Lemon Hart 151


Product of:  Guyana
Aged:  NA
Price: $32
Alcohol: 75.5% ABV (151 proof)
Context:  Overproof Rum 
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes 
Very Smooth.  Perhaps it is a non-sequitur to use the words beautiful and shiny in a sentence describing a 151-proof rum, but this is one darn pretty, polished, ruby-colored powerhouse.  There’s more than C2H6O to this rum.  Look closer and observe how the color turns to gold where the thins at the edges of a glass.  Swirling produces a tight necklace of rum beads at the top of the rum residue line, and few become legs.  At over 75% alcohol, I’m pleased the rum shows any sticks.  Credit goes to the Demarara’s bold pot-distilling techniques.  Let your nose lead, but approach carefully to avoid the alcohol twinge, and you’ll be rewarded by unmistakably dry aromas of molasses, charred caramel, sulphur, wood, and wetted cigar.  

Your initial taste might be fearfully anticipated given the high proof, but you'll be greeted instead by an unexpectedly pleasant rum.  The flavors are as bold, rich and dry as I expected, but they’re fully synchronized with the aromas.   LH151 is sweet on entry toward the tip of your tongue, suggesting added sugar, but dry on the finish, perhaps due to a bitter caramel added for color.   Get past the caramel/molasses to uncover additional flavors of roasted pecans, tropical fruit and spice.  A medium weight body substantiates the flavors and a thorough finish that signs off more dry than sweet, leaving a lasting impression that this rum isn’t such a beast after all.

Next, try adding a little water to dilute LH151 down to about 60% ABV. The approach is easier and helps to reveal aromas and flavors without torturing your nose and tongue.  You’ll understand why LH151 is so popular among top mixologists as a floater in rum cocktails.

Lemon Hart 151 resembles DDL’s fine tasting El Dorado 15 year old rum (minus the elder’s distinguished maturation in oak of course).  The two rums share a common Guyanese molasses base and parentage in some of the same stills.

In 1799 Lehmynn Hart was was blending Caribbean rums in London to supply the fleet’s standard issue tot, having been appointed the first official purveyor of rum to the Royal Navy.  By 1804 the Lemon Hart rum company was established in London, launching a brand or rum by the same name.  Those rums originated from a distillery on the East Bank of the Demerara River in Guyana, a lush South American country facing the Caribbean Sea.  The ensuing centuries saw several changes in ownership of the brand, stocks of the rum declined and Lemon Hart 151 was difficult to find by 2009.  In 2010, Canadian company Mosaiq, Inc acquired the Lemon Hart brand from Pernod Ricard, yet the rum is still produced in Guyana by Demarara Distillers Ltd, using their fascinating wooden coffey and wooden pot stills to create unique rum flavors that cannot be copied.  For a more in-depth history of Lehmynn Hart and the rum he begat, see Lemon Hart’s website here:  A Time of History - Lemon Hart Premium Rum.

This is not a rum for sipping nor probably using as the only spirit in a mixed drink. In fact, Lemon Hart’s corporate owner cautions: “…151 is best used as a float in drinks and signature cocktails.”  No less a mixologist than Martin Cate, owner of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco considers Lemon Hart 151 a “staple” of his critically acclaimed bar's inventory.  One taste and you’ll believe too.  Any well-stocked rum bar needs Lemon Hart 151.

Reviewed:  February 2013 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017