Old Port

Old Port

Product of:  India
Aged:  up to 15 years
Price: $19
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 6.5

Tasting Notes
Smooth.  Old Port shows dark in the glass, with a definite pinkish-orange-red tone.  Thin, fruity aromas like cherry, nuts and butterscotch don’t completely mask the musty old wood and compost essence, but make it a challenge to detect Old Port’s nicer aromas.  These are simple aromas, neither offensive nor especially interesting either – alas not the kind of scents that endear a rum to your nose.  Thankfully the initial taste somewhat redeems the rum, bringing forth flavors of vanilla, molasses, caramel, butterscotch, oak; all notably more pleasant than the aromas suggested, but still not the kind of genuine flavors associated with prolonged aging in oak barrels.  A medium-thin body contributes little to the flavors before the slightly sweet and musty finish lingers simply for awhile before drying away.

As on of the world’s largest producers of sugarcane, India  has ample resources from which to produce fine rum.  Unfortunately, we don’t receive much of it here in the States.  Amrut Distilleries Ltd. is a major producer of Scotch (SIngle Malt Whisky) in India, beginning business operation in 1948, and also makes Old Port rum in what appears to be a traditional Indian style.  Indian sugarcane is used for the fermentable wash, the distilled spirit is double charcoal filtered to remove most of the harsh flavors, then aged in oak casks.

Old Port has some of the techniques in place, but the rum still suffers from edginess and a lack of complexity.  Old Port isn’t exactly a first choice sipping rum, unless you’re looking for something uniquely on the other side of classic.  If you are enlisted in India’s armed forces, then it’s probably your regular fare.  For us civilians, consider it a Government Issue rum, with all that entails, then adjust your palate’s expectations accordingly.  Or just splash some in a cola or a cocktail that calls for rum and Grenadine syrup – it fits in just fine there.  On a price/value index, Old Port Rates suffers a bit, as there are more sophisticated rums better suited to sipping and mixing in the $20 range.  

Rum Gallery Note –  I’ll give Old Port the benefit of the doubt:  it may be an acquired taste.  I’ve learned through experience that some rums taste best when sampled in their native locale, accompanied by the typical food, spices, or other aspects of the cultural environment.  I try my best to get around, but perhaps my palate is not attuned to Indian sugarcane and water, or flavoring that might be added to Old Port, or the barrels used by Amrut Distilleries for aging.

Reviewed: April 2011 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017