Review: Berry Bros. & Rudd Classic Range – Nicaragua Rum

The company that came to be Berry Bros. & Rudd (BBR) started in 1698 with a widowed woman whose last name was Bourne and a shop in the neighborhood opposite St. James’s Palace, which in that year became the official principal residence of the monarch. I won’t go through the whole lineage and how the name came to be, you can read it all about it on their website here.

BBR are mainly wine & spirits merchants and independent bottlers and have released some really interesting and limited whiskies and rums under their own labels. My bottle is part of the Classic Range which so far is comprised of 4 different rums from different countries: Barbados, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Guatemala. These are supposed to be entry level, continuous and budget friendly releases.

The liquid in my bottle is sourced from Nicaragua, distilled by Compania Licorera de Nicaragua SA (CLNSA) whose flagship rum brand is Flor de Cana. CLNSA was established in 1890 in Nicaragua, it produces a light style of rum using a three-column still and presently is one of the first global spirit brands to be Fair Trade certified – “the most prestigious and rigorous certification in the world related to excellence in labor conditions and environmental sustainability”.

One of their marketing points, besides slapping random numbers on their Flor de Cana labels, is the term “slow aged” – even the BBR website states that “Nicaragua rum is known for its approachable style and slow maturation, due to its cooler climate” but then the Flor de Cana website says that their rum is aged at the base of San Cristobal Volcano, the most active volcano in Nicaragua and that “high volcanic temperatures contribute to the evaporation rate of the rum and foster a more intense and dynamic interaction between the barrel and the rum”… so which one is it? No idea about the age of the rum in my bottle, all I know is that it’s column still distilled from molasses, presumably aged in ex-Bourbon casks and bottled at 40.5% ABV free of additives.

On the nose is fairly light. Charred wood, ground coffee, vanilla, bananas, pistachios, saffron with hints of peppermint. Overripe apples, white grapes, light pineapple and floral honey notes. Resembles an aged tequila. Quite a bit of ethanol too, can’t get much of anything else.

On the palate it feels a bit custardy. Vanilla and charred wood upfront. White chocolate, hazelnuts, apricots, biscuits, banana foam, mangoes and an agave syrup sweetness. A bit of pepperiness, lemon zest and a slight ethanol burn too. Goes down pretty easy. Finish is quite short with some vanilla lingering.

A light one, nothing too complex, but not bad either – makes a nice rum and coke. It goes for £35 on the BBR site, but I found it for £21 on Amazon and for £30 on Master of Malt. I’d say £35 it’s too much for me to spend on this bottle, but £21 works just fine. Nothing outstanding nor terrible.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Classic Range – Nicaragua Rum score:
Flavour/taste: 39/70
Value for money: 12/15
Transparency/purity: 12/15
Overall: 63/100


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