During lockdown I had the pleasure to join an online tasting with Miguel Smith of Mount Gay and that’s where, besides mixing a delicious Old Fashioned, learning about a Coffey Still broken since 1929 that has been restored a couple of years ago and ending up purchasing the Mount Gay Select Blend (more on that here), I tried the new Mount Gay XO (MGXO) blend.
Mount Gay recently repackaged its whole core range and changed (or upgraded if you’d like) the blends for their Black Barrel (covered that here) and XO. This is all the work of the new Master Blender – Trudiann Branker who also released my favourite MG expression so far – Mount Gay Pot Still.
While rocking the EST.1703 on the label, the new look is pretty modern featuring Barbados in the background and pinpoiting the distillery’s location in the north of the island in the St. Lucy parish. There is some information regarding the casks used along with some tasting notes, Trudiann’s signature and even a bottle number – mine is AP 07357, so I guess it’s pretty special?
MGXO Triple Cask Blend is molasses based, column and pot still distilled (with a higher pot still ratio than any of the other in the core range) and aged, as the name suggests, in 3 different casks: ex-Bourbon, ex-American Whiskey (no details on the type of whiskey) and ex-Cognac. The ages of the rums from the blend range from 5 to 17 years old, all aged in Barbados. Bottled at 43% ABV without any sweeteners.
On the nose there’s that lovely Barbadian richness. Very fruity with banana, pineapple, blackberries, ripe red apples and melon. Nutty as well with cashews and pistachios. Clove, vanilla and some Earl Grey tea. I can feel that lovely pot still element with notes of wasabi and mothballs. Very well balanced nose.
On the palate feels quite creamy, there’s a vanilla custard note I’ve noticed in the Black Barrel as well. Luxardo cherries, coffee, tobacco, mango, raspberries and cloves. Almonds and pistachios. There’s a slight acidity that balances that creamy mouthfeel. Some orange and lemon zests with a hint of basil. I’m enjoying the pot still component, it’s very easy to discern or I just like it too much – there are some stone fruits coming through from it, most notably apricots and peaches. The finish is medium with the said stone fruits, vanilla and a touch of wasabi.
Balanced, rich and complex, ticks all the boxes for me, this is definitely an improvement from the old XO which is not easy to achieve as it is a favourite of mine. My only complaint is the price bump. From around £37 for the old blend to £54 for the new one on Master of Malt is quite the jump, and while I am all for the premiumisation of rum, I can throw in a few more pounds and buy a cask strength Foursquare ECS. That being said I did bring MGXO Triple Cask Blend to a tasting recently along some other premium and higher ABV rums and it was the winner hands down – still would’ve liked to see maybe a 46% ABV for that price. Regardless, it won’t be the first bottle I buy, it’s a great blend.
Mount Gay XO Triple Cask Blend score:
Value for money: 12/15