Rum Diary Bar “Spiced Cherry” and “Royal Fortune” Rums
44% / 57%
AUD$100 / £55 (50cl bottle of Spiced Cherry)
Uncategorisable: Due to additives and non-disclosure of distillery
ABV Hydrometer Test: Spiced Cherry: 34% Royal Fortune: 53.5% ABV @ 20°
I am writing today about two experimental spiced rums from Australia – “Spiced Cherry” and “Royal Fortune” presented at 44% and 57% respectively.
“Born in Fitzroy and finished by hand, this small batch spiced rum is the essence of The Rum Diary Bar. We decided to name our rum not after a fictitious story, but the home of where it came from, a tiny dedicated rum bar in Melbourne with a passion to make the best product we possibly could. Complexity comes from the finest Caribbean rum which is then blended with imported and local Australian native spices to create a delicious mixing or neat spiced rum.”
That is the description of the Spiced Cherry rum from Rum Diary Bar in Australia, according to their web site. They describe the recipe as being “the first in a series of experimental rums to be offered by the boys at Rum Diary. Created with 120kgs of late season black Tasmanian cherries, manually pitted over 80 hours then macerated in over-proof Caribbean rum for 3.5 weeks with lavender, nutmeg, orange, vanilla, liquorice root and black limes. A dash of homemade cherry liqueur was added to up the sweetness.”
Well, the first thing that struck me was that there are real cherries in this batch of 500 bottles. That is a good start, and a heck of a lot of them too. But then I read that “homemade cherry liqueur was added to up the sweetness” which could imply it is quite sweet.
The “Royal Fortune” variant is blended from 16 spices naturally macerated in 5 year old Caribbean rum. The most significant observation I have about this is that it is 57%, which sounds like a great ABV to offset the usual sweetness of spiced rums.
Under Richard Seale’s/Luca Gargano’s proposed rum categorisation, these would most-likely be classed as uncategorisable due to additives and the non-disclosure of a distillery.
When tested with my hydrometer, the Spiced Cherry measured 34% implying 39g / litre of additives, whereas the Royal Fortune measured 53.5%, implying 18.5g / litre of additives.
The two rums are being reviewed side-by-side and so there are two marks.
Bottle/Presentation BOTH: 1/3
The bottles are slightly squat in shape – this is due to the 50cl size. Predictably, the info on the labels concentrates on the spices and flavours rather than the actual rum – this is usual for spiced and flavoured rums.
Glass/Aroma Spiced Cherry: 6/10 Royal Fortune: 5/10
The Spiced Cherry is a deep coppery to dark red colour. Inevitably, when using real cherries to flavour something it will impart a natural colour. There are medium density legs that are slow to drop down. There are plenty of spicy notes of cloves and nutmeg accompanied by cherry jam and Christmas pudding-like raisins and sultanas.
The Royal Fortune has a powerful nose. Spicy Szechuan pepper, dried fruits and cinnamon. The high ABV is very evident.
Taste, Initial-middle Spiced Cherry: 30/40 Royal Fortune: 22/40
Spiced Cherry: For once a spiced rum that tastes of rum. A little sweet on entry, a touch of caramelised fruits accompanied by a really intense cherry flavour. But not that sickly, artificial sticky cough sweet style of cherry – this tastes like I am drinking cherries.
Royal Fortune: Deceptively smooth with a touch of caramel on entry. It is a touch sticky, but the high ABV stops it from being too sweet or cloying.
Taste, Middle/Throat Spiced Cherry: 33/40 Royal Fortune: 30/40
Spiced Cherry: Through the mid and rear of the palate, this continues to impress. More lush cherry flavours, a touch of cloves in the background. Less sweet at this point and with a nice touch of rum fire and peppery spice. Further tastings reveal Christmas pudding-like dried fruits saturated with rum and macerated ripe cherries.
Royal Fortune: Peppery mid-palate with a salted caramel influence. Again, the high ABV stops this from being too sweet although it does create that teeth-grinding effect that I associate with most flavoured rum liqueurs. Towards the rear, the salted caramel is joined by milk chocolate, cinnamon and black pepper, which starts to dominate with multiple sips.
Afterburn Spiced Cherry: 7/7 Royal Fortune: 4/7
Spiced Cherry: Cherry, pepper and dried fruits accompanied by a peppery fire give a medium finish to the rum. It finishes really well.
Royal Fortune: A very long and lingering finish full of spicy black pepper. It has fire but it is a touch rough at this point.
TOTAL Spiced Cherry: 77/100 Royal Fortune: 62/100
Small batch and unique with the emphasis on the quality of the spices and flavourings rather than the rum, which is from an unknown source, most likely Trinidad, but this is just me speculating. This is the route that spiced and flavoured rums head along. I do not have a problem with this just so long as it is made clear that this type of product is not actually rum, but instead is either rum-based or is a rum liqueur.
That aside, in the UK, we are awash with cheap and poor quality sugar-laden abominations masquerading as rums aka spiced rums, which in reality are anything but rum. In the whisky world, nobody refers to Southern Comfort or Drambuie as “whisky.” No-one refers to Grand Marnier as “Cognac” so why do we use the word “rum” to describe spiced variants? Worse still, the average UK consumer thinks that these spiced monsters are actually rum and what rum should taste like 😦
But I digress…..
These are a welcome relief from the spiced rubbish we usually encounter. These are very drinkable, taste of real flavours and will not give you sugar diabetes. I love cherries and for once someone has created something that is full of real cherry flavour, not a sickly sweet and artificial flavour. I wish UK producers of flavoured rum liqueurs would take note that if you want something to taste of cherry, you need to add cherries! In fact, the Spiced Cherry is one of the best flavoured/spiced rum liqueurs I have ever tasted – I love it and would love to get another bottle!
Royal Fortune packs a punch and despite the spices, it tastes like rum. It is a touch rough and fiery at times though and although I usually prefer high ABV spirits, this is perhaps a touch too strong given that the rum itself is quite young.
Review No. 121
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