Whether you’re new to the idea of premium sipping rum or a longtime aficionado, the latest tweaks (they’re calling it a “reset”) to two blends from Mount Gay Distillery offer something to please your palate. Mount Gay is the oldest rum distillery in the world, founded in 1703. Their new master blender, Barbados native Trudiann Branker, has put a fresh spin on both the Mount Gay Black Barrel Double Cask Blend and the XO Triple Cask Blend.
But maintaining the company’s heritage was important to Branker, who tells AIROWS, “We’re still distilled solely in Barbados at the north end of the island on the same property that we have been for the past 300 years. Our liquids are still aged on that same property. We still do wholly tropical static aging, meaning in the humid warm temperatures that exist in Barbados. The water we use to make our blends are from a well that has been on that site for the last 300 years. And we still do our open fermentation that allows the natural yeast to take part in the fermentation.”
For someone new to sipping rum, Branker recommends the Mount Gay XO Triple Cask, a smooth and creamy red/golden brown blend with an aroma of vanilla, oak and clove. XO has been made for years with a bourbon cask and whiskey cask; what’s new is the addition of a Cognac cask to the process. Also, there’s now a wider spectrum of aged spirit than before, a blend of 5 to 17 years. Try it on the rocks or as a Coco Hill: a shot of XO over a large coconut water ice cube.
For the amber Black Barrel, which has woody/buttery notes and a nice spiciness that is not overly prominent on the front of the palate, the update is a higher proportion of double-distilled pot still rums and longer aging. After maturing from three to seven years in American whiskey casks, it is finished in deeply charred bourbon casks for six months.