Berrys’ Finest St. Lucian Rum (Aged 12 Years)
Review: Berrys’ Finest St. Lucia Rum (Aged 12 Years) (85.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published October 11, 2013
Saint Lucia is a Caribbean Island Country located south of Martinique and northwest of Barbados near the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is part of the Lesser Antilles chain of islands and supports a culture which includes both French and English influences. The rum produced on the island is produced solely by St Lucia Distillers who represent an amalgamation of the last two distillers upon the island, Barnard and Geest. The rum is produced in the English style from fermented molasses upon a variety of stills, both copper pot and column, and aged in oak barrels.
Berry Bros. & Rudd is one of London’s oldest Wine and Spirits Merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition from which to draw upon. The company began its operation at 3 - St. James’s Street (in London, UK) in 1698, and still operates from that same location today. Although they are primarily merchants of wine, the company has a strong presence in the sale of distilled spirits as well. And in fact, this presence within the spirits industry had its beginnings approximately 100 years ago. (The Cutty Sark brand was developed by Berry Bros & Rudd in 1923.)
Today Berry Bros & Rudd acts as an independent bottler of Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, and of course Rum. A few of their rum offerings are available in my locale, and I was able to obtain a sample of the 12 Year Old – Berrys’ Finest St. Lucia Rum, from the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
All of the rums in Berrys’ Finest Selection arrive in the tall, slender, long-necked bottle shown to the left. I like this style of bottle as it seems to exude a sort of masculine elegance. The label is quite satisfactory with a colour scheme which works very well and implies professionalism. A nice corked closure finishes the look. I also appreciate the brief tasting notes on the back of the bottle which highlight the main flavours I can expect to find within the rum. The presentation would have garnered a perfect score if a more complete history of the distillation and aging was provided.
In the Glass 8.5/10
When I poured a some of the St. Lucia Rum into my glencairn glass, I noticed the spirit had a light mahogany colour. When I tilted and twirled my glass, the liquid deposited an oily film on the inside of the glass the crest of which formed medium size legs which traveled at a moderate pace down the inside of my glass back to the rum. The initial scents from the glass were quite nice. Things were both lightly sweet and lightly herbal carrying impressions of a butterscotch, sweetgrass and heather, bits of licorice, mint, and menthol. I also noticed a subtle underlying mustiness.
I let the glass breathe, and the aroma continued to build in the breezes above the glass. Bits of orange and banana peel appear to be mixed with the oak spices. A pleasant floral aroma brings impressions of blue iris and purple lilacs into the air giving the rum a mildly perfumed character. As well, a firm spiciness drifts upwards bringing a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, anise, mint, and oak sap.
In the Mouth 51/60
The spirit is very different from my expectations. Rather than tasting similar to other molasses based rums I have encountered, this spirit is very reminiscent of the Rhum Agricoles I sampled which were distilled by the Reimonenq family of Guadeloupe.
I taste lightly sweet butterscotch which is accented by menthol, cinnamon, and licorice. There is a firm woody spiciness which contains flavours of wood sap and orange peel. As well, a somewhat herb-like flavour reminiscent of tall sweetgrass, and heather give the spirit a dry grassy character. Underpinning the other flavours of the rum is a winding mustiness which is not unpleasant. The mustiness seems to bind itself to the other flavours of the rum.
In the Throat 13/15
The exit features trailing flavours of butterscotch accented by cinnamon and licorice. The mouth and throat are left gently heated by wood spice, yet at the same time they feel the gentle coolness of a menthol candy lozenges. The final impressions are of a light saltiness and gentle mustiness which lingers within the wood spices.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The flavour of the St. Lucia Rum is very intriguing. There seems to to be an exotic flair about the rum which as I indicated was reminiscent of the Rhum Agricoles of Guadeloupe. This is certainly a nice sipping rum, and those rich exotic flavours seem to be teasing at me perhaps give the rum further expression in a Mai Tai as well (see recipe below).
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Berrys’ St. Lucia Mai Tai
2 oz Berrys’ Finest St. Lucia Rum
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Patrón Citrónge
1/4 oz Luxardo Amaretto
Dash Lemon Juice
2 Drops Fees Cocktail Bitters
2 strips of Lime Peel
4 Large Ice Cubes
Glass half full of Crushed Ice
Mint Sprig (optional)
Add the first seven ingredients into a metal shaker with the large ice cubes
Shake until the metal shaker chills
Strain the mixture from the metal shaker over the crushed ice.
If desired garnish with a slice of lime and sprig of mint
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)