Sunday 4 January 2015

Review 17 - St. Lucia Distillers "1931" rum (81st aniversary edition)

Image courtesy of Rum
Some say it is the best thing St. Lucia has to offer. I doubt they are right.
Today I am diving into the absolutely most premium product from St. Lucia Distillers – The company which also produces the Admiral Rodney rum, the Chairman’s Reserve rums and elements 8 rums. 

And that is just the most well known of their products.

St. Lucia Distillers are the only rum producing company on the island of St. Lucia and have been since 1972 when to last two remaining distilleries merged into this new company.
The 1931 refers to the year rum production started in the the old Dennery distillery, which was one of the two parent companies, and it was first made available as a celebration of their 80th anniversary in 2011.

St. Lucia Distillers plan on making a new edition of this rum once a year to further celebrate the company. To reflect the addition of years the label will change color with each additional release. 
Furthermore they expect the profile of the rum to change slightly from year to year.

The rum under review today is the 2012 edition which bears a purple label. It is a blend of rums distilled in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and from both pot still and Coffey still. The maturation has been done in a combination of American white oak ex-bourbon casks and port casks. Minimal filtration has been applied, which is the reason behind the few, small pieces of sediment in my sample.

According to the webpage they hope to make this rum a collectors item and for it to be a benchmark among connoisseurs in the rum world. The fact that they strive to be and doesn't already consider themselves to be, is just the kind of humbleness I love from a company. No matter what they produce.

Unfortunately I only have a sample of the rum and not the actual bottle. A real shame actually since the real thing is quite a beauty to behold.

The bottle is a decanter style shape with a very thick and heavy glass base and a nice natural cork with a large wooden stopper. It does indeed come off as a premium product.

On the front we have the purple label which hold a lot of the usual details. One interesting piece of information is the 43% ABV. Hopefully this is a sign that this rum is actually premium enough to support this higher strength.

On the neck we find label informs us that this rum is the 81 year anniversary product. An information also found on the regular front label, but in smaller fonts.

The backside is adorned by a smaller label which hold a picture of Denis Barnard, the founder of the old Dennery distillery, along with yet another confirmation that this is indeed the 81st birthday rum.

To keep it all out of the sunlight you get a nice purple coloured box which is bound to stand out on your shelf or cabinet.
The rum itself is a dark straw color and a swirl reveal a nice and clear edge around the inside of the glass. Nice legs form from the falling droplets and we a insinuating medium profile is hinted.

I found the nose difficult to decipher. At first I got almost nothing from it and was afraid that I might have received a bad sample. Perhaps the supplier of the sample let it air for too long?

But once it started to open up we were ready to rumble.

In one corner: Fruits. Apples and oranges primarily.
In the other corner: Leather, tobacco, oak and rubber. 
I didn't detect much sugar in the mix.

After spending a lot of time nosing it, the pungency of ”the other corner” seemed to become the more dominating part of it.

On the palate ”The Other Corner” also were domination – and in a quite dry manner. Especially the leather and oak came out to play. But not as aggressively as I had anticipated. The fruits from the nose moved towards the zesty side and became a little more sharp, but also better integrated with the leather and oak.

There was a calm smokiness lurking around and somewhere in the mix roasted hazelnuts seemed to want a piece of the action too. Also some earthy undertones which made me think of truffles.

I had a very hard time with a note that seemed to keep coming and going. And it took me keep some time to recognise it.

Finally it hit me: Pomegranates. This is the first time I have ever had this association with a rum.

But it wasn't just pomegranates. Rocket seemed to keep popping up in my head even though I kept trying to convince myself that it was just too ridiculous. Again this is the first time I have ever tasted this in a rum.

No wonder it was a little tough.

The end was of medium length and it seemed to consist primarily of a lot of warmth and a slight oaky fruitiness. Not much fuzz at all and no slamming the door on any account.

Rating and final thoughts
I can see why this is a premium rum. No doubt. Super premium? Nope. Not even close.

The weak nose had me longing for a lot more. I grew bored of nosing the glass very fast, and I wasn't really motivated to take my time with it.

The interesting combination of tastes was really a treat. I always like when a rum brings something new to the table. And the pomegranate/rocket combo was very surprising.

Had it only been topped off by a awesome finish it would still have been able to impress me. But since the finish was quite uneventful.

All in all a nice rum that doesn't hurt any toes on its way around the world. But considering my options in this price range, the 1931 will not have my going for my wallet, and I can’t deal out more than a…
Rating: 70/100

If you disagree wildly with my notes  above and is convinced that my sample may have been off, please feel free to get in touch, as I would be more than happy to do a revisit (if I can find another sample). I am a little suspicious about the quality of my sample and feel that a fair chance is warranted. 
Image of bottle and box courtesy of



  1. I've got the first year bottling of this and I was a little disappointed with it.

    The Admiral Rodney is miles ahead of this.

  2. I still have to try the Rodney, but after your comment I will move it up my list a bit :)

  3. It's one of my favourites and a rum which I reserve for special occasions.

    I would also strongly recommend Captain Bligh XO (if you like Bajan rum's this adds an extra dimension to those).

    I'd love to see your views on both of those.

  4. The Rodney will eventually end up in here.

    The Bligh XO seems to be unavailable in my location, but I will keep my eye out for it should I ever come across it.