart to become Tiki staple is improbable but this particular rum is the most iconic of Lemon’s legacy.  What is even more improbable is that the Lemon Hart Rum Company of late would be based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  That is however what has become of the man’s legacy.

Rumours of the scarcity of Lemon Hart 151 first came along around 2012.  As far as I’m aware at this point in time (23/04/2015) no Lemon Hart rum of any description has been released since early 2013.  Whilst stocks are still available world wide it rather depends on your location as to how easily you can get a bottle.  Having short hands and deep pockets won’t help your cause.

Fortuitously, I stumbled across ibottle of Lemon Hart White Rum in Ayia Napa (of all places) in the summer of 2014.  How long it had been on the shelves of said retailer was anyones guess.  I looked anxiously for the variants I really wanted (the 151 and the Dark) but sadly they had none!

My experiences of “Overproof” rum has been quite mixed.  Whilst I enjoyed Smith & Cross (57% ABV) and Pusser’s Blue Label (54.5% ABV) I hadn’t quite got to grips with either Plantation Dark Overproof (73% ABV) or Gosling’s Black Seal 151 (75.5%).  As a kind of middle ground J Wray & Nephew White Overproof (63% ABV) had been pretty good but I was very reticent to try another 70+% ABV rum.

The purchase of the Lemon Hart 151 was buoyed partly by the scarcity of the spirit but also the enthusiasm of Demerara lover and Tiki mixologist Helena “Tiare” Olsen over at A Mountain Of Crushed Ice.  Lemon Hart 151 rum review by the fat rum pirate

The first thing I noticed about the Lemon Hart 151 was the lack of “aroma” coming from the bottle once opened.  As an import, the rum came with an unusual plastic screw top cap.  Upon opening the bottle I was expecting to be attacked by alcohol fumes.  This had been my biggest issue with the Plantation Overproof, it reeked of alcohol from metres away.  That is not an exaggeration.

Whether it is the Demerara element (a little added sugar is in the mix) which contributes I’m not entirely sure but Lemon Hart 151 does not give off any kind of strong alcohol aroma, the way other overproofs can.  It cannot be smelled strongly from the bottle being opened and a glass cannot be sensed until you actually nose the spirit.

Lemon Hart 151 is up there without doubt as one of the most sweetest smelling drinks I have ever encountered.  Nosing and tasting notes are often full of rich notes such as toffee, brown sugar, molasses, raisins etc.  I am going to give you the note which best describes this rum via a link.  I have not even prised open a jar of this delicious treat for at least 20 years but I can assure you that this is exactly what Lemon Hart 151 smells like.  Not the Golden Syrup but the Black Treacle.

No doubt a lot my American readers are thinking what the hell?  It’s basically a more thicker, darker, more liquorice and toffee tasting Maple Syrup, without the Maple flavour.  Basically its liquid gold.  And its probably more harmful to you than drinking the 151 straight!

Lemon Hart 151 rum review by the fat rum pirateWhich is where we will start after another nosing.  Yip still smells like deep dark treacle.  Great!  You can sip this but it burns like hell and it’s very much like trying to eat a very very hot curry.  It really is a bit of a fool’s errand to try and drink rum at such strengths.  If you do not wish to mix this rum in Tiki drinks or as I do with Cola then watering it down is the key.  A few teaspoons of water should bring it down to a more manageable level.  For those in warmer climbs a cube or two of ice left to melt might work well.  This should open up the spirit as well and release further notes.  To be fair the Lemon Hart 151 isn’t that complex so it really just allows you to enjoy the spirit minus the alcohol burn of a 75.5% Spirit.  The nose is still fantastic.  Lovely treacly toffee, rich toffee apple and intense candy floss flavours.  I bet even small children would enjoy smelling the glass after the rum has been drank.

Lemon Hart 151 as a sipper? Not for me. Sorry.  As a mixer.  Well this is where it shines.  I don’t build very many complex cocktails.  It was something I have considered on numerous occasions but I have realised that there is more than enough variety to be hand in sipping and mixing various rums with cola and ginger beer.  I’ll stick to it straight or in a highball with lemon or lime.

Mixed with cola Lemon Hart 151 makes a dangerously tasty drink.  If it wasn’t for the “Highly Flammable Liquid!” warning on the reverse of the bottle you could be mistaken for thinking you are drinking a 40% ABV rum.  Now before you think “ahh but you’ve mixed it with cola it’s bound to be like that”, think again because I have tried Gosling’s 151, Plantation Overproof and Coruba 74.  I can tell you quite honestly that even before you put your nose close to the glass in which they had been mixed with cola they reeked of booze!  Especially the Coruba.

Lemon Hart 151 is a great overproof rum.  It knows how strong it is yet it seduces you with its rich treacle aroma.  It’s the devil in disguise if you ask me.  It’s no coincidence that it is blood red gold and black on the bottle.

This certainly runs Pusser’s close as my favourite Overproof.  Great stuff.  If you see a bottle buy it!

4 stars






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6 comments on “Lemon Hart 151 Premium Rum

  1. My girlfriend bought a bottle for me last year while being on a trip to NYC. She had to smuggle it through the customs control because it was stronger than the airline allowed. I have to say I got quite a different impression from this rum than the fatrumpirate. But I never tried it straight, only in tiki cocktails. And there the smell struck me as very condimental, it reminded me of a savoury seasoning. And of decay! So to me it has a rather pungent, piquant flavor, not at all candy-like and sweet. And in fact that’s why I found it rather special. After all, there are more than enough sweetish rums reminiscent of toffee and the like out there. And more, that’s why I liked the Lemon Hart 151 the most in a Cobra’s Fang! The sweet fruity flavor of the passion fruit syrup forms a great contrast to the piquant flavor of the rum, it makes it even more noticeable.

  2. Hello, I’ve been following your reviews for quite some time and always find them helpful, so thank you for that! I did want to ask, there’s a number of rums you review, like this one, that seem to have no supply chain in the UK. As a fellow Englander, might you provide some tips on how I can get hold of some of these rums for myself?

    • Some I get on holiday others you have to look around for. Some UK websites get limited stock of “foreign” products. For example I got this from Beers of Europe – I also got the German only Pussers 75% from there. The Whisky Exchange does the same. It’s a case of getting them as soon as you see them though as often they only have a case of 6.

      • Thank you for the tip – I just came back from the US and picked up a bottle of the 151 myself, at least there is some hope it might be available in the UK at some point again! I spotted the Pussers 75% – how would you say it compares in flavour with the Lemon Hart 151? Could it be used in float applications instead of the LH? Also on a side note, it’d be great to see a review of the Cana Brava rums!

        • Pussers 75% is much the same as the lower proof Pussers. What label Lemon Hart 151 did you get the newer one? If so I’d love a sample (happy to swap something). Haven’t tried Cana Brava as yet

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