Holmes Cay Guyana 2010 Port Mourant B&B Private Barrel Rum
Guyana rum, Demerara rum if you're a romantic, or even Guyanese rum if you are just bursting with grammatical whimsy, is one of our truest and hottest burning passions at Bitters & Bottles. Once home to hundreds of sugar producers/distilleries, production of rum was slowly consolidated once the sugar industry had done the same. Nowadays all of the surviving stills from various estates are housed together under the auspices of Demerara Distillers Limited, or DDL.
Much of DDL's production goes into their house brand, El Dorado, which for many American rum drinkers may be their only exposure to Demerara rum. Throughout the years, Europe has had access to various independent bottlings of uncut, unadulterated single casks, but those have been few and far between for the North American market. This is one of the reasons we have been singing the praises of Holmes Cay in the last year or so. We recently got a chance to select a private barrel from them, and to our delight, on offer was a truly spectacular expression of what is certainly our favorite still at DDL, if not the entire Caribbean.
That barrel we selected is a product of the legendary Port Mourant double wooden pot still. Now nearly 300 years old, it’s the only double wooden pot still in existence, with a truly unique character that rum fans the world over have long been enchanted by. Aged for 11 years in the UK in ex-bourbon casks, no sugar, color, or other flavors are added at any point in the process. The raw material, the quality of the Port Mourant still, and aging alone creates the complexity. What is bottled is simply what went into the cask 11 years ago.
On the nose, fried sweet plantains and rich vanilla lead to spicy peppercorn, kiwi, petrichor (smell of earth after rain), parsley, green pepper, and subtle petrol notes on the end, hinting at the wonderful intensity of flavor that awaits you. That intensity is dry, but rich, with earthy elements and baking spice up front, quickly followed by cherry cola, vanilla, pear, smoke, molasses, pineapple, and a hint of anise. On the finish, the herbs from the nose reappear with a sweet juicy hint of melon. A little bit rum, a little bit scotch, a little bit agave. There is so much to fall in love with. Bottled at 60.4% abv.