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Rum Review: Kirk & Sweeney 12 Year Old

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bottle of Kirk and Sweeney 12 year old rum
bottle of Kirk and Sweeney 12 year old rum

The bottle of Kirk and Sweeney 12 year old rum stood out among its sleek and slender peers not only for its round shape, but also for the tag hanging from the bottle’s neck. The U.S. Coast Guard tag, dated January 13, 1924, lists Kirk and Sweeney as a vessel coming from the Dominican Republic to Long Island, New York with 867 cases of rum. Prohibition. Well that got our attention.

What is the Background on Kirk and Sweeney?

As the story goes, the schooner Kirk and Sweeney, a rum-running vessel sailing between the Caribbean and the U.S. Northeast coast, was four miles off the coast of New York in an area known as “Rum Row.” In 1924 the Coast Guard seized the schooner carrying massive amounts of rum. The vessel was then recommissioned as “Chase,” a trainer for the Coast Guard Academy in the 1930s. Though some have challenged the timeline of the tale, it nonetheless makes for a great backdrop for a Caribbean rum.

Named after old fire service badges, 3 Badge Beverage Corporation of Sonoma, CA is led by 4th-generation vintner August Sebastiani. The company is “built upon a philosophy of commitment and craftsmanship.” This is evident in the unique container inspired by the 18th-century onion bottles typically used for rum. The rum itself is handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, using hand harvested sugarcane which is then made into blackstrap molasses, then fermented and distilled. The rum is aged in oak wine barrels for 12 years (non-solero) at the distillery. 

He Said

A mild nose with vanilla, oak, a hint of berry and an ever so slight alcohol burn. When the rum first hit my palate, the liquid seemed to skip straight to the finish which is absolutely delightful. Finishes as it began with pleasant vanilla and oak. I kept sipping to explore the rum on the palate. There are hints of tobacco and maybe a charred oak, but truly the finish is the star of this rum. It pleasantly lingers begging you to sip more.

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She Said

The golden amber liquid coats the glass producing a light lacing. The nose is buttery with notes of vanilla, almond and caramel. The first sip surprises me because it’s as if I didn’t take a sip. There is nothing there until it finishes buttery, warm and inviting me for more. My second sip I held in my mouth for a bit to discover something. I do pick up apricot but still can’t find the buttery goodness that was on the nose. Like Clint, the finish totally carries this rum making me come back for more.

Overall Rum Review

Kirk and Sweeney 12 year old rum is a three part rum – imagine the possibility, wonder where it’s taking you then finally enjoy the full, long finish that a fine sipping rum should have.

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

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So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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