$100-150 (In Saint Lucia)
Single Blended Rum: A blend of pot still and traditional column still from a single distillery.
ABV Hydrometer Test: 46% ABV @ 20°
Today, I have a very rare and special rum in my glass.
Only available on the beautiful island of Saint Lucia
and limited to just 1,979 bottles.
In 2019, Saint Lucia Distillers (SLD) created a unique and special blend of rums to celebrate 40 years of Saint Lucia’s independence from the UK, which was February 22nd, 1979. This gave rise to the rum’s name “1979”, with Ruby being the gemstone associated with a 40 year anniversary. The limited number of bottles, just 1,979, is also a reference to their year of independence.
As always with SLD, information, openness and honesty are present in the rum making. 1979 Ruby Reserve features both pot still (50.5%) and Coffey column still (49.5%) rums. Some of the pot still rums in the blend are from molasses and some from sugarcane, reflecting Saint Lucia’s British and French history. Saint Lucia was conquered 14 times – seven each by the Brits and French, with the last switch in the ruling colonial nations taking place in 1814. The column still distillate was aged in American white oak ex-Bourbon barrels for between six and 12 years whereas the pot still rums, from SLD’s John Dore 1 and Vendôme stills were aged in American white oak ex-Bourbon barrels and ex-Spanish brandy barrels. In total, 28% of the pot still element is from a molasses base and aged eight to 12 years, whereas 22.5% is sugarcane based using SLD’s own sugarcane, and aged between six and eight years. I recently wrote about Chairman’s Reserve Legacy, which takes advantage of SLD’s homegrown sugarcane.
Saint Lucia Distillers 1979 Ruby Reserve Rum is a Single Blended Rum:
A blend of pot still and traditional column still.
I love this edition. The outer box looks very premium – gold writing on a glossy black background and the Saint Lucian cerulean blue and yellow, which represent Saint Lucia’s sea and sky (blue) and sunshine and prosperity (yellow). There is a ton of information on the box about Saint Lucia itself, the blend and some tasting notes. Inside the box is the square, dumpy bottle used in Admiral Rodney bottlings. It looks and feels fantastic.
1979 is a rich, medium-deep amber, almost mahogany colour in my glass. Tropical fruits, caramelised pineapples and an underlying vegetal note of dry and smoky grass. Further nosings reveal dried fruits, too.
Taste, Initial-middle 35/40
Caramelised fruits on entry with bitter orange marmalade. Really easy to drink at this stage. Multiple sips and 1979 becomes drier. Through the mid-palate, 1979 becomes a touch sweeter. Vanilla caramel custard, like a crème brûlée, more tropical fruits and some peppery spice, but very well balanced.
Taste, Middle/Throat 37/40
The peppery spice increases from the mid to the rear of the mouth. It is not overpowering, more like white pepper than black, although with multiple tastings, the spice and dry astringent feeling increases. The dryness leads to a grassy, vegetal finish, which is rather pleasant I must say. Not too dry, not too sweet, not too weak, not too strong…..you get the picture – it is just about right at this point.
Persistent pepper, sweet caramel and smoky hay. 1979 has a medium-long finish that sees the pepper increase alongside some ginger notes. There is a lovely warming glow minutes after swallowing. Just what one needs on a cold day.
I always enjoy Saint Lucian rums and this is one of the best,
if not the best they have created!
I very much appreciate SLD’s transparency with its rums and the composition of their blends. I have said before that if you create wonderful and honest products, you are proud to shout about them and let everyone know about your traditions and best practices. It’s the producers with dodgy pirate-based stories, dubious histories and a lack of transparency that you need to beware of!
The official info states this is a “special blend of rare rums, which celebrates our nation’s forty years of independence and our people’s patriotism and pride in their nation”.
1979 Ruby Reserve truly is a magnificent tribute to the beautiful island of Saint Lucia, its rich history, heritage, culture and the wonderful island that it is today, full of amazing people. I was fortunate to visit Saint Lucia for a second time, during December 2020 to see first hand just how beautiful the island is and the rum reflects the passionate pride that “Lucians” exude in abundance.
This is a fine tasting rum and every time I sip it, I am reminded
about how amazing Saint Lucia and its people are!
1,979 bottles and only available in Saint Lucia make this a real rarity, especially for rum collectors such as myself. But given the flavour profile and the superb, varied blend including molasses and sugarcane rums, this is a real bargain. Grab one if you can!
Review No. 169
Saint Lucia Distillers produce the Chairman’s Reserve brand. Find out more here:
Chairmans Reserve Rum
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