Anyone who has bothered to read any of my rum related ramblings, will be more than aware of my love of Chairman’s Reserve. Despite being a relatively young and inexpensive rum (freely available in Sainsburys supermarket for £20) it captured my heart very early on in my rum journey.
The double distilled mix of pot and continuous still rum’s offer an authentic and unadulterated rum experience which at the £20 price point is difficult to beat. With the success of The Kraken and Sailor Jerry I’m always a little miffed that Sainsbury’s have never stocked the Spiced Chairman’s Reserve as they do the standard offering. I first tried this rum a couple of years ago. In many ways I’m pleased I left starting my blog until I had tried a good number of rum’s. I feel only now am I beginning to develop any kind of understanding of the various rum’s on offer.
One thing I have always been quite pedantic about is presentation. Not so much in that I demand it be amazing for every rum but in so much that I do like brand identity. The Chairman’s Reserve range of rums (Finest, White Label, Forgotten Casks and Spiced) are all housed in the same size bottle. One of my stubby little friends. Admittedly they come with a metal screw cap, but it is good quality and none of the rum’s in the Chairmans range retail for more than £35 (and thats if you pay premium price for the Forgotten Casks edition). Other rum’s by St Lucia Distillers that are more pricey have excellent corked enclosures (Admiral Rodney, 1931 etc). All the Chairman’s Reserve rums have similar presentation using the same logos and type faces albeit with different colours. I do like this in much the same way I HATED it when Oasis changed their logo…..(and the music suffered!!)
As mentioned already the absence of this Spiced offering from our supermarket shelves is a bit of a mystery. It retails online at around the £20 mark so it would easily compete with The Kraken, Sailor Jerry and even Morgan’s Spiced. Still the absence of good spiced rum’s from the UK supermarket shelves is nothing new. You’d be hard pushed to find a bottle of Foursquare’s excellent light bajan style spiced rum as well.
Chairman’s Reserve Spiced (the bottle reliably tells me) is the same blend of pot and continuous double distilled rum’s as their flagship brand but it is infused with Cinnamom, clove, nutmeg, vanilla (all okay and understood) and, wait for it Richeria Grandis (?) known locally as “Bois Bande”. Yip, I’ve got no idea either…
Research reveals this seems to be some kind of tree bark or extract, with aphrodisiac like qualities. So its wood that gives you wood…..
It’s available in capsules etc from all good retailers I’m sure!
Any hows on with the review. In the bottle the rum is very vibrant. A rich deep reddish almost mahogany like colour. It is as bright as the photo, this is no shrinking violet. The nose reveals everything that the rear label says it is infused with (apart from the wood, well maybe a little evidence of ageing). It has quite a forward cinnamon aroma. Similar, in many ways to After Shock or Fireball liquors. It kind of dominates the profile. There is a little vanilla, clove and nutmeg but not much. This isn’t a vanilla heavy spiced rum as so many are. The nose reminds me very much of Wrigleys Juicy Fruit chewing gum.
When sipped it does remind me of After Shock Cinnamon liquor albeit calmed down considerably, without the viscous liquor mouthfeel. This Spiced rum has a mulled wine warming feel to it. It would do nicely over here in the UK as a winter warmer, maybe with hot lemonade and honey as a remedy for cold.
The rum is quite sippable, especially if you are found of cinnamon and nutmeg. For me the After Shock notes give me a bad memories. Drinking double After Shocks and vodka on a lad’s holiday led to me having a bit of a funny turn! Its pretty smooth and doesn’t give much burn beyond the cinnamon kick. The first time I bought this I thought it was fantastic. Mind around this time I also still could tolerate Morgans Spiced. It’s not very rough it has a fairly pleasant burn and as expected the actual rum used in the blend is a good standard (unlike so many Spiced Rum’s).
To be honest on re-visiting this rum I’m quite disappointed. I don’t really like the Cinnamon notes and overall the rum has a bubblegum like note to it. As mentioned earlier Wrigleys Juicy Fruit is definitely going on with this rum. It’s not really something I look for with rum. I don’t really want chewing or bubblegum. For British folk its a bit like blue Raspberry “pop” or sweets. It’s a bit strange really. As well as the spices mentions there are also orange and citrusy notes in the mix
When mixed with cola the cinnamon notes calm down considerably and the rum reveals a few of its more subtle nuances such as vanilla and clove. It makes a fairly pleasant mixed drink. It’s slightly medicinal. A bit like sweet cough syrup. It’s not terrible but I feel it could have been done a lot more subtlety Foursquare’s Spiced Rum is the best example of less is more. Whilst I’m not a fan of vanill-ey spiced rum’s I do think when it’s done well, like the much maligned Sailor Jerry it can be very good. St Lucia Distillers have went for a different approach. Thumbs up for doing so and giving us a different spiced rum experience. However, I doubt it is an experience I will be trying again in any great rush.
Overall there is a lot going on with this spiced rum unfortunately too much. It has so much going for it but it all melds into a cloying sweet and sticky bit of a mess. To me its like maple syrup and bacon or barbecue sauce on ribs, or Chinese Sweet and Sour. It just doesn’t work for me. It’s drinkable in small amounts and goes down easy but it isn’t in the class of Foursquare. It’s better than Morgans Spiced and The Kraken but then again what isn’t? Paint stripper? Meths?
The Chairmans Spiced uses a very good rum as its base but inspite of this it still ends up being too sweet and cloying. I wanted to like this but I have to be honest in my assessment.
Disappointing and overdone.