Hello, I’m Alexandru Marius Sandu, a cocktail bartender and rum enthusiast based in Oxford, UK. Besides being decent at making drinks and my ability to drink shots like a champ, I also have a passion for the sugar cane distillate which, for a while I expressed, by posting pictures and short tasting notes on social media. One year ago I’ve expanded and started writing on my own website, The Rum Barrel, and, while I do mostly reviews, I also managed to write a couple of articles with plans to do more next year if the climate allows it.
S.B.S Australia 2007
Australia might not exactly be the first place you’d think about when someone would ask you about rum, but this 13 year old pot still rum from Beenleigh Distillery is an absolute beauty. Bottled at barrel strength by the Danish company 1423.dk from a single cask that yielded 323 bottles, it features notes of stone fruits, pungent tropical flavours and spices alongside a nice, warming richness. Definitely a highlight of the year.
Black Tot 50th Anniversary
Navy rum rations for the Royal Navy ended 50 years ago and in order to celebrate, Black Tot of Elixir Distillers, have launched a blend with a modern take on the historical daily tot. Containing no less than 9 rums from various countries, including a literal dash of the Original Navy Blend, and bottled at navy strength (54.5% ABV), Black Tot 50th Anniversary is rich and fruity with notes of liquorice, dark chocolate, overripe pineapple, mint, damp cardboard and more. The “navy profile” is definitely there, but it also has brighter layers of tropical flavours which add to the overall complexity. Not to mention it has one of the most transparent and informative labels I’ve ever seen.
Chairman’s Reserve Master’s Selection The UK Rum Club
Saint Lucia Distillers have definitely upped their game with various releases. This is a collaboration between The UK Rum Club Facebook group admins and rum bloggers, Wes Burgin & Steven James, and the Royal Mile Whiskies. This single barrel Chairman’s Reserve is a 9 year old Vendome pot still rum aged in ex-Bourbon casks which was released at 59.5% ABV with only 248 bottles in the wild. The complexity and profile of this rum is uncanny with notes of cardamom, stone fruits, tobacco, wasabi, oak and banana bread.
– Vidya New Yarmouth 2005, is the very first Skylark independent bottled rum, a 15 year old rum which sure to blow your socks off with the amount of Jamaican funk present.
– Cotswolds Treacle Rum, an English distilled rum which was aged in cream sherry barrels for a short amount of time, and boasts a sweet profile that is also quite complex.
This year, as bad is it was, didn’t hinder rum producers and bottlers to release some quality rums on the market. May next year be better and let us enjoy some rum festivals as well, besides the fantastic releases.