Angostura Single Barrel Reserve

Angostura Single Barrel

Product of:  Trinidad 
 5 years
: $12
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 7.5

Tasting Notes 
Angostura Single Barrel Reserve displays an attractive, medium- dark reddish mahogany color.  Rich aromas of vanilla, cocoa, oak, sweet caramel are most evident, followed by mildly spicy scents (cinnamon & clove - add a little ice to bring out some anise and peat), alcohol.  The aromas are rather forward – a characteristic of Angostura’s aged rums – but less intense than their 12 year old 1824 or even  the eight year old 1919 

Initial tasting reveals a sweet rum in classic Angostura style, heavy on the oaken vanilla, caramel, and mildly fruity, as if it’s blended, filtered and crafted exactly to a target profile and type of drinker (which it is).  A soft and creamy body like warm caramel, gives the rum substantial density, while adding ice stiffens it’s backbone.  A lengthy finish has vanilla trickling down your throat while a sweet taste remains on the tip of your tongue, the hearty presence languishes in your mouth not unlike Scotch, but with a sweeter flavor of course (ice adds a mild edge).

Note:  Since Angostura seeks to steal market share from Scotch with its Single Barrel Reserve, I sampled it both neat and with just a small cube of ice, common practice among Scotch drinkers.

Angostura SB Ad

Centerpiece of Angostura’s clever and controversial “Rum, Don’t Walk” marketing campaign, their Single Barrel Reserve rum takes aim squarely at Johnny Walker Scotch, at least on home turf Trinidad and Tobago.  Angostura's website throws down the gauntlet with the challenge:  “Smoother than any scotch in its price range, Angostura Single Barrel Reserve is aged for a minimum of five years and is a limited-edition rum, which makes it an excellent gift for any occasion”  

Curiously, Angostura uses the same bottle for their aggressively marketed Single Barrel Reserve as is used by their more affordable Royal Oak rum (an extremely popular Caribbean staple rum).  You’d think the Big A would train a bigger gun on HMS Johnny Walker, but maybe their thinking is: “similar sized bottle, but ours is round instead of Johnny’s being square.”  In any event, we’re far more concerned about the contents than the package, and they don’t disappoint.  For a refreshingly objective explanation of rum making in the caribbean, see Angostura’s webpage The Technology of Rum Making. 

I purchased Angostura Single Barrel during a brief stopover in Trinidad in December 2010.  I was intrigued by the marketing angle (a rum for Scotch drinkers) and attracted by the low price.  I can’t vouch for the first part, that’s up to Scotch drinkers to decide, but the price is low and the rum is high quality, especially considering its price.  For my tastes,, Angostura Single Barrel Reserve stands on its own two legs just fine, delivering a fine rum at a bargain price.

Reviewed:  April 2011 at the Rum Gallery.

© Dave Russell 2017