Watson’s Trawler Rum

Watson's Trawler Rum review by the fat rum pirateWatson’s Trawler Rum is another dark navy style rum from “up north”.  Scotland has a real tradition when it comes to rum.  Many famous Independent bottlers such as obvious ones like Cadenhead’s and Duncan Taylor age their rums in Scotland.  Surprisingly for some, Italian bottlers such as Samaroli and Silver Seal also age their rums up there.

Scotland also has quite a fondness for dark rum.  Brands such as Woods, Skipper and Lambs are all popular and mostly drank with coke or blackcurrant cordial or even peppermint cordial.  Rum n’ Black and Rum n’ Pep.

Watson’s Trawler Rum is produced by Ian MacLeod Distillers who can count Glengoyne and Sheep Dip (whiskies) in their portfolio.  Trawler rum is a blend of Demerara and Bajan rum.  For a £20 bottle it is refreshing to see it bottled at a respectable 40% ABV.

The information on the rear label states that both the Demerara and Bajan rums in the blend are matured in the tropics and then brought to the UK to be blended together.  Watson’s is quite an old brand and has been in production for over 100 years.

Presentation wise its unlikely Trawler Rum will win any awards but I kind of like its cheap retro feel.  Particularly the blue screw cap – no idea why really.  It’s a little dated but there is a certain fondness I feel when I see bottles like this.

I reviewed a bottle of Watson’s Demerara Rum a couple of years ago.  I think at the time I was also samplIng a bottle of El Dorado Eight Year old.  in comparison Watson’s Demerara being “so-so” – with a bit too much bitterness

As a result it has took me a while to buy a bottle of Trawler Rum.  Again a “bargain” price – £16 on Amazon made me make the plunge.

As already touched upon there is a great variety of Dark Navy Style rums available in the UK.  Personally (and its a review I really need to update) Woods 100 is my usual go to Navy rum nowadays.  It is more expensive but the ABV of 57% me

Watson's Trawler Rum review by the fat rum pirate

ans you can get more out of the bottle – if you are careful with your pours.

As regular readers will know I am not adverse to drinking rum and cola.  I’m really not expecting a complex sipping experience when I’m spending less than £20.

In the glass Watson’s Trawler Rum is a very dark (undoubtedly coloured at some point) brown with reddish streaks in it.  Its close to actually being black.

The nose is very fruity.  It is full of familiar Demerara raisin and currant notes.  There is a treacly hit to it but not a dark almost aniseed-y molasses more of a sugary syrup.

It’s rich, familiar and “warming” – a cold weather drink if you like.  Which is good because I’m used to that!

Extensive nosing with this one doesn’t really deliver much else.  It’s a rich, sweet straight forward Demerara rum.  The Bajan rum I would not even guess was in this blend.  I do note though that this rum does not have any of the bitterness of Watson’s Demerara rum.  So maybe the Bajan rum is making some subtle adjustments to the rums profile.

Taking a sip of this rum is a warm, fruity experience.  I would hazard a guess that the rums in this blend are a little more than 2 years old.  Which does make it a little rough and ready.  It isn’t a terrible sipper but it is a little too sweet.  It’s also too young so you get a contrast of sweetness and a strong hit of alcohol.  Particularly when swallowing this rum.

But I don’t believe this rum is really intended as a sipper.  So we’ll set about trying it in a couple of “traditional” Scottish/Northern drinks.

First up is a simple mix of Trawler rum and Blackcurrant cordial.  It doesn’t have to be anything special just something cheap you would find in a local bar.  How much you add is your preference I usually add around 25ml to 50ml of rum – roughly half.

Watson's Trawler Rum review by the fat rum pirateDue to the sweet nature of Trawler rum this makes for quite a sickly drink.  I’ve found rum and black works with less sweet rums – say Pussers Gunpowder for instance.  You couldn’t drink too many of these.

Next up I tried it with my old favourite – cola and a generous amount of ice and a twist of lime in a long pint sized drink.  With a generous pour of Trawler rum thrown in.

Watson’s Trawler Rum is one of those rums (I’ve only experienced with Demerara rums) which “froths” up when mixed with cola – so be careful when pouring.

As far as a simple rum and cola goes Watson’s Trawler Rum does a really good job.  I have to say I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the rum in this way.  I honestly didn’t really have very high hopes for Trawler Rum when I bought it.  Mostly just sheer curiosity!

As the website has progressed I have always kept up the ethos that I don’t want to just review so called “sipping rums” or top end stuff.  I’ve had a few disagreements with people over “mixing rums” – many think there are good rums (sippers) and bad rums – ones which can only be used as mixers.  I personally believe that some rums don’t work as sippers but can really brighten up drinks as mixers. But hey thats just my opinion.

For those into the Cocktail scene I would imagine Trawler rum could be a handy asset to have on the back bar.  It could also be used as a lower ABV rum to stop things getting out of hand.  I’m sure I’m not the first person to over do it on rums such as Woods or Pussers Gunpowder.

Watson’s Trawler rum adds a really nice traditional Demerara fruitiness to drinks – its very strongly flavoured and doesn’t really have any “downsides” to its profile.  It may on occassion be a little too sweet but its certainly not a rum I would class as cloying.

This was a really pleasant surprise and a bit of trip down memory lane for me.  A bit like going back to where it all started.




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6 comments on “Watson’s Trawler Rum

  1. I picked up a bottle of Watson’s Trawler Rum last week, and in the NZ South Island winter weather I tried it with boiling water and manuka honey, then another one the same. Excellent, and another bottle is on the list for next week.

  2. Great review, thank you !

  3. Nice one, thanks

  4. This sounds like it would be right up my street. Have you tried their Demerara rum too by any chance?

    • Sure have, there is a link to it at the bottom of the page.

      • Thanks, mate

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