XM Royal 10 Year old

Banks XM rum

Product of:  Guyana 
Aged:  10 Years
Price: $40 - $50
Alcohol: 40% ABV
Context: Premium Aged Rum
RG Rating: 9

Tasting Notes
Extremely Smooth.  XM Royal exhibits a hue of mildly polished copper that any aged rum would be proud to display.  The color seemingly influences your perception of the bouquet too, which smells slightly coppery, with a sherry sweetness and some mild pot still character.  Aromas of caramel, vanilla, blood orange peel, mango and a hint of ripe banana, then smoky charred wood and cocoa quickly follow, leading you on an exciting sensory adventure before you even taste the rum.  But take a sip, and you are rewarded with deeply smooth classic rum flavors of semi-sweet vanilla,caramel, and milk chocolate complimented by the tart sherry.  The body is medium-heavy weight, ensuring a long lasting finish that continues to deliver consistent flavors long after the rum is gone.

XM Royal's producer is based in Guyana.  The Banks DIH company blends and bottles spirits and other beverages, bit it is not a rum distillery.  Reliable sources say XM Royal is aged and blended from spirits distilled on a Caribbean island, not in Guyana, and therefore contains no Demerara rum.  It is aged for about ten years in used oak bourbon barrels before blending and aging for another six months or so in used sherry barrels, a technique that is gaining popularity among premium aged rums.

Anecdotes
What it is:  The XM name stands for Extra Mature, and that it is, delivering wonderful aromas and deep aged rum flavors.

What it’s not:  Any confusion between rums produced by Banks DIH Ltd and true Demerara rums distilled by DDL in Guyana (such as the El Dorado portfolio of exceptional rum) is understandable but incorrect.  Also, do not confuse Banks 5 Island Rum with Banks DIH rums.  You see, until about 2011, XM was also called Banks XM rum.  Apprently, Banks DIH never trademarked the name for their rum.  Enter the banks 5 Island brand, which lacked sufficient creativity and/or ethics to think of an original name, so the founders of 5 Island appropriated Banks' DIH untrademarked name.  Pity about both confusions, as XM Royal is a fine rum in its own right, yet the Banks 5 Islands product is a rather bland blend of clear white rums and Arrack sourced from distilleries all over the world. 

Opinion
If you are looking for a good aged rum, stick with XM Royal and avoid the pretenders.  XM Royal isn’t widely exported, but it is a world-class rum.  Complex aromas, layers of flavor, and as smooth as any, Banks DIH has sourced a fine rum perfect for sipping and impressing guests.  My advice:  when travelling in the Casribbean, buy as much XM as you can carry.

Reviewed:  October 2011 while judging at the Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival on Barbados, where it won a Silver Medal, and again in December 2011 at the Rum Gallery, USA.


© Dave Russell 2017