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Doorly’s Fine Old Barbados Rum (XO)

Review: Doorly’s Fine Old Barbados Rum (XO)   88/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Original Post, April 2010
Revised August 22, 2013

Doorly’s Fine Old Barbados Rum (Doorly’s XO) is a product of R. L. Seale & Co. Ltd., distilled at the Four Square Distillery in Barbados. The Doorly’s XO is blended from aged rum stocks which are said to vary from six years to ten years of age. The bottle does not contain an age statement, therefore it may be true that to maintain a consistent taste profile, the actual age of the youngest stocks may vary from batch to batch. The rum is aged initially in American oak barrels, but after blending the final rum is finished in Spanish oak (Sherry casks). The final rum is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

My original review for Doorly’s XO published in April of 2010 shortly after the rum arrived in my home province of Alberta. Recently I decided to open a new bottle just to see if my perspective (or perhaps the rum) has changed.

SAM_0850 Doorly's XOIn the Bottle 4.5/5

Doorly’s Xo arrives in the short stubby brown bottle shown to the left. I like this style of bottle quite a bit especially for rum. You see, in the days of sailing ships, a short stubby bottle was less likely to tip over when the waves were rolling. This lends an impression of authenticity to the bottle presentation which I appreciate. I also like a the story on the label, which reads:

From the house of Martin Doorly, has emerged a rum without equal. To produce the unique character of Doorly’s X.O., some of the oldest rums are carefully selected for a special second maturation.

The second maturation is carried out with the oak already seasoned in the aging of the Spanish Oloroso Sherry. The result is a delicate fusing of complex flavours giving rise to a rum of unparalleled excellence.”

The only drawback to the presentation is the metallic screw cap.  I was forced to deduct half a point from what was otherwise a perfect presentation.

(By the way, the bird on the label is the beautiful Blue Hyacinth Macaw.)

In the Glass 8.5/10

In the glass, the rum displays a rich mahogany colour no doubt a reflection of its time spent in the sherry cask. A quick tilt of my glass and a slow twirl reveals a light sheen of liquid on the inside which drops medium-sized legs down the side which travel neither fast no slow. This is a good beginning.

The rum appears to have a strong column still influence as it immediately brings fine oak spices forward into the air above the glass. Caramel and maple scents are pushed upwards as are banana and orange peel spice. A nice deep dark tobacco lurks in the glass as well as some indications of orange marmalade and apricot jam.

Although the rum was finished in the sherry cask, this influence is more subtle than one would expect. Light indications of dark fruit and cherries seem to pop in and out of the breezes, and a mild but firm smokiness is evident as well.

In the Mouth 53/60

The flavour of the rum is very appealing. Sweet fruit and caramel lead out with a nice spicy tobacco pushing through the mid palate. There are lots of tart oak spices orange peel flavours heating the mouth, yet the rum also brings enough sweetness in the form of fruit and caramel such that the overall flavour remains balanced and enjoyable. As I let the glass sit, the spices calm down, and I notice flavours of apricot brandy, marzipan and walnut wandering through the flavour stream. The rum is sweet, yet tart and spicy. It is soft and rich in the mouth-feel; yet it has a crispness I normally associate with whisky. And speaking of whisky, the rum has a wonderful whisky-like smokiness which must be a result of the sherry cask influence. All in all this is a very nice rum.

In the Throat 13/15

The rum has a bit of peppery spice in the finish, yet I would still call the rum smooth. Sweet caramel sits in the back of my mouth after the exit of the rum, and orange peel zest spices my throat. The orange peel seems to gain a little strength with each sip before it fades. I taste a touch of smokiness in the exit which must be the Olorosso Sherry casks having the last word.

The Afterburn 9/10

The Doorly’s Fine Old Barbados (XO) Rum is a solid Bajan rum with a lot of character. The sherry influence is subtle, which I appreciate, as the rum never loses its identity as a rum. (Too many of these new “sherry cask” rums taste more like a mixture of sherry and rum.) This rum is very easy to enjoy in a rocks glass with a little ice, and it also serves very well as a high-end mixer (see recipe below).

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.

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Suggested Cocktail

Let me say that I find this rum very easy to sip neat. Adding a touch of ice makes it even more smooth and pleasant.  Doorly’s X.O. does not need to be mixed to be enjoyed thoroughly. However, by now everyone knows that I love to mix premium rum.  The greater the rum….the better the cocktail.  I have no guilt over mixing even the finest rums, as this is the way that I have found my best cocktails.

SpenceThe Spence Cocktail

Ingredients

2 oz Doorly’s XO
1 orange slice
1 drop Angostura bitters
Ice
Ginger ale

Preparation

Muddle 1 slice of orange with 1 drop of Angostura Bitters in a rocks glass
Add 2 oz Doorly’s XO Rum
Top up with ginger ale and ice

Note: The Master Blender for Appleton Estate Rum, Joy Spence, shared this recipe as her favourite cocktail with me during a recent interview. The Recipe works well with most aged rums especially those with an abundance of character. It is nice to know that those who make great rum agree with me that it is more than acceptable to mix great rum.

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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)

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)

6 Responses to “Doorly’s Fine Old Barbados Rum (XO)”

  1. Alkoblog said

    I only tried the Doorlys Rum 5 year yet and really enjoyed the rich flavours. Do you have a comparison how this rum performs in comparison to the XO?

    • Sorry Alkablog, but I have never had the opportunity to taste the Doorly’s 5 Year old.

      • Motozappa said

        Hi Artic Wolf and hey there Alkoblog,

        I’ve recently discovered this unique treasure in the good ol’ U S of A and In particular, that would be in the state of Connecticut. Each state varies so I can’t really vouch for the others. I’m nearby New York though, so if I see it there, I’ll give a shout out here.

        Great review Chip and thanks! I agree wholeheartedly, except perhaps with your critique on the cap. I think they presented it pretty well with the blue to pickup the Macaw and there’s no fumbling to grasp the little gold tab when anticipating a sip. Besides, it leaves most of the blue to keep the look clean, but yes, a cork would be nicer. I’ll suffer the lack of cork for the savings of $20.00 USD over Captain Morgan’s Special Reserve at approx $35.00, not that I’d exactly compare the two.

        Night folks and hope to see you around (Y)

        Peace,
        Dan

        • It was not the colour of the cap which disappointed me, it was the fact that the cap was one of those pressed on metallic caps which tend to warp and loose their thread.

  2. z said

    This was an excellent rum when I bought a bottle in Barbados. Pretty cool that you reviewed it. I never would’ve had the opportunity to have it if I hadn’t been there as it is not exported to the states. There were more Canadian tourists in Barbados than Americans though!

    • Thanks for the comment Z.

      Doorly’s is a fine rum, and I found I prefer it to the more established Mount Gay Rum (although many people disagree with me). I am glad I have at least one person in my corner.

      Cheers!
      Chip

 
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