Sunday, 22 November 2015

Review 66 - Rum Nation Jamaica White Pot Still

Photo copyright © H.Kristoffersen
First white rum I ever enjoyed sipping. I'm sure it won't be the last.

Time for another first.

This will be the first white rum on the site. As a strange coincidence, this was also the first white rum issued by Rum Nation. And the first rum they ever did, which went completely off the charts in proof.

This is the Rum Nation Jamaica Pot Still White rum.

By now I have practically said everything about the rum.
And when I tell you that it comes from Worthy Park Estate, is unaged and untampered, and that it is bottled at a nose bleeding 57 % ABV, then we are actually done.

It seems that more and more white rums are popping up al over the rum landscape these days.

A handful of years ago white rums were cheap and only for mixing, and you would be lucky to find others than the usual Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Havana Club, Angostura, Plantation or El Dorado varieties. The bartender swiss army knife J Wray and Nephew must have been here, but I actually never saw one (can’t say I looked much for it either…).

But now crafts makers are starting to explore this long forgotten territory as well.
Velier did it with their Clairins of which I have one in my reviewing pipeline, and they are starting to experiment a bit more with the whites, in their new Habitation Velier series, which are set to be released soon.

The Jamaican distilleries are slowly finding their way into the European markets, and we are starting to see Rumbar from Worthy Park along with a couple of Hampdens. The Appleton seems to have been there forever, but I never saw a bottle of it.

My fellow countrymen Skotlander started out with only a white rum.
And many others are following suit.

So what is this white version of a usually brown liquid? The last time I drank white rum neet, was at a happy hour at my local disco 10-12 years ago, where they served Bacardi Limon for €1 a shot. 

Can’t say it was pleasant or tasty. But it did what it was supposed to.

I am expecting a lot more taste and a little less future hangovers with the Rum Nation White. But let us see how it plays out.

The usual Rum Nation looks. However, I bought this so long ago, that I can’t even remember if it came in a box or not. Never mind, since the boxes Rum Nation use, are the huge double window ones, which I find my self throwing out as soon as I get a chance to get the bottle out.

The bottle is however squat and squeaky clean as usual. And it is topped off with the natural cork with a dark, wooden stopper.

The label also follows the standard Rum Nation layout, with its three part composition.
Part one being the colonial stamp, part two the name of the rum and part three the company name.

On the back label is a bit of interesting information about the rum inside.

Even though this package is totally standard when looking at most Rum Nation rums, I most say that it comes off as particularly classy this time.

The clear bottle, the white rum, the grey/black/silver label, and the dark, wooden stopper. It is just so clean, so beautiful.

The colour is crystal clear and transparent. No colour whatsoever.

Twirling it around leaves a nice, clean ring on the inside of the glass. Drops starts to form, and after quite some time, a lot of very skinny legs had materialised.

There is no denying it or going around it: This it pot still stuff. Heavy pot still stuff.

Already when pulling the cork, the clear liquid tries to obliterate your nostrils.
It is super pungent, super aggressive and super aromatic.

At first the only things I could detect were massive amounts of wax and burnt rubber.
Sniffling past the initial expression, I found it super heavy on plasticine and sulphurous notes.

I won’t exactly call it very pleasant, but it is super interesting.

To try to extract more scents from it, I decided to let it air for a while.
The extra air acted as a cushion for the nose domination, and more subtle – or actually just less brutal – notes started to surface.

Heavily roasted coffee beans was the new baddest kid in town.

But there was also room for some grassy undertones and some of that good ol’ fruity, Jamaican funk.

A brutal, but very interesting nose. No doubt.

So, after the slaughtering of my nostrils, I am a but anxious pouring this liquid into my mouth. But I guess I’ll have to do it, to see where this part of my rum journey is going. And for science. Always do stuff for science.

Boom! And it explodes in a cascade of huge notes of very interesting character.

Super heavy, earthy notes from the beginning. Not the cozy, colourful, family friendly forrest floor, but thick, muddy, dirty, dark soil.

After that a lot of familiar wax and burnt rubber, and a little coffee.

Then fruits. Lovely, juice green apples and a splash of pineapple.

A huge caramel and cinnamon biscuit bomb, which keep lingering on the back of the palate for a long time.

Much more pleasant and perhaps even a bit soft on the palate compared to the nose. The relatively high proof doesn’t make much of a fuzz on its own. And despite the pungency and dominating characteristics, it never goes raw or harsh.

The finish is no where near as long as I would have expected.

It heats up quite nicely, but fades away again rather quickly.

At first the earthy notes seems to intensify, before going away completely, and leaving the rest of the stage for the caramel and cinnamon biscuits.

Rating and final thoughts
What an interesting experience.

I never thought a white rum could be both pleasant and exciting.

Sure, it’s pungent, it’s aggressive, it demands attention and it is perhaps the least casual drink I ever had. But it is still full of flavours and adventures.

Way too aggressive and pungent for the most unexperienced and average rum drinkers, but a funky brawl far from the path for the more experienced or adventurous ones.

And I’m absolutely certain that mixology wizards are able to exploit the extremes of this rum for some very awesome cocktails.

It can be found for around €30 which makes it huge value for money – and a rather manageable experiment. Marked as limited edition, it might sell out at some point, but as long as it is available, I urge you to get your hands on one. Just to try it out.

I’m pretty sure this will not be part of my selection of regular go-to rums. It is far to demanding for that. It tastes great and is a very refreshing in a world where most rums are just slight variations of a standardised formula.

And even though it hasn’t been able to take a spot among my favourites, it has definitely inspired me to try out more white rums in the future.

There is no denying that this is a great product, and therefore it leaves this party with a …

Rating: 75/100


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