Mount Gilboa Aged Rum

M.Gilboa

Product of:  Barbados
Aged: to 4 years
Price:   $36 in USA 2013 (£26-£31 at time of review)
Alcohol 43% ABV 
Sugar: 0 g/L 
Context:  Premium Aged Rum 
RG Rating:  9

Tasting Notes 
Very Smooth.  A beautiful, golden amber color deeper than you’d expect from aging less than four years in oak.  Ah, the complexity!  You can smell the copper pot still in your first sniff.  Mount Gilboa is an honest-to-goodness traditional rum, pot distilled and retaining plenty of old-world character.  It’s heady and oily on the nose, with aromas of toasted cane and burnt sugar (but not sweet), musty oak and vanilla, damp smoky leather, and tropical fruit (overripe bananas, papaya, fig), trace white pepper and walnuts, green curry spices – Mount Gilboa has it all.  The initial taste is a complex mouthful too, mostly consistent with the aromas but in different proportions; dry, with walnut enhancing English toffee flavors and Autumn spices.  A few tiny drops of water into one ounce of rum mellowed some of the more pronounced aromas, enhanced the oak and vanilla and brought out a sweeter taste.  Adding a bit of water isn’t necessary for enjoyment, but it was an interesting experiment.  Mount Gilboa’s medium weight body suits its complex characteristics, and leads effortlessly to a dry finish with flavors of mildly aggressive copper, coffee bean, cocoa, and lingering caramel at the end.

Note:  Mount Gilboa white and aged rums became available in the USA during the first half of 2013, bottled at 40%ABV.  The aged rum sells fo rabout $35.  Hallelujah! 

Mount Gay Copper Pot Still #3

Anecdotes 
Triple distilled in copper pot stills from fermented molasses wash, and aged in used American oak bourbon barrels at the Mount Gay Rum Refinery.  Operated by Managing Director Frank  W. Ward Jr. (pictured below), fourth-generation descendant of Aubrey Ward, who in the early 20th Century acquired the estate of “The rum that invented rum.”  

Mount Gay Refinery sign-Bob Davies

To be clear, the facility called the Mount Gay Refinery in the northernmost parish of St. Lucy, is actually where the stills and aging casks are located.  The facility where Mount Gay’s bottling is done is called the Distillery, and is located south in the parish of St. Michael near Bridgetown, capital city of Barbados.  While seated in his office discussing the distillery’s history during November 2011, the always-precise Dr. Ward explained an interesting footnote to the famous Bajan rum.  Frank quipped something to the effect of “Maybe a little too much rum was consumed while filing  the government papers, and the names got switched.”  The Mount Gay rum brand is now owned by Rémy Cointreau, and all of its rums are blends from the Refinery’s column and copper pot stills.  An important difference between Mount Gay rums and Mount Gilboa is that the former pass twice through impressive copper pot stills, whereas Mount Gilboa rum is distilled only in the Refinery’s copper pot stills and passed through them three times, producing a heavier rum base.

Frank Ward, ancestral head of the Mount Gay Refinery (Bob Davies photo)

A slender, unique but unassuming clear bottle allows the beautiful rum to shine through.  Gold foil covered cap with natural cork stopper.  But, it’s available only on Barbados and UK.  Lucky Islanders!.

Opinion 
Triple pot stilled Mount Gilboa is simply luscious.  Well it should be, considering the triple play: Technique, Exclusivity, and Heritage.  Big, complex and delicious, but lighter in both body and flavor than I expected, no matter whether I see similarities or differences with its Mount Gay rum cousins.  If you’re passionate about Bajan rums, as I am, then Mount Gilboa is a must-have.  Others should try Mount Gilboa to appreciate what a well-crafted, traditional pot still rum tastes like.

Reviewed:  November 2010 while on Barbados.

© Dave Russell 2017