The newest expression from Mount Gay Rum, and the latest in their Master Blender Collection, is Andean Oak Cask.
For the 2021 small-batch release, Master Blender Trudiann Branker turned to Andean Oak, a non-traditional wood choice, to explore another layer of aromatic complexity, the company says.
The rum finished in these asks for 11 months, after 14 years spent in ex-Bourbon casks. Before, the rum was distilled twice in a traditional copper pot still.
Branker says she got the idea for this release after discovering that virgin Andean Oak Casks had never been used in any previous Mount Gay Rum expressions.
Andean is the only oak native to South America, found across the mountainous ranges of 18 departments of the Colombian Andes at an altitude ranging from 1,000-3,200m.
Branker was intrigued by the light-colored wood and the aromas of vanilla traditional to American oak, alongside the spicy and smoky notes found in Andean Oak.
“I was inspired by the incredible feedback we had following my release of The Port Cask Expression and I wanted to push my boundaries further,” says Branker. “Using a totally new cask paired with a traditional pot still rum created something entirely new, bold and layered that I think rum enthusiasts around the world will thoroughly enjoy.”
Aging a rum for more than a decade in the Caribbean — Mount Gay has operated in Barbados for more than 300 years — is no easy task.
“With our tropical climate we are blessed with accelerated aging, but getting any rum to 14 years in Barbados is a journey,” says Branker. “We can lose as much as 12% of a barrel per year.”
Altogether the result is a blend of spice, nutmeg, vanilla, ripe pear and toasted coconut on the palate, the company reports. Dominantly vanilla on the nose, Mount Gay Andean Oak Cask offers a spiciness on the palate that complements the fruity notes of the aged pot still rum.
Andean Oak Cask is best enjoyed neat, or with firm caved aged goat cheese.
The Master Blender Collection: Andean Oak Cask is 48% ABV and non-chill filtered. This expression is limited to 1,026 bottles in the U.S. It’s available at select retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $195 per 750-ml. bottle.
This is the fourth limited-edition launch in the annual series. The Master Blender Collection debuted in 2018 with the release of XO: The Peat Smoke Expression, created by former Master Blender Allen Smith. In the years following, Branker released Pot Still Rum in 2019 and The Port Cask Expression in 2020.