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Lifestyle April 2010
 


 

Livets Goda

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Drinks International
Bristol Spirits underlines specialist stance

 

 

The major markets for Bristol Spirits’ Classic rum are Japan, the UK, Italy, France, Sweden and the US, with distributors appointed to sel1 the rums in each market. The most popular rums vary by market. Only a few casks of each are ever available and each market is allocated so many cases for bottling. The current favourites across most markets are Gardel 10 year old from Guadaloupe, and Monymusk 25 year old from Jamaica. In the UK, Italy and the US, Versailles with its French oak finish is particularly popular.
 

There are now around 10 rums in the Bristol Classics list, most of which have been aged in cask in English warehouses for between 10 and 25 years. Each is from a single still, or a single estate. Interestingly the rums exhibit a range of styles easily equal to that perceived in fine Cognacs or Malt Whiskies.
 

It is a basic principle that Bristol Spirits bottle only small lots of rum -three or four casks -so the list is continually changing. All are bottled at the relatively high strength of 46% abv., which is considered the optimum for tasting fine spirits. None is chill-filtered. As the range became more widely known and distributed, the company started to experiment with 'finishing' the ageing in different casks, such as new French oak, ex-Bourbon white oak, and casks that had previously held Port and Madeira.
 

In order to provide an 'entry' brand at an approachable price, Bristol Spirits now bottles The Caribbean Collection. This is a blend of golden island rums, matured in England for an average of five years, at 40% abv; and "G&G", a blend of very young white rum from Guyana and Guadeloupe, at a very high 59% abv. according to Caribbean tradition. John Barrett is the driving force and founder of Bristol Spirits, which specialises in the 'early landed' principle when it comes to ageing spirit. It was back in the 18th Century that the English discovered there was a significant difference between Cognac aged in English cellars to that aged in the Charente region. Barrett over the years became a specialist in this arcane trade, and formed close links with the most celebrated distillers in Cognac and Jarnac, later spreading his net to some of the finest Armagnac and Calvados. Rum is the most recent spirit to get the company's early-landed treatment.

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Wine Magazine
First Taste - Dave Broom

 

I was just thinking it was about time that I looked at some rums when John Barrett of Bristol Spirits invited me to have a look at the newest arrivals of his Classic Rum collection. His firm is, as far as I know, the only one to attempt to do for rum what malt whisky has done for Scotch - premium, small batch, top end, single distillery/single still spirits with individuality and character. To make things that little bit more intriguing, Barrett has been finishing some of them in different casks. Here's my top four

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Independent On Sunday
The Sunday Review Magazine - pg 29
My Round - Richard Ehrlich

There is more to rum than Bacardi —and many classics if you know where to look No alcohol prognosticator yet opined that rum is the new vodka, single-malt whisky Dubonnet rouge, or anything else. Which is just as well, because in 90 per cent-plus of the bottles bearing the name, rum remains largely what it has always been: a cheapish white spirit of industrial quality designed for mixing with anything sweet enough to mask the raw, rasping attack of flavourless alcohol. Most of those bottles will bear the Bacardi label, a brand so successful that many of its fans don’t even know that it’s rum.

 

Needless to say, there’s more to rum than Bacardi. Among mass-production rums, many people regard Havana Club which is locked in a legal battle with Bacardi as greatly superior to its powerful competitor. What has mostly been missing is an attempt to establish rum as a “serious” drink like Scotch and Bourbon bearing the unique imprint of the distillery and/or year of production. But a company called Bristol Spirits is trying to change that. Supremo John Barrett, an old hand in the much older trade of importing barrels of spirits and ageing them in the humid, cool environs of UK subterranean caves, spotted what he calls this “micro-niche” a good few years ago. The Bristol Classic Rum collection a dozen bottlings, all of small size includes rums that are sometimes identified not just by the distillery but by the specific still in which they were made.“This is very important,” according to Barrett He places the distillation process second in a threesome of crucial variables that determine rum quality First is fermentation, which in ordinary rum can take less than a day but in the rums he likes will take six to eight weeks, giving time for complex flavours to develop. Distillation is crucial because each still is different, especially the old pot stills used for his rums. The third variable is maturation, and this is where Bristol rums differ most from others on the market “We buy rum in all forms,” says Barrett. “It might be brand-new or it might be very old, but we’ll buy it if it has the things we look for: a vintage date, from a single estate, and unblended.” Bristol takes delivery, then sets to work doing its own maturation, “finishing”, in the type of wood it thinks appropriate. When the rum is ready, they bottle.

 

Finishing Scotch in particular types of barrel is all the rage, and there’s some debate about whether it’s just marketing-department smoke and mirrors. In the case of the Bristol rums, I’m convinced it isn’t. The still-labeled rums all show the effect of differing distillation and finishing methods, and all are good. My stars: the 16-year-old Long Pond from Jamaica (finished in Oloroso sherry casks) and the lighter, more delicate 18-year-old Versailles from Guyana (finished in port casks).

 

My favourite, though, is the Gardel Rhum Agricole, from Guadeloupe. Rhum Agricole is fermented from fresh cane juice rather than molasses, and this 10-year-old spirit spent all its maturation period in new Limousin oak (wine wonks will know the name) from France. There are notes of banana and spice in this drink, which, like the others, deserves the same slow, meditative sipping you would use while engaging a vintage Armagnac.

 

These rums are not cheap: around £20 and climbing. But you’re buying quality and character, and in the case of that lovely Gardel, you’re also buying a bit of history: the still has been stilled as of 1992. If you want a sip before it disappears, ring McKinley Vintners (020 7928 7300) for stockists or click on classicrum.com. You won’t regret it. And I’m not saying that because rum is the new something-or-other

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Penthouse - Yo! Ho! Ho
Rum tasting by Dr Reg Porterhouse
 

 

...Bristol Spirits Ltd import from the Caribbean distilled rum into the UK and lay them down in their cellars to mature in the country. They only use distillate from a particular estate and sometimes even a particular pot, rather than blending several different rums and I found that they had managed to create much stronger and individual flavours to their rums. The first of these was from the providence Estate in Trinidad. This has been aged for 10 years. It is quite floral in aroma with a strong flavour of molasses. The flavours within this were much shorter than in the other two rums they sent us. The next of these was from the Long Pond Distillery in Jamaica, east of Montego Bay. This rum has been aged from 16 years and for some of that has been held in oak casks that have previously held Oloroso Sherry. This has a woody flavour with hints of vanilla and banana.

 

However, by far their best rum, and by far the best rum that I tasted was from the Monymusk Estate in Jamaica. This has been aged for 25 years and has spent some of that time in first-use bourbon casks. This rum had more depths and flavours to it than any other rums. Initially you notice the definite nose of bourbon, it has a very oaky flavour with hints of smoke and vanilla. It has a superb balance with a fabulous warmth and depth to it........

 

....My overall favourite was by far the Monymusk Estate 25-year-old Rum, which really left the other's behind.

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Harpers - The wine & spirit weekly
Classic Cuban

 

The latest addition to the Classic Rums series will be launched at this year's LIWSF.

 

Ron Paraiso, an aged Cuban rum, will be displayed on the McKinley Vintners stand stand (K50) at the London event. Ron Paraiso, which is bottled at 41.5% ABV, is produced at the Sancti Spiritu distillery in central Cuba and is matured for four years in barrel, before being shipped to the UK, where it is stored in bourbon casks in Bristol for another year.

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The Bristol Magazine

 

Locali Top

 

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Departures
 

 

Bentley

The official Bentley magazine

 

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Expressions
The Premier Drinks Magazine

 

 

Arguably the pick of the Classic Rum bunch, this is a single cask pot still offering that was distilled in Jamaica and shipped the Scotland the year after distillation. 30 years of maturation have given this rum a wonderfully mellow character, long and dry on the palate, with nuts and dried fruit, combined with an intense molasses sweetness.

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RSVP
The Magazine for Creative Events

 

 

Fighting Spirits - Celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nelson's victory at the battle of Trafalgar with Bristol Spirits' new rums, specially created to mark the occasion. The company's additions include Finest Jamaica Rum, Reserve Rum of Nicaragua, Finest Old Demerara and Very Old Jamaica Rum. With so many events taking place to commemorate this anniversary rum is the ideal drink, providing guests with a tipple that was enjoyed by the sailors themselves as they headed into battle.

To mark the special occasion, Bristol Spirits has redesigned its packaging to give the rums a more stylish and contemporary appearance, making them distinctive and adding shelf appeal.

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Drinks International
Paraiso brings U.S. & Cuba together

 

 

Further expanding its selection of speciality single still rums, Bristol Spirits has added an aged Cuban rum to its Classic Rum range. Ron Paraiso is rolling out in the UK after successful launches before Christmas 2003 in France, Italy, Germany and Japan.

 

Ron Paraiso is produced in central Cuba at the Sancti Spiritu distillery in the town of the same name, and bottled at 41.5% abv - a lower strength than the company's usual 46% for many of its other products. The rum was first matured for four years in the hot and dry Cuban warehouse before shipping to the famously damp Bristol Spirits cellars near Bristol, England, to be finished for a year in used, heavily charred, American oak Bourbon barrels.

 

"We have stocks backed up, rather like a solera," said Bristol Spirits managing director, John Barrett, who also describes Ron Paraiso as: "a herbal and fruit nose with well integrated vanilla and oak. On the palate, soft fruit based flavour with well defined molasses characteristics and long lasting finish."

 

Bristol Spirits exports about 75% of its production, with Italy and Japan being its major markets. The company's entry level brand of golden island rums bottled at 40% after maturing in England for an average of an average of five years.

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The Hotelier

 

 

Bristol Spirits, the specialist spirits company based at Wickwar in Gloucestershire, has bottled four new unique specialist rums to celebrate the bicentenary of Nelson's momentous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. To mark this special occasion the company has also made the packaging more contemporary.


It is a basic principle that Bristol Spirits only bottle small lots of rum and to preserve their complex flavours none are chill-filtered. An important part of the business is their deep, damp cellars. These were originally a quarry to provide stone for the construction of the Great Western Railway.

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Evening Post

Business Post Edition
 

Harpers
 Oct 2005

 

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Scottish Licensed Trade News
 


 

Some Favourites
 

ROCKLEY STILL,
FINO FINISH (BARBADOS)

 

 

Colour/nose: Gold, Pungent, almost smoky nose with a slight wet grass, vegetal note. With water, there are also some aromas of tahini/sesame and smoke

Palate: Beautifully rounded brown sugar with burnt, caramelised fruit notes plus ginger and all spice.


CONCLUSION: Bizarrely, this has notes reminiscent of an Islay malt, but luxurious, subtle, sweet palate that you only get from great rums. The Port Ellen of the tropics? Whisky lovers will adore this - everyone should try it! Please.


Rating: *****
(Wine Magazine, Pick of the month)

 

 

 


GARDEL 10yo, LIMOUSIN OAK FINISH (GUADELOUPE)

 

 

Colour/nose: Amber. Sweet and aromatic with custard, violet, sultana, cherry, moist sugar, dark honey dribbling down toffee pudding, baked banana, sweet tobacco and a spicy acacia wood.


PALATE: A fragrant palate with touches of sandalwood and chocolate. Rich and broad in the middle (almost tarry) then dries nicely. Good grip and structure.


CONCLUSION: Sumptuous. This is a great introduction to the French style of rum, or should I say rhum


Rating: ****

 

 


VERSAILLES STILL
PORT FINISH
DEMERARA, GUYANA

 

 

COLOUR/NOSE: Hint of pink. Delicate and quite floral to start, with dried fruits, herbs, sweet spices, cinnamon and orange. Gentle, but has depth.


PALATE: Almost biscuity to start, then softens into a rich, quite spicy/herbal mouthful. Good balance.


CONCLUSION: Ripe and well balanced.

Rating: ***(*)

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

Bristol Spirits Ltd
P.O. Box 3169,
Bristol   BS6 9JW

telephone: +44 (0) 1454 299 880
fax: +44 (0) 1454 294 572