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Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend: Reimagined by History’s First Female Master Blender

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When Trudiann Branker became Mount Gay’s first-ever female Master Blender in 2019, one of her first tasks was to “reimagine” the company’s Black Barrel and XO offerings. Branker is quoted as saying, “…I knew which pieces of the puzzle needed to fit well together to enhance these blends to create bold, multifaceted rums…) In 2020, with some “tweaks” to the recipe and a total repacking effort, Mount Gay XO became Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend (MGXO.)

Branker’s journey began at Howard University, where she double majored in science. From there, she studied at the Siebel Institute and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. She attributes her confidence in distillation and blending to her solid foundation in science. Branker returned to Barbados and eventually took on a Quality Assurance Manager role at the oldest rum distillery in the world. Former Mount Gay Master Blender Allen Smith mentored Branker and set her on the path to become not only the first female Master Blender but also only the fifth Master Blender in the company.

The new XO is produced using molasses from a variety of sugar canes. It is distilled in both copper pot batch distillation and traditional continuous column stills, and aged between five and 17 years. But the significant change is given away right there in the name. The “Triple Cask Blend” refers to the rum being aged in American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Cognac barrels and then carefully blended to get precisely the “tweak” Branker was looking for.


The golden rum coats the glass and takes its sweet time rejoining the liquid. The nose presents green bananas, coconut husks, and young pineapple with oak hanging behind the curtain. While the nose has a tropical feel, it’s not overly sweet. The palate is drier, with the coconut husks being the dominant note. There is a slight sweetness that takes a while to present itself. If you hold the liquid on your palate and let it move around, you can feel the richness of the rum. As you release the liquid to the finish, there is a flash of molasses before cloves take you through the finish. The warmth of the cloves hugs your chest like a warm blanket and keeps you cradled until you decide to experience another sip. No surprises and no understudies want more attention. The experience is pleasantly consistent from start to finish.

Rum Review: Don Q Gran Reserva Anejo XO
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While we are spot on with our tasting notes, the ratings are surprisingly different. Clint would give this a 4.25 because of its consistent notes from nose to finish, leaving him little to contemplate. Terry would rate it a 4.5 or slightly higher because she didn’t have to think and explore. The notes were there every time she sipped. To her, there was something meditative about sipping MGXO. The rum was exactly what she needed as the setting sun ended another day. At $67/bottle, it’s worth every penny.

P.S. It makes an outstanding Old Fashion.

Rating 4.40 of 5.0

About Clint and Terry: We have sampled many a dram over our 33 years of marriage and quite often we don’t fully agree. Could be the difference is male/female taste buds. Or, somebody is just wrong.

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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