St. Lucia Distillers 1931: Fourth Edition
“Single Blended Rum” – A blend of only pot still and traditional column still.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 43% ABV @ 20°
With an impending Twitter tasting approaching, this would seem like a great time to catch up on some St. Lucia Distilleries bottlings that I have had in my collection for a while but not actually gotten around to writing about.
Peter from Floating Rum Shack has info about the forthcoming tasting, so head over to his web site #SLDTT. The tasting takes place on May 16th, 2017.
So, with that in mind, I will be adding some tasting notes for the St. Lucia Distillers’ 1931 series of annual special editions. I previously reviewed the:
- First Edition celebrating 80 years
- Second Edition celebrating 81 years
- Third Edition celebrating 82 years
- Fifth Edition celebrating 84 years
…of St. Lucia Distillery. Today I am reviewing the Fourth Edition, which is from 2014 and celebrated 83 years.
According to St. Lucia Distillers’ (SLD) web site “the brand celebrates the inauguration of a new distillery in February 1931 in the Mabouya Valley, near Dennery, in St. Lucia. The Distillery was founded by Denis Barnard and produced rum until 1972 when St. Lucia Distillers was formed out of the merging of the Dennery distillery and the Roseau Distillery.”
Thanks to info posted on a Facebook rum group, there is an amazingly detailed breakdown of the creation of this rum that gives an interesting insight into what comprises a rum-blend, highlighting the skill involved in bringing together and marrying multiple types, ages and style of distillate. It also shows that SLD are sitting on lots of different rums of varying types and ages, which all bodes well for the future.
The Fourth Edition of 1931 is:
46% from a Column still of which:
- 6% Aged for 11 years (Bourbon cask)
- 9% Aged for 9 years (Bourbon cask)
- 9% Aged for 7 years (Bourbon cask)
- 9% Aged for 9 years (Bourbon cask)
- 7% Aged for 7 years (Bourbon cask)
- 3% Aged for 9 years (Port cask)
- 3% Aged for 9 years (Port cask)
11% from a Pot/Column blend:
- 50% from John Dore 1. Aged for 10 years (Bourbon cask)
- 50% from a Column still. Aged for 10 years (Bourbon cask)
32% from a pot still of which:
- 13% Aged for 15 years, from John Dore 1 (Bourbon cask)
- 5% Aged for 9 years, from John Dore 2 (Bourbon cask)
- 7% Aged for 10 years, from Vendome (Bourbon cask)
- 7% Aged for 9 years, from John Dore 1 & Vendome (50% each) (Bourbon cask)
11% Sugar cane juice based (Agricultural rhum).
- 11% Aged for 6 years from John Dore pot (Bourbon cask)
- It is noted that this is the first agricultural rhum made at the distillery since the 1930’s.
Therefore, 94% of the blend has been aged in Bourbon casks and 6% in Port casks.
- 13% Aged for 15 years
- 6% Aged for 11 years
- 18% Aged for 10 years
- 36% Aged for 9 years
- 16% Aged for 7 years
- 11% Aged for 6 years.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as a “Single Blended Rum” – a blend of only pot still and traditional column still. When tested with my hydrometers, there were no detectable added sugars.
Each 1931 offering has the same packaging, with just the colour varying from one year to the next, which I do think gives the brand a strong identity and easily allows one to identify which year of the 1931 one is tasting.
Presented in an outer rectangular box, the Fourth Edition’s colouring is black, with gold embossed detailing – after the very bright garish colours from the Second and Third editions, this looks less distinctive, but more rich and premium. The rear of the box contains some very useful information including the history of the brand and info about the rum’s blend itself. The bottle is a decanter-style with a matching label and large, bold “1931” written on the front. There is an impressive and substantial natural cork enclosure, completing the decanter-like-premium appearance of the bottle.
There is a batch number (04), bottle number (5934) and date of bottling (8th December, 2014). There are also the signatures of the Managing Director and Master Blender along with stating this rum is 43% ABV.
The initial observation is that the colour is a medium to dark amber.
There are rich and thick legs slowly sliding down the sides of the glass.
The first aroma I notice is of varnish. This is followed by some lively citrus notes as well as banana and light oak. Further nosings reveal some black peppercorn, dried orange peel, honey and dark chocolate.
There is a slightly fresher nose to this rum compared to the previous editions, which I am assuming is from the addition of agricultural rhums to the blend.
Taste, Initial-middle 33/40
The black peppercorn aroma is a prominent initial flavour as is the agricultural distillate, giving this a fresh, almost zesty entry to the palate.
There is some cinnamon spice and a smooth creamy texture with a sweet caramel edge to it.
Taste, Middle/Throat 38/40
As this rum passes to the middle of the mouth, its level of complexity matches the number of different distillates included in the final blend. The spicy black pepper develops further but is also joined by some very dry oak. This leads to the rum having a drier mouth-feel to it with almost every sip one takes. Towards the rear of the palate, a vanilla pastry-type flavour is noticeable, which becomes almost like cookie dough. The rum’s texture becomes buttery at times, but creamy also. There is some raisin and a hint of dried orange peel.
This rum continues to please long after swallowing and a plethora of flavours linger for what seems like forever. Those complex flavours continue to excite your taste buds and the dryness extends the presence of this rum.
Morning After Aroma
There is a hint of sweet caramel and some oakiness remaining.
After the slight dip in performance of the 1931 in the Third Edition, SLD returns to form for this Fourth Edition, which to be honest, I think gets better and better with multiple tastings – this is definitely one of those rums that grows on you.
It is an interesting and bold move to add the agricultural rhum to the blend but it appears to work successfully as SLD have created a very complex and fascinating blend that delights the consumer.
Once again, SLD prove that if your product is good enough, you are happy to highlight what is in it and just how much has gone into its creation. Let us compare this to the secrecy and deceptions that come from many producers of so-called rums that one could be forgiven for thinking were merely flavoured vodkas.
#SLDTT. The Twitter tasting takes place on May 16th, 2017.
P Denotes the rum contains POT still distillate.
C Denotes the rum contains traditional/Coffey COLUMN still distillate.
B Denotes the rum contains a BLEND of POT and COLUMN still distillate.
M Denotes the rum contains MULTI-COLUMN still distillate or is a MODERN rum.
A Denotes the rum is an AGRICOLE i.e. from Cane Juice.
S Denotes the rum is presented in a SWEETENED style.
Bottle/Presentation Out of 3
Glass/Aroma Out of 10
Taste, Initial-middle Out of 40
Taste, Middle/Throat Out of 40
Afterburn Out of 7