Another product distributed by Skylark Spirits I tried at the The World’s First European Online Rum Festival by RumCask was the S.B.S Australia 2007. It was so good (Spoiler alert!) I had to get myself a bottle and review straight away to make sure my judgement wasn’t clouded by all the other samples tried beforehand.
S.B.S or Single Barrel Selection is an indie bottler coming from the Danish distributor 1423 World Class Spirits which was established in 2008. The S.B.S range is a collection of limited casks bottled from various countries and distilleries, free of additives and no chill-filtering which is very well regarded among enthusiasts including myself.
The liquid in my bottle today comes from Beenleigh Distillery, Australia. In 1864 sugarcane growth was being encouraged in Queensland by the Sugar and Coffee regulations, and, subsequently in 1865, two gentlemen – John Davy & Francis Gooding – purchased 300 acres of land, named it Beenleigh after their old Devonshire farm and started growing sugarcane.
The pot still Beenleigh Distillery has today was acquired in 1884 (same year as their distilling license) from SS Walrus – a boat that served as a mobile distillery for many plantations in the area, distilling rum from molasses between 1869 and 1883 (although it had a license to distill only until 1872). Rum production at Beenleigh ceased in 1969 and restarted 1972 when it was acquired by Mervyn Davy and his two sons. The distillery changed ownership a few times, in the present being owned by Vok Beverages.
Although Beenleigh normally produces a blend of pot and column still rums, this one is completely pot still – unfortunately not the same that was on the Walrus, which wasn’t used anymore since the 1970s. Interestingly enough, their website described this “Old Copper” as a vat still, comparing it with the Port Mourant from Diamond Distillery, Guyana, although not made out of wood.
They got a new pot still in 2004 and that in combination with a “few days” fermentation period could produce a pretty flavoursome juice, so let’s see.
Molasses based, fermented for a few days and pot still distilled in 2007. Aged in an ex-Bourbon cask for 13 years, with around 10 years spent in Australia and the rest in Denmark, and bottled at 55% ABV in February 2020 – no other ingredients added.
On the nose it’s fairly pungent. Glue, apricot jam, mothballs, wasabi, lime and grapefruit oils. Pistachios, unripe pears, black pepper, cloves and cinnamon. Pretty spicy and citrusy with sweet stone fruits to balance. Pineapple juice, some toffee and a touch of coriander. Very interesting and inviting.
On the palate, as I mentioned during the tasting as well, it reminds me of Mount Gay Pot Still. Plenty of stone fruits, caramel, blueberries, nail varnish, some mint and chocolate chip ice cream, and quite a bit of acidity but not overwhelming. Blood orange, ripe pears, pink grapefruit, almonds, rose water, English Breakfast tea and charred oak. There’s a nice smokiness lingering from mid palate towards the end. The wasabi note makes a nice reappearance along with the cinnamon. There’s a banana bread aroma I’d usually find in Worthy Park expressions as well. The finish is long with smoke, a touch of liquorice and a salt/pepper combo.
This is my first review of an Australian rum… and what a rum. A very good and balanced pot still expression that is a rollercoaster of flavours and complexity. Who would’ve thought an Australian rum would be one of my favourite rums I have tried this year so far.
Can be found on Master of Malt for £115 and with only 323 bottles in the wild and knowing that a few other rum peeps already got their hands on some of them, I’d hurry up to grab one – well worth it!
S.B.S Australia 2007 score:
Value for money: 14/15