The Duchess Barbados 19 Year Old Rum

The Duchess Barbados 19 Year Old Rum review by the fat rum pirateThe Duchess Barbados 19 Year Old Rum. We have another bottling in the The Duchess “Hummingbird” series for review today. This bottling is noted as being “Distilled at Barbados Oldest” on the front label. Which as many a rum enthusiast means Mount Gay Rum Distillery, Bridgetown, Barbados.

In recent years certain distilleries have requested that Independent Bottlers do not use the name of the distillery or at least do not display it as a “headline” on the their labelling. Confusion between official, co-bottlings and Independent bottlings.

Increasingly Caribbean distilleries have been expanding their portfolios into more aged rums, single casks and limited editions. Which were previously very much the domain of the Independent bottler. Some very historic distilleries such as Hampden Estate had never released an aged rum under their own “brand” until a few years ago. Increasingly the distilleries are seeing the distillery name as the “brand”. Without doubt in some instances Independent bottlers have enhanced the reputation of the distilleries products.

So as a result you will not see an Independent bottling with “Mount Gay” written on it going forward. To be honest I can’t think of all that many times I have seen any Independently bottled Mount Gay rum. They have historically sold a lot less bulk rum than other Barbados distilleries. Such is the success globally of rums such as Eclipse and Mount Gay XO.

I’d also like to qualify also that whilst Mount Gay Distillery is the oldest official distillery on the island – with records dating back to 1703, there were plenty of unofficial distilleries on the island prior to this……..

The Duchess Barbados 19 Year Old Rum – Distilled at Barbados Oldest or “Barbados Oldest” is part of the Hummingbird series of rums designed by Dutch artist Hans Dillesse. Todays Hummingbird would appear to be the Antillean Crested hummingbird as I cannot see any green on its plumage unlike the Green Throated Carib. (PS Barbados has only 2 native Hummingbirds – I am not some kind of Twitcher).

The rum was distilled at Mount Gay Distillery way back in 2000 and bottled in 2019. It spent 6 years ageing in Barbados before being transferred to Europe. It has been matured in ex-bourbon casks. The rum is from cask number 49 and was bottled at Cask Strength 54.3% ABV. Although not stated I am assuming that this is a Pot/Column blend.The Duchess Ten Cane Distillery Trinidad Aged 11 Years Rum Review by the fat rum pirate

There were 252 bottles at the time of bottling.The Duchess Barbados 19 Year Old rum is available from Best Of Wines and Zeewijck (amongst others) to those on the continent. For those closer to (my) home Edencroft Wines also have stock. It retails at around the £/€100 mark.

From memory this may be the oldest Mount Gay rum I have tasted, but don’t quote me on that!

So let’s see how this latest The Duchess bottling is.

First up in the glass we have a classic golden to dark brown rum with red and orange flashes. It is a little cloudy but that is something we should not be disappointed with!

The nose is very fruity with lots of pear, pineapple and some mango. The usual Mount Gay coconut note is there but not as prominent as usual. Further nosing reveals some cashew nuts, milk chocolate and some fruity raisins.

It’s quite light and slightly floral with a slightly acidic note to it. It’s nicely balanced and quite different for a Bajan style of rum. There isn’t as much vanilla and coconut or charred oak you often get with Mount Gay. This is certainly quite different.

It does have a nice balance and a bit more time in the glass does see more vanila and oak influence but its playing second fiddle to the fruity and floral notes.

Sipped this is again very fruity. Green Apple, some bitter Gooseberries and some rose water. There is a bit more oak and spice on the entry and mid palate than the nose suggested. It’s welcome as it adds an extra layer on the top of the sweeter fruitier and floral notes. I’m still getting very little of the more familiar Mount Gay profile. Not much vanilla or coconut.

In some ways this is fruity in the sense of a sugar can juice/Agricole Rhum. It’s certainly not your typical Barbados rum. Quite different – more like something from Mauritius perhaps. It’s light and nicely balanced.The Duchess Barbados 19 Year Old Rum review by the fat rum pirate

The mid palate has a bit more oak and more spice which is a little more familiar. There is a slightly “damp” note to this rum – an almost damp hay like note which is interesting.

As we move into the finish the rum delivers quite a long yet gentle finish. Even by Barbados standards and considering this is Cask Strength this is a very easy sipper.

The finish is a good length with a nice hit of oak and some bitter bark coming through. The fruitiness fades out nicely to give this a really nice rounded finish. It’s long and very enjoyable.

All in all this is another really interesting barrel pick from The Duchess. Certainly not a barrel you would pick if you were searching for something similar to Mount Gay’s regular releases that is for sure. Quite how the rum has ended up quite so different – I do not know. Maybe 13 years Continental ageing? Or maybe this was some kind of experimental blend.

Had I been given this blind I doubt I would ever have guessed it at being from Mount Gay as it tastes so different to what I have experienced before. That said it’s a really interesting and very good rum in its own right.





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