Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Product Review- Murray McDavid 13 yr Guyana Rum, Uitvlught- Port Morant 1992
Ah, my first post back from my trip to California. As sad as I was to miss Tales of the Cocktail this year, I happened to discover a liquor store in California (I'm keeping the location a secret for now) that was a treasure trove of obscure and rare treasures. Usually I have to dig through crappy bottles of low end liquors before I find something interesting, but in this case, the liquor selection was entirely high end, stocked with rare scotches, obscure bourbons, some amari that I hadn't seen in this country before (and chinato too), great tequilas, and rum.
I usually describe myself as a gin and whiskey man. I've never been much into rum or vodka. Neither seemed terribly exciting to me. I'm not a big fan of tiki drinks, in fact, outside of the Mai Tai, I'm not inclined to drink tiki drinks ever, I find them either too sickly sweet or too sour for my palate. Contemporary rum drinks just don't generally grab my attention, again, I gravitate towards gin and whiskey. Recently, however, I've had an opportunity to reconsider rum (its its kissing cousin cachaca) and I'm becoming more of a fan.
Back to the store, where, looking through the bourbons and rye whiskeys on offer (Rittenhouse 23 was there!), my eye happened to be caught by a tin over in the rum section. It was labeled Murray McDavid, a well respected owner of Bruichladdich and the new rum brand Renegade Rum (which I'm dying to taste btw). There was a bottle of 13 year old Guyana rum, distilled in 1992 at Uitvlught, Guyana using the famous Port Morant still, the last of the Demerara Vat Stills. My search was over, I grabbed the bottle and paid up and packed it carefully for the return trip to Oregon.
Now Demerara rums can rightly be only produced in Guyana, and the vat still produces a heavier style of rum than the more modern style of still (coffey) used most frequently. I'm guessing (I'm not an expert on rum labeling laws) that even though this rum was distilled in Guyana, by shipping it to Scotland for aging and bottling, it wouldn't qualify to be a Demerara rum.
This rum is easily one of the most distinctive rums I've ever tasted. Even more intriguing though, is how this rum has changed due to the climate of Scotland vs Guyana, and how the finish on this has enhanced the rum.
I got home this evening and poured myself two fingers of rum and added one ice cube to open it up a bit. The bouquet on this rum is surprisingly soft, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and leather predominating. This was bottled at 46% abv, but I don't find it overwhelmingly hot on the nose as I often do with alcohol bottled at that strength.
This rum was put into bourbon casks for aging, and then "enhanced" with some additional time in Grand Cru Classe Sauternes barrels. The combination is a winner, with the bourbon adding a bright note to the rum and the Sauternes civilizing the edges of this rum. On the palate, I do find an interesting brininess, perhaps acquired from aging on Islay, that I've never encountered in a rum before. Its not unpleasant, in fact, it adds yet another distinguishing note to the finished product. In addition to brine, smoke and leather are additional high notes, with subtle notes of vanilla, almonds, and apricots underneath.
I've never had a rum that I felt called for a good cigar quite like this does. Don't waste your time or this rum's qualities with a less than stellar cigar if you do. This calls for a nice Cuban, perhaps a Cohiba if you have one squirreled away somewhere.
As for the finish, its quite complex and lasts more than 20 minutes. This rum is the equal of the finest Scotches and bourbons in its complexity of finish. It starts smoky and briny and moves into some nice leather tones and then finishes with a gentle cedar and pencil lead note for the last few minutes.
I definitely recommend this one with an ice cube to open up its flavors a bit. Straight, it might be a bit tight, but one cube opened this up wonderfully.
If you haven't figured this out yet, I highly recommend seeking out a bottle of this rum. Right now, its the finest bottle of liquor in my quite extensive collection, something to be shared and savored with good friends. Trust me, if you are at Casa De Mayhew and I offer up some of this rum, be assured that I count you among my closest friends. I'm not wasting a drop of this on anything less. This is truly a magnificent product, and I cannot wait to try some of Murray McDavid's more recent offerings through Renegade Rum.