Chairman's Reserve 16 Year Port Cask Master's Selection Cask Strength Rum
If you've been with our Rum Club from the beginning, you are pretty much an expert on Chairman's Reserve by this point. The most well known brand from Saint Lucia Distillers, the island's only distillery, they make truly stellar rum, all the way from their spiced rum to their beautiful single barrel selections. We get a barrel from them each year, and though that may mean the novelty of the process is fading, the value and quality of what is in those barrels has remained stunning to us. This feels like a long term relationship for us now, and our love is only deepening. Just when we think we are well familiar with all of the Chairman's secrets, we try the next year's bevy of single barrel offerings and new things take us by surprise. With two distinct pot stills and various column stills at their disposal, along with varying kinds of distillates from heavy to light and even sugarcane juice rums, there can be a lot of variation. This year for the first time they had a selection of different cask finishes along with the standard ex-bourbon aged options, widening their color palette even more.
It was indeed one of those cask finished barrels that ended up winning our affections this time, a full bodied rum from their Coffey Still, aged first for 13 years in ex-bourbon barrels before finishing for 3 whole additional years in ex-port barrels. Those 3 years have truly left their mark too, a lifetime of finishing for a spirit, usually measured in months. The first sign of this influence is apparent just looking at the bottle, which is as dark and lusciously ruby tinted as any natural spirit that's ever come through our store has ever been. It's honestly enchanting to just hold up to the light and gaze upon. But of course we don't love spirits for the way they look, it's what is inside that counts.
On the nose, the signature sweet-savory Chairman's note is equally balanced by big oak, fruity dark berry port character, bittersweet dark chocolate, visions of sugarplums, and a hint of oxidative sherry like character. The palate greets you with sweet fruit for days, from plum to cherry fruit-by-the-foot, apricot to banana runts, orange oil to raspberries. Then just after the juiciness has registered, there is a darker wave of dark cigar wrapper, walnut, sticky barbecue sauce, honey drizzled pistachio baklava, chocolate sauce, and earthiness. The finish takes it's sweet time and lingers on oak, cherry pie, vanilla, and a bit of grassiness. Bottled at 58.8% abv without any additives of any kind.