Privateer International Letter of Marque Sisters in Arms TWE Exclusive

Privateer International Letter of Marque Sisters in Arms rum review by the fat rum piratePrivateer International Letter of Marque Sisters in Arms TWE Exclusive. TWE for those who have are unaware is the commonly used abbreviation for The Whisky Exchange, which is increasingly focusing attention on rum. They have their own rum brand in the shape of The Black Tot and more and more of these “exclusive” rums are popping up.

Very popular they are proving to be as well. The most recent offering a Hampden Estate VIREO 2010, sold out within hours. Unfortunately many of these consumers are not going to be imbibers of these rums. Increasingly we are seeing people “flipping” bottles sometimes days (and often even before in certain European countries beginning with I) after they have went on sale.

That is a discussion for another day, many rum collectors/drinkers see flipping as a legitimate way to obtain more hard to find bottles further down the line.

Privateer Rum hasn’t been readily available here in the UK. In fairness it has only been sporadically available in mainland Europe. It’s main market has been the US. Now the US rum scene is quite different to Europe. I would also say that whilst us British can be reasonably patriotic (sadly often in a rather zenophobic manner) there is little doubt that the people of the US are much quicker to back their own homegrown products. In quite a vociferous manner. I’ve no problem with this I must add. It’s not a criticism

However, overall the quality of rum available to your average European is better, I would say.

For a few years now Maggie Campbell, President, Head Distiller or Master Distiller depending on what sources you read has been the poster girl for Privateer Rum. She has built a reputation for opposing the use of additives and has given numerous talks and attended numerous rum festivals to share her knowledge.

In rum circles Maggie is well respected and well liked by her peers. In many ways as with other operations that have deployed females in Senior Positions, within their Rum Organisations such as Appleton Estate and Mount Gay, it seems to add further interest.

So demand for this TWE Exclusive was always going to be high. Despite my best efforts (should I start writing a review every day?) if you want to try this particular rum then it’s going to be the secondary market I’m afraid. Sorry……no hang on hold your beer…… can still pick up some samples as well as a bottle of Privateer Navy Yard from TWE if you wish to try their rum.

Privateer International Letter of Marque Sisters in Arms rum review by the fat rum pirateAnyway, lets talk a little about what was available in this bottle. Privateer Letter of Marque Sisters in Arms TWE Exclusive is noted as being a “Single Traditional Column Still” rum. However, from what I understand Privateer often carry out Double Distillation whereby they run the rum through a Pot Still and then through a Column (not a continuous column its still batch distillation). It is also thought that they might have a kind of hybrid still.

I’ll be perfectly honest I’ve sat down on numerous occasions to try and understand distillation and how it works etc. Very little tends to stick. I just can’t get interested! Apologies that probably makes me a bit of an oddity in the enthusiast world.

Privateer International Letter of Marque Sister in Arms has been aged for 3 years in a “Used Rum barrel”. It has been bottled at 57.5% ABV and retailed at £74.95. An outturn of just 220 bottles – single cask. The rum is presented in the familiar (well if you are familiar with Privateers rums to begin with) tall thin bottle with a simple black and white colour scheme outlining various information about the bottling. It uses a “handwriting” style typeface for the title etc. It’s interesting but they have bottled a lot of rum in very similar bottles – so keep an eye on what you are buying.

So let’s see how this compares to the previous Privateer bottlings I have tried.

In the glass the rum is a light golden brown. Nosing you are struck by a waft of vanilla and baking spices. Some icing sugar and a big hit of oak spice (very aged bourbon-esque) and some stewed tea. It’s both sweet and quite woody at the same time.

Sipped it is very spicy on the initial mouthful. Full of vibrant oak spice and as mentioned already its also quite heavy on the vanilla. It reminds me a little of English Harbour from Antiqua. I would say it’s a bit heavier than a typical Foursquare offering at a similar age in terms of the wood and spice. They do share certain similarities though.

It does benefit from some time in the glass. I’d recommend this to allow some of the woodiness to dissipate a little. I wondered at first if this had been aged in Virgin Oak.Privateer International Letter of Marque Sisters in Arms rum review by the fat rum pirate

The mid palate moves into a fruitier profile with some banana and a touch of raisin. It’s still quite spicy though – white pepper, some cumin and a touch of chilli.

The finish holds up quite nicely and doesn’t get as spicy or as oaked as I was expecting. The vanilla makes a re-appearance. It is a touch on the short side though maybe that is not a surprise for a relatively young rum.

All in all this probably wouldn’t be your best bang for buck, when it comes to a Privateer. That said availability here is problematic at present.

Privateer International Letter of Marque Sisters in Arms TWE Exclusive, is a nicely put together rum, no question. As it’s already quite woody I’m not sure if it would benefit from more time in the cask, really. Still I have a few more Privateer’s to review – I’ve kindly been sent some from the US.





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