Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Mount Gay Eclipse


While perusing the booze aisle at lunchtime I spotted a bottle of this for £15 and, in the interests of science, picked it up to do a comparison with the Appleton from the other day.


History

Mount Gay is the world's oldest rum distillery, the earliest known record of production here is from 1703 (though theories are that rum was produced from 1497) when a legal deed recorded the property of the estate, including;
Two stone windmills... one boiling house with seven coppers, one curing house and one still house.

Various sugar plantations in the north of Barbados were consolidated over the years into the Mount Gilboa estate until one owner asked Sir John Allenby Gay to run it for him and he did such a good job that, after he died, it was renamed Mount Gay.

Now this bottle is named eclipse after the event in 1910 when a total solar eclipse coincided with Haley's Comet passing by.

Incidentally, originally rum was called killdevil in Barbados, either because of the rotten hangover it gave you or because of its medicinal properties, depending on who you believe.

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So, history lesson over and on to the liquid

  • 40% ABV
  • Usually around £20 a bottle
  • A mixture of pot and column stills
  • No age statement but aged at least 2 years in ex-bourbon casks
  • The website makes a bit play of maturation rather than ageing, saying that the temperature variations can mean one year in cask can age it anything from 6 months to 2 years
  • Pot stills used are double pot, a relatively rare situation
  • Light golden colour
  • Nose - Subtle, you have to really get your nose in there but apricot, banana, a wee bit of vanilla and a hit of alcohol
  • Flavour - A punch of flavour initially that's a bit overwhelming but citrus, cloves, cinnamon and general wintry spices come through with a bit of a tingle. 
  • Finish - short, some of the spices come through but this burns on the way down, just on the border of being unpleasant to my mind
So, as with the Appleton this isn't a sipper, in comparison this is definitely a younger, punchier spirit but equally it feels like the elements hold together better.  It tastes like mainly column becuse of the lightness but the pot stills do bring the fruity elements to play.

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Mixing


  • The bottle suggested this with tonic, which sounded bizarre but, hey, why not and it was a revelation.  The bitterness of the tonic cuts through the youth of the rum to make a very refreshing summer drink.  I used a bit less than a 2:1 tonic to rum ratio (2:1 and a subsequent splash) and this is now on my drinks list for sure.  This was just with bog-standard schweppes tonic which is a bit crap, so with a good one like fever tree or fentimans this would be great.
  • With coke it works fine, you get some vanilla maybe a little woodyness but not much else, perfectly pleasant but not a huge success.
  • Going for ginger beer doesn't really work, the ginger beer is a bit too overwhelming, you can taste the rum on the finish and on the way down but that's about it, for all the youthful aggression around the edges this rum is quite delicate in its own way and can't stand up to this.

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So, overall, this is a good mixer and if doing a rum and tonic it's rather delicious.

Compared to the Appleton V/X it depends what you're after really, given they're both cheap and widely available get both and see for yourself. It's definitely going to be a fixture in my library of booze for summer.

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