The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Visit My Online Memorabilia Store

  • The Rum Howler Top Canadian Whiskies of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 25 Canadian Whiskies of 2013

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Top Rums of 2013

    Click the image to find the Best 30 Rums of 2013

  • Industry Interviews

    Interviews

    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Follow Me on Twitter!

Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX Rum

Review: Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX Rum (7 Years Old blended) – 86.5/100 pts
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted July 3, 2013

Old Monk is a dark rum produced by Mohan Meakin Limited in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. According to the information I received, it is a molasses distilled rum, blended and aged for a minimum of 7 years. The brand receives very little attention from the press, and does not appear to be represented in any advertising campaigns which I have seen. Rather Old Monk relies upon word of mouth and customer loyalty for its sales. Word of mouth must be good as this rum is (again according to information I received) the largest selling well-aged dark rum in the world.

(Note: India is a huge market for rum, and there is only a small presence of foreign brands on the sub-continent. Based solely upon sales in the home market, this would certainly be a believable statement.)

I was sent a sample bottle of Old Monk Very old Vatted XXX Rum by the local Alberta distributor, Madira Spirits Inc. and asked if I could provide a review here on my website. I was more than happy to oblige.

SAM_0815 Old MonkIn the Bottle 4/5

My sample bottle of Old Monk arrived in the short stubby bottle you see to the left. The surface of the bottle is textured (feels like rough netting) which helps you to grip the bottle especially if some condensation happens to be present on the outer surface. The topper is plastic and provides a good seal, but the spout has one of those annoying diffusers which are used by manufacturers in certain areas of the world to prevent the bottle from being refilled with an inferior liquid and sold as a superior spirit in a nefarious business establishment. I think the bottle is fine, and in fact it provides a certain charm on my rum shelf. However, if I was the local distributor, I would ask the manufacturer to omit the annoying diffuser.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I pour the rum into my glass it displays just the way an old aged rum should, as a rich dark brown coloured liquid with coppery hues that flash in the light. When my glass is tilted and twirled, a moderately thick sheen forms on the inside of that glass which gives up a few fat legs. The rum has a strong visual appeal.

The breezes above the glass are full of impressions of dark brown sugar accented by maple syrup and rich baking spices (assertive vanilla, some spicy cinnamon and cloves, and a bit of pungent nutmeg). As the glass sits the aroma in the air deepens as the brown sugar and baking spices evolve into a scents of licorice stained molasses. Hints of soy sauce and exotic spice wanders into the air with sugar covered walnuts and pecans sitting underneath. I thoroughly enjoy nosing the glass.

In the Mouth 52.5/60

The entry into the mouth is perhaps a touch ‘rough and tumble’ as the rum contains a bit more rough spice and alcohol astringency than the nose indicated. I check the bottling proof and see that we have 40 % alcohol by volume spirit; however, the Old Monk has the impact (and the mouth feel) of a higher proof bottling.

The rum has a strong molasses flavour which is permeated with hot cinnamon and cloves as well as oak spices. Flavours of licorice and rich vanilla abound, giving the dark rum a strong appeal in the glass despite the rough and tumble character. As I sip, I cannot ignore the impression of exotic spices, and the underlying walnut flavour which seems to help bind everything together.

The rum is a natural for the ‘Rum and Cola’ style cocktail; and in fact when a splash of cola and a few ice cubes are mixed with 2 ounces of the Old Monk, we have a laid back sipping cocktail that is hard to beat. I suspect the rum will also work very well in tiki style bar drinks, and perhaps later in the summertime, I will give that a try.

In the Throat 13/15

The rum has a long heated finish full of dark caramel, treacle and cinnamon spice. The impact of the spice might be a tad uncomfortable when sipped neat, but at the very end of the taste experience, a welcome dollop of maple slides through giving us just enough sweetness to temper the spice.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Old Monk is a traditional dark rum. These rums place an emphasis on strong molasses flavours and rich baking spices. The rum is aged a full 7 years and that aging shows up in the taste profile, although my sense is that not all that flavour stems from barrel aging. On that point I am rather indifferent, as what tastes good in my glass is more important to me than my preconceptions as to how rum should be made. In fact, who am I to tell the people on another continent halfway around the world, what should or should not be in their rum. My only role is to say whether I like the final result. Based upon my score of 86.5/100, you can rest assured that my feelings are very positive!

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

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Suggested Recipe

Free SpiritDark Rum and Cola
(the classic Rum and Coke recipe)

2 oz.  Dark Rum
Splash of Cola
dash of Angostura Bitters
Lime slice
5-6 Large Ice Cubes

Rub the rim of a standard rocks glass or highball glass with lime
Fill with the glass with ice
Add Rum and bitters, then fill with a splash of Coca Cola
Stir Lightly, then drop in a lime slice

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SAM_0814 Monk's UncleI designed this recipe for a well aged rum which had a strong oak flavour in the taste profile. It occurred to me that it should work well for any strongly flavoured  aged dark rum whether it was oak that dominated or spice and molasses. It turns out that I was right as this recipe definitely works well with this rum, and the name (chosen two years ago for an entirely different rum) is just perfect for Old Monk.

The Monk’s Uncle

1 3/4 oz Old Monk Very old Vatted XXX Rum
3/4    oz Frangelico

Ice

Mix over ice in a rocks glass and enjoy!

Please Remember to enjoy your libations in a responsible manner!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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)

One Response to “Old Monk Very Old Vatted XXX Rum”

  1. Willie the Wino said

    Picked this up from a dusty shelf of a store in my town this week… Thick, sweet, spicy aromatic stuff! After sipping it I thought it would do better with a mixer, but I found it struggled to cut through in cocktails (I was using ginger ale and then ginger beer with lime), which surprised me given the strong spices, so I went back to sipping. Found the spices warm and exciting up front, but not terribly long lasting– the finish seemed a little flat (perhaps by then my tongue was spice-numb!). Wouldn’t mind trying the 12yr old to see if it fills in the gaps. Despite the large ex-pat Indian population here in Britain I’ve only ever seen it in this one store in my home town (the proprietor is Indian and sells other imported goods)– none of the swanky booze shops in London carry it.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,185 other followers

%d bloggers like this: