Edwin Charley "Foundation"

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Product of:  Jamaica
Aged:  NA
Price: ~ $70 (varies widely)
Alcohol: 63% ABV
Sugar: 0g/L
Context:  Overproof Rum
RG Rating: 10

Tasting Notes
Although Edwin Charley Foundation is devoid of color, it looks more like finely polished silver in a suitable tasting vessel.  Swirl, and marvel at a diamond tiara of rum beads collecting around the inside of your tasting glass.  They linger there for several minutes, refusing to drip.  Their recalcitrance results in aromatic evaporation, since this liquor  contains more alcohol than water.  Lovers of Jamaican pot-distilled molasses rum funk will love how The Foundation smells.  J. Wray and Nephew have bottled the rich scents you only experience by getting inside an expert distillery.  Aromas of sulphury fermented molasses, old shoe leather, copper, spoiled mango and orange, green coffee bean - it’s a big nose full, yet never does the high ABV overwhelm.  The first sip brings all that and more, with a thick honey texture and ripe fruit and spice sensations supported on the molasses structure, the flavors lasting consistently though a languorous finish.

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Anecdotes
Edwin Charley Proprietor’s Collection consists of four rums. Each version is packaged exquisitely in an individually numbered, hand-blown Venetian glass bottle featuring an exquisite, blown-glass figurine inside.  The icons pay homage to the progression of rum; from growing, harvesting, distilling, and culminating in the single-barrel aging of rum.  The figurine inside the Foundation bottle is a sugarcane stalk, honoring the plant itself.  The glass itself is almost laboratory quality in its clarity and thin-walled eggshell-like delicacy.

The Edwin Charley collector’s series was launched in early 2005 by Lascelles Ltd of Kingston, Jamaica, and is produced by J. Wray & Nephew (makers of Appleton) and Joy Spence, Master Blender.  It is rare to find Edwin Charley rum outside of Jamaica, although.  I have seen it in Barbados and Turks and Caicos Islands.  

J. Wray & Nephew  produces Jamaica’s top selling overproof rum under it’s namesake brand, as well as a few other fine rum brands at the Appleton Estate, Jamaica's oldest sugar factory and distillery.  Since 1749, rums have been produced from at least six varieties of meticulously cultivated sugar cane grown on the estate.  The Edwin Charley rums are a blend of pot and column still rums, except the Virtue which is a single barrel column still rum.  They are distilled  from a molasses wash fermented with a proprietary strain of yeast propagated from the sugar cane grown on the Estate.  Sure, you can smell and taste the familial resemblance between Edwin Charley and the other offspring in Wray’s portfolio, but they are developed into unique rums. 

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Opinion
Edwin Charley “Foundation” is the best white overproof rum ever tasted at The Rum Gallery.  It’s full of rich Jamaican pot still flavors – powerful indeed, but with a soft body and an absence of alcohol's bite.  It is the most sippable overproof rum we've yet sampled.

Each of the Edwin Charley rums are collectible for their taste and beautiful bottle.  Get one in the series, and soon you’ll be looking to add the other three to the top of your “Acquire” list.  Displayed in sequence, they tell the story of rum in four artistic chapters.  Bokkends "Foundation" and "Virtue" are on my “Hoard” list.

Who was Edwin Charley?
Joy Spence, Master Blender extraordinaire at J. Wray & Nephew tells The Rum Gallery:  "The series is still in production and Edwin Charley ran his own company which was eventually purchased by J. Wray & Nephew Limited."  

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Edwin Charley was a rum and wine producer who made his home in Jamaica from the late 1800’s until at least the 1930‘s.  He was the proprietor of a shop that bore his name in Kingston, Jamaica,.   According to J.Wray & Nephew Ltd (who produce this rum),  “Edwin Charley established a reputation as a merchant of the finest selection of rums.  In spite of being surrounded by such a premium selection, he maintained that no one had yet created the perfect rum and therefore made it his life-long quest to create this.  It was not until he had mastered the art that his rums became highly prized collectibles.  These rums were defined by their mellow and subtle but complex character, a unique style of rum for the time, a taste that has endured.”

Reviewed: September 2014 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

Note:  the price shown in the sidebar is the amount Rum Gallery paid at airport duty shops in Jamiaca, Barbados and Turks & Caicos Islands.  Since the rum series was barely exported, expect to pay 2X or more of the price stated here.

© Dave Russell 2017