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This is a great rum for cocktails and casual sipping. The Demerara molasses gives a bit of extra body to a very fairly priced bottle. I’d recommend using this for a delightful winter-time Daiquiri. The 5 years spent in Bourbon barrels gives a kiss of coconut and vanilla, but doesn’t leave the rum tasting tannic or overly oaky. John Rankin
Ed Hamilton's Jamaica Gold Rum is sourced from the Worthy Park Distillery in the parish of St. Catherine at 1,200 feet in elevation. The estate was founded in 1670 and commercial sugarcane production began in 1720, long before any other distillery on the island. All of the sugarcane is processed on the property which results in molasses that is exceptionally high in sugar content. Fermentation of the molasses take place over three weeks and distillation occurs in copper pot stills resulting in a classic "heavy" rum - the term used for the rich, molasses-based pot still rums of the former English colonies. The only additives are natural sugar-based caramel coloring and water. The nose is a bouquet of earthy, leathery tones balanced by ripe tropical fruits, starchy banana, sweet spice, and a toasted, nutty quality. On the palate it is quite rich with toasted coconut, red apple skin, bright minerality, and more earthiness. This is killer in many classic cocktails, particularly a Daiquiri, and is equally great sipped neat! Tim Gagnon
If Neisson is Martinique’s refined, Cognac-esque rhum, then La Favorite is the wild, Bourbon-esque brother. The raw distillate comes from an ancient copper pot still—the last on the island to still use steam power (making them self-sufficient with a very low environmental impact). La Favorite’s un-aged rhums have a complex spectrum of tropical fruit flavors like green banana and lime, and after aging in Bourbon casks they gain layers of toast and vanillin with a lingering spicy finish. When The New York Times’ tasting panel reviewed Rhum Agricole, La Favorite’s Ambre took the top honors among very good competition. This is truly a world class product, and next to a lineup of industrial rums shows how vivid, complex, and delicious rum can be. John Rankin
This is really fantastic Rhum! Made in the Agricole style out of sugar cane and distilled in pot stills for increased complexity and fascinating earthy aromas. This is mostly three-old spirit that has been aged in Bourbon casks. The flavours are intense featuring dried plums and spices. JR
Neisson is one of Martinique’s most traditional distillers. The island’s unique, breezy climate and volcanic soils yield sugarcane unlike any other place. Also, on Martinique it is traditional to distill fresh raw sugar cane and not molasses (which is a byproduct of sugar production). Sugar cane rhums, or Rhum Agricole, have wild, grassy, and citrusy aromas and have a great complexity not often found in molasses-based products. Neisson ages its rums in French oak casks, unlike the Bourbon barrels used by almost everyone else, lending a flavor profile reminiscent of Cognac. Always interested in producing rhum unlike others, Niesson has started fermenting using a native yeast sourced in the cane fields instead of the industry standard commercial yeasts. I can’t recommend this enough for those who know rum well or are interested in an introduction to one of the world’s most delicious spirits. John Rankin
In the not too distant past, spiced rum was a spirit to avoid at all costs. Producers took an already sweet product (rum,) added artificial vanilla and citrus flavors, cinnamon, and then even more sugar to create a beverage made to appeal to the sweet tooth of an undergraduate student. We now have choices of spiced rum that are actually delicious and actually spicy. Wigle’s entry starts with a distillate of buckwheat honey – a tribute to the local grain known for its earthy, woodsy flavor. Next, a slew of ingredients are infused into spirit. Wigle uses vanilla bean, roasted orange peel, cocoa nibs, and cinnamon for a drink that is aromatically very complex, and downright spicy. This peppery kick makes the spirit an ideal partner for ginger beer, or a feisty member of a punch bowl. John Rankin