Scotch Malt Whisky Society Rum Tasting

“A good spirit is a good spirit” was an apt introduction by Andrew Derbidge, Director of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) for the inaugural rum tasting co-presented with Quittin’ Time.

SMWS Ultimate Rum Tasting
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Ultimate Rum Tasting

Quittin’ Time is a family-owned business in Sydney with Curtis York and sons Michael and Curt York. After a long career in General Management, Curtis felt it was “quitting time” and he founded the spirit importing business.

SMWS Ultimate Rum Tasting
Curtis York

Held at the Royal Automobile Club, members and guests mingled over a Ti Punch cocktail, made with La Favorite Coeur de Canne, a white agricole rhum, with cane syrup and muddled lime, served warm as it is meant to be enjoyed.

SMWS Ultimate Rum Tasting
Coeur Canne La Favorite Agricole Rhum

La Favorite Coeur de Canne comes from Martinique and was presented for the first time in Australia at the society’s meeting. The 50% ABV spirit is made from squeezed sugar cane juice (not molasses), aged for 2 years in ex Jack Daniel’s barrels.

Rivière du Mât XO

Rivière du Mât XO comes from Reunion Island and is one of the oldest distilleries on the island, dating back some 200 years. It has one of the tallest column stills in the world with 66 plates. The rum is a blend of 85% molasses-based rum and 15% agricole rhum, with an average age of 8 years old. The rum is aged in ex Cognac barrels, hence it’s labelled XO and has the aroma of flowers and dried fruit with an agricole finish that is not sweet.

SMWS Cask R3.4 10 yo

SMWS Cask R3.4 10 yo comes from Rockery Still in Barbados which closed in 1986 and had its equipment moved to Black Rock Distillery. Abiding with the Society’s rules, the rum comes from a single cask. It is 10 yo and aged in refill sherry butts. Remarkably smooth for 75.3% ABV, it has sweet notes, with caramel and toffee. A very pleasant rum full on flavour with a balanced palate makes it surprisingly easy-sipping once the initial alcohol burn has subsided.

El Dorado 8 yo

Moving to Guyana with El Dorado Demerea Rum, the 8yo expression is aged in ex jack Daniel’s barrels for eight years and was awarded the 2013 IWSC Trophy “World’s Best Rum”. At 40% ABV, it has aromas of banana on the nose, dried fruit and sweet, rich flavours on the palate with hints of tobacco making it easy sipping, soft and smooth with a medium finish.

El Dorado 15 yo

El Dorado 15 yo is the most decorated rum in the world and is indeed a special drop. The squarish bottle design with a short neck is based on those once discarded by the Dutch on Guyana’s beaches, with an ink mark to denote who owned it. The shape is also practical as it holds its balance and does not fall off the ship easily. This luxury rum has a complex nose and a full-bodied palate with caramel, toffee vanilla and toasty oak  – a Cognac quality sipping rum with a lingering taste, a viscous and chewy mouthfeel and totally smooth.

SMWS Ultimate Rum Tasting
Rum on Taste

SMWS Cask R2.2 21 yo

Cask R2.2 21 yo (71.4% ABV) comes from the same distillery as El Dorado but whereas the latter is made from 9 different stills, the society’s rum comes from a single cask and is aged in sherry butts. With hints of tobacco on the nose, no nose prickle, the alcohol is prevalent on the palate and yields to a syrupy rich butterscotch with a dry oaky style of finish.

SMWS Cask R1.4 21 yo

Cask R1.4 21 yo (66.2% ABV) comes from Jamaica and is also aged in sherry butts. With an unusual rose blush, the nose is more perfumed with rose petals. An oily and chewy mouthfeel that is strong on oak makes it an acquired taste.

The tasting ends with  El Dorado Rum Cream with a base of 5 yo Demerea Golden Rum, a marked strawberry nose like a milkshake and a velvety mouthfeel.

SMWS Ultimate Rum Tasting
L-R: Andrew Derbidge (SMWS), Curt York, Michael York, Curtis York (Quittin’ Time)

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s inaugural Rum Tasting was held on Friday 11 October, 2013.

Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.

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