The Barrel Sample: The Duchess – Barbados Oldest Distillery 19 Year Old (Mount Gay)

The Dutch independent bottler The Duchess once again brings a very old and interesting rum on the market – an 19 year old Mount Gay, part of the Tropical Hummingbirds Series. Mount Gay, from Barbados, is arguably the oldest rum distillery in the world with documents of its existence tracking down all the way to 1703. Due to licensing, the label of the original bottle will say “Barbados Oldest” rather than the name of the distillery.

This 19 year old was distilled in 2001 so it means it’s from the time the distillery was under the Ward family control and yet to be completely taken over by Remy Cointreau – not sure how that will be translated on the palate, but that’s why we are here.

Molasses based, I assume it’s a blend of pot and column distillates, aged for 19 years in ex-Bourbon barrels, 6 of which are tropical. This is a single cask (#49) with a run of only 252 bottles. Bottled at cask strength – 54.3% ABV, and free of additives.

On the nose Barbados Oldest has a lot of stone fruits. Plenty of peach and apricot, flavours along with mothballs and dusty old books. Some toffee, plums and ground coffee as well. Pretty citrusy with lime and pink grapefruit notes. While I have no official information this feels like it’s just a pot still, although you’d rarely find a pure MG pot still on the market. Let’s taste it.

On the palate it has plenty of oomph. If it isn’t a pure pot still, it definitely draws most of the flavour profile from it. Quite acidic with notes of wasabi, green chilli, basil and lime zest. Some caramel and vanilla in the background attempts to tame it. The stone fruits are back as well along with a pleasant umami flavour. Hints of black pepper, mint, cinnamon and leather. The finish is long with peach and mothballs.

It definitely stings the tongue a bit, it definitely doesn’t play around, but once you get past the acidity it’s a very interesting and complex liquid. Can be found for around €100, a pretty good price for a 19 year old Mount Gay.

The Duchess – Barbados Oldest Distillery 19 Year Old (Mount Gay) score:
Flavour/taste: 63/70
Value for money: 14/15
Transparency/purity: 15/15
Overall: 92/100


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