St Abbs Captain’s Table XO

St Abbs Captains Table XO Rum review by the fat rum pirateSt Abbs Captain’s Table XO comes from newcomers Black Mountain Spirits.  They have three rums in the St Abbs range.  St Abbs is the brain child of entrepeneur David Owens.  David has a recent history in the rum world.  He was involved in Takamaka (formerly Takamaka Bay) rum which hailed from the Seychelles.

St Abbs recently entered the market and it is being distributed by Hammond’s of Knutsford.  Hammonds have a great history and they already distribute the likes of Ryoma Japanese Rum and the FAIR range of products, amongst many others.

St Abbs was a three-masted full-rigged wooden vessel.  It was launched from the ship yards of Sunderland in 1848, spending her life chartered to the Honourable East India Company.  In 1855 it sank along with its cargo which included the finest Caribbean rum destined for India.  Which is a link enough to pay homage with a rum but David Owens is also a Mackem (old slang actually for ship yard worker – ma(c)king the ships) hailing from sunny Sunderland.  Like yours truly as it happens.  For more information on the St Abbs vessel they have a website which explains all and also offers some cocktail suggestions.

We’ll concentrate on the rum.  St Abbs Captain’s Table XO is a blended rum.  Ten rums from Barbados, Trinidad and Guyana are blended together and then further aged in small 200 litre ex-Bourbon barrels and allowed to marry together.  The rums contained in the blend are up to 8 years old. For the initial release to get the profile David was aiming for he has added 10 g/L of sugar.  He is working on reducing this as he works on the blend. I’ve got praise David for his honesty in this respect.  Though he did know I would Hydrometer Test it anyway. It was good from my point of view to confirm independently if you like that my tests are accurate. Despite what the naysayers may think.

St Abbs Captain’s Table XO retails at around the £45 mark.  It is slowly gaining more distribution in the UK.  The rum comes in a very nice rounded stubby style bottle.  The design is modern and sleek.  The cork stopper gives a very satisfying pop and all in all presentation wise it is in keeping with its price tag.  The image of the St Abbs ship is striking on the rear of the bottle.St Abbs Captains Table XO Rum review by the fat rum pirate

In the grand scheme of things St Abbs Captain’s Table XO comes in to the same territory as premium rums such as Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Ron Zacapa 23 Solera and El Dorado 15 Year Old.  It is also competing with slightly less expensive offerings from Foursquare and Appleton amongst others.

So it is in quite a competitive segment of the market.  As a result this blended rum will have to be pretty good to compete.  I haven’t even mentioned blended rums such as Pusser’s and Bank’s who have huge budgets behind them.

In the glass St Abbs Captain’s Table XO is a nice golden brown – a classic rum colour if you like.  The nose is quite sweet and familiar.  There are elements from each of the islands rums that I can pick out.  Some sweet maybe younger Trini rum gives it an almost floral, buttery note.  Shortbread and a touch of icing sugar.  Alongside this the Jamaican element adds a little funk to proceedings.  Giving the rum a hint of menace or real “rumminess”.

The nose is more complex than I was expecting.  The Guyanan rum seems to give the rum a nice hit of chocolate and toffee.  Whilst the nose is quite sweet I wouldn’t have necessarily thought it was due to any sugar addition.  The Captain’s Table XO still has enough oak and spiciness on the nose.  It’s really nicely balanced and I wouldn’t have been surprised if the rum contained within the blend had been a little older.

As a sipper St Abbs Captain’s Table has quite a lot of spiciness zing going on at first. The rum is clearly aged but it retains some of the youthfulness of the rums contained in the blend.  Which may put some of the “sweet and smooth” brigade off.

But luckily not me.  Once you have had a few sips – as you will find with most spirits the spiciness dissipates and you begin to appreciate more the flavours from the various marques contained in the rum.

St Abbs has a very nice milk chocolate and toffee flavour when sipped.  It carries through from the nose and makes this rum quite distinctive.  It’s a nicely balanced well crafted blend.  Whilst the Bajan rum might not jump out at you –  an experienced drinker will appreciate the balance and harmony it provides.

The rums contained in the blend are between 3 and 8 years oldThe ageing and interaction with the bourbon barrels produces a rich and warming finish.  It is long and satisfying.  This is a very British style of rum.

I’m not saying I could have picked out every element and island that has been contained in this rum but I notice a lot of things that I enjoy in rum.  This rum is both distinct and familiar.  A bit of a contradiction.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this rum.  Blended rums from different islands don’t seem to be quite as trendy as they once were.  They are often overlooked in a very crowded market.  A market which I believe is becoming increasingly educated. For me a well constructed and blended rum is as good as anything else.  Take Pusser’s for example.  Two different rums from different islands blended to produce something quite remarkable.

St Abbs Captain’s Table XO isn’t quite up there with Pusser’s.  However what the team at Black Mountain Spirits have produced is a blended multi island rum which is definitely worth giving a spin.  The brand has also just picked up two Bronze Awards in the International Spirits Challenge, for both this and their Cask Silver.  So I’m definitely not the only one that enjoyed this rum.

As you can see from the photo St Abbs also have a Spiced rum in their range.  You never know I might find the time to review the Cask Silver and Spiced as well.

A very pleasant surprise.




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