Guyana

Review: Chaga Rum (Newfoundland Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Chaga Rum.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
5 Years
Recipe
Demerera Rum with Infused Botanicals
Distiller Newfoundland Distillery (Clarke's Beach, Newfoundland)

I really liked Newfoundland Distillery’s Gunpowder & Rose rum, so I’ve been very curious to try this one - a rum infused with Chaga mushrooms! Honey is added to the infusion, to round everything out. The 5 year old rum is sourced from Guyana, but the infusion happens in Newfoundland.

I’m evidently not the only one who liked this, as it also won best Canadian spiced rum at the World Rum Awards.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2019

A terrific rich rum character, with a really nice earthiness which comes not only from oak but also from a subtle deep-forest mushroom earthiness. It has a real richness to it, much like the El Dorado rums. Orange peel, rich oak, mixed roasted nuts, dried cranberries, cacao, manuka honey, prunes, and brown sugar. The palate follows the nose, but the earthiness is amped up – dense, rich, dark earth. The finish, in particular is wonderful – there is a rich molasses character and a rich, roasted earthy character that is both sharp and deep. There is a light smokiness at the end, reminiscent a bit of chipotles.

How does this compare to Gunpowder & Rose Rum? They are both terrific. The Gunpowder & Rose is extremely floral and a bit more unique, but this one is dark and rich, and amps up the rich rum character with even more richness and earthiness. It makes me appreciate the gunpowder & rose rum more, perhaps – it is extremely innovative (rose & rum!) but works really well.

If you like aged rum, and have access to this – buy it. It would be even better at 45% or 46%.

Assessment: Very highly recommended.

Value: High. $40 is very good for this.


Review: El Dorado 15 Year Old Demerera Rum by Jason Hambrey

El Dorado 15.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
15 years; Bourbon Casks
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller El Dorado (Guyana)

Despite enjoying the 12 (a staple of my cabinet and the best hot buttered rum base) and the rich 21 year old, I hadn't ever ventured to try the 15 year old until this summer - and it might be my favourite of the three. It is different in the distillates that go into the blend, giving it a much more earthy/funky/medicinal character that I like. Let's get to it!


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2017

The nose has sweet tobacco, licorice (black and red), dried cherry, clove, dried orange, and a slight medicinal quality. Candied anise too, and slightly rubbery. Even some dense, whole wheat cake! The palate is dense and sweet, but with an incredible balance between the tobacco spice and tannins - still retaining many of the flavours from the nose - brilliant. The finish has orange, rubber, spice, black sugar, and grape jujubes. A nice every-day rum!

Assessment: Highly Recommended.

Value: Average.


Review: George Street Spiced Rum by Jason Hambrey

ABV
35%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
From molasses and spices
Distiller N/A (Guyana)

I was alerted to George Street Spiced Rum, which only appears from time to time in Ontario, by the Rum Howler's review of it, who says it is a mix of 2, 5, and 7 year old Guyana rums.  Since, it has become one of my favorite mixing rums. It is produced by 20 mixologists in rum-loving Newfoundland, where famous George Street resides - it has more bars per square foot than any other area in North America.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Vanilla comes out at first on the nose, coming through quite nicely, along with underlying rum,  dry and light oak, dry fruitiness, and nutmeg and cinnamon too. The palate is lightly sweet -  very pleasant and easy -  with a very nice vanilla finish. There's a touch of heat on the end - quite smooth and creamy, with just a tad of oak bitterness and spices. Nutty too.

This works wonders in cocktails, and the best spiced rum sipper I've encountered (though, yes, I know, they are meant more for mixing than sipping).

Assessment: Recommended, as a sipper. It’s a go-to for mixing, and I will always pick up a bottle for mixing if I see it.

Value: Pretty good, for $26!


Review: El Dorado Spiced Rum by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
From molasses and spices
Distiller El Dorado (Guyana)

I quite like El Dorado rums, and there is little better for a cocktail than a good spiced rum. It is produced at their diamond distillery, and is produced from a mix of aged Demerera rums, cinnamon, vanilla, and citrus. 


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

 The nose is deep, with some currants and baking spice - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. The nose is relatively dry and doesn't seem like it will be as sweet. The palate is dark and deep, with some black pepper and well defined clove, ruminess, and dark molasses. This would shine through brilliantly in cocktails. Not too sweet, but the spices are just beautiful. I was going to infuse this with thyme but I am having second thoughts because of what a wonderful mixer this could be. Some pepper and biting spice on the finish.

Assessment: Not a great sipper, but it mixes fairly well. Spiced rum makes quite a nice presence in cocktails!

Value: Average.


Review: El Dorado 21 Year Old Demerera Rum by Jason Hambrey

El Dorado 21.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
21 years
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller El Dorado (Guyana)

This is one of the most well known rums in the world, in part due to its superior performance in many spirits competitions. Really, it is a benchmark for a good, incredibly rich rum. It used to be quite a bit cheaper, but, now, prices have risen quite a bit as with other aged spirits these days. It is made from a blend of three different El Dorado distillates - a wooden coffee still, a wooden pot still, and a continous still. 


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

The nose is like sticking your whole sensory perception into a stave of oak. Incredibly rich, with currants, spices, bready notes, caramel, vanilla, dried orange, mulling spice, and rich praline. The palate is oaky, with lots of oak, molasses, toffee, and continuing on with loads of spices. And terrific cedar notes. Perhaps the richest spirit I have ever tasted. Lightly tannic on the finish, which also has some dried berries, cedar, spice, mixed roasted nuts, and oak.  Terrific stuff.

Assessment: Highly Recommended.

Value: Low. While it’s on the cheaper side for a spirit of this age, the taste/price ratio isn’t as high as it could be.


Review: El Dorado 12 Year Old Demerera Rum by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
12 years; Bourbon Casks
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller El Dorado (Guyana)

El Dorado, from one of the best rum making areas of the world - Demerera of Guyana - make terrific rum. Though sweet, it is incredibly rich - paying omage, perhaps, to their name, El Dorado, the mythical city that ancient explorers sought in Guyana. Guyana's climate means that the rum produced there is aged in high humidity and high temperatures, resulting in a fast aging process. 

El Dorado has three different sites, with three different stills - a continuous wooden coffey still which is over 200 years old (and the last of its kind), two wooden pot stills with copper necks which are over 250 years old ), and a continuous copper still. These stills enable huge flexibility in the types of rum produced, with the stills producing mild and fruity rums, heavy flavourful and aromatic rums, and sweet and dry rums, respectively. The continuous column still, particularly, is very flexible, making 9 different types of rum distillate. Each of these distillates can be seen single distillate, single barrel products from each of El Dorado's stills.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Darker and oaky and generally very rich and sweet. On a side note, this makes an absolute bomb of a hot buttered rum.  Apple and vanilla comes through, as does quite a bit of orange. And of course very rich molasses notes.

Sweet on the palate with lots more orange, and a "deeper" character - it's quite rich and dense. There's a nice balance of acidity to it. The orange is quite prominent, but not too much - that rich, oaky, molasses character is very central to this. The richness makes me want to return, time and time again. Slightly sour and nutty on the finish. The finish is pleasant, and quite light. Oak, some dried fruit, and pretty good body are present in it.

To understand this, comparatively, a good reference is the Appleton Estate 12 year old. This one is richer, more oaky, and sweeter, but it is still very enjoyable. I prefer the Appleton Estate to this one, which in part is because it isn’t as sweet.

Assessment: Recommended. Nearly Highly Recommended - definitely highly recommended for using in hot cocktails like a hot buttered rum. It is sweet, but also very rich.

Value: Average.


Review: Pyrat XO Reserve Rum by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
2-15 years; American Oak and French Limousin Casks
Recipe
From molasses
Distiller N/A

Pyrat, a brand produced by Patron, is not a distillery but rather a producer which purchases rums and blends them together in Guyana.


Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: Quite medicinal. ORANGE PEEL. Some nice sweetness and vanilla to the nose with some distinct rum oakiness to it as well. vanilla is also there. certainly one of the most interesting noses on a rum that I've seen. Star anise, clove, and, as it sits, more dark molasses.

Taste: Sweet, remarkably full of orange, with some nice biting spice before ending with more orange and some oak and some anise seed. It seems as if it's an orange rum!  Quite sweet and perhaps a touch too medicinal. As I drink it more of the rum character (as opposed to heavy orange) comes out.

Finish: Lots of oak with a flourish or orange and anise. some dry clove and of course there's that orange. There's some molasses at last that lingers on the finish, along with dry oak and orange. It's a touch bitter. The spices and oak come out more and more, to good effect.

Maybe a bit too sweet and medicinal, but pretty good.

Assessment: Recommended. In large part because of the uniqueness of the huge orange character and the light medicinal character.

Value: Low. There are better rums for this price.