A high quality white rum I enjoy neat.
Premium white rums have gathered much of my attention lately. One of the things I enjoy doing is introducing people who claim they do not like rum to our favorite spirit. The easiest road forward in this regard is a white or clear rum that can be used in similar cocktails to those made with vodka. I say similar because I reject the idea of simply replacing vodka with rum. Instead the goal is to make a cocktail that has similar qualities to the style of drinks those non-rum lovers typically enjoy and show them that rum is so much more than the ever expected.
Recently I was in Key West trying to introduce a friend to rum in just this manner when I realized that even in bars who carry good rum, they often overlook premium whites. The premium gold or aged rums are more often than not better enjoyed neat and when mixed create a drink with a style far beyond what a vodka drinker is even willing to consider.
To be clear. I do not like, nor do I drink or endorse rums that seek to be vodka replacements. Rum should taste like rum. Rum should be true to itself and embrace it’s unique qualities.
Given the rant above, you will understand how pleased I was to be given a bottle of Denizen Rum to try. Denizen is a premium rum that delivers loads of flavor, complexity and craft. The rum is based on the backbone of a 5 year old column still Angostura molasses rum from Trinidad and Tobago. A small amount of young Angostura is used to freshen up the taste and further complexity is achieved with trace amounts of 15 pot stilled high ester rums from Hampden and New Yarmouth distilleries in Jamaica.
Where does all this blending take place? Try Amsterdam by the master blenders at E. A. Scheer. The rum is aged in American oak and then charcoal filtered to perfect clarity. Beyond the blending itself I must say I am impressed with the filtration process. It is inevitable that flavor is both lost and affected by filtration, but the blenders have handled this process magnificently as what we have in the bottle retains a solid flavor profile.
The rum itself has a slight viscosity. After you allow it to open in the glass you get soft notes of light non-sweet fruit and a slight inclination of the wood to come. You can tell prior to tasting that this is a different white rum. The taste starts smooth moving across the tongue and into the throat with ease. The flavor is of pleasant wood, very subtle spice and a hint of white pepper. A bolder finish flourishes next with some lingering warmth and vegetal notes.
Although Denizen rum is a great choice for bright cocktails this rum joins the ranks of the few white rums I may very well prefer over one cube of ice. It is that pleasing. At $15 for a 750ml bottle of 80 proof rum it is very well priced. Although the rum has been available in the U.S. for about a year, it still remains difficult to find. Most good liquor stores will be happy to order selections that they do not actively carry. Try asking, and perhaps commit to buying a case and splitting it amongst fellow rum lovers. This is a white rum that belongs in your cabinet.