Old Sam Demerara Rum
Review: Old Sam Demerara Rum 82/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 25, 2011
The original recipe for Old Sam Demerara Rum stretches back to 1797 when Edward Young & Co. (from London & Liverpool, England) imported their rum from the Caribbean (primarily from Guyana) and brought the first barrels marked ‘Old Sam’ to London, England. Today the rum no longer travels to England to be blended and bottled, rather it travels to Newfoundland where it is blended and bottled by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC). The entire blend hails from Guyana, and I have been informed that the age of these rums in the blend is no younger than 2 years old. In fact some of the rum in the blend may be as old as 12 years, but as the rum is blended to a specific taste profile, the oldest rum in the blend may change from batch to batch. I was given a sample of the Old Sam Demerara Rum by Greg Kerr of the NLC for the purpose of this review.
In the Bottle: 4/5
To the left is the new bottle shot (j-peg) for Old Sam. As you can see it is a tall bar room style bottle with a simple label and a metallic screw cap topper. The presentation is rather minimalistic, and in my opinion it really does not do a good job a capturing the heritage of the spirit. In fact this looks like a label I could print off of my home printer rather than a professionally designed label. My understanding is that Old Sam Demerara Rum is a moderately priced spirit which doesn’t hit the pocket book hard. So I will be a little forgiving with the score.
In the Glass 8.5/10
As I poured the Old Sam into my glass, I noticed that the reddish hue of the rum in the bottle shot to the right was no illusion. The rum has distinct red and with a copper colouration. When I tilted my glass and gave the rum a slow swirl, I noticed the legs in the glass were slightly thickened and moved slowly as they drooped down the side of the glass.
The aroma from the glass is laden with molasses. It is a sweet aroma of candied caramel with tinges of orange peel scents. If you give the glass a little time, the scent of marmalade begins to develop as well as some tobacco and hints of earthy mustiness deeper down. The tobacco in particular seems to grow stronger as the glass breathes.
In the Mouth 49/60
The taste of molasses, candied caramel and orange peel leads out into the mouth but these flavours are soon accompanied by tobacco and musty leather. I also taste a dry fruity flavour which reminds me of raisins and prunes with perhaps a few figs and dates thrown in for good measure. The molasses and caramel flavours release a few baking spices onto the palate and I detect a nice nutty element as well which reminds me of walnuts and Brazil nuts.
Old Sam is an ‘old style’ rum blend which tastes of molasses and tobacco. It is perhaps a little rougher than I expected; but I found that when I mixed a little of this rum half and half with cola and added and ice-cube, I was very happy with the results.
In the Throat 12/15
The exit is lightly sweet and moderately spicy with the flavours of molasses and tobacco providing the finish. A light harshness has dampened my score somewhat but this harshness is subdued when an ice-cube is added to the glass.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I am left with the impression that this rum is made in a similar style to classic old-fashioned Dark Rums and Navy Rums which also carry similar taste profiles. These rums mix very well with cola or into Tiki style recipes like the one shown below.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
I wished I could have explored the flavours a little further in the realms of cocktails, but my sample was only 200 ml and this left me with very little rum left over for experimentation. I did try out a Mai Tai recipe which worked very well.
Maritime Mai Tai
1 oz Ragged Rock Rum
1 oz Old Sam Demerara Rum
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Amaretto
Large Ice Cubes
Add the first five ingredients into a metal shaker with large ice cubes
Shake until the metal shaker chills
Pour the mixture from the metal shaker into a tall glass
Add ice-cubes to fill
Garnish with mint in the glass, and the slice of lime on the rim.
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)