Review: Merchant’s Choice Guyanese White Rum

I was scrolling on the Master Of Malt new rum releases, just like anybody else does after they get paid, and given I try to focus more on the white rum category, my eyes landed on this bottle of Merchant’s Choice Guyanese White Rum. While you can find plenty of rum from Guyana on the market, especially in the form of navy rum, a continuous price accessible Demerara white rum is a bit more uncommon. Besides El Dorado 3 Year Old (excluding limited runs) I can’t think of many/any other white rum from Diamond Distillery, so I purchased one.

Couldn’t find any technical details about the rum itself besides the fact that it has been bottled in the UK – which is on the label. Any internet search proved futile, it seems no information was given and the marketing itself was quite lacking given I didn’t hear about this until I browsed Master Of Malt. I usually find myself not knowing anything about a rum when the brand is old and/or dodgy, this is not something I’d expect from a new product that is marketed as “Craft Spirit Selection”… but then this is meant to be just a house spirit, so maybe they didn’t deem necessary to reveal any more details for the folks like me that enjoy putting every rum under a microscope.

Merchant’s Choice is a range of spirits launched at the end of last year (rum, gin and vodka so far) meant to act as replacements mainstream brands on the rail as house pours. The brand comes from the UK distributor Symposium Spirits – a spirits merchant division which Hayman Distillers put together at the beginning of 2020. They are dealing with various spirits including other rum brands such as Merser & Co. and Bush Spiced Rum.

And before you ask me “what possible details could you need?”, well I am genuinely curious what kind of still has been used and if there’s anything in the blend (assuming it’s a blend) coming from any of the heritage stills from Diamond Distillery. Also if the rum itself has been aged and then charcoal filtered, or it’s simply unaged. These would be two of my main questions.

So I’ll just say this is a rum from Diamond Distillery, Guyana, molasses based, most likely column still distilled and unaged/aged and charcoal filtered. Bottled at 40% ABV in the UK, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume there are no ungodly additions.

On the nose it feels fairly clean. Coconut, cacao nibs, grapefruit zest and toffee. Some cinnamon and almonds. Lemon zest as well along with vanilla and a touch of milk. Seems like a nice profile, but dialed down quite a bit.

On the palate once again, not much body to it. Milk chocolate, ground coffee, white pepper, coconut water and grapefruit zest. There’s a slight liquorice note which I enjoy. A touch of glue, some mango and banana. Has quite an oily mouthfeel. The finish is short with bitter grapefruit and some ethanol.

It feels like a craft vodka, one that has more flavour to it than your usual 16 times distilled neutral spirit, but still hard to pass it as rum in a blind tasting. Better than your usual Bacardi Carta Blanca, but nowhere as close to the likes of El Dorado 3 or Doorly’s 3 which I’d rather have on the rail. It’s roughly the same price range as Bacardi CB at £17 (Master Of Malt) so from that point of view I reckon it does the job, but having Guyana on the label I was expecting a little bit more. Not bad, but nothing notable either.

Merchant’s Choice Guyanese White Rum score:
Flavour/taste: 39/70
Value for money: 15/15
Transparency/purity: 12/15
Overall: 66/100


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