Old Monk

Old Monk

Product of:  India
Aged:  blend of up to 7 years
Price: $14
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 6

Tasting Notes
Smooth.  Old Monk Rum is a dark brown copper color. My first whiff from the bottle revealed a strong maple syrup aroma. Upon pouring it into a glass and allowing it to sit for several minutes the maple syrup aroma subdued slightly and other flavors came forward including caramel, vanilla, and mild off-alcohols. Initial taste reveals a light body, a slight mouth numbing feeling, and flavors of dark molasses, oak, char, vanilla, pepper, and some off flavor alcohols. The finish is dry, with flavors of bitter dark chocolate and molasses, and quickly fades into a memory. 

The origin of Mohan Meakin traces back to 1820 where Edward Dyer from United Kingdom who set up the first-ever brewery and made indigenous beer available to the Indians as well as Britons. Another entrepreneur, H G Meakin, came to India from Britain and bought a couple Breweries from Dyer. A distillery was then set up at Kasauli. The companies merged in 1937. Later N.N. Mohan raised funds and acquired a majority stake in Dyer Meakin Breweries. The company name was changed to Mohan Meakin Breweries in 1967. Subsequently the word brewery was dropped from the company name in 1982 to remove the impression that the company was engaged only in beer making. Today, Mohan Meakin's principal brands are Old Monk rum and Golden Eagle beer. Old Monk is a vatted Indian Rum, blended and aged for 7 years. It is available in all parts of India and all over the world. Old Monk is also the third largest selling Rum in the world behind Bacardi and Tanduay.  

The short squat bottle has rounded sides and an inverse crackle raised finish with dark label and black screw top cap.   

First you notice some rough smells like fusel oils that disguise most of the other aromas, and it takes some effort to coax out any further complexity, but with practice you’ll discover some waxy teakwood and musty old leather essences creeping underneath before some desired sweetness and scents of dried apricot relieve your senses, finally some subtle smooth spice like vanilla, clove and cardamom.  Initial tastes are oily and industrial, followed with charred butter and wood, then slight vanilla.  A medium-light body spreads across the palate quickly, before a surprisingly bittersweet chocolate finish ensures, with some warmth and those annoying fusel oils returning in moderation.

While Old Monk barely qualifies as a sipping rum, I find its somewhat crude aromas to be a bit offensive, making it best suited for mixing with other rums in cocktails that require some bitters and an edginess to spice them up.

Reviewed: December 2009 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017