William Hinton Rum
£20-25 & £70-80
Traditional Agricole Rum – From a traditional column still using cane juice
* C A S
One of the great things about visiting rum shows and events is discovering new and exciting products. Earlier in 2017, whilst visiting Imbibe, I encountered something new and exciting – rum from William Hinton in Madeira.
I met Mário Gomes, the William Hinton Rum Ambassador and had a delightful chat about their rums. With that in mind, I decided to review the range and offer some tasting notes for each one. As a result, this page will feature several rums.
William Hinton himself founded the distillery in 1845. Over time the distillery stopped production but recently relaunched, claiming that the original knowledge from Mr. Hinton had been passed down through generations to the present day. Engenho Novo da Madeira (ENM) was founded by one of William Hinton’s heirs who sought to restore the original distillery and sugar production to its former glories using an alembic copper column still and producing the following rums.
1 “White” Rum
2 “Gold” Rum
3 “3yo” Rum
4 Madeira Cask Finish
5 Whisky Cask Finish
6 Portuguese Fortified Wine Cask Finish
I do not like to use colour as a description for rums as I prefer the Gargano/Seale proposed reclassification. The terms used in the review are those used by William Hinton to describe their products.
All of the rums are agricultural i.e. produced from cane juice, so therefore, I feel I should refer to them as rhums although the bottles all say “rum” so that is what I will use going forwards.
The white, gold and 3yo rums all come in standard bottles with standard screw tops. They typically retail at around £20-£25 each and are 40% ABV. When measured with my hydrometers, the white came in at 39.6%, the gold at 39.6% and the 3yo at 36.4%. Therefore, it is evident that some sugar has been added to the 3yo rum (around 13-14g / litre).
The cask matured rums are in distinctive elongated flask-type bottles. They retail at around £70-£80 each and are 42% ABV. My hydrometer tests appeared to show that some sugar was added to the Madeira Cask Finish only.
These are limited editions that are a blend of approximately 25% of rum aged for 21 years (in barrels in an old warehouse in Hinton Mill), followed by another three years aged in French oak. This rum is then mixed with six year old rum, which is then further aged (or finished using William Hinton’s description) for another six months. The bottles are referred to as six year old rums on the labels, which I find quite a refreshingly honest statement.
1 “White” Rum (25/100)
This is the flavour profile that puts me off agricoles. This is very overpowering and full of fragrant, floral and grassy notes, typical of unaged agricoles. It is initially very nutty with soft citrus but also fresh tropical fruit. There is a distinct freshness to the rum, which is super smooth and soft but also very bitter and difficult to drink on its own. This rum would need to be mixed in order to bring out its qualities. I think a classic lime and sugar serve would suit this best.
2 “Gold” Rum (55/100)
This rum has benefitted from nine months of oak ageing, which has imparted a light straw-like colouring to it. The nose is less overpowering than the white version and has a little more sweetness to it, reminiscent of an Amontillado Sherry. There is a touch of light vanilla on the nose, too. The light ageing has tamed the rum and removed some of the rougher and overpowering floral notes, making this far more approachable. The oak is noticeable in the background and this is a touch sweeter, too.
3 “3yo” Rum (65/100)
This rum has spent three years ageing in French oak barrels. Throughout the tasting, this is completely different to the white and gold versions. Most of the agricole notes have disappeared being replaced by aromas and flavours more typical of a Spanish ron. The most prominent aroma is vanilla, but it is joined by a touch of oak and a huge dose of sweet burnt caramel.
The tasting is very smooth and full of vanilla. The burnt caramel aroma is present as a flavour too and also a touch of bitter dried fruits.
The aftertaste has a very pleasing dryness to it.
4 Madeira Cask Finish (82/100)
This is one of 315 bottles and comes from Cask Number 103. My hydrometer showed this at 39.6% implying around 10g/litre of sugar has been added.
This rum is medium-dark amber in colour. The aromas are of a dry red wine more so than Madeira, with some dried fruits, notably raisins. There is also burnt caramel, too.
The entry is soft, smooth and light with a slightly oaked background.
As this rum reaches the mid-palate, it becomes very dry with wine or Sherry-like tannins. There is a touch of ripe peach and a hint of grassy, vegetal agricole, too. Some licorice appears after multiple tastings and leads to a medium length finish that is very dry.
5 Whisky Cask Finish (86/100)
This is one of 275 bottles and comes from Cask Number 142. My hydrometer showed this at 41.6%, so therefore implying that no sugar has been added.
This rum is medium-dark amber in colour. The aromas are more alcoholic when compared to the Madeira Cask finish. There is a nutty start with cashews and coconuts, accompanied by a hint of ripe banana and some caramel.
This has a very easy entry. It is buttery, almost like a cup-cake. The coconut and banana aromas are noticeable as flavours along with some light caramel.
In the mid-palate, the rum develops a bit of fire to it, no doubt influenced by the whisky cask ageing and it does also impart a whisky flavour, too, although of course, this could be psychological as I know I am drinking something finished in a whisky cask.
It is far less vegetal than the Madeira finish…very astringent and full of dry tannins and a touch of soft and bitter vanilla. It has a long finish where the whisky flavour becomes far more prominent. For anyone who prefers a bit of rum fire in their drink, this is the best one to choose.
6 Portuguese Fortified Wine Cask Finish (80/100)
This is one of 315 bottles and comes from Cask Number 124. My hydrometer showed this at 42.1% so therefore implying that no sugar has been added.
The aromas are punchy and powerful with dried fruits and peppery spice dominating initially. There is some almond, butter and a touch of oak, too.
This starts very softly and gently. It is sweet and spicy with notes of glacée cherries, dried fruits and plums.
By the mid-palate, there is more spice and the pepper is more prominent along with some nutmeg. There is an underlying sweetness, akin to a hard boiled sweet, but it is offset by some citrus. The more you taste this, the more the pepper becomes stronger and it leaves a peppery aftertaste, too.
This is an exciting new range of rums from somewhere that most people would not expect to find rum. Whilst the ‘white’ and ‘gold’ variants are not to my taste, I certainly very much enjoyed the 3yo and the cask finish rums taste superb.
There is also a Spanish Fortified Wine Cask Finish that I have not tried yet. Hopefully, I will rectify that omission very soon.
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.