Since I’m Dutch it seems only natural to try rums that are made in Holland. Unfortunately there aren’t that many. Rummieclub is the new kid on the block and I’m hoping to taste some of their rum soon. A more established and famous company is Zuidam Distillers. They’ve been making rums for years but are much more known for their genever production
Zuidam distillers started in 1975, when Fred van Zuidam quit his job as a senior distiller at De Kuyper and started his own small distillery. The company has grown substantially since then and now creates whisky, genever, gin, liqueur and rum. They use 2 different types of yeast in the fermentation of this molasses rum, which takes two weeks. It is then “triple distilled in small copper pot stills” (according to their website). They age it for one year, 3 years and 6 years in various types of barrels. Resulting in Flying Dutchman Rum 1, Rum 3 and Rum OL 6.
The OL 6 is the subject for this review. “OL” stands for Oloroso Sherry casks. That’s the vessel this rum has been in for the entire 6 year period. It’s labeled as batch number 1 and bottled at 46%. The label on the rather beautiful bottle further states that this is a “smooth dark rum”. I wish producers would stop using colour as an indicator of type/quality.
Antigua Distillery Limited was formed in 1932 by a group of rum shop owners. In 1933 the distillery was established on Rat Island. At first, the rum was distilled on a French 4 column copper Savalle still. This was changed in 1991 to a John Dore 3 column still that’s completely made out of copper, including the nuts and bolts. The boiler that powers the still runs on recycled oil from local ships. They use a commercial yeast for their fermentation, which lasts up to a somewhat short 48 hours. The wash is then distilled up to 95% abv, before it’s transferred to oak barrels, where it will age for a minimum of 2 years.
The English Harbour brand was introduced to the market in 1994. Their 5, 10 and 25 year expressions are well known (even in Canada). Around 2016 they decided to add some cask finished rums to their lineup. One of them is a sherry cask finish. It basically is English Harbour 5 (5 years in ex bourbon cask) that’s seen further ageing of a few months in a sherry cask. Before bottling they add a small amount of 10 year rum to the blend. The ABV is the same as the Flying Dutchman, 46%. This is batch 1. The one currently on the market is batch 2.
English Harbour rums have an unfortunate history when it comes to additives. The Fat Rum Pirate measured the 1981/25 year at 12 g/l, the 5 year at 15 g/l, but the port cask finish at 0-5 g/l, surprisingly. I don’t do these types of measurements as I’m too lazy, therefore I’m not sure about the level of additives in this sherry cask rum. That might change one day if I find buying an Anton Paar a worthy cause.
Before going into the review I want to share a couple of bizarre statements from the Antigua Distillery website: “Rum is not rum unless it has been aged in oak barrels.” This is complete nonsense of course. Rum Fire isn’t rum? Then there is this one:”As each barrel is filled, a handful of oak chips is added to enhance the interaction of oak and rum.” Oh my.
English Harbour Sherry Cask
Wood, dates, vanilla, light sherry, light tobacco, flame grilled burger (Burger King anyone?) and candle wax. It’s a bit dusty, like those times when you are searching for something in a dusty attic. It feels light in weight.