Mount Gay is widely recognized as the world’s oldest rum producer and they don't seem to be too coy about it either.
On the front label, of the heavy bottle with a classic bubble neck, is printed a map of Barbados where it says Mount Gay has been producing rum since 1703, which would make the tradition of making rum over 300 years.
During my most recent trip to the Caribbean, I had the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while: get an inside look at rum making in the islands.
The island of Anguilla lies just to the north of the French-Dutch island of St. Martin/St. Maarten, accessible by ferry from the French town of Marigot. The island is British territory, roughly 16 miles (25 km) long and 3 miles (just under 5 km) wide at its widest point. It boasts 33 white, sandy beaches and a peaceful island atmosphere for its 12,000 residents and many visitors. The island is also home to the Anguilla Rums Ltd.
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 1996 is bright brown with core highlights that are nearly red in this refined decanter. The cork is protected by a black rubber seal that goes all the way down to the end of the bottles bubbled neck.
Markings on the front label clearly indicate the whiskey was put in oak in 1996 as do the handwritten notes, which add a touch of individuality, on the back label.
An individually numbered square bottle with rounded shoulders and a big black wooden cork that makes itself stand out in the middle of other bottles. This is a bottle that makes you think you're in for something really special. The box itself where Angostura 1919 came in is quite nice too with its embossed flower pattern in the front.
Before opening the bottle and pouring the rum in a glass I can already see that the clarity of Angostura 1919 is spectacular! You can clearly see through the golden liquid when looking through the bottle.
Fine Old Jamaica RumJudging from the labels and bottles, these rums were bottled around 1900-1910, and had likely 20 to 30 years in cask prior to that. It's clear from the packaging that this was regarded as a superb quality rum even at the time it was bottled. This is an exceptional discovery - the nose is one of the most exotic and powerful I've ever experienced.
19th century rum of this quality is extremely rare - far more so than equivalently fine cognacs or armagnacs. At the time, top quality rums were regarded by noted connoisseurs like George Saintsbury (in his legendary "Notes from a Cellar Book" published in 1920) as on a par with the finest cognacs.
The first thing that attracted me to this rum was its unique presentation. A squat bottle in a leather pouch. It immediately gave me the idea that this rum must be something special if the makers have taken the time to create such special packaging.
Outside the pouch Ron Pampero is dark mahogany and the label on the bottle is decorated with a medieval font, as is the typing on the leather pouch.The bottle also has a red plastic seal which bears the Pampero logo, a man on a horse.
The rum I am reviewing today is one of the first rums that introduced me to the world of rum and really made me appreciate it. The introduction happened at a cigar bar where the owner suggested rum, rather than whiskey, to be had with a cigar. I was intrigued by his suggestion.
Previously, perhaps foolishly, I only considered whiskey or cognac to be had with cigars. The rum he recommended to me was none other than the Cuban Havana Club 7 años. What better choices are there for a first review than the rum that got me writing reviews to begin with?