Newfoundlander’s White Rum
Rum Review: Newfoundlander’s White Rum 83/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 6, 2011
It started well over one hundred years ago when fishing fleets from Newfoundland, with their cargo of Northern Cod and North Atlantic Tuna, traveled south and established a tradition of trade for the Caribbean Elixir, known as rum. This trade established Newfoundland as one of the major portals for the legal import (and of course a little illegal smuggling) of rum into Canada.
There have always been a good variety of rum brands on the shelves of my local liquor store which began their journey westward across Canada from the easternmost Province of Newfoundland. These rums are imported from the Caribbean in bulk, then bottled and branded in St. John’s Newfoundland, and as a result can trace their ancestry to those original fishing fleets that bartered Cod for Rum.
One of these brands, Newfoundlandler’s Rum, made a splash about a year ago with a new style and presentation that rejected the pirated clichés of the rum marketing gurus and instead embraced the heritage of Newfoundland’s rocky shores and its naval tradition. Stunning artwork from Canadian artist David Blackwood adorned the labels in narrative designs that told a story of the proud Newfoundland people who live their lives near and on the sea. It is a life bound by tragedy and hope as the residents of Newfoundland are blessed by the ocean’s bounty; yet they are always at its mercy.
I was given a bottle of Newfoundlander’s White Rum this Christmas as a gift from a good friend, and I decided that I should share my impressions of this rum here on my blog.
As indicated above, the artwork for Newfoundlander’s Rum is absolutely stunning. Canadian artist David Blackwood, (one of Canada’s foremost artists), was engaged to design and capture the spirit of Newfoundland in a series of narrative artworks that provide the base for the label design. Six different label designs have been produced, and each captures a new aspect of the angst and the loneliness of the people who live in the rock harbours of Newfoundland. The strength of character of a people is revealed as the artwork depicts a life bounded equally by tragedy and hope. I do not doubt that many persons will want to collect all six designs and display them prominently on their bar shelf. The designs are a fitting tribute to the people of Newfoundland.
The entire presentation of the Newfoundlander’s Rum exudes class and I am happy to score it 5/5.
I emailed the Newfoundlander’s Rum Company (NLC) and learned that their white rum is a blend of 3 aged Guyanan white rums, a 2-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 7-year-old rum. The blended rum is shipped to Newfoundland in stainless steel tankers where it is bottled and distributed by NLC.
The rum is clear in the glass and expresses a nice fragrant nose. Initially, I smell mild caramel and vanilla, and undertones of something sweet and sugary perhaps like cotton candy. There is a firm but light almond accent to the glass, as well as building vegetal tones which remind me that the heart of this spirit is a young 2-year-old rum. I do not notice any undo sharpness or harsh medicinal notes.
The rum exhibits a pleasant soft texture with light oily feeling in the mouth. The light caramel flavour of the rum is firm, and I taste no bitter off-notes. There is a tinge of alcohol bite which tastes slightly sharp, but I also taste the light candy flavours I noticed in the nose and an every so soft progression of mint. Vanilla notes are present, as is a light almond flavour.
I added a few drops of water which caused the rum to become somewhat creamy in texture, but there was no additional opening of flavour. The rum continues to taste mellow and seems to be waiting for me to begin to mix a few cocktails. So, I add a few drops of cola, and the mildly vegetal tones I have been noticing dissipate. The cola provides a nice smooth flavour profile which is very easy to drink.
I also mixed a small daiquiri with lime and sugar syrup and really enjoyed myself. The flavour of the Newfoundlander’s Rum seems to really take well to the daiquiri style cocktail. I tried a few of my other favourite tropical cocktails, The Celebration, and Trouble in Pink, and I was really impressed. This white rum really mixes well and boosts my cocktails to a higher form.
This rum is not really suited for sipping neat, and it is slightly harsh and slightly medicinal in the finish. However, when mixed into cocktails the finish is smooth and the light oil I sensed on the palate is giving my cocktails a little more life in the finish.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
The performance of this rum as a mixer has boosted the scores a little as my regular scoring system did not seem to be capturing the essence of the Newfoundlander’s Rum properly. It has quickly become a favourite rum for my Rum Chums and I when we get together for our monthly tasting sessions. It mixes great with cola. It mixes even better in tropical style fruit cocktails!
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Rum Reviews.
In addition to the recipes I told you about earlier in the review, here are a couple more recipes which work extremely well with Newfoundlander’s Rum.
2 oz Newfoundlander’s White Rum
1 1/2 oz Pink Grapefruit juice
1/2 oz Pineapple juice
3/4 oz Gin
1/2 oz Grenadine
Shake with ice
Strain into a small rocks glass
Garnish with Lemon Wheel
The Gentle Hammock
Definitely a nice tall refreshing drink for relaxing in the backyard hammock when the sun is warm and the afternoon is lazy.
Pineapple for garnish
Place the first three ingredients in a metal shake with ice
Shake until the sides of the metal shaker are well frosted
Strain into a cocktail glass
Lengthen with soda
Garnish with a chunk or slice of Pineapple
And always remember, my aim is not to have you drink more, it is to have you drink better!
I am always asked what my numbers actually mean. In order to provide clarification, you may (loosely) interpret the scores 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)