Produced at Saint Lucia Distillers in… Saint Lucia, Admiral Rodney commemorates Admiral George B. Rodney who was considered a brilliant naval strategist, among other things. He protected the British Caribbean colonies from the French in 1782 at the Battle of the Saints, where “he broke the French line”. You can find the full story on their website.
The Admiral Rodney line is described as “Super Premium” on the St. Lucia Distillers website and the packaging definitely gives off that vibe. Unlike Chairman’s Reserve, their flagship line of rums, Admiral Rodney is completely column still distilled – traditional double Coffey still to be more precise.
This bottling is the first one from the Officer’s Release series, with a limited number of 4200 bottles, and was launched on The Whisky Exchange website. To make it interesting, if you buy a bottle until the 12th of July you can get a chance to win the complete set of St. Lucia 1931 rums, which is no small prize – more details here.
So molasses based, column still distilled and aged for 13 years in ex-Bourbon casks then finished for 9 months in port casks, all in Saint Lucia – these details are present on the label as well which is a nice touch. Bottled at 45% ABV with my hydrometer placing it in the 0-5g/l range regarding additives so nothing to worry about.
On the nose the port influence really seems to come through. Strawberry jam, blackcurrants, red grapes, blood orange, red apples and some cranberry juice. Leather, tobacco and raisins soaked in nail varnish – in a good way. Quite woody and spicy with pink pepper and allspice. Cocoa and hints of cardamom. Only 45% ABV but the flavours are pretty intense.
On the palate it coats the mouth nicely and becomes ‘darker’ in profile. Chocolate filled with strawberry cream and some nutmeg on top. Quite a bit of orange zest to give it an edge. Tobacco again, black coffee, ripe banana, maple syrup, prunes, blackberries and walnuts. Has a stout-like note too. Becomes spicier and drier towards the end with a bit of a tannic red wine like profile. The finish is medium to long with cacao nibs and some peppermint.
While column stills can definitely make a very flavoursome spirit, it still feels like it misses a touch of oomph. Regardless it’s a very nice and easy going sip with a desert-but-no-additives flavour profile to it and quite some complexity.
My only complaint would be that it’s just a bit more expensive (£67) than Chairman’s Reserve 2005 Vintage (£60) which has that missing oomph I was talking about and it’s also more limited, but that’s probably just a case of the 2005 being too cheap more likely.
Admiral Rodney Officer’s Realeases – No. 1 (Port Cask Finish) score:
Value for money: 12/15