Eat & Play

Rum Journal: From Bermuda, a New Kind of Old Rum 

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - January 5, 2024

Bermuda’s Gosling’s Rum has a special place among rum lovers. For years, before rum’s renaissance in the last decade, Gosling’s was often one of the few premium rums you could find a bar shelf. 

For true rum aficionados, its unmistakable flavors, either in a Dark ’n Stormy or neat, conjure up warm memories. 

For several decades, Gosling’s was part of that small phalanx of aged rums, along with expressions like Mount Gay Eclipse, Myer’s and, to some extent, Bacardi 8, that had some degree of shelf ubiquity, particularly in the United States. 

It was back in 2005 that Gosling’s shook up the rum industry with its first-ever Family Reserve Old Rum which, at the time, was one of, if not the top premium rum on the broader market. (Old Rum actually won Rum Journal’s first-ever Rum of the Year in the 2012 Rum Awards, our annual awards that eventually turned into the Caribbean Rum Awards festival and competition). 

The Old Rum, a blend of 16 to 19-year-old distillates, remains a signature premium rum, a reliably excellent sipper famous for its champagne-style bottle — a throwback to the early days of Gosling’s in Bermuda when the rum was sold in old champagne bottles sealed with black wax (hence the famous moniker the “Black Seal.”

For almost two centuries, Gosling’s has exemplified the best tradition of rum blending, aging and bottling. 

Now, the company has done it again, with a new version of its legendary Old Rum. 

It’s called Gosling’s Family Reserve Old Rum Rye Barrel Finish. 

Sealed with a green wax top, this takes the existing Old Rum and finishes it in ex-rye barrels for three years. 

bermuda rum

So what’s it like?

The rum has an aroma of black pepper, cardamom, brown sugar and chartreuse. 

The flavor profile is marked by malted chocolate, toffee, vanilla, coconut husk, mango and banana, with the slightest whisper of anise. 

The finish is exquisitely smooth and well balanced, with the faintest hint of orange zest. 

The three-year finish is longer than most other cask-finished rums — and it works, imparting a very different, very interesting alternative to the traditional Old Rum. Unlike cask-finished rums from some competitors, this doesn’t taste like a quick addition of rye flavoring — it’s something new, something fascinating. 

Compared to the Old Rum, it’s a bit lighter, a bit more delicate, a different kind of finesse. 

What’s not different? This is also an outstanding rum. 

Rum Journal Review: 95 Points 

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