Rivers Royal Grenadian Rum

River Antoine Bottle

Product of:  Grenada
Aged:  Not.
Price: under $10
Alcohol: 69% ABV (138 Proof)
Sugar: 0 g/L (esitmate)Context: Overproof Rum
RG Rating: 8

Tasting Notes
Almost Smooth.  Rivers’ s complete absence of color disguises the rum’s intensity, the aromas immediately affront your nose with uncensored organic aromas of drying cane stalks, lemon grass, hints of fennel and soap.  Sure, some of the aromas are not even pleasant, but they certainly are reminiscent of the rum’s source: a historic Caribbean pot still rum-making facility.  Rivers delivers with exuberance  exactly what you should expect from an unaged, straight-from-still-to-bottle overproof, pot still, cane juice rum. Initial tasting exposes headstrong flavors of alcohol, vegetal cane and smoke, with a surprisingly full, robust and slightly dry body.  The only way to avoid the burning throat sensation inherent in any high-test overproof rum’s finish is to sip in small quantities.  Sipped carefully, Rivers exhibits a pleasantly raw, sweet cane-meets-pot-still flavor. 

Anecdotal Notes
Established in 1785, River Antoine produces rum in much the same way as it was made hundreds of years ago, right down to employing a water wheel to power the mill.  The folks at River Antoine operate the oldest water powered  distillery in the Caribbean.  Their facility is a must see if you want to understand the history of rum production and observe a traditional distillery in full operation. 

Locally grown sugarcane is crushed twice for its fresh juice, within a few feet of the cast iron boiling “coppers”.   Wild airborne yeasts mix with the sugary reduction juice in concrete fermenting tanks, resulting in a “low wine”  or “wash” of low alcohol content.   Pot stills are close by and filled by open sluices.  The rum is unaged and bottled directly from the still.

River Antoine Pot Still

Clearly, this isn’t a rum for delicate tasting parties (and should not be judged by the same criteria you would apply to lower-proof barrel aged rum).  Distillers in the Grenadines  are known for producing the strongest rums in the world; and while this 138 proof Rivers Royal Grenadian rum is indeed strong, a slightly more potent version is available for local consumption.  Either way, the rum’s iron fisted punch is softened inside the velvet glove of flavor.  If you heed the warnings implicit in very high alcohol content, you’ll be rewarded with a relatively smooth and buttery taste. Rivers Royal Grenadian rum would be one of my first choices for serving an overproof rum to guests, especially if I was entertaining my West Indies friends or other rum aficionados.  I would serve them Rivers in a ‘Ti punch to score big points.  LIke it or loathe it, River’s Royal Grenadian overproof rum is as real as old world rum gets.

Reviewed:  February, 2009 at the Rum Gallery, USA and again on Grenada in December 2010.

© Dave Russell 2017