I love a good rum.
I love a great rum.
I even love a mediocre rum, if it is sold at a reasonable price & marketed appropriately (please don't hype it up to me).
There is very little information online about the mysterious Old Port Deluxe Rum from, of all places, India. I say "of all places" and then instantly realize what poppycock that is... India being once an English colony, dock to many an English sailor, who all loved their measure of rum. It thus makes all the sense in the world that India would make rum.
Still, I really had no expectations of this rum, other then the fact that a pretty savvy wine & spirit friend of mine suggested it. Reading on-line did little, as there are few references to it, and the distilleries website ( http://www.amrutdistilleries.tradeindia.com/ ) is barren of actual information about their products. Apparently the distillery opened in 1948 with two products, destined for the Indian army. That does not inspire me with any greater confidence unfortunately... I've had a few soldiers as friends in my life, and know what a soldier will drink *(anything) and what they won't drink *(unknown)... sorry fellows, but 'tis the truth.
Old Port Deluxe Rum, non-vintage, India
- visual: moderate+ intense color of caramelized apples, with a straw/gold rim. Definite reddish/coppery hues
- nose: as anyone who has ever opened a bottle will tell you: caramel FULL+, but let's be more specific: as a chef I'll say that to me it is much more butterscotch rather then caramel. There is a distinct butteriness, sharp alcohol reminiscent of a good brandy, warm Winter spices of cinnamon/nutmeg/clove/allspice, vanilla (perhaps some time with American oak or at least oak chips) and a vague plasticyness
- palate: sharp and aggressive alcohol, demonstrating little aging at the very least, and possibly poor production value (at worst). The aromas so prominent on the nose are barely present on the palate, except as an underlying sense of sweet candy... definite bitter finish
- PAIRS WITH: all is not lost! Whilst I certainly believe this to be an immature rum, made with passable quality, and lacking in true depth or structure, let's face the facts: I'm a spoiled rum drinker! I have drunk 20 and 25 year rums in Cuba, the home of arguably some of the best rum in the world. So what would I do with it you ask??? Use it for it's strengths! Use those Winter spices and sweetness for your upcoming Christmas Egg Nog! I swear you will have a crowd pleaser! And the immature alcohol? It will be masked by the high fat of the eggnog - believe me.
So not a rum to sip whilst I smoke a fine cigar on my new porch, looking out at the mountains of Golden Ears Provincial Park. But a rum to make creme brulee! A rum for eggnog, or bread pudding! A rum for drunken rice pudding.... in short this is a superlative desert rum, one which I think every pastry chef should have on-hand. On it's own? A touch abrasive, much like the soldiers it was originally made for... but we love them for it, don't we?
CIN CIN!! SLAINTE!!