Review: Banks 7

This blend incorporates 23 individual expressions from 7 countries. Jamaica, Barbados, Guatemala, Panama, Guyana, Barbados, and Java all contributed. The Java inclusion makes me think they may have even snuck a bit of Arrack in there…but I can’t prove it. And, after reading Mr. Pietrek’s 2016 article, it also means it was probably blended by E&A Scheer 😉. It also means we know where the rum came from in at least two of the seven cases as Guatemala and Guyana only have one distiller each. This is a pretty darn good rum, in my opinion!


Color/Appearance
Burnt gold, certainly appealing
Score: 4.5

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – booze on the front, fades into a MONSTER fruit bouquet! Some acetone on the back.
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – smooth caramel and vanilla, touch of nutmeg/baking spices, and a waft of funk/hogo
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes – berries, overripe bananas, hint of smoke,
Score: 4

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
–  smooth, creamy, little booze punch/tingles throughout with a pleasant alcohol heat on the back, just a little bit of green apple on the finish
–  some funk floating around in there! Jamaican isn’t hiding.
–  full mouth feel, but not heavy, no cloying at all either
–  Jamaican becomes more dominant the longer you drink it
Score: 4

Experience
– pretty darn well rounded, I like just about everything about it.  It’s got a great level of complexity. Interesting nose, fun flavor profile and body. And it evolves as you go.
Score = 4.5

Overall = 4
Cumulative = 17/20

Daiq test:
Forthcoming

Review: Angostura 1919 Deluxe Blend

Color/Appearance
Light hay/sunshine
Score: 4

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – peaches/stone fruit, TONS of vanilla and custard, mild/pleasant booze. #drinkme
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – just more vanilla, fruit has faded, little hits of pungent caramel!
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes –  vanilla all the way through
Score: 4

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
–  very smooth, light tingly booze, finishes with vanilla and raspberries
–  little bit of overripe banana, green apple, and grapes, bit of tang on the finish,
–  dry, light, but present mouthfeel, some green apple
–  finish is a little…off, a little cloying but dry also somehow
Score: 3.5

Experience
– I would have no problem drinking this rum. It’s “light” on the palate, a little fruity, and a lot of vanilla. If the finish was a little rounder I’d have given it a 5.
Score = 4

Overall = 4.5
Cumulative = 15.5/20

Daiq test:
Forthcoming

Review: Maggie’s Farm 50/50

As the name implies – this is Half Maggie’s Farm (pot-distilled), and half something else. In this case a “column-distilled rum from the Caribbean”. It’s a “traditional dark rum” which I interpret as a molasses forward, “rich rum” – since it’s not a specifically defined category, as with almost all rum categories. And in that sense, it definitely is what it claims to be! Details:

Color/Appearance
Burnt gold
Score: 4

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – tropical fruit, vanilla
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – tropical fruit parfait, creme brulee, bubblegum
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes –  tons of vanilla
Score: 5

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
–  very, VERY, smooth, fruity, rich
–  caramelized bananas, mangos,
–  heavy Mouthfeel, somewhat cloying, slightly oily, lightly bitter finish
–  mango banana caramel custard
Score: 4

Experience
– pretty decadent, smells fantastic, tastes almost as good as it smells, finish is a drawback. I’m also 100% sure there’s some heavy handed dosage here…🤔🤷‍♂️
Score = 3.5

Overall = 5
Cumulative = 16.5/20

Daiq test:
Unique, rich, full, maybe a little sweet
3/5

Review: Denizen 3yo

Hailing from a New Amsterdam bottler, Denizen blends “small batch” rums from Trinidad (only one distiller “Trinidad Distillers” – aka Angostura) and Jamaica (just about every pot still on the island 🤯). All of these rums obviously have been aged a minimum of 3 years prior to blending. According to the Cocktail Wonk, Matt Pietrek, it was designed to be “the prefect Daiquiri rum”. Scroll to the end to find my thoughts on that subject.

Color/Appearance
Absolutely clear. (My assumption is it was filtered or it would have some color from the age)
Score: 3.5

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – creme brulee bananas, sugared strawberries, hit of hard booze
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – small amount of earthy hogo/funk, light ripe bananas, overall light aroma
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes – a lot more boozy notes, some acetyl even has some dried lime and , or orange frosting (like on those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls). Still all subtle though.
Score: 4

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
–  smooth, good funk, sweet, short finish. Not cloying.
–  deceptively smooth for a 3yo
–  some buttery 🍌, rich Mouthfeel like a banana rum cheesecake
–  some guava and pineapple
Score: 3.5

Experience
– for a lightly aged/”white” rum, this is pretty impressive. Although I’d wager it’s a heavyweight cocktail maker/daiquiri rum (don’t I always say that).
Score = 4

Overall = 4
Cumulative = 15/20

Additional notes:
Daiq test: Damn! This is fucking great! One of the most smashable daiquiris I can remember! 5/5
Heavy 2oz of Denizen 3yo
Heavy .75oz lime
.25oz rich Demerara

Review: Smith & Cross

Smith and Cross is a pot still blend produced by Hampden Estate. It’s compromised high ester distillates off two separate stills, and aged for up to 3 years.

Color/Appearance
Straw gold
Score: 3

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – funk, funk, funk! Underlying overripe fruit and cinnamon (seriously, cinnamon!)
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – still tons of funk with some more baking spices waking up. Damp leaves. No detectable booze.
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes –  hogo as leveled out to a manageable point (as opposed to slapping you in the face). Non descript floral and honey notes.
Score: 3.5

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
–  heat all the way through, funk on the front, ripe banana toward the end, and some hogo on the finish
–  full, rich, luxurious Mouthfeel, slightly oily (not unpleasant), a  tiny bit astringent (just enough to be refreshing and probably prevent the palate from being completely overwhelmed).
–  plums and a little 🍑
Score: 5

Experience
– pretty darn good. Nose could have a little more character besides a swashbuckling horde of hogo attempting to board your vessel. But it’s a lot like eating (drinking) a rum soaked banana bread.
Score = 4

Overall = 4
Cumulative = 15.5/20

Daiquiri test:
Okay. Seems to clash a bit. Highlights some different, fruity/estery, parts of the rum. Think it would be great as an “improvement” addition to a more traditional (unaged rum) daiquiri.
3/5

Review: Angostura 5yo

Angostura is distilled in Trinidad on massive column stills. They get their molasses from abroad as there’s no production on Trinidad. All ageing happens in ex-bourbon barrels, which they use a few times each. The 5 year, as with all their rums (to my knowledge) is a blend, and undergoes some amount of filtration. Without further adieus here are my notes:

Color/Appearance
Light hay/gold
Score: 4

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – vanilla off the rip, fades into bananas and coconut, then pleasant booze and bubble gum!
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – just a lot of smooth bubble gum, and a touch of pineapple
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes – some jackfruit and melon
Score: 5

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
– very smooth, good bit of caramel, tiny alcohol hit
– overall sweet, fairly cloying finish, lingering caramel apple
– you can find the barrel if your looking for it, behind the “sweet”
Score: 3

Experience
– this is one of those that if it tasted even a little bit like it elled, it would be epic. Instead it falls significantlyshort of it’s own hype. But nonetheless this is a pleasant rum to drink, however I think it’s probably an EXCELLENT daiquiri and cocktail rum.
Score = 3

Overall = 3
Cumulative = 15/20

Review: Trois Rivières Special Reserve

The history of this particular Distillery is very long, and has changed hands many times, with some VERY interesting owners! I recommend checking out this article from Rumporter for more on the history.

Originating on the southwest side of Martinique, near Saint Luce, Trois Rivières Rhum is distilled on two column stills. Additionally, approximately 80% of their sugarcane is “estate grown”. This particular offering is a blend of rhums aged at least 5 years and bottled down to 40%ABV. Notes are as follows:

Color/Appearance
An exquisite, “drink me” gold!
Score: 5

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – banana pancakes! Fat golden raisins, hint of treacle and spice.
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – booze, vanilla, honey
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes – smoke, and some wet leaves/grass (not unpleasant)
Score: 4.5

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
– smooth start, faint caramel in the middle, spicy finish with a bit of lemongrass
– smoked pineapple, aged ginger, hint of hogo/funk on the end
– lots of juicy, fruit character mixed with strong barrel notes, quite complex
– great Mouthfeel! Hefty.
– there’s some herbal, woody notes, but they meld right in with the barrel
– most aspects of the flavor profile are “subdued”. Not boring! Balanced in the sense that no one is shouting look at me look at me.
Score: 4.5

Experience
– excellent! I would have anybody that likes any kind of neat spirit try this. Gin, whiskey, Brandy. It’s got something for everyone. It’s dry without being a sledgehammer, and even though there’s 0 cloying, the finish lingers for a very long time! Only thing I wish was that there was a lead role. It’s like an ensemble cast, so everyone has a great role, but no one stands out.
Score = 4

Overall = 5
Cumulative = 18/20

Review: Hamilton 86

Ed Hamilton, the self-proclaimed “Minister of Rum” sources this rum directly from Demerara Distillers in Guyana. Home of a few noteworthy, “named” stills, and famous for being a core component of the British Navy’s very own rum blend. “The Minister” sought to bring this specific blend to market to be used when Demerara rum was called for in Tiki drinks (well, any drink, but I’d wager that’s where it finds its highest calling). I can say it does it’s job phenomenally!

Color/Appearance
Dark, delicious, burnt copper – I’m gonna say it. (Almost)Perfect.
Score: 4

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – ALL the treacle, and a bit of vanilla
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – pleasant bit of booze, spices are waking up, some of that funky rum raisin, papaya and honeydew
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes – fading to a sweet sugar coated dried apricots
Score: 5

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
– booze in the middle, long barrel finish, exceptionally well balanced, noticeably dry, smoke and barrel character throughout
– little bit of apple cider, perhaps caramel apples
– Mouthfeel is a little thin
Score: 3.5

Experience
– overall, pretty good, but I suspect it will do even better in a Daiquiri…as it was designed as a mixer.
Score = 3.5

Overall = 4
Cumulative = 16/20

Review: Coconut Cartel

So first of all, these guys were cool enough to send me a full bottle to try – for free. So, there’s that disclosure 😉.

A little background on the company: Based out of Miami, they source a single distillery rum blend from Guatemala and then proof it down to bottling strength using fresh, local, Coconut water! Which really highlights a lot of the rum’s character in a unique way.

Now, some of you might grumble that this is some sort of adulteration, however there are several “aficionados” (Dave Broom and “The Rum Manual” comes to mind) that have suggested adding coconut water to your rum when tasting it to do just that – make certain characteristics of the spirit stand out. The difference is, here you’re still getting it at proof without dilution. You’ll find that due to that fact, when you pour it over ice, the slow dilution leads to an entirely new evolution of the rum.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable, “fun”, rum to sip on! And it makes for some unique cocktails and even a simple daiquiri (see below 👍).

Color/Appearance
Pretty much dead on light gold.
Score: 3.5

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – off the cuff, rich molasses and spices, in the middle a fat whiff of noxious booze, but then it turns into something crazy like a banana and coconut wonderland
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – like a cross between a good rum and tropical fruit salad!
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes – warm coconut and banana pancakes/banana chips
Score: 5

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
– whoa! Spiced banana laffy taffy! Smooth alcohol burn start to finish.
– a bit cloying, but nothing over the top
– lots of creamy fruit
– there’s a bit of astringency from the middle
– has a lingering finish of jam and raisins
Score: 3.5

Experience
– I have to admit, I poured this as a skeptic….but from the first sniff this rum set to work winning me over! Say what you will about the addition of coconut water, this still very much rings true as RUM to me. Very pleasant, and truly unique (nothing smells like this!), sipping experience!
Score = 4

Overall = 3.5
Cumulative = 16/20

Additional notes:

On ice – pops out the coconut and barrel character.

Daiquiri Test:
A simple daiquiri with this stuff makes it seem like way more than that! Tons of flavors. Give it a try!
Spec:
2oz Coconut Cartel
0.75oz Lime juice
0.25oz rich simple

Review: Kirk and Sweeney 23yo

Color/Appearance
Deep copper
Score:  4

Smell/Aroma
1st sniff – rich caramel, light booze, mild astringency
2nd sniff, 2-3 minutes – rum raisins and faint spices
3rd sniff, 8-10 minutes – good bit of vanilla and some barrel
Score: 3

Taste/Flavor/Mouthfeel
– hot damn yes please! Literally tastes like melted vanilla bean ice cream
– mild spices, some residual sweetness, bit of a funky aftertaste
– great mouthfeel with no cloying
Score: 5

Experience
– this is a reallllly incredible rum. It’s missing something I can’t quite put my finger on….but that’s being pretty picky.
Score = 5

Overall = 5
Cumulative = 17/20