Review: Mount Gay Origin Series Vol. 2 – The Copper Stills

After the master blender Allen Smith retired and the new master blender Trudiann Branker was announced I was wondering in which direction was Mount Gay going to go. The first bottle that will come out under Branker’s name is the new Mount Gay Pot Still Rum which I had the fortune to taste at the Whisky Show. I’d say it’s not bad at all, but my palate tried quite a few things beforehand. Following that I decided to try the other Mount Gay Pot Still distillate I have in my collection along with its counterpart.

The rums I’m writing about today are older releases from Allen Smith, two 375ml bottles of Barbadian rum, one distilled in a copper column still and the other distilled in a copper pot still. These are part of the second volume of the Origin Series and they showcase the distillates that are present in the core Mount Gay range, as all of them are a blend of column and pot stills. The first volume of Origin Series was highlighting the difference between a virgin French oak barrel and a deeply charred American oak barrel – unfortunately I didn’t get my hands on this one.

Both of the Copper Stills bottles come from the same molasses ferment, distilled in their particular stills and aged for 6 years. Bottles at 43% ABV, no added sugar or additives, not sure about the caramel, but it wouldn’t make sense as they’re both the same age. It says on my bottles that there are 7200 such “packages” released – both bottles come in a box with some information cards inside.

While I’m excited to try the pot still, I will start with the lighter copper column still:

On the nose there are light tropical fruits, mango, passion fruit, sweet pineapple along with some ripe apples and quite a bit of vanilla. Lemon zest, whipped cream, caramel, pine tree and light oak spices with a hint of smoky charred wood. The more I wait the more I can feel that bajan richness coming through with candied cherries and dark chocolate with nutmeg. As expected, light but still full of character

On the palate this reminds me of Mount Gay BB as the oak is the main player in the flavour. Charred wood smoke, vanilla and creamy oak again. I say “creamy oak” because it has a lactic flavour/feel to it. Passion fruit, cinnamon, fresh raspberries, a dry white wine/grape note and a slight saltiness. This is pretty good by itself and better than most column stills I’ve tried. The finish is quite short with some oak spices and mango puree.

Now to the one I’ve been waiting for, the copper pot still:

On the nose, oh the difference is huge. Coca cola, strawberry flavoured sweets, tropical fruits again, but more pronounced, mango, passion fruit, tutti frutti, white chocolate and vanilla. The funk is there and it feels quite peppery. Hints of jalapenos, burnt matchsticks and plenty of rubber. The oak has less influence here, it’s all about that pot still funk.

On the palate this feels very acidic. Tons of passion fruit and lime zest, mothballs big time, wasabi, vanilla and sour cherries. The tutti frutti flavour is there but in the background under all the acidity and spiciness. Some funk smoke (yea that’s how I call it now – usually I find it in the Hampdens), chillies and a herbal taste similar to Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur with a hint of anise. This is so weird. I have to say I actually prefer the column still, this feels out of balance for me, too much acidity and not enough sweetness. The finish is long and very spicy with that wasabi carrying through along with some lime zest and a hint of cola.

Now this wouldn’t be fun at all if I didn’t blend the two of them. I did a 1 to 1 ratio and I found out it works pretty nicely. The sweetness from the column and the bold flavours and spiciness from the pot play very well together, mostly like balancing sweet with sour. Coconut and lime, caramel and passion fruit, cinnamon and rubber, sweet and salty popcorn. What I love about this is that I can experiment and play with different blending ratios at a fairly good price (bought it from Barbados).

As a side note, Trudiann Branker’s Pot Still has a nice balance, with stone fruits and not too much funk, very different to the pot still I just tried. While it’s interesting, this one on its own doesn’t cut it for me.

Mount Gay Origin Series Vol. 2 – The Copper Column score:
Flavour/taste: 46/70
Value for money: 11/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 72/100

Mount Gay Origin Series Vol. 2 – The Copper Pot score:
Flavour/taste: 42/70
Value for money: 11/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 68/100


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