A.H.Riise X.O. Reserve Christmas Rum (40%, 875 bottles, 2013, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands)

Albert Heinrich Riise was born on the 11th of September 1810 on the Danish Island Ærø. In 1932 he graduated as a pharmacist in Copenhagen. In 1838 he followed his dream to work as a pharmacist in the Danish West Indies in St. Thomas. In 1842 he married Henriette Marie Worm (1821-1889) on St. Croix. The couple had 13 children. I guessed he felt at home in the Carribean! In 1843 he had his own pharmacy which he turned into a succesful business. Being an excellent pharmacist Riise used Caribbean plants and herbs for the manufacture of pharmaceutical alcohols and cosmetics. He especially was succesful in selling Riises Bay Rum, yes you guessed it, a perfume! He also started distilling Rum and bitters as medicine. Way to go Albert. In 1868 an epidemic broke out of cholera, yellow fever and smallpox. No Rum would cure that, so the family decided to go to Denmark for a year, but in the end never returned to live on St. Thomas. Albert passed away in 1882 and his wife Henriette followed him in 1889.

A.H. Riise X.O. Reserve Christmas Rum has aged up to 20 years, and was finished in PX Sherry casks. Each bottle comes from a single cask.

A.H.Riise X.O. Reserve Christmas Rum (40%, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands)Color: Brown with an amber hue.

Nose: Nice Demerara type of Rum nose with notes of cloves in (partly dried) orange skin and cinnamon. Old wood, speculoos cookies and very festive smelling. Its like visiting and old distillery museum where a lot is done with spirits and spices or a bakery museum where all the spices are stored for making cookies. Vanilla, hot butter and fruity acidity. Very aromatic. Also hints of ginger, cardamom, dust and nutmeg. Very nostalgic, appetizing and tasty. Based on the nose alone a must-have so lets see if it also tastes as good…

Taste: Thick and sweet. Syrupy. Sugared red fruits. White pepper and some wood. Fresh cookie dough. The orange skins are present too, but without the cloves. Noticeable is the finish in PX casks. Not the longest of finishes, but warming and just right. The part that stays on the longest is the fruity acidity, but wait…the cloves return for the finish, excellent!

The nose alone puts me in a melancholic mood and puts me in a bakery or Jenever distillery where spices and botanicals are used for the spirit. It makes me feel like it’s the 1930’s again (or so I imagine, since I wasn’t born yet in the 1930’s). The nose is very nice and suits the Christmas name they use for this Limited Edition. The taste is somewhat simpler and the finish shows that 40% ABV was  a little too light for this kind of rum. On the website the claim is made, or maybe that’s just how I read it, that the typical aroma’s come from the PX casks that were used for the finish and not by added spices, so it should not be a spiced Rum. In the end that’s not entirely important, since it is a very nice Christmas Rum, and even if it was spiced, isn’t Christmas a time to forgive? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Merry Christmas everybody!

Points: 87