London Dock Rum (Favell’s 100 Proof)
Review: London Dock Rum (Favell’s 100 Proof) 81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted June 03, 2012
Favell’s London Dock Rum is (according to the label anyways) blended and bottled in Canada for White Favell (Vinters). The Canadian agency responsible for blending and bottling this rum is the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC).
The label tells us that London Dock is a Demerara Rum produced in Guyana; therefore I can deduce that the rum was distilled on the East Bank of the Demerara River at the facilities of Demerara Distillers Ltd. (DDL). (This information was confirmed to me by both the NLC and Demerara Distillers.) It is apparently produced from original marques of rum which in the past would have been shipped to England to mature in the London Docks, hence the name London Dock Rum. Of course, the rum no longer travels to England to mature, rather it travels from Demerara County in Guyana in bulk to St. John’s Newfoundland to be blended bottled by the NLC. London Dock is an old style Demerara rum, with strong flavours of molasses and treacle.
(I was given a sample bottle by the NLC for the purpose of a review here on my website.)
In the Bottle 4/5
An old-fashioned Demerara rum deserves an old-style look and feel, which is exactly what the bottle presentation of this rum provides. The front label has an old-school look that is not without its charm. A nice ‘story’ about the heritage of the rum is found on the front label and this serves to pique my interest.
I am confused however by the declaration of 100 proof written on the top of front label, and a contradictory declaration of 57.1 % alcohol by volume written on the bottom. My guess is that the proof declaration is meant to harken to the old-school British system of proof which is apparently not the same as the North American Standard. Since I (and all of the persons who I showed the bottle to) am used to the North American system where 100 Proof would be 50 % Alcohol by volume, I found the statement confusing. Since this proof statement is written in a prominent spot and in large letters, I suspect my friends and I are not the only ones confused.
In the Glass 8.0/10
As you can see from the picture to the left, this rum has a nice coppery red tinge, and when I give my glass a light tilt and a slow swirl I see some nice fat legs forming.
The Rum has a strong aromas of molasses and burnt caramel. There is also a bit of astringency rising into the air which is not unexpected from a young overproof rum. I say young because I detect only a light ‘woodiness’ rising from the glass. Other scents drift up from the glass into the breezes, in particular I notice a bit of orange marmalade and banana peel. These fruity scents are appealing but they are to an extent devoured by that burnt caramel aroma which is dominating the nose. Some vanilla and baking spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and brown sugar) are readily apparent in the empty glass (after I had finished my sample session), and I wish I had been able to sense them more fully when the glass was full.
In the Mouth 49.5/60
Flavours are very strong in this rum. In particular I taste a lot of treacle (burnt caramel). There is also a firm indication of charcoal (which actually reminds me of barbeque briquettes). As well there are indications upon my palate something akin to ashy peat (although I am quite certain the rum was not produced from peated cane).
I tasted these same flavours in the 70 Proof (40 % alcohol by volume) version of the rum, but everything is much more intense in what I will call the Overproof London Dock Rum. Fortunately, the bits of orange marmalade and hot citrus peel which I sensed on the nose are not devoured upon the palate. Rather they seem to mesh well with the treacle and the charcoal. This is quite different from the 70 Proof version where the charcoal and treacle dominated to such an extent that I could not sip it comfortably. There is also a much stronger indication of sweetness in the Overproof Rum. This ramped up sweetness is very welcome and contributes to making this rum a better sipper than the lower proof version. I added some water to try to simulate the lower proof version of the rum, but even with added water the higher level of sweetness persists in the Overproof.
Like the lower proof version of London Dock Rum, the 100 Proof is a good mixing rum. Whether with cola or in a high-octane Daiquiri style cocktail, the rum tastes quite nice. I did notice that the burnt caramel and the charcoal flavours push through the cocktails. I happen to like these smokey flavours in my cocktails; but, I suspect that others will find discomfort when their favourite bar drinks carry such unusual flavours.
In the Throat 12/15
When sipped straight, the sweetness that the London Dock Overproof Rum carries provides a nice foil for the sharper more pungent burnt favours that I notice. The rum is still a little sharp but it is much more sippable than its lower proof sibling.
The Afterburn 8/10
What rough beast is this London Dock 100 Proof Rum. It is full of burnt caramel and molasses, and carries unusual flavours of charcoal and ashy peat in its flavour profile. The rum is rough and harsh in the mouth as well as in the finish. Yet, I found myself liking this rum much more than its supposedly tamer sibling of lower proof. The reason for this was the heightened sweetness. The rum just works better with a little sweeter taste profile to smooth out those rough edges. It is still a rough beast, but it has its charm, as I suppose all beasts do.
Here are a few recipes of mine which work really well with the London Dock 100 Proof Rum.
The first recipe is a modified version of the Cosmopolitan, using both styles of London Dock Rum in place of the vodka and lengthened with ice into a swizzle. It is so good as a deck drink on a hot summers day that you may never drink a Cosmopolitan with Vodka again.
1 1/4 oz London Dock Rum (Favell’s 100 Proof)
3/4 oz London Dock Rum (Favell’s 70 Proof)
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz cranberry juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup
Shake all the ingredients over ice
Strain into a tumbler half full of cracked ice
Stir until the glass frosts
Garnish with a chunk of Pineapple
Please enjoy the cocktail!
This is a high octane daiquiri style drink which works great if the sun goes behind the clouds and there is a chill in the air.
Sloe Lime Daiquiri
1 1/2 Oz London Dock Rum (Favell’s 100 Proof)
1/2 Oz Fresh Lime juice or Roses Lime Cordial
1 Tsp simple syrup or Roses Grenadine
4 Large Ice Cubes
1 Chilled Glencairn Glass
1/2 Oz Sloe Gin
Place the first 4 Ingredients in a Metal Martini Shaker.
Shake Until Martini Shaker Chills.
Strain Into a chilled Glencairn Glass.
Add the Ice from the Martini Shaker.
Float the Sloe Gin on the top and let everything sit for one minute.
Garnish with Lime Slice if desired
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)