In this age of booming craft spirits innovation, sometimes it’s nice to recall — and taste — the true origins of a product.
This was the thinking from newly appointed Mount Gay Master Blender Trudiann Branker, when she designed the second iteration of the brand’s new Master Blender Collection series.
The first in this luxury line came out last year. That was Mount Gay XO Peat Smoke, which finished the Barbadian spirit in ex-Islay casks, for an entirely unique, peaty take on Caribbean rum.
After such an unusual experimentation, Trudiann decided to bring the brand back to its roots. (And the timing is perfect, with this being her first release in the series while in her new chief role.) The Master Blender Collection: Pot Still is a 10-year-old vintage that highlights how rum has been made in double retort pot stills for 200-plus years.
“I wanted to do something that celebrated tradition,” Trudiann explains. “And what better way than to pay tribute to the way that rum has been made since the first time we ever made rum.”
This is single-batch Barbadian rum, non-blended. With a higher age statement than typical for the category comes a more-complex blend of classic rum and oak notes. Tasting The Master Blender Collection: Pot Still, you’ll find mocha, almonds and banana, plus butterscotch, dark chocolate, and a lovely spicy bite before a lingering dry finish.
To that black-pepper spice, this spirit is 48% ABV — a higher-proofed treat for rum-lovers.
“It’s everything people expect from Mount Gay, but bumped up a notch,” Trudiann explains. “It’s a lovely showcase of Barbadian pot still, which really has not been showcased that much, not nearly as much as Jamaican pot still. Everybody knows Jamaican pot still, so I wanted to show how Barbadian pot still has its own distinct style. We have these lovely dry and sweet notes on the back end.”
With only 1,002 available in the U.S. (and 4,920 globally) this is a bottle well worth tracking down for rum connoisseurs.
Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Wholesaler. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece Interview: Maker’s Mark’s Jane Bowie on Innovating Bourbon.