Fabio Rossi studied winemaking but that didn’t stop him from establishing his own whisky company, Wilson and Morgan in 1992, and soon after a rum company – Rum Nation. Both companies acted as independent bottlers, but because this is a rum blog we will focus on the Rum Nation.
The idea for Rum Nation started in 1990 when Fabio went to Scotland in order to sample whiskies for his future company and he noticed a few Jamaican and Guyanese rum barrels waiting to be aged and blended as Navy rums. A few years later after setting up Wilson and Morgan, he started Rum Nation in 1999. Picking barrels from around the Caribbean (and not only), each bottle would feature the country where it comes from and a postal stamp from the said country – as Fabio is a passionate stamp collector.
Rum Nation is based in Italy and the rums are usually double aged, once at the country of origin and then in UK or Italy. Rum Nation are also no strangers to additives as a lot of their rums are sweetened. My (newly acquired) hydrometer shows an obscuration of 9g/l on my Supreme Lord bottle, which isn’t much, but still noticeable.
Rum Nation Supreme Lord III was distilled in 1982 and it’s the oldest rum (distillation date wise) I ever reviewed. I’ll have to thank Lance Surujbally aka The Lone Caner for this, as he provided me with this rarity at the Berlin Rum Fest 2019 when I met him for the very first time. He made me promise I’ll make sure to share it around and I complied although I have to say, it was quite a challenge with a bottle already at one third full, so I’m making this review to share my tasting notes – surely that counts as well.
Also Lance was kind enough to provide me with an email from Fabio Rossi himself with the technical info about this bottle so let’s see.
The blend consists of 1982 stocks from Long Pond, Monymusk, New Yarmouth, Appleton and Inswood – which operated between 1959 and 1992. Molasses based, a blend of Wedderburn style pot still distillates (a historical style of Jamaican rum of around 220gr/hL AA ester concentration according to the Cocktail Wonk) and ligther column still rums.
The blend was prepared in the UK so it would suggest that it’s entirely continentally aged. The maturation occured in Scotland, in ex-Bourbon casks for 21 years and then it spent 2 years in Venezuelan oak casks – most likely ex-Rum casks. Bottled in 2005 at 45% ABV and with a ‘touch’ of sugar.
On the nose smells citrusy and meaty. Over-heated car tires, rubber, plenty of tobacco, raisins and cinnamon. Very nutty, I can feel walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts. Burnt orange and grapefruit zests, baking spices, wood shavings, dark chocolate, overripe bananas, strawberry jam, black pepper and mango. The aroma has a nice wood-funk balance.
On the palate is more mellow than expected. Fanta Orange, raspberry jam, charred oak, tobacco, pears, peaches, mango and banana bread. Grilled pineapple, brown sugar, cloves, black pepper again with a hint of salt and some smokiness. There’s some vanilla, glue and a vegetal agave-ish note in the background. It starts off quite sweet and citrusy, has almost like a triple sec/Grand Marnier note upfront and it ends up being quite tannic and bitter which is pretty off-putting. The finish is short with a combo of sweet, salty, smoky and bitter notes.
Have to say given the “Supreme Lord” title I was expecting a bit more. The nose was really good, but on the palate it lacked the body and complexity to back it up. A nice dram nonetheless, but I had a bit of Appleton Reserve to compare and that was almost on par in terms of intensity minus the smokiness. It could be the sugar, the dodgy cork (although the bottle was opened last year), the continental ageing or simply personal preference – I know, how dare I. Regardless I was quite disappointed, but glad to have a chance to review this.
Rum Nation Supreme Lord III 1982 Jamaican Rum score:
Value for money: 7/15