Saturday 27 June 2015

Jefferson's Extra Fine Dark Rum - A Northern oddity

Caribbean rum..from Whitehaven?
For a drink so intimately associated with the tropical climes of the Caribbean rum has a long history in the UK.

From the centuries of tradition behind London's Smith & Cross to the upstart Dark Matter in Banchory the booze reaches across the centuries.

Wandering the rum selection at Royal Mile Whiskies I came across this interesting looking bottle, at £27 it didn't really scream "buy me" but one of the staff recommended it so I figured why not?

Whitehaven in Cumbria is a historic trading port, merchants imported tobacco from their holdings in Virginia until the American War of Independence saw them pushed out and into the Caribbean where sugar and its byproduct rum started to be traded back to the mother country. The Jefferson's, distantly related to US founding father Thomas Jefferson started shipping rum in 1785 from their Yeaman estate in Antigua, hence the name of this rum. Over the years the Jeffersons expanded their booze empire and were the suppliers of fine wines & spirits to White Star Lines, owners of the ill fated RMS Titanic.

I've been able to find very, very little information about this rum, the bottle describes it as
"an impressive marriage of two classic rum styles aged in oak casks to impart a complex balance of flavours"
which is nice, but doesn't say what those two styles are or how long it's been aged! From what I can glean the spirit is imported from the Caribbean then blended and aged in a bonded warehouse in Liverpool.

Once you pour a glass of this and give it a swirl you see the long, long legs and get a pungent, slightly grassy hit of toffee & nuts. This is clearly heavy on the pot still distillate and has some similarities to Smith & Cross  on the nose but is a tamer 40% ABV.

A sip gives you an initial light toffee and nutty, banana-y notes follow with dark chocolate and slightly burnt treacle edge to things, the mouthfeel is thick and chewy, you can feel it coating your mouth but then it gets a little thin as you swallow it, likely due to the young age and/or some column still making its way into the blend. Most likely it's a bit of both, column distillate is relatively expensive so a cheaper column distilled rum can help keep costs down while also adding lightness to the rum.

It's certainly warm on the way down but stops short of being harsh and there's a lingering after-taste of stewed bananas.

It works perfectly pleasantly with coke but trying it in a treacle is really impressive, there's a real depth of flavour that makes for a particularly good cocktail.

All in all this is a good buy for the price and something a bit different.

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