Clifton Estate Original Spiced Rum

Clifton Estate Original Spiced-RG3-USE

Product of:  St. Kitts & Nevis
Aged:  2 years 
Price: $35/50cl 
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar:  Sweetened with honey 
Context: Spiced rum
RG Rating: 9.5

Tasting Notes 
Clifton Estate Original Spiced shows a bright orange brown color, some from aging in oak casks for 2+ years, and the rest contributed by the real spices added into the maturation tanks.  Swirl the rum in a tasting glass and wait a minute or more for thick, long and sow legs to form, evidence of sweetener added but in this case it is honey, thank you.  A few minutes later, as I’ve made this tasting notes, I notice the legs are still present, leaving arches at their tops like some classic Greek architecture.

Aromas of sweet Vietnamese-style cinnamon (distinctly different from the more common, woodier and thicker cassia bark) balanced perfectly by orange peel citrus highlights are foremost, then rounded out with nutmeg and clove, all supported on a sweet honey foundation.

One sip, and Clifton Estate Original Spiced rum honestly expresses it’s DNA on your palate as an expertly distilled, moderately-aged molasses-based rum that has been carefully flavored with the right amount of real spices.  Most prevalent among the flavors are the cinnamon and clove, the orange zest adds a welcome touch of citric acid to the honey, and again the nutmeg rounds out the overall impression.

The body is medium-heavyweight due largely to the added honey and infused spices, and that’s appropriate.  Thin spiced rums taste so, wimpy, and don’t stand up well in a mixed drink, for example as a topper to a painkiller or eggnog.  But sipping this spiced beauty is even better, the flavors are full and the last throughout the long finish.

Clifton Estate Original Spiced Angled-RG1

Anecdotes 
Clifton Estate Original Spiced is painstakingly spiced and blended by hand using only genuine ingredients.  The base spirit is sourced elsewhere in the Eastern Caribbean from a well-respected distillery, one who makes some of the highest rated, light style traditional column distilled rums available anywhere.  I’ve been a huge fan of the distiller’s rums for over a dozen years, so it’s no wonder I also appreciate this special spiced treatment. 

When I asked Mark Theron, the brains and operations behind Clifton Estate Original Spiced rum, “What’s In it?”, he replied: “Orange zest, honey, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. The base rum is from Antigua. All natural ingredients are used, not syrups or oils for flavoring. It's real bitch to filter and process after infusing but worth every drop.  I set out to make a spiced rum that I would enjoy sipping, because that’s how I like my rum. I figured if I liked it for sipping straight or with a rock then it would be enjoyed by others.”  You got it right, Mark.

Opinion
The island of Nevis is many things; beautiful, mountainous, jungle, unspoiled, and humble.  But apparently it has never had commercial rum distilleries.  Hammond stills are a different matter, and if you are lucky enough to taste the output from their homemade oil drum stills, then count yourself amongst the very few lucky tourists.  Now Mark Theron brings a world-class spiced rum to Nevis (and hopefully more widely across fellow country sibling St. Christopher and other Caribbean Islands.  For any rum aficionado, scoring some Clifton Estate Original Spiced rum is must-do when visiting Nevis.

Reviewed: November 2015 in the lab at Clifton Estate on Nevis, and again in August 2016 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017