Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Westerhall Vintage Rum: A Review

Westerhall Vintage Rum

Westerhall Vintage Rum

Origin: Westerhall Estate, St. David's, Grenada, West Indies

Age: Blend of rums aged a minimum of 10 years in oak barrels

Strength: 40% ABV (80 Proof)

Size: 750ml

Year: Batch #21002

Cost: Not available in Washington State

In the Bottle: Its presentation is unique. A bottle freshly sealed in dripping wax. But even the wax isn't typical. Its gold color hints of royalty displaying an element of metallic brilliance. The wax, although hardened, appears to be almost flowing down the bottle's neck slowly solidifying. The bottle's shape is simple and robust, resembling its younger sibling, Westerhall Plantation Rum, albeit shorter. The label design also shares similarities, but more refined. Black coloring is employed, as opposed to dark green, suggesting maturity. In addition, the images of Grenada and a sailboat appear removed in the distance as sketches accenting the rum name. I will note that a wax pull tab protrudes at the top to assist in opening the bottle and exposing a plastic cork seal underneath.

In the Glass: The rum's color is a warm rich golden brown. Upon tilting the glass slightly at an angle, a light green reflection on the surface is visible. The color lightens a shade as it approaches the walls of the glass snifter. The reflection in the liquid is bright and clear. After swirling the rum, the residual legs appear relatively thin, moving almost briskly.

In the Nose: At first, soft oak and brown sugar overtones are readily apparent. Upon more exploration, notes of caramel, dried fruits and banana come forth with very subtle hints of toffee crunch and marshmallow. A 15% dilution with room temperature water unearthed smells of charred wood chips mixed with waves of musk and leather.

In the Mouth:  The texture is silky smooth as it moves across my tongue and hard palate. I detect an aged oakiness and sweet caramelized brown sugar which gently mingle without any overly dominant order. Subtle notes of molasses, cocoa and bananas decorate the palate leaving traces of cinnamon oil.

The Finish: The experience of swallowing provides a pleasant buttery coating throughout. The succulent brown sugar oakiness remains for several moments against a mild cracked pepper like heat that lingers. There is little to no burning or astringent sensations from alcohol after swallowing and exhalation. The smooth finish resonates for a short time and disappears.

Overall Impression: I find the bottle, like its contents, unique and attractive. The overall design is elegant and suggests a 'gold seal' of quality and maturity. The rum's flavor profile is delicate and balanced and the finish is pleasantly smooth. I would recommend it be enjoyed neat or with a little room temperature water to taste (diluting with ice seemed to limit the flavor potential). I found a 10% dilution with water to be perfect! The label's description of the rum is clear and informative. I cannot comment on the rum's value without a price as it is presently not available in Washington State or any other state to my knowledge. Finally, it is a rum to be tasted and if the price is right, sought after, displayed and most importantly enjoyed!

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