I don’t know about everyone else, but since I started my rum journey I have acquired more knowledge in various fields I wasn’t really interested in as a young lad. Geography is such a field, particularly about islands and their position on the map. Well, today I’ve just learned about another island that recently got (back) into the rum game, Guernsey. It’s an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy that is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown Dependency (thank you, Wikipedia!). What does that mean you ask? Well as far as I can understand they are not part of the UK, but the UK is responsible for them and their relationship is one of partnership.
The Juggling King White Rum was launched last year in August and is the brainchild of Jack Gervaise-Brazier, who developed the rum with Master Distiller Matthew Lane. The spirit is made in Guernsey, behind door Number 34 behind the island’s Old Quarter and features a modern laboratory.
Something that got my attention about the Juggling King is that on their website they describe themselves as a “seed-to-bottle company” that uses locally grown sugar cane. Since the climate of the island is not particularly tropical, they are using commercial greenhouses around the island to grow the cane all year round, which sounds pretty cool. They also say “The Juggling King’s range will house within it a lovingly produced spirit from these local cane crops, creating the first commercial seed-to-bottle spirit distilled in the UK.”, a statement I’m not sure about since, apparently, the island doesn’t count as being part of the United Kingdom – but then politics aren’t my forte either, so…
But, while they are implying all their rums (so far they just have the one) are made using the said sugar cane, I’ve been told by Matthew (the Master Distiller) that the molasses for their white is actually imported, with plans the use the locally grown cane in an upcoming product. My misleading-sense is tingling!
They use their own house patented yeast which was chosen out of over 100 strains. Their yeast is cryogenically frozen and stored at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures and when they need to use it they propagate it in their lab at 34 Mill Street.
The Juggling King is molasses based, fermented for 4 days using their house yeast, pot still distilled (twice to around 90% ABV) and bottled at 44% ABV free of additives.
On the nose there’s quite a strong toffee smell. Caramel, vanilla ice cream, butter and iron. Raw cocoa nibs, liquorice, hazelnuts and mozzarella. The deeper I go the more I get a butane note. Interesting!
On the palate the toffee is back. Toffifee/nutella (just not as sweet), almonds, coconut, whole milk and salted caramel. Liquorice, vanilla, dark chocolate, lemon zest, nutmeg and ginger. There’s quite a bit of ethanol burn. Cayenne pepper, coriander, dusty cardboard, cane syrup and white pepper. The finish is short to medium with ethanol and walnuts.
The front and mid palate were quite tasty with a nice mouthfeel, but it quickly thinned towards the end which was a bit of a letdown. That’s a shame, especially considering the extra ABV points – might sound like nitpicking, but the finish is crucial to a good sipping experience. Still better than many white rums and I bet it’s great for mixing, but from its price-point I was expecting a bit more. I’m also not a fan of the misleading “seed-to-bottle” marketing as that doesn’t apply to their (currently) sole product.
I bought it for £40 on Master of Malt, which is on the expensive side, but it isn’t a bad distillate, I just had better (sipping) white rums for less!
The Juggling King White Rum score:
Value for money: 12/15