When a company like Mount Gay releases a new rum, there’s a lot riding on it.
For the self-styled birthplace of rum, the epicenter of rum-making in the English-speaking Caribbean, a new rum has to honor, celebrate and, ultimately, transcend its pedigree to be judged a success.
That’s why it was such a delight to see Mount Gay’s flagship 1703 rum take home the Rum of the Year crown in last year’s Rum Awards.
But the company’s latest release takes things to a different level — the new 2017 edition of 1703.
It’s now been rebranded as the 1703 Master Select blend (it was formerly 1703 Old Cask Selection), still a blend of copper column and pot still rums from reserves ranging between 10 and 30 year-old rums.
Mount Gay Master Blender Allen Smith is the man behind this blend, which is released in just one batch each year with only 12,000 bottles distributed worldwide and sets the standard for rums in the English-speaking Caribbean and the wider region.
So what’s it like?
The color is the classic Mount Gay amber, with a light, sweet aroma.
The flavor profile is marked by almond, vanilla and caramel, nut and even a hint of marzipan.
But what sets this rum apart even from last year’s release is its exceptional lightness.
Last year’s edition was a bit more robust, a bit bolder, a bit, dare we say, rougher around the edges.
This one is exquisitely smooth, harmoniously balanced and almost impossibly delicate.
It’s the latter that’s remarkable for a rum — it achieves transcendence through its delicacy, melding flavor and texture into a new kind of dimensionality for rum.
It’s an impressive feat.
In short, the newest 1703 is a masterwork — and it lives up to the legacy of Sir John Gay Alleyne.