Mount Gay Eclipse Silver
Review: Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum 81.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on December 3, 2010
Barbados is situated as a gateway from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. For this reason, sailors from the Old World often used the island as their first stop on the way to the New World. This meant Barbados was ideally suited for trade between the two worlds in the seventeenth, the eighteenth and the nineteenth century. From the beginning, part of that trade as recorded in the earliest records, was rum.
The tradition of producing rum on Barbados dates to an early period in the seventeenth century. Evidence exists of small-scale distillation on Barbados as early as 1637, and the first recorded written usage of the word Rum Bullion appears on the Island in 1651. In fact this is the earliest recorded usage of the word Rum as it relates to the distilled spirit anywhere in the world. As such, Barbados is generally considered the birthplace of rum.
Mount Gay Rum has been produced on the Isle of Barbados since the beginning of the eighteenth century, making Mount Gay one of the oldest, (if not the oldest) rum brand in the World. Evidence exists of stills in use at the Mount Gay Plantation site as early as 1667, and we have confirmation (with the first written records) of rum produced on the site in 1703.
In the Bottle 4/5
Mount Gay Silver Eclipse Rum has a new bottle design. Gone is the typical flagon style bottle which is in use by so many spirits companies. The new image for the Eclipse rum is a modern, slim, oval-shaped bottle with a bold, eye-catching label which properly reflects the heritage of Mount Gay Rum in a contemporary style.
I find the bottle and label design slick and attractive with bright colours and bold fonts which are easy to read and eye-catching. When I set the bottle in my rum cabinet, it stands out clearly against the other bottles inviting me to choose Mount Gay Eclipse rather than another rum.
I so wish that the metal topper would have been scrapped in favour of a plastic threaded closure. I remain convinced that metal toppers do not work well in my climate. Perhaps in the south, where extremes of temperature and humidity are not as variable as where I live, those metal screw caps work fine. But in my climate I am sure to have problems with evaporation after the bottle is opened.
In the Glass 8/10
The Eclipse Silver Rum is a clear spirit. I held my glass up to the light and against various backgrounds trying to detect some colour but I found no trace of any at all. The tilted glass shows a light oily sheen which very slowly released stubborn crawling legs. A gentle inviting aroma begins to creep up from the glass.
It is unusual in my experience for a white rum to display such an inviting aroma in the glass. The scents and smells of light butterscotch were evident as was a firm presence of banana, a mild citrus zest, and a light minty aroma. As the glass decanted a vague grassy vegetal scent began to waft upwards as well. The vegetal tones grew stronger as the glass decanted and some might describe this as slightly medicinal.
My overall impression is that the rum appears to be crisp in the glass with a more complex nose than I was expecting.
In the Mouth 49/60
I began by sipping the Mount Gay Eclipse Silver neat in my glass without ice. The initial flavour was slightly acidic and perhaps a little harsher than I was expecting. I was perhaps beguiled by the inviting nose and was expecting more sweetness than I received. The caramel and butterscotch flavours in the rum are soft. Flashes of vanilla flavour are present, but I catch no nutty flavours at all. In the mid palate I taste soft ripe banana and citrus zests and these seem to be the dominant flavours. As well, I catch hints of a vague minty candy flavour.
I decided to build a few cocktails to see if I could discover the range of the rum’s mix-ability. I began with a simple rum and cola by adding a small splash of cola to my glass. Increasing the ratio of cola to rum slowly, I found that at a ratio of 1 part rum to 2 parts cola the mixture tasted nice, but throughout this cola mixing experiment the Silver Eclipse did not seem to excel. I think perhaps the sweetness of the cola was not where this particular rum wanted to find itself.
Next I made a simple daiquiri. Mixed with lime and simple syrup the Eclipse rum tasted much better (Very good!). The rum flavour of the Eclipse seemed to push through the daiquiri and made it more impressive. I will have to experiment a little more, but I can say with confidence that this rum is a very good daiquiri rum. I had a similar experience when I made a mojito, and my conclusion is that the Mount Gay Silver Eclipse Rum is particularly well suited to tropical citrus cocktails.
In the Throat 12/15
When sipped straight, the Silver Eclipse had an almost Tequila like feel in both the delivery and the exit. A spicy citrus is left in the mouth and a grassy vegetal trail is left in the throat. But when the rum is mixed in a citrus style cocktail such as a daiquiri, the sensation is much different. The finish of the cocktail is lengthened by the oily texture of the rum and the finish is long and nice. Since the rum is a mixing rum I chose to put more weight on the finish displayed in the cocktail than in the finish displayed neat.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I have never encountered a rum which displayed such duality. When sipped neat the rum displays many elements which I find underwhelming. But when mixed, in particular with citrus, the rum finds its legs and becomes much more impressive. Time will tell, but I feel this may become a favourite of mine as a cocktail rum.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
Mount Gay Eclipse Silver lends itself quite well to traditional cocktails such as Mojitos and Daiquiris. Here’s another simple drink that it plays well with.
Rum and Tonic
Tonic water contains a substance called quinine which complements the piny notes of gin, and hence the famous Gin and Tonic is a very popular bar drink. I believe that the quinine in tonic water is also a nice complement to the grassy vegetal tones I detect in the Mount Gay Silver Eclipse.
1 1/2 oz Mount Gay Silver Eclipse Rum
1/2 oz Tonic Water
Slice of Lime quartered
In an old-fashioned glass place the lime cut into four quarters.
Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the Rum and Tonic.
A second cocktail I am also going to suggest is an old style cocktail called Celebration. I came across the recipe in a 1937 publication, Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, Coronation Edition, compiled by W.J. Tarling, printed in Great Britain by The Sidney Press, London and Bedford. The recipe is credited to J. W. Fish
made with Mount Gay Rum
1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
1/2 oz Gin
1 oz grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Groseille Syrup (Red Currant Syrup)
Garnish with fresh lemon or lime
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)