Owney's NYC Rum


Product of:  New York, USA
Aged:  NA
Price: $33
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium White Rum
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
 Very Smooth.  You don’t expect an unaged, Gin-clear white rum to develop many legs, but Owney’s does, perhaps suggesting a more substantial body then we normally encounter in this rum context.  Sniffing also reveals there’s more to Owney’s rum than meets the eye.  Pleasant aromas of molasses-based rum with moderate esters and alcohol on the nose.  The aroma is more hearty than high-volume white rums, and displays some earthy character and copper notes.  The initial taste is off-dry with slight lemongrass vegetal essence.  The palate is mildly buttery, built on a foundation of refined light molasses flavor.  A medium-weight body shows good posture, carries the flavors well to a finish that tapers off slowly, ghosting away with delicately sweet citrus/spice aftertaste.  

TNE-Owney's Rum-Click for Video.001

The brain child of Bridget Firtle – Queens, NY native and former finance professional who previously worked for a NY-based hedge fund as an alcohol beverage analyst – the Noble Experiment distilling company and Owney’s NYC Rum are brilliant manifestations of one person following her dream.  Ms. Firlte is a model of local pride; yeah - she’s actually built a business in Brooklyn.  Kudos to self-actualization and urban renewal, with an eye to the past no less.  Click the image above to see her inspiring story.

Magic Fireworks in TNE Still-USE

The Noble Experiment distilling company combines GMO-free molasses, yeast, and NYC tap water in a five-day cool fermentation.  Distillation is performed in a small-batch Kothe copper pot and single-column still that allows fine control over he cuts. Firtle seems obsessed with capturing only the desirable alcohols and flavor compounds for Owney’s rum.  Raw spirit comes off the still at 82.5% ABV, which strikes a good balance between achieving a clean distillate yet low enough to retain the precious alcohol- and water-soluble materials that add flavor.  This is small-scale, handcrafted USA distilling at it’s best; TNE’s maximum capacity is just 5,000 cases.  

Owney's back Label-RG2-M-USE

Bridget Firtle is somewhat of a renegade herself, so it’s no surprise she named The Noble Experiment’s first rum after one of New York’s more colorful historical characters.  A depression-era local legend, Owen “Owney” Madden was ringleader of the West Side’s Gopher Gang. He was a bootlegger who reportedly ran Caribbean rum to Long Island, serving contraband spirits in the tough speakeasies he also controlled. The homage plays out well in a cool depression-era retro bottle and label with synthetic cork stopper.  Click on the label at right to read Owney's story.

Well Bridget, you done NY proud.  Owney’s Rum is lively, gritty, classy, tough, elegant, urban soul rum – pretty much how I’d describe The City, and I was raised in New York State.  To you Westerners; convince your local liquor store to carry Owney’s rum.  Until then, be sure to escape from New York with some Owney’s during your next trip to the city that never sleeps. 

Reviewed: Rum Gallery sampled a bottle from Case #13 of Batch 21 in October 2013.

© Dave Russell 2017