London Dock Rum (Favell’s 70 Proof)
Review: London Dock Rum (Favell’s 70 Proof) 79.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted June 3, 2012
Favell’s London Dock Rum is (according to the label anyways) is 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 70 proof written on the top of front label, and a contradictory declaration of 40 % 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 70 Proof would be 35 % 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 the rum has a nice coppery red tinge. When I give my glass a light tilt and a slow swirl I see some droopy legs forming which move at a leisurely pace down the sides of the glass.
The London Dock Rum has a strong aroma of molasses and burnt caramel, and there is only a light essence of ‘woodiness’ rising from the glass. (My general impression from the aroma is that the rum has been aged somewhere in the range of two years or so.) Other smells drift up from the glass, a bit of orange and banana peel, some indications of vanilla and some medium sweet baking spices. All in all the nose is pleasant although perhaps just a bit on the astringent side.
In the Mouth 48/60
I taste a distinct impression of burnt caramel. I also taste charcoal, and a light ‘ashiness’. (If this was a whisky, I would suspect it was very lightly peated.) Somewhat behind the initial impressions of treacle and smoke are ribbons of orange peel and banana and firm indications of vanilla and dark fruit (like currants and dates).
There is some extra sweetness as well; but this sweetness is perhaps sabotaged by what I will call a winding bitterness which runs throughout the rum. I suspect those burnt (or charred) flavours are responsible for the bitterness. The rum also displays a light harshness which gives the rum more astringency than I am comfortable with. The combination of the light harshness and the winding bitterness keeps my score from climbing. This is a difficult rum to sip; instead, this is a rum which must be mixed.
Having said that, I must admit that when I do mix the rum it turns into something that I really enjoy. In fact, I had a tasting event at my house where this was one of four rums my friends and I tasted. We all agreed it should score the lowest of the four. Yet when all my friends had left, it was the rum that had the lowest fill line left in the bottle. That is because we all found it to be an exceptional mixer. In rum and cola, and in fruity cocktails the London Dock Rum excels to such a point that some of us preferred to mix this rum rather than to sip the other supposedly superior sipping rums.
In the Throat 11.5/15
When sipped straight, the London Dock Rum carries too much bitterness in the finish to be comfortable. As well, it carries a distinct burn down in the throat. The exit flavours are burnt caramel, toasted coconut, and some hot orange peel.
When the rum is mixed with cola or fruit juice, it is much more pleasant.
The Afterburn 8/10
This London Dock Rum is an uncomfortable sipper; but, at the same time, it is a good mixing rum. I suspect, if you are a rum and cola fanatic, that you will just love the London Dock Rum. If you are one who likes to sip on a rum and look for subtle nuances, then I suspect the London Dock 70 Proof has nothing to offer you. In the end my score of 79.5 reflects that dichotomy. The rum does not qualify as a sipper, but it is a very strong mixer.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Here are a few recipes of mine which work really well with the London Dock Rum.
2 oz London Dock Rum
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
1 teaspoon Agave Syrup
a dash or two of Angostura Bitters
Chunks of Ice
Shake the first six ingredients over ice
Strain into a tumbler half full of ice chunks
Stir until the glass frosts
Finish with Ginger Ale
Arctic Wolf’s Variation
1 oz White Rum
1 oz London Dock Rum
1/4 oz Chartreuse
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz grenadine
Pour the first five ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the side of the shaker is well frosted
Strain into a tumbler glass filled with ice
Complete with cola
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)