English Harbour

English Harbour

English Harbour is a brand name of rum that may not be familiar to some, but to most rum lovers, it’s seen as a treat. There are not many places you would find that stock English Harbour, but to come across it means it’s a brand that needs care and attention. But why? Lets dive in a little.

English Harbour rum is produced within the Antigua Distillery, located on Antigua within the West Indies. The distillery itself was founded back in 1932 by a group of Portuguese traders and they utilised old distillation equipment from the previous century. Originally, the distillery was operated on a small piece of land named as Rat Island, but today the distillery stands next to the docks near the capital city of St John’s. The Portuguese grew their business by acquiring a sugar mill and several associated estates, ensuring they had a constant supply of muscovado molasses which was essential to one of their main rum products, Cavalier Muscovado Rum, or Cabellero Rum as it was originally named. After World War 2 and the collapse of the sugar economy in the Caribbean, the sugar mill closed but in the early 90s, English Harbour Antigua Rum was introduced.

So how do you create such a brand as English Harbour?

The distillery itself now uses molasses from other areas, and utilise what they call a fast fermentation process. Once fermented, it is distilled within one of the few copper continuous stills left in the Caribbean and then aged in small 220 litre charred American oak barrels, before being bottled with blends of both dark and light rums depending on the finished age.

So how does it fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences of English Harbour so far –

English Harbour Reserve 10yr – 40%

Blended from rums aged between 10 and 25 years. A thick nose of Demerara with hints of fudge, smoke and caramelised banana. Light initially on the palate, before becoming enriched with dark fruits, caramel, toffee and green apple. Slightly spiced as it nears the long, fresh finish that is lined with honey.

A cracking dram of rum here, with others within the English Harbour range including a 5 year and a rather rare 25 year. I’ve heard the 5yr is a masterpiece in its own right, so I look forward to experiencing when I can. In the meantime, grab a bottle of something a bit different from an island that gets overlooked when talking about the production of rum. Oh and the name? Well English Harbour is named after the famous Antiguan naval port of English Harbour; an 18th century theatre of war for Britain and France as they battled for world power. So you can feel historic when sipping!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chairman’s Reserve Tasting Notes

Chairmans Reserve

Everyone loves something that’s award-winning, and there are many out there that can call themselves that. But to win at three of the major award ceremonies in the world, ‘Best in Class’ in the 2008 IWSC awards, Gold in the 2007 Drinks International Rum Challenge and Double Gold at the 2008 San Francisco Worlds Spirits Competition, as well as the distillery itself being recognised as a nominee in the category of ‘Excellence in Craftmanship’, you know your onto a winner (pun fully intended). That’s the story of Chairman’s Reserve. The golden rum that set the bartending world alight when it was introduced back in 1999, but how did it all come about? Well lets take a look –

Chairman’s Reserve hails from St. Lucia in the West Indies and created by the St. Lucia Distillers within the walls of the Roseau Valley Distillery. Crafted using naturally filtered rainforest water, six rums are individually aged in ex bourbon barrels including Jim Beam, Jack Daniel’s and Buffalo Trace for 5 years, and then, using artesian distillation techniques, the rum is triple distilled using a Coffey Column Still, John Dore Copper Pot Still and a Kentucky Bourbon Vendome Pot Still. After the final distillation, the individual distilled rums are married together and then reintroduced to oak barrels for a further six to nine months.

So a rather unique craft to create the Chairman’s Reserve, but how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Chairmans ReserveChairman’s Reserve – 40%

A vanilla and honey nose with ripe exotic fruits pushing their way through. On the palate it gives off subtle sweet characteristics of spice with the vanilla being slightly more potent. Slight kick follows, but it leaves a mellow after-taste soon after.

Chairman’s Reserve White Label – 40%

A blend of three to four year rums, gently filtered to remove colour. Subtle citrus and raisin notes on the nose, with a smooth offering that turns into a developing pepper spice on the palate. Sweet notes of vanilla come through, a creamy texture is present and a fresh citrus finish completes. Hints of dry spice lingers.

Chairman’s Reserve Spiced – 40%

Contains local spices and fruits including cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, coconut, all spice, lemon and orange.Also has Richeria Grandis – known locally as “Bois Bande” – a bark renowned in the Caribbean as a potent aphrodisiac to give an added kick to the rum.
Dry spice on the nose, with the orange and nutmeg coming through. Reminds me of rich Christmas pudding. Very smooth on the palate, with a a smooth offering of spice and sweet flavours. Orange dominates to the long finish. A little dry.

Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Casks – 40%

On May 2nd 2007 St. Lucia Distillers was struck by a major fire and suffered great problems with storage space for their casks. In the melee that followed the cellar master, Mr. Cyril Mangal, was forced to find space for ageing casks in the most unusual places. Having done so, the cellar team had a memory lapse and forgot the casks that had been laid down and were only recently discovered. A blend of rums ranging from seven to twelve years in age.
Intense nose of coffee, raisins and vanilla on the nose, blending well. Rich spice on the palate, with sweet honey, toffee, glazed fruits and hints of coffee all present. Well-balanced, with a great finish of raisin.

Some great sipping rums, with instant realisation of why this brand has won awards. Bartenders love it too, creating recipes such as this –

Chairman's Mojito
Chairman’s Mojito

Chairman’s Mojto

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

60 ml Chairman’s Reserve
25 ml Fresh lime juice
25 ml Simple syrup
5/6 Mint leaves
Soda

Method –

Gently muddle the mint leaves with the simple syrup and lime juice in the bottom of the glass. Add Chairman’s Reserve rum and ice and top with soda. Stir and garnish with a mint sprig.

Simple and refreshing, two words you wish to hear when it comes to a rum based cocktail. A great addition to any night out, or indeed your own night in. Oh, and it’s award-winning too. Chairman’s Reserve received the Rum Trophy at the International Spirits Challenge this year and, with 4 gold medals out of 6 rums entered, was also awarded the trophy for best individual distillery – ahead of all the malt whiskies, cognacs etc. And to cap it off, at Ian Burrell’s Golden Rum Barrel Awards 2013, Laurie Barnard, the eponymous chairman who sadly passed away last year, was elected to the Hall of Fame. Raise a glass.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.