I’ve recently praised Saint Lucia Distillers, the home of the Chairman’s Reserve rum (and many others), saying it’s a very versatile distillery, capable of producing a diverse range of rums by mastering their column still and three pot stills, various barrels and making use of both molasses and sugar cane juice distillates. Most of that is due to Laurie Barnard’s vision of Saint Lucia Distillers which brought Chairman’s Reserve Original in 1999.
Today, well end of 2020, beginning of 2021, we have a new addition to the SLD’s range, the Chairman’s Reserve Legacy, which is a tribute to Laurie Barnard, founder of the Chairman’s brand. It has already been reviewed and talked about in various groups and apparently it’s a winner – spoiler alert I guess?
According to thefatrumpirate’s review, the blend features the following components, all aged in ex-Bourbon casks on the Saint Lucia island:
- Cane juice based, distilled in a John Dore pot still and aged for 5 years – 5%;
- Molasses based, distilled in the Coffey column still and aged for 5 years and a half – 72%;
- Molasses based, distilled in the Vendome pot still and aged for 7 years – 4%;
- Molasses based, distilled in a John Dore pot still and aged for 7 and a half years – 16%.
Don’t let the high percentage of the column component fool you, their pot still distillates are quite potent, in fact, I reviewed a 100% Vendome release last month and I can vouch for its intensity and potential – a little bit can go a long way. The cane juice based distillate is made from sugar cane grown on their estate in Roseau, which Laurie Barnard had it replanted in 1967, and its addition to the blend should add a new dimension to the end result.
So molasses and cane juice based, column and pot still distilled and aged separately in ex-Bourbon casks in Saint Lucia for 5 to 7 years before blending. Bottled at a notch above the usual strength, 43% ABV, and free of adulteration.
On the nose it feels warm and intense. The signature tobacco note is here along with raw cocoa nibs, Earl Grey tea, pink grapefruit, damp cardboard and ground nutmeg. Ripe pears, cinnamon, passion fruit, mango and overripe bananas. Some caramel, old leather maple syrup and allspice. Yep, I’m into this!
On the palate it’s wood forward and nutty. Delicious tobacco, Thai basil, pencil shavings, raisins and overripe bananas. New furniture, old leather and oak spices. There’s a herbal/minty layer throughout. Pink pepper, juniper, coriander, pink grapefruit, marmalade, charred wood and a touch of wasabi. Pretty intense for just 43% ABV, not to be underestimated. Some Nutella, toffee, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. The finish is long with tobacco, ginger and salted caramel.
First time when I saw the announcement regarding the Legacy’s release I thought it would’ve been a limited run since that’s what SLD have been putting out lately, but then I found out it was a continuous release… and priced at £39 nonetheless (Royal Mile Whiskies), so I had to grab myself a bottle immediately – very glad I did.
I’m a fan of the Chairman’s rums and the new addition didn’t disappoint, on the contrary, it elevates the range. Complex, transparent, pure and affordable – couldn’t ask for more! Off to a decent start this year!
Chairman’s Reserve Legacy score:
Value for money: 15/15