Monday, 17 June 2013

Chairman's Reserve

The quest for a good, inexpensive rum continues and brings us to St Lucia, the home of Chairman’s Reserve. Previously I’ve reviewed (and loved) their Forgotten Casks expression but this time it’s the core offering I’m looking at.
This has only been available since 1999 and is a mix of column and pot stills (John Dore and Kentucky Vendome specifically for the still nerds out there).

  • 40% ABV
  • £20 a bottle
  • Average of 5 years old
  • Aged in ex Jack Daniels’, Buffalo Trace and Jim Beam barrels. Ageing is separated by still before the liquids are blended and then aged for a further 6 months in newer casks to marry up the flavours
  • Colour – dark amber
  • Nose – You get a little hit of alcohol initially followed by cloves and a rich, honeyed fruit coming from the pot still distillation
  • Flavour – Raisins, honey and tobacco initially, vanilla comes through eventually but it’s quite subtle. The mouthfeel is very creamy.
  • Finish – Medium and slowly fading with the burnt sugar from the top of a crème brulee leaving a dryness from the newer oak of the final ageing. There is a burn on the way down which is to be expected in quite a young rum.
Overall it’s an interesting rum, if rough around the edges and feels like it needs more time in the barrel to become something rather special. Comparing it to the Forgotten Casks you can see the same traits that develop to a more satisfying conclusion in the older expression.

Mixing
  • This is a bit too subtle for mixing with coke, the flavours are overpowered with the tobacco coming through and not really working too well with the coke.
  • With tonic (Fever Tree) it works very nicely, the bitterness of the tonic lifts the flavour and compliments the oaky notes to give a very refreshing drink.

Comparison

This is about the same price and the same age as the Mount Gay Eclipse and Appleton’s V/X, overall none of them is a sipper but the Chairman’s get closer than the other two, just being let down by its youth and lack of refinement. As a mixer it doesn’t go as well with coke as the Appleton’s nor as well with tonic as the Mount Gay but it’s still a fine rum for all that and it's a good addition to the booze cabinet.

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