Chairman’s Reserve: The UK Rum Club

Another day, another Chairman’s Reserve. I don’t mean that as a criticism; rather, I’m impressed with the number of releases from the distillery and their exceptional quality (albeit many, such as today’s, being selected by specific groups rather than the good folks based in St Lucia themselves).

This review is a bottling selected by Steven James and Wes Burgin for their Facebook group, The UK Rum Club. They were offered/whittled down the choices to 2 different casks and finally chose number 1731109 – a Vendome pot still output aged for 9 years in ex-bourbon before being decanted into a total of 248 bottles at a hefty 59.5% ABV.

If, after reading this, you’d like to try it for yourself, there are a few still available on the Royal Mile website, along with infinitely better tasting notes than mine (see also: Alex at Rum Barrel).

Presentation – As is standard for independent Chairman’s Reserve bottling, this is a stubby bottle with a synthetic enclosure. The label carries the cask number and ABV, with branding on the front. Comes in a cardboard box which, whilst a nice touch, has always been a little flimsy to my mind. But in all honesty, I could give a monkeys about that – I’m buying rum for the product rather than the window dressing.

Nose – Minty! Softmints initially, with a fruity backbone; gooseberries, ripe strawberries, lime – this is all backed up by a smoky, camphor-like note. Left for 10 minutes or so and I get some nutmeg, cinnamon and burnt sugar in addition to the initial smells.

Palate – Spicy entry, almost savoury to begin with (not in a young agricole way mind). Creosote or iodine in the mix briefly, almost a peated character, quickly banished and replaced with christmas cake, bitter almond, strawberry compote and fresh pineapple. Then some heat steps into the mix, juicy jalapeños and a english mustard feel on my tongue and sinuses. Some salinity and smokiness see it off.

Finish – A fairly long and gorgeous finish, dark cherries and some woodiness with the spice lingering (albeit more gently)

Scores on the door:

Presentation: 4/5
Nose: 7/10
Taste: 17/20
Finish: 7/10
Value for money: 5/5

Total: 40/50

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