Single Blended Rum: A blend of pot still and traditional column still from a single distillery.
ABV Hydrometer Test: Unable to test while on holiday.
Q: What do you do when you go on holiday (vacation) to Saint Lucia?
A: Grab a bar stool at the beach bar, drink Chairman’s Reserve Original and write about the rum.
Chairman’s Reserve Original is something of a modern necessity for any rum collection or rum bar worthy of its name. Originally produced in 1999, having a price point at a very affordable £25 puts Chairman’s Reserve Original firmly in the sights of most rum drinkers, even those on a budget. At RumShopBoy HQ, there is always a bottle open.
Saint Lucia Distillers (SLD) produce a number of rums, but Chairman’s Reserve is the most well-known brand. According to UK Brand Ambassador Dave Marsland, it is “a blend of rums of both Coffey and pot stills. After being aged separately by batch in ex-Bourbon barrels, they are married together and then re-entered into oak for a further six months. Average age of five years.”
Chairman’s Reserve Original is a molasses-based rum. SLD source Saint Lucia’s molasses used in their rum production from Guyana. There is a small setup at SLD where some sugarcane is grown, which they use for creating agricole-style distillate, some of which features in their more exotic blends such as St. Lucia Distillers 1931: Third Edition and the brand new release (December 2020) Chairman’s Reserve Legacy. There are four different stills at SLD, each bringing its own style of distillate to the final blends, giving SLD lots of room to experiment and create a wide array of flavours and rum profiles. And by not having a guaranteed age statement, the Chairman’s Reserve Original blend can be tweaked from time to time based on rum reserves and distillate profiles that are available.
I have previously written about other rums from SLD. If you want to catch-up, have a look at these pages.
Saint Lucia Distillers 1931: First Edition
Saint Lucia Distillers 1931: Second Edition
Saint Lucia Distillers 1931: Third Edition
Saint Lucia Distillers 1931: Fourth Edition
Saint Lucia Distillers 1931: Fifth Edition
Saint Lucia Distillers 1931: Sixth Edition
Chairman’s Reserve is a Single Blended Rum:
A blend of pot still and traditional column still.
Although I have not done a hydrometer test – believe it or not, I do not take my hydrometer on holiday with me, Saint Lucia Distillers do not usually add anything into their rums, and being an honest producer, I believe Chairman’s Reserve is additive-free. St. Lucia Distillers 1931: Third Edition had some disclosed additives.
The bottle is slightly squat and features an image of the two Pitons – Saint Lucia’s famous twin peaks at the South of the island. And on the rear label, we have some useful info about the rum itself.
Chairman’s Reserve is a rich golden colour in my glass. It is glistening in the Saint Lucian sun. Rich caramel and ripe bananas waft towards me. Tropical fruits, oak, vanilla fudge and freshly milled black pepper are joined by oak tannins.
Taste, Initial-middle 34/40
A gentle front of palate experience – caramel dominates, but after multiple sips, the tropical fruit aromas become flavours harmonising with the caramel. Vanilla custard on top of a Madeira fruit cake with raisins and sultanas thrown in for good measure. This is really easy to drink!
Taste, Middle/Throat 35/40
A little more oak and pepper hit the mid to rear of the mouth delivering a warm glow. Presumably, this is the pot still element shining through, but it is not overpowering, tempered nicely by the lighter column still distillate. The caramel is still there though, providing continued sweetness and balance. Further sips leads to a drier mouthfeel and the peppered-oak builds to round off the experience, which belies the relatively young average age of the rum.
This takes a little patience to appreciate. At first, the finish feels like it is dominated by peppery-oak. Multiple sips helps to get beyond this as the tropical fruit and caramel sweetness are still lurking behind the oak, balancing the finish well.
What makes this such a great rum is the quality of the blend when you think about the price point. It is very drinkable on its own with enough character to please pure rum drinkers, but equally, at £25, it is not wasted when mixed. I have tried it with coke, in a Daiquiri and a Mai Tai and it is equally tasty in all variations.
It is a testament to the quality of SLD’s distillate that they can produce rum with such character with only an average of five years of ageing and of course, without the need to add any nasties into the end product.
A classic mainstay of any rum collection or rum bar.
The downside of being away in Saint Lucia, is I have missed an online tasting session of a sample set that arrived at RumShopBoy HQ after I left the UK. The upside is I will be tasting the new Chairman’s Reserve Legacy rum when I am back home. This new rum from SLD includes sugarcane distillate (agricole-style) in the blend. Plus, the new Appleton Hearts collection in collaboration with Velier are awaiting a review too as is something special I am bringing back from Saint Lucia with me.
Price versus quality and average age of the distillate combined with the versatility of Chairman’s Reserve makes this fantastic value.
Review No. 164
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/Finish Out of 7
5 thoughts on “Chairman’s Reserve Original”
This is my favourite regular production high street rum, and unlike many, the next bottle is always more enjoyable than the previous one. I particularly liked the smokey note in the bottle I’ve just finished. Pity Sainsbury’s have stopped selling it, especially at £18 a pop.
Excellent rum, amazing value. Chairman’s Legacy is on its way soon.
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