It’s been almost 3 years since I reviewed the very first rum distilled in Bristol, the Circumstantial Cane (Batch 1) and stated it was “one of my favourite rums”. As I also mentioned there, I was very much looking forward to a second batch and it’s finally here. It might seem odd I’m so excited for a brand many probably haven’t heard of, this isn’t a Habitation Velier Long Pond or Port Mourant – it’s just one of the first English distilled rums I tried that blew my mind with its flavour and balance.
Circumstantial Cane is made at the Circumstance Distillery in Bristol. Circumstance is the result of the Psychopomp Mycrodistillery’s expansion and is the brainchild of Danny Walker and Liam Hirt. Psychopomp mainly produces gins and flavoured spirits, whereas Circumstance uses a wide selection of raw materials (grans, oats, molasses and even rice), different yeast strains, long, open fermentations and various ageing methods in multiple types of casks and even roasted English oak spindles in order to experiment and push the boundaries of spirit making. They operate a 1900 litre stainless pot still with 2 columns, one with 4 plates and the other one with 12.
Given that all the batches they make are different, they came up with a code system in order to differentiate them and describe the production process. For example the 2:18:1:8:1 code on the 2nd batch of Circumstantial Cane can be looked up on the website and it translates as following:
2 – number of the batch;
18 – South American molasses fermented with a combination of mead and Bavarian wheat yeasts for between 10-14 days;
1 – distilled using the stainless steel pot still with copper head and 4 plate copper column;
8 – aged using charred British oak spindle;
1 – the number of months it has been aged for.
So South American molasses based, fermented for around 2 weeks, pot still distilled and aged for 1 month using charred British oak Spindle. As it was with the 1st batch, the rum is re-distilled after the maturation in order to get rid of any colour. The second batch has a total of 270 bottles and is bottled at 44.6% ABV free of additives.
On the nose it feels quite spicy and pungent. Cayenne pepper, white pepper, cheddar, printer ink, dusty cardboard and nutmeg. Raffaello sweets, vanilla, pistachios and single cream. Grapefruit peel, white grapes, cardamom and peppermint. Some peach, nail varnish and banana in the background. It has some Jamaican-like funk, but in the same time it seems balanced.
On the palate the rich and sharp flavours are battling for dominance. Grapefruit juice and coconut cream, cardamom and toffee, green chilli and white chocolate. Some nougat with almonds and pistachios, cappuccino and yogurt. It has a nice vegetal/tequilaish background note as well. The finish is long with white pepper and white chocolate.
This is how white rums should taste like if you ask me, not too intense, yet complex and full of flavour.
Compared with the first batch which was more citrusy and a notch more pungent, this one is sweeter and rich. I really enjoyed the level of funk on the first one, whereas this one lacks it in the favour of a creamier mouthfeel. It’s still a great British rum that makes an amazing Daquiri and I would definitely recommend getting – I was just hoping it would be even more mind-blowing than the first one.
Can be found for £38 on their online shop which isn’t a bad price for such a limited and complex release.
Circumstantial Cane ‘Return of the Daiq’ – Batch 2 score:
Value for money: 14/15