Berry Bros. & Rudd (BBR from now on because I’m lazy) is Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, having traded from the same shop since 1698 – at least that’s what their website say. They have some rums in their portofolio such as Penny Blue and their BBR Classic range (reviews here, here, here and here) and they also act as independent bottlers, mainly with whisky, but their rum offerings are not something to pass either.
There quite a few Fijian rums bottled by BBR, after a quick search I saw there were also an 13YO, 8YO, 9YO and 10YO, with the last two and the 11YO also being reviewed here by Single Cask Rum.
I haven’t tried many Fiji offerings, but lately it’s getting more recognition as a rum producing island with bottlers such as S.B.S, Holmes Cay and even Plantation showcasing its full-bodied style (some more than others).
Fiji has only one rum distillery, the South Pacific Rum Distillery, which has been in operation on the island since 1980. They distill molasses from sugar cane grown in Fiji’s rich volcanic soil using both pot and column stills. While I couldn’t find much info on the Fijian 11 Year Old, Single Cask Rum says that it’s pot still produced, and judging by the aroma that hit me when I poured a sample of this, I’d say it’s accurate. After a multitude of Google searches I found out this is a single cask, number 32 to be more precise.
So molasses based, pot still distilled and aged for 11 years in an ex-Bourbon barrel. Not sure of the tropical/continental ageing ratio. Bottled at 46% ABV and free of any sweeteners or colouring.
On the nose… oh man, this nose, I could easily confuse this with a Jamaican high-ester rum. Glue and honey covered ripe bananas. Pineapple juice infused with mothballs. Melon, passion fruit and mango salad with sprinkles of wasabi and petrol seasoning. It’s not even 50% ABV, but it’s jumping out of the glass – not as “deadly” as a DOK, but it will put up a fight! Some black tea, freshly baked bread and white pepper as well.
On the palate it’s quite elegant upfront, but it starts biting towards the end. Coconut water, pineapple juice and overripe bananas followed by mothballs, wasabi and paint stripper. Rich honey, sweet pastry and spicy jalapenos. Has subtle vanilla, cacao and caramel notes in there, probably from the cask, but the distillate is the one doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of flavour. Walnuts, pistachios, tobacco, liquorice, pear eau de vie and a touch of raspberry jam. The finish is long with nail varnish, pineapple juice and wasabi.
What a stunner, this at any ABV above 50% would most likely be a bruiser… not that it lacks body or intensity, but I can’t help but imagine it. Complexity, funk, fruitiness and spice all present and well balanced. Online I found this only from one retailer at £64, everything else is sold out, so I’d recommend get yourself one if you enjoy your hogo and tropical profile.
Berry Bros. & Rudd Fijian Rum 11 Year Old score:
Value for money: 14/15