St. Nicholas Abbey White Rum

SNA White-RG2+

Product of:  Barbados
Aged: NA 
Price: 60Barbados$ / 30US$ 
Alcohol: 40% ABV 
Sugar:  0-5 g/L (estimate) Context: Premium White Rum
RG Rating:  10

Tasting Notes
Color: as you see, there is none, St. Nicholas Abbey white rum is as clear as a sunny Barbados sky.  Or as the distiller calls it; “See-through Rum.”  Swirling produces legs that  are long, lean and fast.  

You sense the clean sweet alcohol of sugarcane rum in the fleeting bouquet.  Yet no other white rum has the perfect aromatic qualities presented by St. Nicholas Abbey’s handcrafted white jewel.  Bright harmonious aromas of fresh-picked, slightly underripe tropical fruit (mango, papaya and banana), caramelized pecans and dates are most pronounced, followed by lighter scents of vanilla and caramel.  

An initial taste delivers flavors that remain faithful to the aromas, delightfully delivered on a medium-weight body with just enough sweetness and mild white pepper to brighten up your palate before a long finish (especially for a white rum) that fades with residual sweetness.

Anecdotes
St. Nicholas Abbey’s white rum is rested 6 months in stainless steel and not filtered before bottling.  The clear color is what you see right off the still.  I first tasted this rum in late 2011 while it was still under development.  Distiller Elvis and I share a glass right off the still in the photo below.

Dave & Elvis, Distiller @ SNA 10:11

It’s worth visiting Barbados’ if only to bask in the historic temple of rum known as St. Nicholas Abbey.    Tour the Abbey’s restored Jacobean Mansion, built in 1658 during the period that King James I briefly influenced British architecture, and one of only a handful still standing.  The grounds themselves, located in the Parish of St. Peter in the forested highlands of Northern Barbados.  The Bajan location’s special microclimate contributes to the unique aromas and flavors of St. Nicholas Abbey rums.  Ignore the rum’s price and buy as much as you can bring home, as exports are severely limited.  There are no current plans to import the rum to the USA.  Return with your empty bottle on your next visit and they nice folks at St. Nicholas Abbey refill it for half price, and engrave it for free. 

There’s more to learn about St. Nicholas Abbey by visiting the reviews of their 12 Year Old and 10 Year Old (discontinued) rum, as well as a Photo Tour of the distillery.

Opinion
St. Nicholas Abbey always impresses.  I’m blown away by their incredible 8, 10,12 and 15 year olds.  Perfect rums in my opinion, but they’re completely different from the white rum reviewed here. Those older aged expressions were distilled from molasses in 1998 and 1999 by Foursquare located at the Southern end of Barbados.  St. Nicholas Abbey’s white rum has a completely different DNA.  It’s estate-distilled from fermented sugarcane honey in a sweet little pot still known as Annabelle.  Despite those differences, and knowing that SNA’s owner Larry Warren is both an artist and perfectionist, I was expecting his white rum to measure up to a very high standard.  I set my expectations too low.  St. Nicholas Abbey’s White Rum is the best I’ve ever tasted.  Touché.

Reviewed: August 2015 at the Rum Gallery, USA.

© Dave Russell 2017