Lately I’m having this crave for (unsweetened) Guyanese rums and in my search for a reasonable priced “navy style” rum online I’ve come across a bottle I haven’t heard of before – Ancient Mariner Navy Rum. This brand is part of The Hebridean Liqueur Company from Scotland which, from the website, deals with more than just rums.
Ancient Mariner also had a Navy Rum bottling made with rum from the Caroni Distillery, but the one I have is a tad cheaper and it’s sourced from Diamond Distillery. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any details about this particular bottle, all the information I have comes from the Amazon description of the product. It is molasses based, not sure which stills have been used for this blend, but it would make sense to have distillate from at least one of the wooden pot stills.* It has been aged for 10 years, I’ll say tropical from the taste and color. Only two casks have been married up and used in making this rum, making it a limited edition. The description on Amazon also states that it has been un-chillfiltered allowing it to retain most of the original flavours. The ABV on the bottle is 54% (gunpowder proof anyone?) and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s not adulterated since their previous Caroni bottling wasn’t. Also I have to note that, although it’s just 50cl I really like the bottle design – small and cubic.
*Update: After getting some experience and trying it again I can say this is column still only.
On the nose it’s rich, I get dusty oak, dark cacao liqueur, dark dry fruits with grated nutmeg and Luxardo cherries. Maple syrup and hints of new leather. Oak spices with liquorice in the background. Burnt citrus peel and tobacco. Smells dark and tasty!
On the palate I get the dark cacao, blackcurrants, Marasca syrup. Very similar with the nose but drier and with an enjoyable bitter finish. Raisins and dry plums, coffee liqueur, (slightly salted) caramel, burnt oak, treacle and quite peppery – everything is just so dark (no, I am not dying). Some coconut and citrus if you look for them as well. The finish is bitter-sweet with notes of treacle and citrus and a slight smokiness.
I find this a really nice example of Navy Rum and while some might say it’s expensive (£50 for 50cl) I am happy with my purchase. If you compare this to El Dorado 12 for example, you’ll find it more expensive and drier, but it’s just the way it is. Bottlers that buy rum in bulk from any distillery will have a hard time competing pricewise with said distillery’s own releases. The best example would probably be the new Pusser’s 15 bottle which now it’s sourced fully from Guyana and it’s about £25 more expensive than ED15 – Guyanese rum ain’t cheap. But that’s the price you pay if you want unsweetened Demerara rums.
Ancient Mariner Diamond Distillery Limited 10 Year score:
Value for money: 11/15