Before rum was called “rum” it appeared in a few documents from the 17th century Barbados as “kill devil” – a pretty cool fun fact I might say.
The Kill Devil range comes from Hunter Laing, a Scottish company that mainly deals with blending and bottling whiskies. They are independent bottlers sourcing rum from different parts of the Caribbean and, from experience, their rums are sometimes a matter of hit or miss… never awful, but not exceptional either at times. Most of their Jamaican and Guyanese releases are high regarded.
The rum for my today’s review was distilled at the Uitvlugt Distillery in December 1999, right before it’s closure and merge with Diamond Distillery. It’s noted on the label that it was distilled in a pot still, and given that Uitvlugt had all the Heritage Stills before moving them to Diamond, I am not sure if it’s from the Port Mourant Double Wooden Pot Still or the Versailles Single Wooden Pot Still (both unique in the world), so I guess we’ll attempt an educated guess – if anyone has the information, don’t be shy, do contact me.
So molasses based, distilled at the defunct Uitvlugt Distillery, Guyana, in one of the wooden pot stills, aged for 17 years (most likely a large portion continentally) in, I assume, ex-Bourbon barrels and bottled at 46% ABV. This is a Single Cask, so quite limited with only 341 bottles in the wild. Kill Devil usually doesn’t do adulterated rums from what I know so I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt – no additives.
On the nose it feels like a good, slightly peated Single Malt whisky. The unmistakable liquorice smell jumps out of the glass along with a creamy pilsner flavour. Yellow apples, apricots, vanilla and nail varnish. There’s a cheesy savoury aroma to it as well. Hints of cloves and some floral notes along with dusty cardboard, white chocolate and toasted oak. So far it seems like a ‘mild’ Port Mourant.
On the palate it’s very vanillary. So much vanilla custard upfront followed by a quite intense peat-like smoke. Black tea, tobacco, cheddar, Sprite, liquorice and a pinch of salt. There’s a nice menthol flavour in the background. Ripe pears, honey, mango, banana, peanuts and some nutmeg. Pretty intense for not-a-cask-strength. The finish is medium to long with smoke, lemon zest and a salty-mineral aroma.
Again, I get that whisky flavour profile like a Highland that I’d usually get in Port Mourant distillates (don’t take my word for it, it’s just a guess), although it is a bit softer… but not in a bad way, I’d say this is balanced and well rounded while still retaining enough complexity to deliver. It’s definitely a “hit” rather than a “miss” and at around £70 a bottle I’d happily grab another one.
Kill Devil Guyana Uitvlugt 17 Year Old score:
Value for money: 13/15