The Rum Barrel – Alexandru Marius Sandu


My name is Alexandru Marius Sandu, I am a cocktail bartender in Oxford and this job is basically what got me into rum. Got into drinking it about 3-4 years ago and after a few trainings and classes I realised how much more there is about rum and in the past 1 year and a half I started looking into it properly. Launched a Facebook page called The Rum Barrel a year ago where I would gradualy write more and more reviews and so pushing myself to learn more about the category and do more research. Recently I put together an actual website as well which got a positive feedback so far. I am that new guy that shows up at a rum event and some of the brand ambassadors would have the “you again” face on when they see me.

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To quote myself, this is “both the Beauty and the Beast”. A DOK from Hampden bottled by that was aged for 6 months in PX Sherry casks in order to ‘mellow’ it. For me this is quite balanced… well as balanced as you could get with a rum that has an ester count of 1500-1600 gr/hL AA. This is the rum category flexing its muscles. The intensity of the flavour from this marque and the limited numbers of the release make this a must try at least once.

Foursquare Patrimonio

I can’t be asked for a list of top rums without including one from Foursquare Distillery. This is my favourite from the trio of sherried rums released by Richard Seale this year. Besides the fact that is tied up to the first time I visited Foursquare I also find it both complex and rich. A 14 year old rum from Barbados with one component in the blend matured for 14 years in ex-Bourbon casks and the other double matured first for 10 years in ex-Bourbon and then 4 years in Sherry casks. The result is an amalgam of flavours, sweet, savoury and spicy, that work very well together and with every sip it just keeps delivering.

Circumstantial Cane

This was a very pleasant surprise when we got it on the bar for the first time. (White) rum distilled in Bristol, sounded interesting enough to give it a try and it didn’t dissapoint. Made at the Circumstance Distillery that opened in September last year, they imported South American molasses, left them to ferment for 3 weeks using mead yeast, distiller’s yeast and even dunder. Then they aged it for 2 months in ex-Bourbon barrels with oak splinders inside and redistilled it in order to round it and get rid of any color. This is their first batch of rum (375 bottles) and the reason I gave you all the process is to see how much experimentation went into it. What they got in the end is a funky but crisp rum. Tropical fruits, pink grapefruit and a tad buttery… it makes a really mean Daquiri, was a favourite on our bar until we couldn’t order it anymore.

I really want to mention Savanna HERR 57 for its unique flavour profile and the new Mount Gay Pot Still which shows an interesting ‘fresh’ direction from MG’s new Master Blender Trudiann Branker. I’m looking forward to see what 2020 brings to the table.


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