Clarke’s Court is a well known brand of rum distillers having been in operation since the 1930′s and the largest on the island of Grenada. Entrepreneurial company Ramsey Rum (who you may have heard of as the sponsors of last years Rum Blogger Of The Year award at the Golden Barrel Awards – don’t worry we’re not trying to buy votes!) working alongside Hire the Barman, have started a renewed push for the Clarke’s Court family of Rums onto the UK scene and that’s being led by their Old Grog Rum.
Old Grog is a blend of molasses rums aged between 4 and 12 years, despite no age claim listed on the bottle. During the ageing process both Whiskey and Bourbon barrels are used, which are then blended together which makes for a lovely golden amber colour in the bottle. Not as dark as some other rums in the category which we’re pleased to report is down to the fact that no additional colouring is added. Close controls are placed on the barrel selection phase to ensure a consistent result in flavour and colour during the ageing process. Old Grog is bottled in-country at 40% ABV.
We picked up notes of banana and sherbet. The smell is very sweet with almost no smell of alcohol.
Although tasting quite watery at first, this actually helps the smoothness when sipping as there is very little burn. The banana flavour is prominent and the after taste is a very nice mellow finish of fruit with a slight oak flavour from the cask.
We loved the presentation, with the bottle presented in a drawstring canvas sack bearing the Old Grog name and sailing ship, hailing back to the naval days where the name Grog originally came from. The bottle itself is simple with a gold screw-cap top and a label which goes into more detail about the naval history of the rum (we won’t spoil it – you’ll have to buy a bottle and read for yourself!)
Mix it up
Old Grog fits in a nice price point where it’s pleasant enough to sip and enjoy but also affordable enough that should you want to, you shouldn’t feel guilty about mixing (what we call a “Sip ‘n’ Mixer”). We tried it in a classic Cuba Libre where the banana and fruit notes really help create a refreshing tropical drink which was very nice, even giving well known rums like Bacardi 8 a run for its money.
Where to buy
Although not a new rum, often experience wins out and its clear to see why this rum has picked up many awards in the last 10 years, most recently winning Gold at the World Spirits Awards in 2010. For anyone who enjoys a more fruity drink for their cocktails, we recommend seeking out a bottle of Old Grog.
Ramsey Rum will be hosting a stall at this years Foodies Festival in Clapham Common later in the year (June 7th – 9th) and have very kindly offered a special deal to readers of All Star Cask. Any readers who tweet a link to this review using @OldGrogRum & @AllStarCask will be able to claim a whopping 25% off a bottle of Old Grog purchased on the day. But that’s not all! Ramsey Rum are also offering 2 for the price of 1 on Cocktails bought at the festival so get Tweeting!
We first tried the original Ron de Jeremy at Rumfest 2011 and were impressed enough to go out and buy a bottle (#11739 if you’re into that sort of thing). The Reserva made quite a big splash in the rum world, especially in the states where there is a trend for alcohol backed by celebrity names however the Reserva stood out as it’s a very respectable rum, expertly blended by Pancho Fernandez and earning the Gold Medal at the International Rum Conference 2012 in Madrid as well as being nominated for Best New Golden Rum at Rumfest 2011.
With an award winning rum gaining accolades across the globe you may think One Eyed Spirits (the company who own the Ron de Jeremy brand) would sit back and relax but oh no, that’s not Ron’s style. We’d heard the rumours of a Ron de Jeremy Spiced Rum a few months before Rumfest 2012 and were hoping to be able to try some at Rumfest itself, but the guys from Spirit Cartel (UK distributor for both the Ron de Jeremy rums) were tight-lipped about a UK release only confirming that it was “on it’s way” and to look for it in the new year.
So the new year arrived and it certainly sets off what’s looking to be a bright 2013 for rum releases as we can confirm the Ron de Jeremy Spiced has landed in the UK and is available now!
As is popular with Spiced rums at the moment, the Ron de Jeremy Spiced is bottled at two different ABVs, 35% and 47%. Unusually (but luckily), the UK is getting the original 47% version, the same as the US version. The 35% version will be released across the rest of Europe first and we hear that we may see it in the UK at some point in the future.
What’s rare for a spiced rum is that the Ron de Jeremy Spiced makes it clear that the rum is from Panama. A lot of spiced rums recently keep the country of origin of their rum stocks a closely guarded secret so it’s a refreshing (and very welcome) sign that it’s made clear that the RdJ Spiced is proud of it’s Panamanian rum, and so it should be.
Sweet but not as sweet as other spiced rums, lovely caramel notes and vanilla which compliments rather than dominates.
Remarkable smooth and very rich and would make for a decent sipper which feels like an intentional choice by the blender as it has none of the harshness of other spiced rums which are aimed purely at mixing. The spice notes make for a lovely warming finish and the vanilla is so subtle but rounds out the finish very nicely.
Simple tall bottle with screw-top cap. Dominated by Ron’s portrait (also available on tee-shirts). We especially like the “never do anything Ron wouldn’t do” next to the responsible drinking warning.
Mix It Up
As well as a sipper, this rum does mix exceptionally well. We tried it in a simple mix with cola and lime and the spiced rum really brings out the cola nut flavour and makes for a delicious easy to mix cocktail for home.
Where to Try
The following bars are currently stocking Ron de Jeremy Spiced in London
Maddox - Mayfair
Aqua - Soho
Harry’s Bar – City of London
Dstrkt - Soho
Disiac - Soho
Where to Buy
If you’d like some further information about this rum (or the original Ron de Jeremy Reserva), have a look at the Product Sheet
And if we’ve really grabbed your interest, no article about Ron de Jeremy would be complete without mentioning their very interesting crowd-funding initiative where by you can become a part of the legend and own a share of the Ron de Jeremy brand. For full details of the proposal (including the amazing perks and the boring legal stuff) have a look at the Factsheet for Investors
This is the first of (hopefully) many guest reviews that we’ll be featuring on All Star Cask. This month we have The Gentleman Rumster with his review of Takamaka 8 so without further ado here it is:
Gather round, gather round. Well… thank you. Gentleman Rumster here. Got a delightful little update to give you following a smashing time at Rumfest. You know the deal; Lots of Rum, lots of tastings, lots of passionate people.
It’s very easy to be overwhelmed at these things… never really sure who the stars are. Give it a couple of days, the marketing waffle falls away and suddenly it all becomes clear: We want rum-makers with passion. The folks at Takamaka Bay just seemed to lift Rumfest for me. The distillery is like a boyhood fantasy turned real for the two brothers from the Seychelles; Taken from a dilapidated wreck a decade ago to the only “serious” rum makers on the island. Frankly Herculean. But more importantly when they talk you know they care and, more, they want to share.
The Gentleman’s View
The gem of their crop is the Takamaka St Andre 8, a beautiful rum that really shows the passion they’ve put in and the delight a quality rum can give.
Apart from the usual caramel, honey and vanilla, there are hints of banana that give a really nice depth and roundness
That banana goes massive on the palette giving a lovely set of flavours in the front of the mouth. This is definitely a smooth and sweet rum and thankfully misses the “burn-y” after-taste you can get with some rums. This is clearly a drink for those who like a complex palette – we can see that Takamaka have whiskey drinkers in their sites. Refreshingly this isn’t a rum that tries to mimic a peaty flavour, but it bold enough to develop something special of their own.
Clear lines, reminiscent of a Plymouth Gin bottle, gives the Rum a distinction and art deco elegance. Something that isn’t overtly showy… Pure Class. However, the label is clumsy and doesn’t reflect the elegance the bottle and the taste deserve. The red band clashes with the golden colours of the drink and the other elements of the label.
Little tradition used to be a whiskey at the end of the night. Sent one to bed happy. This is definitely a contender for creating new traditions. Personally, I want to see this drink shouted about. So next you’re out, you get to the point where you torn between your 12, 15 or older rums. Try something new and order Takamaka St Andre 8 – I’ve said enough.
Thanks Gentleman Rumster for a great review, we also got to try the Takamaka 8 at Rumfest and really enjoyed it and we’re pleased to report that the St Andre 8 can now be purchased from The Whisky Exchange for a very reasonable £39.95 along with the rest of the Takamaka range here
If you’d like to read up on the entire range, Takamaka have kindly sent us their Product Sheet which contains further details on the other rums in the range.
So we were delighted earlier in the year to hear about a new rum called Pirate’s Grog, as soon as we heard about it we had to try and track it down and try some, and we were lucky enough to do just that at this years Rumfest.
So where did Pirate’s Grog come from? Read on and find out…
Yes, you heard us right, we were delighted to be asked to attend an exclusive tasting of the Appleton Estate Jamaica Independence Reserve 50 year old Rum at an exclusive event during the Boutique Bar Show in London.
The Boutique Bar Show this year took place in the beautiful setting of the Royal Horticultural Halls and upon arrival it took great willpower to walk past all the other interesting Rum brands on display and head straight to Appleton’s private room at the back of the exhibition centre but we knew it would be worth it, and of course it was.
The tasting started just after 4pm and the room was packed to standing room only, with a queue of people assembled outside trying to get a sneak peek of the main event. We were lucky enough to be sat right at the front of the room, so perfectly situated to take in the amazing aroma that could only mean one thing; the pristine bottle of Appleton 50 Year Old had been opened…
The presentation of this rum is beyond anything we’d seen before and really has to be seen to understand just how much effort has gone into making this an (almost) priceless product. The presentation case was specially commissioned from Ch. Dahlinger and includes a hard-back book explaining the history of Appleton and the background to this Jamaica Independence Reserve. The bottle itself is equally stunning, engraved with traditional symbols of the island of Jamaica along the side with a brass inlay adorning the front.
While the rum was being precisely measured out for the tasting, Diane Edwards, General Manager of J. Wray & Nephew gave a quick introduction to the evening before passing swiftly over to Jamie MacDonald, Appleton’s UK brand ambassador.
Jamie went into details about the history surrounding this very special rum, explaining that although it is Joy Spence (Appleton’s master blender) who has been instrumental in releasing this rum it was Owen Tulloch, the previous master blender and Spence’s mentor who had the foresight to lay down the barrels in 1962 in preparation for the historic occasion which this rum celebrates which is the 50 year anniversary of Jamaican Independence.
The Jamaica Independence Rum is a pot and column still blended rum, aged in Jack Daniel’s barrels and as with all Appleton rums, the age statement is a minimum age, meaning that some of the rum’s that go into this blend have actually been aged for as long as 55 years! It is bottled at 45% ABV and as we’ve previously mentioned there are only 800 bottles worldwide, of which only 40 have landed in the UK.
After Jamie had explained all about the rum (and sensing that the audience couldn’t resist the rum right in front of their noses any longer) he encouraged us to see what we thought.
The aroma which we knew was strong as soon as the bottle was opened was immediately noticeable, and although the signature Appleton orange was there, it was very subtle compared to the younger blends. There is a lovely mahogany note on the nose with waves of tobacco coming through too.
On the lips it was a lot smoother than I was expecting, it is unmistakeably Appleton from the start but the wood and charcoal taste gives way to delicious smooth flavours of vanilla and dates. The flavour and aroma stays for a long time, giving it an exceptional finish and we found the taste was still there 30 minutes after the tasting, It truly is an exceptional Rum which I think adequately reflects Appleton and their passion for producing Rum of the highest standards and exclusivity.
We of course knew this was a special occasion, and one we feel lucky to have been part of. Jamie hinted that although this was likely to be the last of the UK tastings of the 50 Year Old, plans were already afoot for an even more exclusive Rum, planned for 2062
So although we’re sad we wont get to try this sensational rum again, when we first wrote about the Appleton 50 Year Old Rum we never in our wildest dreams thought we’d actually get to taste it, so we’ve ever so thankful to Appleton Estate and LDR London for being given the chance and we look forward to what Appleton will come up with next.