Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14
Review: Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14 (84/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 22, 2013
Rum Nation is an Italian company created by Fabio Rossi, who began his life in the spirits trade as a Oenologist (one who has studied winemaking). After his studies, Mr. Rossi left the wine business and started up a whisky company in Edinburgh (Wilson and Morgan) acting as an independent bottler of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. His interest turned to rum and in 1999 Fabio Rossi founded Rum Nation. His company is headquartered in Italy; but Fabio purchases select rums from various distillers in the Caribbean and the Americas. As a result Rum Nation provides a rather unique assortment of rare limited edition rum bottlings.
One such bottling is Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14.
This is quite an interesting rum. According to my correspondence with Mr. Rossi he buys aged bulk Demerara rum (roughly four to six years) from Guyana (Demerara Distillers Limited) which has been blended with various portions from each of the Single Wooden Pot (Versailles Still) and Double Wooden Pot (Port Mourant Still). You can read about these marvelous ancient stills here: Demerara Distillers’ Diamond Distillery Tour.
The bulk rum purchased by Rum Nation is taken to the Nebbiolo area of Italy where it is transferred to sherry butts (PX and Oloroso) and aged for a short period of time (about 12 to 14 months). After aging, a few liters of 1997 vintage EHP (Enmore) rum is added before it is bottled. (EHP is the marque for DDL’s ancient Wooden Continuous Coffey Still.) Based upon the information as provided to me, I can reckon the Demerara Solera No. 14 is approximately a five-year old rum. The recipe is rather simple and includes rum from each of the now famous ancient wooden stills from Demerara Distillers Heritage Plant. (I do believe the bulk rum used in the blend contains rums from other stills as well, but I have no information regarding the exact proportions, or exactly which other stills contribute to the Demerara Bulk Rum. )
Mr. Rossi provided me a 200 ml sample of this rum such that I would have a chance to review it here on my website.
In the Bottle 3.5/5
The bottle presentation for the rum is pictured to the right. It is pretty standard fare with professional labeling in a tall bar room style of bottle. I have a bit of a bone to pick over the use of the word ‘Solera’ in the name of the rum and upon the label. Based upon what I was told about how the rum was constructed and aged, I see no evidence of Solera style aging used during any portion maturation of the rum. Simply calling the rum Demerara No. 14 would in my opinion be better. Although I like the corked bottle and label, I felt that the misleading use of the word ‘solera’ detracted from the presentation.
In the Glass 8.5/10
When poured into my glencairn glass the Demerara rum displays rich copper tones with a hue reminiscent of a shiny new penny. The rum seems just a touch oily as it lays long slender slow-moving legs down the inside of my glass after it is tilted and twirled. The initial aroma from the glass is full of oak tannins and sap which have been tainted with a spicy toffee, orange peel zest, and butterscotch candies. Baking spices in the form of vanilla, cinnamon and spicy cloves mingle in those breezes above the glass. The breezes also contains a mildly acrid or astringent musty component which is actually much nicer than it sounds and seems to work well in the overall profile of the rum. I find that I am enjoying the firm spicy aroma which I would like to describe as full of funky ‘navy rum’ charm.
In the Mouth 51/60
The Demerara No. 14 is a little hot and spicy in the mouth. It has a fresh woody flavour combining wood spices with tobacco and tangy orange peel zest. A firm butterscotch toffee, mild vanilla flavours and light baking spices complement the hotter spices and serve to smooth out the flavour. As the rum breathes, and I sip a little more, I receive impressions of canned peaches and apricots as well as some lightly sour or tart apples. The orange peel flavour has evolved into a likeness of marmalade and some almond flavours have developed as well.
What we have is exactly what the nose implied, a funky ‘navy’ style rum. If you like rums like Pusser’s Navy Rum, then you will like the Demerara No. 14. (Although this is a little less spicy than Pusser’s.) I did a little mixing and found that the rum really shines in cocktails. The rum has the ability to push its funky navy flavour through the mixed drink, even when mixing with cola.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The rum tickles the tonsils with butterscotch and peppery spice in a medium length finish. Flavours of cinnamon and cloves are left over on the palate with perhaps a left over impression of liquorice too.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
That funk navy charm I discussed in the review makes the Demerara No. 14 Rum very interesting when it is sipped. This same funkiness pushes through the cocktail experience making even the standard rum and cola drinks something a little different. Despite the funkiness, I would describe the rum as easy-going. The wood spices never become too hot, and the candied butterscotch never becomes too sweet. This is a pleasant well-balanced rum (which is what my score of 84/100 implies).
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Rum and Cola Classic
2 oz Rum Nation Demerara Solera N° 14
2 oz Coke Classic
Cinnamon and ground nutmeg
Mix in an Old Fashioned Glass filled with ice
Sprinkle the top with Cinnamon and Nutmeg
And remember, the aim is not to drink more, it is to drink better!
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)