Arundel Cane Rum 4 Year Old

Arundel 4 year old rum

Product of:  Tortola, BVI 
Aged 4 years
Price: $16
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 7

Tasting Notes 
Smooth.  Arundel rum is golden straw to light amber in color. It bears pungent aromas and reveals its old sugarcane grassy derivation.  There is a very light vanilla from old casks that still somehow give up some aroma to balance the mild fusel oils. Initial taste reveals a waxy apple peel texture, then flavors like  rotting fruit from the stale sugarcane, and a  medium-weight body. Flavors are simple, crisp (if not too clean), earthy, and dry except for a hint of sweet, with stale musty oak. The rum finishes warm with a  medium length, slightly sweet and lingering on the tongue, then ultimately ending in a pleasantly dry affect.

If you get the chance to visit Tortola in the BVI’s, a day-trip to the beautiful Cane Garden Bay and the Callwood Distillery is highly recommended. A visit to the Callwood’s is like a walk back in time. Strewn variously around the original two-centuries old stone building, you’ll see the history of a small Caribbean distillery.  From rusting and discarded condensing coils, to ancient processing machinery two or three generations old, to engines and belts for powering the cane press and a couple of original copper pot stills – Callwood’s distillery is an observable history.  It’s just a short walk from the gorgeous beach and watering holes that line Cane Garden Bay.  During the busy season you’ll get a tour complete with tasting room and photo opportunities.  In the off season you can still get a great sense of the operation, since most of the crushing equipment and stills are located outside the small building. See “Historic Distilleries of Tortola". 

Callwood claims to be the oldest continuous pot still rum distillery in operation in the Caribbean. It’s not exactly known when it started operation but the style of architecture and bricks of the structures date roughly to the mid-1700s. In the late 1800’s Richard Callwood bought the Arundel Estate for his son, Richard Jr., 3 generations later Michael Callwood is still keeping the family tradition going and preserving an important Tortola cultural and historical site. 

Like many young Caribbean rums produced using ancient crushers, boiling coppers and pot stills in a traditional way, the secret to drinking Arundel Cane Rum neat is to sip it in tiny measure and slowly.  Then, it reveals on old world flavor wrought from hundreds of year’s production in the same metalwork and crumbling stone walled building.  Even Callwood’s aging casks appear to be several decades old, having lost most of their patina, oak tannins and vanilla flavoring affects long ago.  But the old distillery produces a decent, brash young rum that is as much a part of Tortola’s past as you’ll find in a bottle today.

Reviewed:  February 2012 and March 2009 at Callwood Distillery on Tortola, BVI.

© Dave Russell 2017