Very Smooth. There’s no mistaking the color – the perfect shade of dark copper/mahogany amber, strongly suggesting great things to come. Powerfully and beautifully aromatic, complex spices (notes of clove, star anise, mild cinnamon), caramel toffee tempered with oak and vanilla, then damp aged leather and fresh tobacco, hints of candied fruit (green apple, banana, pineapple), little to no cane artifacts, and alcohol well disguised within the aromas. The Initial taste is rather sudden, reinforcing everything you discover in the aromas but adding some pleasing charred oak and more vanilla to reward your senses. A medium weight body spreads quickly and warmly, transitioning rapidly to deeper flavors that linger seemingly forever, finally leaving only light milk chocolate and caramel as reminders.
Mount Gay’s self-appointed moniker boasts “the rum that invented rum”, and calls 1703 “the superlative of rum.” Arrogance? Maybe. Deserved? Definitely. Claiming to be the world’s oldest rum producer, and named to honor Barbados’ history of rum production beginning in 1703, Mount Gay is producing a fine upscale premium rum that competes well on the world stage. 1703 is a must have for any rum connoisseur.
Packaging is noble, heavy yet understated, with a short, rounded-corner square bottle reminiscent of a puffy flask. A thick glass base contributes heft to the impressive bottle, which is topped with natural cork under a gold colored metal overcap and a small tasteful metal medallion worn around its stubby neck.
Ahhh, what a special gift Mount Gay bestowed upon the World in 2009 with their 1703 Old Cask Selection rum (which I received for Christmas that year). Waiting patiently until New Year’s Day 2010 to try the oldest distiller’s newest release, I expected wonderfully aromatic complexity and delicious taste, anticipating hopeful allegories for the decade ahead. Alas, Mount Gay’s latest rum delivers, and in spades. Exhibiting a wonderfully refined old world personality, consistent from the first sniff to the end of its long finish, 1703 is classically Mount Gay.
Reviewed: New Year’s Day 2010 and frequently thereafter at the Rum Gallery, USA and throughout beautiful Barbados. Mount Gay rum shop photo courtesy of Bob "The Rumelier" Davies.