westerhall XXO
Westerhall XXO is the best new rum in the Caribbean.
Eat & Play

Rum Journal: The Caribbean’s Best New Rum Is From Grenada 

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 1, 2024

They have been making rum here in some form for almost three centuries, in a 500-acre estate anchored by waving cane fields on the southern coast of Grenada. 

As you walk around the grounds, you find the remnants of centuries of sugarcane tradition — and a flowing natural spring. 

While the still here is now only an artifact, the Westerhall brand bottles some of the finest rum in the Eastern Caribbean, with Grenada an essential part of the process, from the aging to the local water used to finish off the rum.

westerhall estate
The centuries-old Westerhall Estate.

Grenada’s tradition-filled rum industry has been in the news of late thanks to the high-profile project by Renegade Rum to cultivate and distill sugarcane-juice rum on the island (something we’ve written about extensively in these pages). In fact, Westerhall’s cane fields are one of the sources of Renegade’s ambitious sugarcane production initiative, and one of Renegade’s terroir-focused expressions is actually called Westerhall. 

cane at westerhall
The estate’s cane is used for one of Renegade’s terroir-based expressions.

Westerhall continues to push forward, producing a rum that is very popular in Grenada and the Eastern Caribbean in particular, with a range of expressions from white rums to the excellent 10-year rum called 10XO. 

While the brand doesn’t reveal the source of its distillates, the connoisseur should immediately deduce its provenance — and be rather delighted, particularly with the latest premium rum to emerge from Grenada. 

grenada rum distillery
While rum is no longer distilled here, the estate is a wonderful portal to rum history.

Timed to celebrate Grenada’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of its independence last month, Westerhall has released a new rum called, simply, XXO. 

The expression, bottled at 43 degrees, is a blend of 23-year-old rums aged in a mix of ex-sherry and ex-bourbon casks, and the result is something rather special indeed. 

Barrels of rum at the estate.

So what’s it like? 

The nose is filled with orange peel, bourbon and bittersweet chocolate, with a hint of black pepper. 

The flavor profile is marked by dark chocolate, espresso, creme brulee and a hint of black cherry. 

This is a luxurious rum, with a velvety mouthfeel and tremendous balance; the 43-degree decision was spot on, providing a welcome blend of elegance and personality. 

While rum is undoubtedly premiumizing, the landscape of ultra-premium rum, particularly in the molasses rum space, continues to be a small one — with new editions still relatively rare. 

That’s what makes Westerhall’s new release so welcome. It’s the best new rum in the Caribbean right now (just a few weeks out, mind you), and the best we’ve had so far this year. But if you want to find a bottle, you’ll likely have to head for Grenada – and the 300-year-old estate — to do so. 

Rum Journal Rating: 95 Points 

— CJ

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