Kirk and Sweeney 23 Year Old

Kirk and Sweeney 23-RG1-USE

Product of:  Dominican Republic
Aged:  23 years
Price: $45
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context:  Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 9.5

Tasting Notes
From bottle to glass, Kirk and Sweeney’s 23 year old rum largely maintains its rick dark hue, presenting a deeply patina’d bronze-like shade of mahogany.  The inviting appearance is reinforced by a dense crown of beads that slowly form into several long thin legs after swirling. 

Bouquet of woody caramel and mild molasses wafts from the bottle soon after the natural cork stopper is pulled, scenting your surrounding atmosphere like the aging Bodega in the DR.  Sniffing from the tasting glass brings heavier aromas of sweet caramel and milk chocolate, oaken vanilla, toasted pecan, heavy buttery flour pastry, nutmeg.

The alcohol has been fully tamed, so inhale to your heart’s content.  On the palate, brighter fruit and sherry flavors enhance the aromas.  A creamy body delivers flavors reminiscent of dry sherry (Oloroso perhaps) , sweetened with caramel and fruity notes of dried apricot and plum, spice and pecans, all brightened by Sherry notes.  The flavors round out and continue throughout the prolonged finish. 

Kirk and Sweeney
the rum – provides corollary to the mystery of how ships get in a bottle.  Rather, this is the story of a ship on a bottle.  Details abound.  Take the time to ponder the bottle and you’ll find a treasure map of nautical clues to the rum’s origin today, and it’s destination during prohibition, the date Kirk and Sweeney was seized by the US Coast Guard.   This is some of the best packaging in all of rum.  It doesn’t have to be so storied, because the rum is excellent on its own merits and more than justifies the bargain price.  

Kirk and Sweeney 23 Tag-RG1

The schooner - Kirk and Sweeney delivered contraband to New York’s posh Long Island, whose East end was a thirsty port of call during prohibition.  Then, Federal agents forced operations beyond the 3 mile limit (“the rum line”), and finally seized the vessel in January 1924.  The territorial limit was increased to 12 miles offshore later that same year. 

Kirk and Sweeney back label-RG1

The bottle features nautical chart details of New York’s Long Island south shore and the north coast of the Dominican Republic.  The two land masses represent (1) of the old Schooner’s rum running destination ports of call (NY) and (2) the Caribbean island source (DR) for the rum that now bears the ship’s name.  Kirk and Sweeney rum is aged in American oak barrels at the Bermudez’ family’s bodega, in the city of Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic.

The bottle’s neck is adorned with a twine that looks like a scaled down version of the type of natural fiber rope used on ships during the early part of the 20th Century.  The tag looks like it might have been used by officials to enter seized contraband entered into evidence against the ship’s Captain.

Kirk and Sweeney 23 Neckband & Seal-RG1

At the top - sealing cork to bottle is a thin brass-colored adhesive ribbon embossed with the Latitude and Longitude coordinates 40° 34’ 57.62” - 73° 19’ 2.14”.  That position is smack dab in the middle of Jones Beach, New York.  Significance: in the early 1920‘s, Jones Beach was a swampy, undeveloped area along the south shore of Long Island – perfect location for shallow draft powerboats to offload their smuggled rum delivered by Kirk and Sweeney.  Jones Beach became one of the most popular tourist spots on the US East coast toward the late 1920’s.  That is; until until Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on October 29, 2012. 

The cork stands proud above the wide squat neck, hiding the last two clues:  Voila –  the date of the ship’s seizure and best of all – Great Rum to drink!

Kirk and Sweeney 23 year old offers a richly complete sensory journey, consistently excellent from scents to taste to sign-off.  It is clearly among the top two-three rums distilled in the Dominican Republic.

Kirk and Sweeney’s 23 year old rum is sourced from Bermudez family’s impressive stores of aging rum. Bermudez no longer distills rum but they continue to sell rum from  their impressive aging collection. Every aged Bermudez rum I’ve tasted has delivered the maker’s heritage of top-quality aromas and flavors.  Kirk and Sweeney 23 year old exemplifies that tradition, delivering a deliciously smooth rum in a worthy bottle – all at a bargain price.  Kirk and Sweeney 23 deserves to be on your shelf.

Reviewed: Bottle No.6594 from Batch No.001 during July 2015 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017