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Ragged Rock White Rum

Review: Ragged Rock White Rum  87/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted July 11, 2013

Ragged Rock White Rum is produced by the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC). The blending stocks for Ragged Rock come from Jamaica, in fact from the same distillery which produces Appleton Estate Rum. These are the same stocks which the NLC uses to produce their Famous Newfoundland Screech Rum and Ragged Rock Amber Rum, although obviously the stocks are treated differently to produce a clear white rum. It should be noted that as per Canadian Law these rum stocks have all been aged for minimum of one full year before being filtered clear to produce the rum.

Note: I was provided a sample bottle of the Ragged Rock White Rum by  Rock Spirits (a division of the Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC))

SAM_0700 Ragged RockIn the Bottle  4/5

To the left is the 40 ounce bottle of Ragged Rock White rum which was sent to me by the folks at Rock Spirits. Obviously they felt the rum was full of nuance and character such it might take me more than just a few samples sessions to learn all its secrets. As you can see the bottle is of a pretty standard variety, although tattered the pink, white and green flag on the label deserves a little explanation.

This is a rum which unabashedly presents itself as “The Rum of the Rock”, and that slightly tattered pink, white and green flag is actually an ‘unofficial’ Flag of Newfoundland. The tattered flag is symbolic of a life of grim realities faced by the people who have lived their lives upon that rock which is called Newfoundland. The history of these people has always been linked to the boundaries of tragedy and hope which are embodied by the waters of the North Atlantic. Newfoundlanders have always been blessed by the North Atlantic Ocean’s bounty; yet they are always at its mercy when their fishing vessels troll the rocky coastlines. The unofficial flag may be tattered; but it still flies defiantly, representing the resilience of these people and their way of life.

In the Glass 8.5/10

I poured myself a small glass of Ragged Rock White Rum, and then gave that glass a tilt and slow swirl. A light oily sheen was imparted on the inside of my glass, and then skinny legs developed and started their trek back down the inside of the glass. The rum in my glass is of course clear with no hints of colour. The initial fragrance above the glass is quite striking. I smell very mild butterscotch and vanilla with obvious indications of banana and orange peel in the breezes. There also seems to be a light lemony scent being carried upwards with hints of anise and mint.

As the glass breathes I sense a light sweetness which reminds me of cotton candy, and a vague almond-like aroma. There is also a building vegetal character which reminds me that at the heart of this spirit is a one to two year old Jamaican rum. Although I have used the term ‘vegetal’, I want to assure you that I do not notice any undo sharpness or harsh medicinal notes, I find the overall nose quite complex and engaging considering the youthfulness of the white spirit.

In the Mouth 52.5/60

The scents and aromas which were cast into the breezes above the glass all seem to have found themselves in the flavour profile of this white rum. A soft butterscotch with hints of vanilla is quickly followed by zesty orange and banana peel. Some peppery spices give the rum a liveliness which I believe bodes well for cocktails. Touches of lemon balsam, an ever so light mint, and an undercurrent of almond make this rum very interesting for me. What was not readily apparent on the nose, but which comes through clearly upon the palate is a is a certain briny mustiness within the flavour that gives the rum a bit of Jamaican funk in the flavour profile which to me was practically screaming “Daiquiris”.

So of course the first cocktail I constructed was a simple daiquiri. And I made another, and then another. As you can see, my instincts were right on target. I went on to make a couple Cuba Libres the next day, and a couple mojitos the day after. (In case you missed the obvious, the key concept of those last sentences was my use of plural.) Mixing with this white rum is very easy.

In the Throat 13.5/15

The rum has a light smoothness in the exit which is uncharacteristic of the white rum category. Light flavours of butterscotch are complemented by the zestier flavours of orange and banana peel in the finish. That briny mustiness I noted earlier in the delivery seems to linger upon the palate just a little longer than the rest of the impressions.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Ragged Rock is a solid white rum. Unfortunately I have learned that the NLC have planned to discontinue its production while they focus on other brands That’s a real pity as this Jamaican white rum is full of smooth character. Hopefully the NLC reconsiders, and this rum is destined for a return soon.

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

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Suggested Recipes:

SAM_0758 Ragged DancerRagged Canary

2 oz  Ragged Rock White Rum
1/2 oz  Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
3/8 oz  Sugar Syrup
4 large Ice Cubes
Splash of Orange Mango Soda (Koala brand)
Slice of Lemon

Combine the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
Shake until the metal shaker chills.
Strain into a chilled glass.
Complete with soda
Garnish with a slice of lemon

Enjoy

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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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