Mount Gay 1703 Old Cask Selection (43%, Barbados)

Now I’m getting sunburned, so I’m digging out the last Bajan Rum from the sand, for now, and find some shade. Last but not least, and a short trip of Bajan Rums wouldn’t be complete without an offering from the oldest distillery around: Mount Gay. And this is not the distillery’s entry-level Rum, mind you. Mount Gay Distillery had plenty of time to build up a nice stock of aged Rums. For this “1703” blend, casks were used that have been aged from 10, up to 30 years. So I’m expecting something different.

The history of Mount Gay starts with a man called John Sober (what’s in a name). John was fortunate inheriting a distillery on the Island of Barbados but didn’t know what to do with it. John asked for some help and got it from his friend John Gay (what’s in a name). John Gay died in 1801 and John Sober renamed the distillery in John Gay’s honor. John Gay managed the distillery well and perfected the distilling process thus producing a fine Rum, and making John Sober a lot of money in the process. Actually Gay was John’s middle name, his name was actually Alleyne, but there already was a Mount Alleyne on Barbados (what are the odds), so Mount Gay it became.

Mount Gay 1703 Old Cask Selection (43%, OB, Barbados)Color: Orange Brown.

Nose: Not your obvious sweet-from-the-start nose. No, this has already a lot of wood, but also elegance and presence. Definitely some old (woody) Rums have found their way into this “1703”. Wood, lots of orange peels, honey and wax. Wood comes in many guises and that’s not bad for the composition of this nose. Sawdust and spices. Vanilla as well (American Oak). Old roasted coffee beans and walnut skins, but also some creamy sugared yellow fruits, although they are well hidden. One thing is for sure, this Rum is all about wood, and lots of it. It works in the nose, but I’m already getting a little bit nervous, how will this work out when you sip it?

Taste: Luckily not as woody as the nose suggested, but the first thing that enters my mind is its relative lightness. It tastes diluted, as if I was nosing a cask strength sample and now am tasting a 40% ABV retail version. The entry of fresh, fruity (orange again) and sweetish Rum is short-lived, because the wood kicks in rather quickly. The old Rums that are in this blend play their part and give it a backbone of various wood aroma’s. The wood in the taste however seems to “reduced a bit” and that in itself is quite an accomplishment. The wood gives the medium length finish a walnut skin bitter edge, but in no way does it ruin it. It’s the vanilla from the finish that seems to linger on…

Quite a daring expression of Mount Gay, definitely for aficionado’s who are not afraid to “drink out-of-the-box”. For some more normal Rum drinkers this has too old stuff in it, bringing lots of wood. Don’t worry this very sentence contains the last reference to “wood” in this review. Considering the public this was, probably, made for, I find this a bit to weak. This Rum might have been better with a higher strength. I know 43% is more than the usual 40%, but I feel this Rum needed even more alcohol to do it justice, 46% at least maybe even 50% ABV. It would have aided the body and lengthened the finish a bit.

Points: 85

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