Monymusk Special Reserve

Monymus Special Reserve-RG1b

Product of:  Jamiaca 
Aged: undeclared
Pric
e:  €69/$78 (purchased on St. Martin)
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar:  0-5 g/L (estimate)
Context:  Premium Aged Rum 
RG Rating:  8

Tasting Notes
Uncork Monymusk Special Reserve and voila! - your senses are greeted with a heavily sweet molasses rum bouquet as prequel to the deeper evaluation.  Poured into a tasting glass, the rum shows the color of aged copper, like a deep reddish-brown mahogany.  Swirling leaves a ring of rum at the top of the smear, and while no beads develop, several lazy legs eventually form and run slowly, as if Special Reserve is saying: “take your time.”

After the bouquet, the predominant aroma is that of charred wood, vanilla, and molasses - the way a softer rum smells.  Alcohol stages a sharp nasal attack that’s more aggressive than 40% ABV would indicate, but I regard it more as a warning than a threat.  Then, funky aromas characteristic of long-period molasses fermentation and pot distillation precede lighter notes more often found in rums of short-period fermentation and large column stills, including orange, roasted pecan, mild rosemary, coffee bean, cocoa and some floral highlights add sparkle to the sniffing experience.  Yes, there’s a dichotomous lot in this sniffing experience.  Yet the complexity comes together in the mouth, with flavors of rich English Toffee on a creamy medium-heavyweight body.  The entry is sweet, the affect on the mid-palate solid, and the finish tapers off in pace with your desire for another sip. 

Anecdotes
Monymusk Special reserve is a blend of column and pot distillates.  As a sipping rum it appeals to a wide variety of rum fans.  As a cocktail rum, I believe it could do wonders in a proper Mai Tai.

Clarendon Pot Still-Matt Pietrek

No age is declared for Monymusk Special Reserve.  Understandable, considering it’s parent company, National Rums of Jamaica is a member of WIRSPA, the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association. WIRSPA, and rums that bear the Authentic Caribbean Rum marque, must use the age of the youngest rum in blend when a an age is declared.  Since Special reserve is blended to an aromatic and taste consistency, the constituent rums are likely change from time to time.  No age statement?  No matter - it’s darn good rum.  

See Matt “Cocktail Wonk” Pietrek’s solid article and photos of the Clarendon Distillery, which produces the rums blended into Moneymus Special Reserve.

Opinion 
Monymusk Special Reserve delivers a consistently good tasting experience from the moment the cork is pulled through sniffing to tasting and the finish.  Unlike some of the smaller Jamaican rum producers, this Monymusk is no funk bomb.  It is a softer, gentler Jamaican, with a flavor experience between Dominican and Jamaican rums.  Call it an easier entry to Jamaica than other rums from that island.  Sure, the funk is there, but the harsher pot-still edges are tempered by blending with rectified column-still neutrality, and both benefit from oak aging.  Some may call it a more approachable Jamaican, one that can be appreciated by newcomers to the species, still enjoyable long after they’ve tired of others.  Monymusk Special Reserve hits a broad sweet spot in the Jamaica’s portfolio of aged rum. 

Reviewed:  February 2016 at The Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017