Holmes Cay Trinidad Ten Cane 2012 Rum
Holmes Cay was created with one simple premise - to seek out the world's best rums and release them unadulterated and at full strength. This release is a 100% pot still single estate rum made from fresh cane juice, produced at the 10 Cane Distillery of Trinidad. The distillery was a huge push from French luxury multinational LVMH into the rum market, opened in 2003 to make cane juice rum for the 10 Cane brand. The rum that went into that bottling was a blend of their own unique distillate with molasses based column still rum made at Trinidad Distillers Limited (Angostura). While the rum itself was tasty, offered a new and novel take on rum, and debuted alongside a splashy marketing campaign that some may remember, the brand's sales didn't grow quickly enough and Angostura backed out of the partnership. Without much of a track record and struggling to find a new partner, they ceased production in 2013, just shy of 10 years, and discontinued the 10 Cane brand altogether in 2015.
While the rum used for the distillery's label was aged in cognac barrels just six months, the distillery shutting down meant a lot of rum was left in casks to age longer. A handful of independent bottlers have released mature single cask rums from the Ten Cane distillery to consistently positive feedback, in retrospect perhaps if the LVMH folks had also imagined a premium aged product who knows what could have been. For this release, the 2 casks that were utilized were aged in cognac barrels for four years in Trinidad before being transferred to ex bourbon barrels and aged 6 more years in the UK. The rum was then bottled in New York state at full barrel proof (59% abv). A lightly floral nose yields to herbs, pepper and spice on the tongue. Plums, banana, burnt sugar, fruitcake, ginger and clove hover above a touch of vegetal grassy notes, charred oak, and funk. Custard and oak follow on the lengthy and dry finish.