John Watling's Buena Vista Rum

John Watling's Buena Vista-RG1

Product of:  Nassau, Bahamas
Aged:  5 years
Price:  $59 (incl. 7.5% VAT)
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Sugar: 0g/L (estimate)
Context:  Premium Aged Rum  
RG Rating: 8.5

Tasting Notes
Buena Vista, si.  Indeed it strikes a pleasing view in bottle and glass, showing the attractively dark brown color that aged walnut furniture acquires with time. and long thin legs in my tasting glass.  

The scent of caramel so characteristic of lighter rums is first to appear in the bouquet, followed by the more complex aromas contributed by its the copper pot-still parentage.  Then oak and vanilla become more apparent, followed by  more molasses pot still headiness and just a hint of tart Sherry from the secondary finishing stage.  These latter two affects create a more interesting rum than we have become accustomed to with so many singly Trinidad-derived rums.

As with the aromas, tasting Buena Vista begins subtly; a medium-weight body delivers a certain sweetness, but it’s tempered by the heavier pot-still molasses flavors and residual Bourbon undertones.  The flavors tend to roll around on your tongue, building to a bigger and very smooth finish.  There’s a lot going on inside Buena Vista, especially for a five year aged rum, and plenty to like.

Anecdotes 
In conversation with Guillermo “Billy” Lay, the experienced Master Blender for John Watling’s Distillery, the rums are a blend of molasses-based, column-distillate sourced from Trinidad (Angostura) and pot-distilled rum from another, undisclosed island in the West Indies.

John Watling's Buena Vista Cap-RG1-

The rums are aged in oak barrels used one time previously to age Jack Daniels bourbon.  After blending, the Buena Vista expression is married in ex-Sherry French limousin barrels for 2-3 months.  Before bottling, the rum is filtered through charcoal made from burned coconut husks.  It os unlikely John Watling’s will distill rum on-premises because of location and logistics issues, ie, its proximity to the ministry of health, difficulty of waste treatment and removal, etc.  Tp see a brief photo tour of the John Watling's Distillery, click here.

Packaging is a step above.  The hefty glass bottle has a stout feel due to its 3/4 thick base, yet the outward taper makes it slip-proof, and a hand-woven plait collar adorns the neck.  A thick wooden cap and synthetic stopper ensure your Bahamian souvenir won’t leak.

Opinion 
John Watling’s Buena Vista expression is a creative move for this Nassau-based rum producer.  They didn’t have to use a blend of column- and bit of pot-still rums (but I’m glad they did), and they don’t have to finish maturing and marrying the blend in expensive French oak Sherry barrels – but It wouldn’t be Buena Vista with those two touches.  John Watling’s brings us the best of the Bahamas. 

Reviewed: February 2015 at the John Watling’s facility on Nassau, then repeatedly tasted during Festival Rum Bahamas, and bottle No.14558 was sampled in March at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017