Tasting Notes: Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

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The signature spirit of the Caribbean has a storied history. First as aguardiente de cana (an early form of rum), then in its more refined expressions, the history of rum is inseparable from the history of the Caribbean islands, with its highs (rum ignited island economies) and lows (it also fueled the slave trade). Mount Gay is the grandfather of rum dynasties, at least according to recorded evidence. The Barbados-based brand traces its heritage back to a historical document from 1703.

That make the company a whopping 310 years old. In honor of its anniversary, the company has just released Mount Gay Black Barrel, a new small-batch rum that is aged in charred oak barrels (thus, the name) that previously were used to age bourbons. The bourbon-aging adds a new level of complexity to this rum, rendering a complex, yet bright and fruity expression. It is delicious — smooth enough to sip, yet cocktail friendly. The molasses-based rum is a blend of double-distilled spirits.

I tried using Black Barrel in a Dark & Stormy (2 ounces rum, 6 ounces ginger beer, served in an ice-filled collins glass with a squeeze of lime) and found it to be lighter and fruitier than the traditional recipe, which calls for Gosling’s Black Seal rum. Bargain priced, and dual-purposed (use it to sip or mix), I have no doubts this bottle will become at staple on my bar shelf.

Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

Impression: This amber-hued rum is boldly flavored, with bright aromas of candied fruit, spice, and vanilla. On the palate, it is rich and warm with a full body and medium finish.

Price: At $30, it’s a bargain for a sipping rum (and affordable enough to mix into cocktails)

Rating (out of 5 glasses):

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