Back again with another review! It’s not the worst hobby in the world to have picked up to be fair. I should probably point out that unless explicitly mentioned, all the rums I try are ones I’ve bought with my own money – this one was the result of me taking part in a Crowdfunding project. Hopefully that makes me a *little* less open to accusations of bias, but as with anything in life, caveat emptor. Which might be why you’re here to be fair. I really do appreciate hearing from those of you who’ve gotten lost in my little lair of the internet, particularly if you’ve got thoughts on my tasting notes. Feel free to reach out.
I digress. Today’s dram is from the Thameside Rum Company, a blending house set up in 2018 with the vision of “…challenging the conventions of modern Navy style rums by bringing true authentic Caribbean rum back to the banks of the River Thames.“
There’s a lot of hyperbole and faux nostalgia surrounding Navy Rums and rather than add to the litany of already well researched material out there, I’d urge you to check out Matt Pietrek’s excellent article on his website “Cocktail Wonk.”
Having said that, the team at Thameside genuinely do deserve some praise for eschewing some of the lazy marketing tropes surrounding rum in general. They’re quite clear in their aim to never add sugar, flavourings or colourings to their rum, they don’t chill-filter and they’ve been pretty open about what’s in the blend. Namely:
4 year old Jamaican Pot Still
5 year old Bajan Pot & Column Still blend
Between 2 – 5 year old Guyanese Pot & Column Still (presumably the age variation here is to ensure consistency in their blend)
So, what do we end up with?
Presentation – A solid, stubby glass bottle with a good quality synthetic stopper that gives a satisfying ‘pop’ each time you open it. The label itself is quite nice, embossed lettering and the product big and bold, with some information on the back regarding the origin of the blend. Not quite in Foursquare’s league with the information provided, but let’s be honest, that’s a high bar and this product is no slouch by any means.
Nose – This is bottled at 40% ABV – which is both surprising and encouraging given the complexity on the nose. That Jamaican Pot Still dominates when you take a sniff but it’s tempered by the other two, the nose becoming sweeter. Think ripe bananas, caramelised pineapple in brown sugar, nutmeg, allspice and all that goodness.
Palate – First taste is of light oak, giving way to banana and that nutmeg, now with a bit of a savoury edge running through it, like a fancy honey variety (This sounds bonkers but this reminds me hugely of a thyme honey I once accidentally bought at my local Sainsburys. As a toast spread, bloody awful but here it works wonders). Definitely less fruity than the nose suggested to me, I keep coming back to it, sipping on it and trying to eke out every last nuance.
Finish – Medium length, that oak and savouriness (I can’t think of how else to describe it) lingers pleasantly.
Scores on the door:
Value for money: 5/5
Notes: I know I’ve changed my rating system with the addition of a “Value for Money” section, but the more I thought on it, the more I realised there has to be some indicator of how worthwhile I think it is to get ahold of the rums I review, so this is The New Way(TM) going forwards. I think this is one of those must-buy rums. It’s keenly priced (£40 is the average on UK sites) and hits that sweet spot of being complex enough to sip and bold enough to hold its own in many cocktails. Their website has a section titled “Our Rums” of which this is currently the sole occupant. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with – as you can see from the picture, I’m making a serious dent in this one.
How the rating system works:
It’s entirely arbitrary but I’ve weighted it towards the things that matter most to me when looking to buy a new bottle. Hence, the greater emphasis on taste say, compared with presentation.