Showing posts with label rum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rum. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Holmes Cay Single Origin Edition Fiji Rum Review & Tasting Notes

When a brand approaches me and asks if I'd review what they've got, I try to keep a very open mind. As an example, even though I do not enjoy tequila and can barely tolerate it, I've been asked to pen a tequila review. Same with gin. In both cases, I let distillers know upfront that I don't like gin or tequila and they need to prepare for a less-than-flattering review. After all, I advertise they're all honest, no-strings-attached reviews and I stand by that.

I enjoy rum, but I've not studied it, and I've certainly not put in the time and effort as I have with whiskey. I can, regardless, tell you what's good and what's not up to par. But, I couldn't consider myself an authority on it, which is why I'm not Rumfellow.

When Holmes Cay suggested I try its new Single Origin Edition: Fiji Rum, I thought it would be a good challenge and accepted the offer. The sample arrived and I poured it. I took notes. I kept my #DrinkCurious attitude. 

"Holmes Cay [pronounced "key"] Rum curates a continuously evolving collection of the best small-batch, limited-edition rums, distilled with integrity and without additives. Single Cask editions are aged in cask, while Single Origin editions combine multiple casks and production styles to offer exceptional expressions from a distillery or country." - Eric Kaye, Founder

The Fiji Rum is blended from "lightly-aged" casks of molasses rums run through both pot and column stills at South Pacific Distilleries of Lautoka, Fiji. In this particular case, Kaye was joined by the minds of Will Hoekenga and John Gulla of the Rumcast podcast. On a side note, I think that's super cool and I would love to do something whiskey-related like that! The rum is just that:  rum. There are no added sugar, coloring, or flavors to adulterate it. What we get to sip is what Holmes Cay calls honest rum

Packaged at 46% ABV (92°), there were only 2260 bottles produced. It carries no age statement. Distribution is exclusive to the US market, and currently available on shelves in AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, NY, and OR. It can also be obtained online. It is priced at about $49.99 for a 750ml bottle.

I'd like to thank Holmes Cay for this review opportunity. Let's get to the tasting notes...

Appearance:  Poured neat in my Glencairn glass only because it adds some level of consistency to the review process, Single Origin Fiji Rum appeared as the color of blonde straw. It created a medium ring on the wall that led to thick, oily legs that came down like a curtain.

Nose:  When I sniffed this from the bottle, I was not a happy camper. I smelled plastic and something else "industrial." But, in the glass, that became a minor player and, instead, agave, green pepper, and freshly-cut grass took the spotlight. When I took the vapor into my mouth, I tasted agave and citrus notes. 

Palate:  The initial mouthfeel was thin and lacking, but an additional sip lent both weight and substance. It offered a medium body and was coating. Flavors of agave, honey, and vanilla cream formed the front, then the middle had funky flavors that I just couldn't identify. The back was far easier with black pepper, brine, and clove.

Finish:  A locomotive finish started slow and then could not be stopped. It began with black pepper, then clove, followed by resin (not raisin), and brine. It stuck around for many minutes.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  As I stated earlier, I know what I like and what I don't, and that's without the technical knowledge of this type of spirit. In the case of Single Origin Fiji Rum, I found it interesting and much different from other rums I've had. Some of that was enjoyable, some of it was strange, but this was very drinkable. I appreciated the higher proof than what is normally acquired from mainstream brands. I respect the purity of Holmes Cay's mission. The price is certainly affordable, especially something that you'd sip rather than you'd liberally pour into a cocktail.  While I'm not adding a rum wing to the whiskey library, this rum earns my Bottle rating. Cheers! 

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Barrell Seagrass Review & Tasting Notes


Barrell Seagrass may be the most unique whiskey I've ever tried. There, I said it!  When it becomes challenging for me to figure out just what I'm tasting, that piques my interest. Each time I took a sip, I was tasting something else.

Seagrass begins with a blend of Ryes from MGP of Indiana and an undisclosed Canadian distillery. They've been finished separately in some rather unusual barrels:  Martinique rum, Malmsey Madiera, and of all things, apricot brandy barrels. If you're trying to imagine what this would taste like, don't bother. I spent a week wondering about it. I was wrong.


"Seagrass stands alone as a whiskey, while also inviting the drinker to explore the multitude of influences created by a global approach to sourcing, finishing, and blending. It highlights the grassy oceanside notes we love in rye and the opulence and spice of finishing barrels." -- Joe Beatrice, founder of Barrell Craft Spirits.

If you're unfamiliar with Barrell Craft Spirits, they're blenders. There are good blenders and less-than-good ones. Barrell is in the former grouping. That's not to suggest everything they do is awesome, I've had some blends that have fallen short. But, I've enjoyed most of what I've tried.

Seagrass doesn't carry an age statement, and like everything out of Barrell, it is packaged at barrel proof. In this case, that's 118.4°. You can expect to pay about $89.99, which is about average for a Barrell expression. 

Before I get to the tasting notes and recommendation, I'd like to thank Barrell for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. With that, it is time to investigate this whiskey.

Appearance:  In my Glencairn glass, Seagrass was bright bronze in color. It made a thin rim and perhaps the thickest legs I've seen. They were heavy and crashed back into the pool.

Nose:  Here's where things got really different - dried apricot and plum were sweet notes, then brine offered a barrier of sorts, separating out the grass and mustiness on the other end of the spectrum. When I inhaled through my lips, coconut and apricot rolled across my tongue.

Palate:  The mouthfeel was full-bodied and weighty. The front of my palate found candied apricot, peach, pear, and pineapple. Rich, strong pineapple. The middle consisted of chocolate, almond, and caramel. On the back, there was a mixture of cinnamon, molasses, candied ginger, and the bitterness of walnut.

Finish:  Long and warming, the finish had plenty of wood tannin, salted chocolate, molasses, ginger, rye spice, apricot, and pineapple. Again, these are things that are difficult to imagine intermingling with one another. I did find my hard palate zinged quickly, but the sweetness mellowed out any burn the proof may have otherwise presented.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  As I said at the beginning, this is probably the most unusual whiskey I've tried. It was sweet. It was spicy. It was earthy. The challenge became both exciting and a little frustrating. But, as I experienced the frustration, I caught myself smiling because the mystifying quality just worked for whatever reason.  

If you're adventurous and want to really #DrinkCurious, I'm here to tell you this is going to stimulate the heck out of you. Of course, I'm in that camp, which means Seagrass grabs my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Exodus Aged Jamaican Rum Review & Tasting Notes


Let's get a few things out of the way here.  I'm Whiskeyfellow, not Rumfellow. My experience with aged rum is very limited, my experience with rum overall involves cocktails. There's nothing in the world wrong with rum, I just enjoy drinking whiskey and there's enough variety to keep me plenty busy.

What, you may wonder, am I doing reviewing a rum, then? Well, this one is special... at least it is marketed as such. You see, this rum has been finished in whiskey barrels!  Whiskey is my jam. I know whiskey. I appreciate whiskey. I love everything whiskey. So, why not?

Being rum-dumb, I wanted to learn something about it before just blindly writing a review. I went to where any spirits-curious person should: Federal Regulation § 5.22 The Standards of Identity.

Class 6; rum. “Rum” is an alcoholic distillate from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup, sugar cane molasses, or other sugar cane by-products, produced at less than 190 proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to rum, and bottled at not less than 80 proof; and also includes mixtures solely of such distillates.

The rum I'm drinking is Exodus from Proof and Wood Ventures. This isn't your basic white rum. Proof & Wood blends column still rum, pot still light rum, and pot still heavy rum to create this concoction. All of it was distilled in Jamaica. The column still portion was aged for three years in Canada in Canadian Rye casks, then in ex-American Rye casks. The light rum aged for two years in ex-Bourbon casks and then an additional two years in ex-American Rye casks. The heavy rum was aged two years in ex-Rye casks.

Everything remained naturally colored with no added flavors. While we would say everything is aged up to five years, that's not something you'd put on a bottle. Like whiskey, if there's an age statement, it is always the youngest spirit in the mix. Exodus carries no age statement. It is packaged at 84° and you can expect to pay $30.00 for a 750ml bottle. 

Before I sip Exodus and do the #DrinkCurious thing, I'd like to thank Proof & Wood for a sample of it in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

Appearance: Normally, I'd be tasting from a Glencairn glass. But, this time, I used a nice, hefty, crystal rocks glass. It presented as the color of light gold, almost as straw. It left a super-thick rim on the wall, and that rim created heavy legs that caused the rum to fall back into the pool.

Nose: The most obvious aroma was vanilla, so much so that if you dumped vanilla extract in a glass, this is what I would imagine it smelled like. I also found scents of molasses, apricot, and sweet, tropical fruits. When I inhaled the fumes through my lips, a blast of butterscotch exploded in my mouth.

Palate: The mouthfeel was heavy and oily. If this was whiskey, I'd be floored. On the front, and pretty much through the finish, that butterscotch bomb continued. At mid-palate, it was joined by vanilla, honeydew, and brown sugar. On the back, I tasted rye spice and green peppercorn - and then something earthy I couldn't quite put my finger on.

Finish: A medium-to-long finish went from very fruity to spicy. At first, pineapple dominated. That was followed by toasted coconut. Then came toasted oak and green peppercorn. It was the peppercorn that stuck around longer than anything else. That earthiness hung around, too.

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This was definitely better than anything I've had out of Cruzan or Bacardi. I recall enjoying Appleton Estate, but it has been too many years and my memory doesn't go back that far. I'm not a rum aficionado so my rating is based purely upon a whiskey drinker's perspective: I liked it. I found the earthy quality somehow complementary to the sweet and spicy notes. As far as a value statement, Exodus seems to be fairly priced amongst other 5-year rums. Does this want me to abandon whiskey and jump on the rum bandwagon? No. But, if the occasional hankering for rum came up, I could easily see myself grabbing this (and yeah, I'd drink it neat). Do the math and that adds up to a Bottle rating. Cheers!

My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It