We’re up to edition #6 for Mount Gay’s Master Blender Selection rum release, which returns to a familiar finishing cask type: Pedro Ximenez sherry.
This particular release is a blend of column and pot distillate aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 20 years before spending an extra year in PX sherry casks. Old rum, made even more opulent by the richness of Pedro Ximenez, all courtesy of Master Blender Trudiann Branker.
You can get a preview of the depth of the rum by eyeing the color, which is a lovely, tawny orange with gold tones on the rim. Impossibly thick with overripe and macerated fruit, the heavy nose evoking stewed prunes and a rich layer of baking spice, heavy on the cloves. The PX note is more than present, evoking its thick oxidation along with notes of leather and some rumbling lumberyard elements if you really inhale deeply.
No huge surprises on the palate: Aggressively oxidized PX sherry notes dominate, to the point where the rum itself takes a bit of a back seat. As with many of the Master Blender Selection releases, the experience feels aggressively old and austere, a bit like reading an antique book instead of a crisp, fresh paperback. That’s not a slight, really — old rum can be magical — but it does limit any sense of freshness present in the experience, more iconic notes of vanilla and citrus ceding the way to wine-soaked raisins and prunes. The heavy chocolate-meets-cola notes of PX sherry linger well into a boozy finish that goes on for ages, the whole affair quite warming despite being bottled at just 45% abv.
Ultimately, a full year seems like a bit too long to spend in PX casks for what must have been a fairly delicate, complex base product — though what Branker has ended up with here certainly has a different type of complexity to call its own.
B+ / $270 / mountgayrum.com