Mount Gay's Black Barrel Rum
A new blended rum from the World's oldest distillery
I'm pretty sure that Mount Gay was the first rum I ever tried not made by Bacardi. I think I saw a picture of Jimmy Buffett holding a bottle of it and thought, "Well if anyone should know a good rum..." I'm positive that their Sugarcane Rum (which is sadly, no longer available) was all a drank through the America's Cup Races of 1992, but I digress.
The Mount Gay distillery is on the island of Barbados and uses both a pot still and column still. The difference maker is their proprietary yeast strain that's a closely guarded secret. They also cold filter their rums to remove impurities due to their global distribution. They're best known for their 2 year old Refined Eclipse Rum although they do make a white rum and some longer aged rums as well. Most of their products are a blend of the two distillation runs with the column still making up the majority of each bottle. However, this Black Barrel batch uses a higher percentage of the pot still distillates.
Their Black Barrel Rum is, like all of their rums, molasses based but the real difference (aside from the higher percentage of pot still distillates) is in the aging process used to produce this rum. They start with aged double pot still distillates and aged column still distillates. These two are blended together and then that blend is aged again in re-charred bourbon barrels.
As such it definitely has a bourbon like appearance. The flavor is not dissimilar but there's a bit more heat to it. Not a rye like spice but more of an alcohol heat that may be due to the 86 proof bottling. There are heavy notes of caramel, vanilla, and smokey oak. It's perfectly suited to sip straight on a cold night or on the rocks throughout the summer. For cocktail mixing it would sub well for a lighter (as in not too funky) Jamaican rum given the high percentage of column still distillates. It also performs well in rum forward drinks like Corn & Oil or a Navy Grog. It's definitely a step up from their Refined Eclipse Rum.