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The Wild Geese – Golden Rum

Review: The Wild Geese – Golden Rum  80.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 24, 2013

Through the period from the 1580’s to the end of the 18th century Irish soldiers (mercenary or otherwise) were often used as regimental combat troops for the continental European armies. These Irishmen joined the foreign armies for many reasons; some may have merely been adventure seekers; some were obviously looking to strike a blow against their historic enemy England; and some may have seen the military as a means to advance their standing both financially and socially via a military career. What ever the reasons these young men joined the continental forces, it is a sad fact than many hundreds of thousands of these Irishmen died fighting in foreign Armies far from their homeland.

In Irish history, the Flight of the Wild Geese is a reference to a specific regimental force which traveled from Ireland to France under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, as stipulated in the Treaty of Limerick on October 3, 1691. The western counties of Clare, Limerick, Cork, Kerry and Galway provided most of these recruits as French ships would arrive on the west of Ireland with cargoes of smuggled brandy or wine and would depart with troops for the Irish Brigade. Although the term “Wild Geese” is usually used for these men of the France’s Irish Brigade, it is true that France was not the only destination for these recruits. Many “Wild Geese” went to Spain forming a number of regiments in the Spanish army, and to the Armies of Austria, Russian, Poland and the various German Kingdoms.

Note: Those ships which carried the recruits apparently listed the smuggled troops as “Wild Geese,” in the ship’s records which of course is the genesis of the name given to these Irish Soldiers. The tradition of the Wild Geese Soldiers all but ended in 1745 when Irish recruitment for continental armies was made illegal.

The Wild Geese Rum Collection is the companion to the Wild Geese Irish Whisky Collection. While the Wild Geese Irish Whisky collection sought to bring the Story of the Wild Geese and their struggles in European Armies to light, the Wild Geese Rum Collection continues the saga bringing to light the story of some of these Wild Geese who after service in the continental armies of Europe found themselves transported to America and the Caribbean where many worked upon the Rum Plantations in the new world.

grumIn the Bottle 4/5

The bottle which houses the Wild Geese – Golden Rum is shown to the left. This is the version of the rum bottled for the United Kingdom (from which my sample came) and it is bottled at 75 proof (or 37.5 % alcohol by volume). I have to admit that the labeling has me perplexed and perhaps someone from Avalon Group Inc. who produce the rum, or someone from Protege International who are the major marketing force behind the brand could explain the strange crystal skull to me. I found no references to this imagery in my research with respect to the “Wild Geese Soldiers” and remain baffled by its appearance of the label.

I suspect that this image represents some sort of modern Pirate motif; but I guess I find the image to be out of place in what is supposed to be a tip of the hat to the displaced Irish soldiers who found their way to the Caribbean.

Moving on, the Wild Geese Collection website makes the following statement with respect to the Golden Rum:

“From the heart of the Caribbean, matured in bourbon oak barrels and aged for up to five years, The Wild Geese Golden Rum is delicious on it’s own or in a cocktail.”

As there is no age statement upon the bottle, I am forced to conclude that while there may indeed be some five-year old rum in the bottle, most of the rum inside the bottle will be much younger. I prefer direct age statements; but I understand that marketing dictates a subtle sleight of hand on occasion.

I continue to dislike metallic screw caps, and I would have preferred a plastic cap or a corked closure; but I guess I am feeling that perhaps I should not be too harsh in my judgements, and I have I settled upon a score of 4 out of 5 for presentation.

In the Glass  8/10

The rum displays as a very light amber coloured liquid in the glass, and when I tilt that glass and give it a slow twirl I see that it drops slender fast-moving legs back into the rum. Rising from the glass to greet my nose is an impression of sweet butterscotch, canned apricots, orange peel, almond and vanilla. I allowed the glass to breathe a few minutes, and noticed some additional fine oak spices entering the breezes above the glass. I also sense perhaps a little funky mustiness in the air similar to what I encounter in Jamaican rums. Perhaps some of the sourced rum is of Jamaican origin. (That is a only a guess as I have no information about the origin of the rum.)

In The Mouth 48.5/60

The rum translates well from nose to palate. There is a soft butterscotch flavour which leads out initially with some indications of canned fruit, banana peel, and a smattering of oak spice following. Flavours of almond and vanilla are apparent along with hints of baking spice (cardamom and ginger) which keeps the rum interesting. I would not call the Wild Geese Golden Rum complex and full of character; but it is pleasant, and it seems to be urging me to reach for my cocktail shaker (which is a good thing).

Of course this led me to try a few bar drinks and I was quite happy with the results. The Golden Rum seems to like fruit juice and ginger ale much more than cola. To that end I mixed a nice Daiquiri, which was quite pleasing, and perhaps because I could not get the thought of Jamaican Rum out of my consciousness, I also mixed what I call the Joy Spense Cocktail (see my interview with Joy Spence here for an explanation of the recipe). I also found pleasure mixing with grapefruit in my version of the Hemingway Daiquiri.

In the Throat 12/15

The rum has a gentle, but short finish, with no harsh burn in the throat or astringent aftertaste. The palate is left heated (but only gently) and trailing flavours of butterscotch, vanilla and almond remain a short while within the gentle spiciness.

The Afterburn 8/10

I find myself rather pleased with the Wild Geese Golden Rum. This will be a welcome new addition on my bar shelf as cocktail rum for mixing up Daiquiris, Mojitos and other assorted fruited cocktails (see recipes below). I also suspect that some of you will find it can be enjoyed as a light unassuming sipper over ice as well.

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

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Suggested Recipes

SpenceThe Spence Cocktail

2 oz Aged Rum
1 orange slice
1 drop Angostura bitters
Ice
Ginger ale

Muddle 1 slice of orange with 1 drop of Angostura Bitters in a rocks glass
Add 2 oz Aged Rum
Top up with ginger ale and ice

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Hemingway Daiquiri

These proportions may not be exactly as per the original Hemingway Daiquiri, but I have come across many ‘original’ Hemingway Daiquiri recipe suggestions, and not knowing for certain which the true original is, I chose the one where the least fruit would be wasted.  (This keeps my wife happy.)

2 oz   White Rum
1/4 oz  Maraschino Liqueur
Juice from 1 fresh Limes
Juice From 1/2 Grapefruit

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled large highball glass.

Now for those who do not know, Earnest Hemingway was reputed to be a diabetic, and hence there is no sugar in the recipe.  If you find this a tad tart, add sugar syrup to taste.

And of course enjoy responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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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)

 
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