Holmes Cay Mauritius 2005 Single Cask Barrel Proof Rum
Holmes Cay is a New York based independent bottler of mostly single cask rum, largely sourced from the European market. Largely, but not always, as this fantastic tropically aged cask from Mauritius demonstrates. You are undoubtedly familiar with Holmes Cay at this point, whether through previous Rum Club features or just one of their many great single cask rums we've carried for general sale. We've seen stellar bottlings of rums from all over, from familiar haunts like Barbados, Jamaica, and Guyana, to far flung rarities like Fiji, South Africa, and now, Mauritius. Everything they do is pure, unfiltered, additive free goodness, bottled at or near cask strength. But those facts on their own don't tell the whole story, and we keep coming back to them not just because of that commitment to authenticity, but because they source some seriously tasty barrels.
This is the first rum from Mauritius to come through our store (although another containing Mauritius rum, Equiano, quickly followed), and it makes a compelling argument for its home island. It was produced at Gray's Distilling Co., which is the island's largest distillery, in operation since 1931. It was distilled on a column still and aged for 15 years completely at the distillery, in barrels that previously held Cognac. The combination of that long tropical aging and Cognac cask character are the big players here, almost coming off as super concentrated woody grape spirit, in the best possible way.
The nose opens with red berries, wood varnish, cinnamon toast crunch, cherry cola, and hints of coconut and aloe. On the palate, the wood hits first again with spice and charred wood, though this is easily tempered with just a slight drop of water, which leaves that character in the background whilst bringing forward the fruit. And what fruit it is, with grilled peaches, maraschino cherries, red grapes, candied apples, and red currant. The Cognac influence is huge. Aside from the fruit, there is sweet and spicy ginger, cinnamon, and anise, and such a long viscous finish that you are left licking the inside of your mouth for a good thirty seconds after the sip ends. Bottled at 50% abv.