Germany, Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica
£33 (500ml bottle)
“Uncategorisable” due to the undisclosed distilleries used.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 46% ABV @ 20°
* P C B
Leading with the claim to “revive the traditions of German rum” Butterbird rum that I am writing about today is a blend of German Weissling rum (minimum of 51% in the blend, distilled from molasses and fermented with a fruit brandy yeast) with rums from the Caribbean, specifically Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica (all aged and stored at the Spreewood Distillery). The blended rum then spends a minimum of three years ageing in Germany, in different types of barrels, some are ex-Bourbon, some are ex-Sauternes (French dessert wine) and others are various types that previously contained wines.
The rum is unsweetened, is not chill filtered and contains no added colourings or flavourings.
The name “Butter Bird” (Buttervögel in German) is “old English for butterfly” and “Jamaican slang for rum.” (Source: https://butterbird-rum.com/#rum). The Spreewood Valley, home to Spreewood Distillery, founded in 2003, and latterly Spreewood Distillers since 2016 is home to more than 500 species of butterfly, hence the name of the rum. The picture on the front label is a “Feuerfalter” aka the “Large Copper.”
After contacting the distillery for more info I received a very helpful response from Steffen Lohr who told me that Spreewood has a pot/column hybrid still. Furthermore, the rums used from the Caribbean are as follows:
- 18338 Rum Barbados I – Unaged rum from Barbados (West Indies Rum Distillery).
18340 Rum Barbados III – A 5YO rum from Barbados (Foursquare Rum Distillery).
- 18341 Rum Guyana I – Unaged rum from Guyana (Demerara Distillers) .
18342 Rum Guyana II – A 2-5YO rum blend from Guyana (Demerara Distillers).
- 18334 Rum Jamaica I – An unaged rum blend from Jamaica (multi distillery).
18336 Rum Jamaica III – A 2YO rum from Jamaica (distillery can not be disclosed).
As you can see, there is a mish-mash of different distillates although they are generally quite young rums.
In addition to those rums above, they also have stocks of other rums (see below) and Spreewood will do custom bottled casks.
- 18963 Nicaragua dist. 2008 – A 3YO rum from Nicaragua (distillery can not be disclosed).
- 18961 Belize dist. 2009 – A 3YO rum from Belize (Travellers Distillers).
- 18345 Rum Trinidad II – A 3-5YO rum blend from Trinidad (Angostura).
- 18348 Organic Rum Paraguay I – A 3YO organic rum from Paraguay (OTISA).
- 18347 Rum Martinique – unaged rum from Martinique (Le Galion).
- 18346 Rum Trinidad III – A 2-5YO (charcoal filtered white) rum blend from Trinidad (Angostura).
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, this would most-likely be classed as “Uncategorisable” due to the undisclosed distilleries used. When tested with my hydrometers, I measured the rum at 46% implying no detectable additives.
So, what does Butterbird taste like then?
Butterbird is presented in a standard shape bottle, albeit due to the 50cl volume, it appears a little dumpy. The front label has the Feurfalter butterfly on it. The rear label has a little info about the rum and its origins as well as info about the Feurfalter. For those UK-based readers, I think the rear colour scheme looks like something from the Tesco value range.
Light to pale gold in the glass with thick and heavy legs, slow to descend the sides of the glass.
There is an earthy, grassy and medicinal nature to the rum. There are molasses, pungent citrus, dark chocolate and black pepper notes.
Taste, Initial-middle 25/40
The entry for me, is whisky-esque. Slightly bitter citrus and those earthy, grassy aromas transfer themselves to the palate, too.
Taste, Middle/Throat 28/40
The rum becomes drier in the mid-palate but sweeter towards the rear. It is smooth and full bodied. Muscovado sugar is evident alongside oak, pepper, redcurrants and leather. Towards the rear, the rum develops a bit of a fiery temperament – it starts to feel like a rum as opposed to just tasting like one and that is a bonus as far as I am concerned.
A medium length finish full of dry mouthfeel. This rum makes you grind your teeth together and lick your cheeks incessantly.
My initial impression of this rum was that it was a touch medicinal. It is well distilled and tasty although I struggle to find the influences of the various Caribbean rums in the final blend as I think the German distillate dominates somewhat.
But, persevere and this rum becomes far more interesting and appealing. As with so many rums, spending more time with it helps you to appreciate it. Butterbird rum’s web site recommends trying it in a Mai Tai, which I think would work quite well.
Overall, interesting to taste something different. Although I do not think it is a classic in terms of flavour and style, the rum itself is fine quality, just not to my personal taste. Given that it is £33 for 50cl, which equates to £46 for a regular UK 70cl bottle it is quite pricey for what it is, too.
Review No. 114
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