Our monthly rum selection is typically driven by a recommendations, sipping vs. mixing or even price point. This month we decided to go to the island of Saint Lucia where the Pitons mountains play backdrop to lush rainforest and crystal white beaches. It’s also home to Saint Lucia Distillers’ Chairman’s Reserve.
Sugar plantations began dotting Saint Lucia’s countryside in the late 1700s. Many produced rum from molasses for the indentured help brought in to tend the crops. Sugar production soared until the European sugar beets market took hold, significantly reducing the export of sugar to Europe. By the 1950s there were only two distillers left – Geest, the Dutch banana company and the Barnard family, who had been producing rum since 1932. In 1972 the two formed a joint venture, consolidating their operations on Geest’s land in Roseau Valley. The Barnard family bought out Geest in 1992 selling those shares to Angostura, Ltd in 1996.
Today, Saint Lucia Distillers Group of Companies remains at Roseau Valley producing over 25 rums from premium sipping to specialty rums.
All of Saint Lucia Distillers’ rums begin with molasses imported from Guyana, fermented for 24-30 hours then either pot or column distilled depending on the product. The rums are then aged for a period of time depending on the type of rum to be produced. Chairman’s Reserve is a blend of aged rums of both Coffey column stills and copper pot stills. After they have aged separately in ex-bourbon barrels they are then blended and rested in oak vats for a period of six months. The average age of the rum is five years.
He Said Rum Review
After the rum is allowed to breathe, I find notes of oak, vanilla, caramel and orange providing a sweet nose. The first sip is a burst of cloves which quickly gives way to molasses and oak. This rum is interesting because with each sip the cloves say, “Hey I’m here but look who else I brought to the party.” I pick up vanilla, orange and raisins. The finish is smooth with vanilla, tobacco and oak.
She Said Rum Review
The rum is a rich golden amber producing deep lacing on the glass. I agree with Clint that the rum needs to breathe a bit before enjoying. My nose picks up banana, orange and an undertone of molasses. The initial sip engulfs my senses with a strong alcohol burn followed by a burst of cloves with the finish burning before warming. The second sip is much more inviting with the orange and banana taking the lead followed by tobacco. The finish also settles with almost a spicy chocolate note.
Overall Rum Review
Let Chairman’s Reserve sit and breathe and take your time contemplating before passing judgement. While not rich with multiple notes this rum is a keeper to enjoy with company or with a plate of brownies.
4 out of 5
Sipping Rum Scale
1 – An expensive mixer
2 – A quick celebratory shot
3 – Wouldn’t be embarrassed to share with friends
4 – Are my friends worthy of a sip
5 – Special moments rum
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.