Review: Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum – Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2011
Two new single barrel rums from the sourcing maestros at Holmes Cay, the first releases for 2021. (Four more are hot on their heels.) Let’s dive in.
Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Guyana Uitvlugt 2003 – Guyana Uitvlugt (pronounced eye-flot) 2003 was distilled at Guyana’s Diamond Distillery on a French Savalle four-column still. The Uitvlugt name is used to distinguish it from other products of Diamond Distillery like Port Mourant (which was used in the Holmes Cay Guyana 2005 selection), and to honor the fact that it was produced on a 19th century still which came to the distillery from the now closed Uitvlugt Distillery. This rum was aged for 2 years in Guyana and for 16 years in ex-bourbon casks in the UK before bottling in New York in 2021. The nose offers an instant, aggressive maple note, layered with vanilla and sharp fruit in the form of overripe pineapple. The palate is hot at full strength, but manageable, offering a mildly funky hogo note that hits the tongue a bit like oxidized sherry. It tempers well with water, letting notes of black tea and cola do more of the heavy lifting, leading to leather and some spice later in the game. Rich and unctuous, the finish reprises the sherry character, bending more toward Madeira, plus added stone fruit and a chewy, nutty element. Exotic and complex. 102 proof. 858 bottles produced. A- / $159 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Holmes Cay Single Cask Rum Jamaica Wedderburn 2011 – 100% pot still rum distilled in 2011 at the Clarendon Distillery, aged for 3 years in country in ex-bourbon casks, then 7 years in the UK before bottling in New York in 2021. Big hogo on the nose here, as expected, the rum showing an animalistic, smoky character that’s infused with tar and tanned leather. The palate is blazing hot but immersive, offering notes of spicy cloves, pepper, and a sharp gunpowder note that begs for some water to temper its impact. On the finish, things mercifully lighten up (especially with some water), showing some tropical fruit at last, along with lemon peel, a huge amount of baking spice, and a healthy sprinkle of brown sugar. It’s a radically different rum than the Guyana — but a pure and classic expression of the pot still. 118 proof. 1050 bottles produced. A- / $89 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]