Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum

Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum Jamaica ReviewThe infamous Wray and Nephew White Overproof rum has been available in the UK via Tesco for some years now.  I imagine this is due to its huge popularity in Jamaica where it counts for 90% of all rum sales.

At 63% its not for the faint hearted, mind you neither is the packaging!  It’s bold and slightly brassy.  However the distinctive green and yellow bottle does stand out especially amongst the other white rums on the shelf.   Rather than a metal screw cap it has a plastic screw cap and a diffuser in the neck of the bottle.  This means the rum cannot be poured quite as quickly.  At 63% ABV this is not necessarily a bad thing.  A 70cl bottle costs around £25 in the UK.  It is more expensive than other White Rums on the supermarket shelf but the extra ABV must be taken into account.  You have in theory over a litre of a more standard 37.5-40% ABV white mixing rum in this bottle.  View it as being concentrated.

W&N Overproof is an unaged pot and column distilled rum.  As it has Jamaican pot still rum in the mix I am expecting to get something a little “funky”.  Many white rums are rectified so much that they are almost flavourless and vodka like.  Hopefully this will be better.

For those who do not know J Wray and Nephew are also responsible for the Appleton Estate line of rums.  I have found that in comparison to rums from Hampden and Monymusk their Appleton Estate rums are quite refined by Jamaican standards.  Looking at this bottle I am not expecting the refined sophistication of those rums!

W&N is predominantly a mixing rum.  I wouldn’t really look to sip a white rum at the best of times and I’m certainly not going to start with 63% firewater!  You can add water to this rum if you wish to try this rum without a mixer.  It’s often useful to do so just to explore the spirit.  It’s certainly useful from the point of a reviewer as it enables me to identify some of the nuances and flavours.

Nosing the W&N despite its high ABV it doesn’t actually smell too bad.  It does have aW&N White Overproof Rum review by the fat rum pirate significant note of alcohol in the nose.  It is a bit whiffy but you also get notable citrus and vegetal/grassy aromas.  The pot still rum is very evident.  It is pungent and high in esters.  This is definitely not Bacardi Superior.  For anyone considering this as a Bacardi Superior replacement – proceed with caution.  This is not a light, sweet smelling affair.  In some ways the nose reminds me of unaged Cachaca but with a little added menace from the pot still.  Despite the funk and grassy aromas there is still a fair amount of sweetness on the nose.  Black Banana and pineapple even a little hint of coconut.  Once your nose has adjusted to the ABV of this it actually has a pretty pleasant nose.  This is very different to most white rums especially those in the 40% ABV bracket.

Initially I tried a very small mouthful of this neat.  At 63% ABV that was just a test really and I had no serious intentions of drinking it that way.  To bring the heat down I added a couple of teaspoons of water.  Doing so allows me to identify some tasting notes before I begin mixing the rum.  Upfront the on the first sip the rum is a little bitter tasting and definitely has a very dry mouth feel.  Like the nose once the mouth gets used to the rum it begins to open up with each sip.  It displays the Jamaican funk of other gold Jamaican rums such as Hampden Gold, despite its ABV it is not as intense as Smith & Cross.  It has a sugary sweetness, and notes of orange and a slight tartness of Lime Juice.  Bruised Black Banana is very evident.  For a white rum it really is quite complex.

Despite this I wouldn’t really look to drink this on its own (even with water) it’s not bad but its youth means it still has a lot of rough edges and has a little bit too much burn to really enjoy as a sipper.

Mixing a 25ml shot with a liberal dose of cola, I wasn’t expecting the taste (and mostly the smell) to be drowned out.  Unlike many white rums, you still feel like you are drinking rum.  It doesn’t disappear and it continues to add its rich flavours to the drink.  This rum is very well made with a lot of fruity flavour adding to the cola.

I’m not a huge white rum lover but this is as good as I have had.  It will give a massive kick to tiki style cocktails, where it is very often used.  W&N Overproof is very popular and highly regarded amongst bartenders and mixologists.  Rightly so as well.

The danger in this drink maybe that at 63% its very drinkable.  At the price it is also very good value.  W&N Overproof needs to be evaluated on what it is.  It is a very good white overproof mixer.  It’s availability in the UK and price makes it a no-brainer to have on hand.

4 stars







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4 comments on “Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum

  1. This one is a favorite of mine. It’s flavor comes through in mixed drinks and it makes a superb rum and tonic.

    Mixed with a drier ginger beer (I use “Q”) and lime it makes an amazing “Rum Mule.” I call it a Clear Air Turbulence –as opposed to the Dark n’ Stormy. I also use it in Zombies.

    The only real “problem” is the drinkablity compared to ABV, as the FRP notes. That, and the high levels of funk are offputting for those with more sensitive noses. My stepdaughter thinks it smells like feet.

  2. It made me regain interest in white rums again. It makes a fabulous rum’n’coke that is quite different to my usual dark rums. Long may you prosper, fat rum pirate.

  3. One must learn to imbibe J. Wray as a nostrum, Jah willing.

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