Quiet Cannon

Quiet Cannon 500ml-RG-OK

Product of:  Tasmania, Australia
Aged:  2 Years
Prices: AUS$85/500ml

Alcohol: 50% ABV
Context: Overproof Rum
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
Smooth.  Calling Quiet Cannon an amber colored rum doesn’t adequately describe the character you see looking into the rum.  There’s a depth, like a soul, that I can only believe comes from the care taken in distilling and aging this special rum. 

The heavy pot still spirit combines with single barrel aging in an ex-Port, ex-Whisky quarter cask to produce a high-ester bouquet that fills the air around you.  Quiet Cannon has an immediate, bold presence on the nose, presenting aromas of fermented molasses, whisky, fresh tobacco, overripe burnt peaches, dark chocolate, charred wood, burnt leather and a shy floral delicacy.  The esters understandably dominate the rum’s bouquet and can interfere with it’s more attractive aromas if you aren’t on your guard.  Approached carefully, Quiet Cannon delivers aromas in great quantity, as the name suggests it should.  The initial taste is equally powerful, though slightly sweet and dry initially due to the spirit’s 50% ABV overproof nature, followed by intense flavors of grain, wood, peat, and lesser versions of what is revealed on the nose.  As expected, the rum is full bodied with an almost oily texture and a long, dry, finish rich in flavor.  Quiet Cannon is a Scotch-and-cigar lover’s rum.

Bill Lark & Still-RG

Quiet Cannon rum is produced in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, by Lark Distillery.  Founded in 1992, the distillery primarily produces single malt whisky.  That experience will become relevant later.   

Quiet Cannon rum begins with sweet molasses grown in Queensland, Australia.  Blended strains of yeast and pure Tasmanian mountain spring water are added, and slowly fermented for up to 3 weeks.  The fermented wash is double distilled in Lark’s 500 Liter copper pot stills, with great care taken to separate the desired heart of the spirit from the nasty heads and tails (called “fores and feints” in Australia).  The new spirit comes off the still between 62-67% ABV and is laid down at the same strength.  Matured for two years or more, Lark bottles their rum “when it taste’s right” rather than on a specific age deadline.  Lark reports an Angels’ Share of 4%-5% per year.  Apparently, Angels down under are blessed with double the entitlement of those in Scotland (2-3%), but they’re only half as greedy as those in the Tropics (7-10%).

Recharring a Cask@Lark Cooperage-RG

Lark uses French Limousin barrels that were used previously for aging port by the Seppeltsfield Winery in Barossa Valley, Australia.   In Lark’s cooperage, the 200 liter oak “hogshead” port barrels are disassembled, the wood staves shaved to remove the absorbed port, cut and re-coopered into 100 liter quarter casks, and finally re-charred in preparation for maturing Lark whisky.  The small size of the quarter casks substantially increases the surface area ratio of oak to spirit.  This accelerates aging, enabling quicker extraction from the wood and enhancing the interaction between wood, charcoal and rum.  Some of the hogsheads date from before the early 1940‘s and are full of flavor.

Quiet Cannon is aged in the ex-port barrels that were also used (only once) to age Lark Distillery’s single malt whisky for up to six years.  Owner Bill Lark described his whiskies to the Rum Gallery as “not a Scotch, not a Bourbon, something in between, with the best flavors of both, unique and delicious”.  And award winning.  

Quiet Cannon+ Model @ Ross Dinsmoor's office

Asked about why he added rum to his portfolio, Bill Lark explained that Tasmania has a down-time around Christmas - their summer - when the weather is not conducive to producing whisky: “so we answered customers who’d been asking, and tried making rum.”  Adding: “now that we know how good the product is, we’ve laid down more barrels.”  

Everything about Quiet Cannon is interesting.  Even the packaging and name,which is the brainchild of Ross Dinsmoor, ex-pat Californian and International Sales Manager.  Ross said of the name: “it’s a confronting thing, but not dangerous.  There’s a quiet kick at the end that you aren’t expecting.”  The rum’s name and embossed pewter emblem are modeled on the miniature cannon that sits in his office, and every bottle bears Dinsmoor’s signature.  The first release is extremely limited, available in elliptical 100ml and 500ml capacity bottles, and a 250ml version using the lower portion of a Champagne style bottle.  Only a single 100 Liter quarter cask of the first batch was laid down for aging, but more barrels of rum are now approaching maturity.  [Good thing-RG]  Dinsmoor added:  “Each batch will be different, because each barrel is different.” 

QC 500&100-RG

Quiet Cannon is an incredibly good pot still rum, period.  The guys behind it are quite humble, yet take great pride in their spirits, and their results speak for themselves.  My first sample of Quiet Cannon came from a cute 100ml minigun bottle (thanks Forrest!)  It was immediately clear I had something unique, and must have more.  Unfortunately, Quiet Cannon isn’t widely distributed even in Australia, as evidenced by my friend and rum mule Scott (of Cranking Media), who called the distillery requesting a couple of bottles while on business down under.  The response on Lark's end of the phone line was: “we don’t get lots of calls like this, but no worries.”   

Pot still richness, highly aromatic, complex wood flavorings and unique packaging - Quiet Cannon is one of the most cherished rums I own. 

Reviewed: April during a private RumXP tasting in Miami, and again in June, 2012 at Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017