Lemon Hart Original Demerara Rum

Lemon Hart Demerara Rum review by the fat rum pirateOver two centuries ago Lehmynn (“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.

Fast forward just over a couple of hundred years and here I am a few hundred miles north of London drinking Lemon Hart rum produced by Lemon Hart Rum Company Limited, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Quite how all this came about I’m not really sure but its safe to say that a lot of the long established brands in Britain have not remained so due to the quality of their wares!

Lemon Hart Demerara Rum comes in a standard bar room style bottle.  The only notable difference is the plastic screw cap.  Which seems a better seal than metal threaded screw caps.

The label is clear and uncluttered and has the signature Lemon Hart branding, which is used on their promotional material.  The rum being a Demerara is a product of Guyana.  On the rear of the label is the tale of Lemon Hart.  You can tell this rum is bottled for the Canadian market because both the English term “rum” and the French term “rhum” are used on the front of the bottle.  The presentation is so-so, nothing spectacular.

This rum (and the 151) were quite hard to find.  I paid £27.99 for a 70cl bottle which has an ABV of 40%.  If Lemon Hart were available in the UK I would expect it to be priced to compete with Lambs, Skipper, OVD and to a lesser extent Woods.  £20 would seem a fair price to pay.

Lemon Hart 151 is a legendary rum in Tiki circles. It is seen as an excellent and intense overproof float in cocktails.  The “Original Demerara Rum” is less universally acclaimed.  But is it really any less of a rum bear in mind its around half the price of the 151?  Let’s see.Lemon Hart Demerara Rum review by the fat rum pirate

The rum is a very dark brown, almost black.  When poured in the glass it lightens and has red flashes.  The rear label does note that caramel is added (for colouring very little needs to be added and it does not alter the taste – caramel used for colouring is actually very bitter not sweet).

The rum is very sweet smelling.  Burnt brown sugar, molasses, rich almost treacle like.  It has an almost classic fruity Demerara nose chocolate covered raisins and a tiny hint of aniseed.  Just a little hint at bitterness.

Sipping this rum is not a terrible experience.  The rums in this blend will be around 3-4 years old or less.  It is likely that some of the rum in this blend is taken from the Continuous Coffey Still and a little from the Port Morant still also at DDL.  Taste wise the rum has clearly been sweetened with sugar (check the hydrometer tests).  As this is really a mixing rum and does not command a “premium” price tag I can live with that.

The rum is surprisingly bitter when taken on its own.  It has little by way of alcohol burn and whilst it isn’t smooth as ,it has a spicy heat which doesn’t become too much and is quite pleasant.  The finish is very short however and leaves a bit of a tobacco like taste in the mouth.  I’m not sure where the chocolate raisins have gone!

Mixing this rum with cola gives it a reprieve.  The sweet and fruity notes return and pair up nicely with the cola.  It’s quite rich, not as sweet as the nose and still has a little bitterness. It’s almost a kind of woody bitterness.  A little vegetal.  It reminds me a lot of Wood’s 100.  It is initially very sweet but soon becomes a little bitter and has a pretty short finish.  Overall though it makes a pretty nice rum and cola.

If this rum was readily available for around £20 I would probably by another bottle.  However for the price I paid there are too many rums still to explore in that price bracket.

Lemon Hart Original makes for a very acceptable mixing rum but offers little complexity or anything too exciting.   El Dorado 8 is much better and probably my recommendation for a Demerara in the £20-25 price bracket.

3 stars





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9 comments on “Lemon Hart Original Demerara Rum

  1. Lemon Hart is now owned by Mosaiq, Inc., based in Montreal, PQ, Canada. It is easy to acquire in most parts of Canada, except in the most basic of liquor stores, and sells for a few loonies more per 26 ounce bottle than a cheaper lower quality dark rum such as a Lamb’s Navy or Bacardi Black.

    Mosaiq is a spinoff of Seagrams Canada; you may recall Seagrams as a legendary Canadian distiller founded in 1857, at one time owned by the Bronfmann family, Seagrams being, of course, at its peak, the largest distiller in the world. The beverage divisions were acquired by Coca-Cola, Diageo, and Pernard Ricard in 2000, and, as they say, the rest is history.

    While my beverage of choice besides water is Canadian craft beers, with a preference for red ales, and, when there is no other option but to drink imports, Diageo Irish options in the winter and Belgian white ales, or, when necessary, Corona in the summer, my spirit of choice is Lemon Hart. I like the dark rums; as a young man I whet my appetite with Lamb’s Navy, which was better suited to my budget from those high school and college years, but, as age and incomes progressed, the spirit of choice is Lemon Hart, a twist of lime, and Coca-Cola Classic. No substitutes. Best. Ever. Rum. Of. Choice.

    • Spoken like a true Diageo employee…

      • Don’t care who you work for… Can someone tell me why we can’t get it in the US anymore? It seems to have been replaced by Hanson’s 151 (He was the main US distributor I understand) but it ‘s not the same.

  2. This rum is pretty much everywhere here in Canada. Rightfully, it’s considered a small step up from Lamb’s as a dark mixing rum. However, regarding rums bottled for the Canadian market, it’s in the same price bracket as Newfoundland Screech, which is a far better product, with no added sugar (Or so they claim). In any case, it’s a no-brainer for me.

    • I suppose if you like kissing cod, you’d opt for the local “Screech”, but in Alberta, we prefer steak to fish and chips, and Lemon Hart to rot-gut.

  3. Thanks for the revealing review Wes. Hard-to-find is an understatement. I do want to address the notion of sugar in the sense of being able to “live with it”. It’s perfectly fine to add sugar yes, and to live with it, yes again. But not if the bottle is labelled “rum”. Indeed the US regs make clear that such alteration (sugaring, et al) should be labelled legally as either a “flavored rum” or in certain cases as a “liqueur”.

    An honest and legal labelling would much better be “Sweetened Rum”. But the widespread practice of taking a lesser rum, then altering it so as to be palatable by sugaring and the addition of hidden flavorings and essences, false color and thence to “premiumize it”, is simply wrong. I can’t live with it.

    • You are right about the flavoring. If you truly know rum you know that Stroh’s 80% disappeared for a while in the US only to return labeled as “a rum drink.” I’m not a purest, I like what I like and Stroh’s and Lemon Hart are premium brands to me.
      It is no longer sold in the US the distributors tell me. Wonder if it’s the sugar issue?

  4. I guess you liked it judging from the generous pour! I make Old Fashioneds with it and it does okay.

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